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No. 96: Nov-Dec 1994

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Psi Phenomena And Geomagnetism

The item on solar wind and hallucinations in SF#95 brought varied responses. It seems that several psi phenomena have been correlated with geomagnetic activity or the lack of it. For example, A. Gauld sent a copy of a long paper that he and H.P. Wilkinson wrote entitled: "Geomagnetism and Anomalous Experiences." We have room for only a short section of their abstract:

" ...in the end we were left with a residuum of positive findings: (a) There is a weak but persistent statistical relationship between lowish absolute levels of geomagnetic activity and the occurrence of spontaneous cases of apparent telepathy/clairvoyance. (b) There is a small tendency for the days on onset of cases of poltergeists and hauntings to be days of higher-than-usual geomagnetic activity. What underlies these observed relationships remains to be determined."

Gauld noted in his letter of transmittal that the conclusions of Wilkinson and himself were at variance with the item in SF#95.

(Wilkinson, H.P., and Gauld, Alan; "Geomagnetism and Anomalous Experiences, 1868-1980," Society for Psychical Research, Proceedings, 57:275, 1993.)

Another pertinent paper was presented at the 1994 meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration in Austin. Employing data collected at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory from a subject with apparently telepathic dreams, S. Krippner and M. Persinger determined that the accuracy of these telepathic dreams was enhanced during periods of low geomagnetic activity. The subject's psi scores were less accurate as geomagnetic activity increased.

(Krippner, Stanley, and Persinger, Michael; "Enhancement of Accuracy of Telepathic Dreams during Periods of Decreased Geomagnetic Activity," Journal of Scientific Exploration, 8:434, 1994.)

Comment. Psi phenomena, assuming they exist, are difficult to quantify. In addition, statistical correlations have many pitfalls -- even with "robust" phenomena!

From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987