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No. 97: Jan-Feb 1995

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Does the past influence the future?

R. Sheldrake's theory of morphic resonance answers this question affirmatively. For example, it predicts that once a chemical compound is synthesized it will be easier to synthesize it again in the future because the compound's "morphogenetic field" will "guide" the chemical processes along paths already established. Can you wonder why mainstream science advised that Sheldrake's book, A New Science of Life, be BURNT!

Well, there was a lot of smoke but the theory survives. Nature, in fact, is full of observations, such as parallel evolution, that support the idea of morphic resonance. And in the laboratory, a few brave souls are conducting experiments that seem to confirm the theory more directly.

"Using a novel laboratory approach, researchers at Yale University have been able to create a morphogenetic effect after stimulating only 100 subjects. They employed a series of trivial paper-and-pencil tasks (such as "Put an X in any one of the four boxes shown below"). Experimenters tallied how an initial group of 100 students responded to these tasks. Then they forced a second group of 100 students to respond to the tasks in a set manner ("Put an X in the third box below"). Finally, they presented the same tasks to a third group of 100 students, allowing them to complete them, as with the first group, however they wished."

Results showed that in one task the third group had been unknowingly influenced by what the second group had been forced to do! This was interpreted as evidence of morphic resonance.

(Anonymous; "New Evidence for Morphogenetic Field," Venture Inward, p. 10, September/October 1994.)

Comment. There can be no doubt that morphogenetic fields do exist. Ever since they first made the pages of Science Frontiers in 1981 (SF#16), we have felt an uncanny urge to publish another item, and another, and another, and another,....

From Science Frontiers #97, JAN-FEB 1995. 1995-2000 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