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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