by Martin Ebon
NOTE OF INTRODUCTION
Martin Ebon is a well-known figure in parapsychology circles. From 1953 to 1965 he was administrative assistant of the Parapsychology Association in New York set up by the world-famous medium and clairvoyant, Eileen Garrett. While occupying this post, he had more than adequate opportunity to meet the outstanding personalities in psychical research and parapsychology. He traveled extensively on behalf of the Association's research endeavors. His lectures, reviews, research reports, articles in magazines, and his books (over sixty of them) all reflect serious treatment of the field. His expertise, historical and otherwise, of the official and unofficial aspects of the field is enormous.
There is another aspect of Martin, though, which in my opinion makes him one of a kind, for he is much more than just a parapsychologist. He speaks several languages, and is also a lifelong researcher/writer/analyst regarding political and scientific developments of Eastern European countries, the former Soviet Union, and post-Communist Russia. His expertise in this regard also extends to the People's Republic of China and Asia.
His credentials along these lines are impressive. Following service with the U.S. Office of War Information in World War II, he then worked on the staff of the Foreign Policy Association, and with the U.S. Information Agency during the Korean War. Traveling widely and in direct contact with many sources, he was ultimately called upon by many agencies to present briefings, and for many years acted as analyst/consultant in this regard. As a free-lance writer, his articles were broadly published inter alia the NEW YORK TIMES, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, and the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTELLIGENCE AND COUNTERINTELLIGENCE. He lectured at universities on world affairs in general, but also specialized in tracking and examining the nature and directions of Russian and Soviet security services.
His deep interests in parapsychology, plus esteem of him as an exacting political journalist, made him a "natural" when official suspicions arose that the Soviet Union was engaging in mind-control and parapsychology research. For example, he was in Washington giving a briefing on telepathy to a top intelligence agency on 17 April 1961 when the ill-fated "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba was launched. Other sources and clues also establish the existence of official intelligence interest in "psi" matters at least a decade prior to 1971 when the American intelligence agencies were forced to acknowledge and attempt response to the possible threat potential of "psi" research in the Soviet Union - and which, among other effects, resulted in the Remote Viewing project at Stanford Research Institute in 1973.
In addition to Martin's many books on matters parapsychological, he published: WORLD COMMUNISM TODAY; MALENKOV: STALIN'S SUCCESSOR; a biography of ERNESTO ["Che"] GUEVARA; PSYCHIC WARFARE (1983); THE ANDROPOV FILE (a biography of the former head of the KGB); and THE SOVIET PROPAGANDA MACHINE (1987).
His most recent book is KGB: DEATH AND REBIRTH (1994), which examines and documents the evolution of the new Russian "KGB" after the old Soviet KGB was officially pronounced dead in October 1991. As the U.S. Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "We don't have illusions about the Russians. We understand that the intelligence service may have changed its name - but it has probably not changed its method of operation." [See Martin Ebon, RUSSIA'S NEW SPY NETWORK. THE AMERICAN LEGION, June 1995.]
In my long-term experience of him, Martin has never been pro or con political enthusiast of any kind. He has always been a non-emotional documentarian of the first water, aided by a dignified, penetrating mind and vast experience in world, European and East European affairs. He and I had often discussed the "gap" in American awareness regarding the nature of Soviet mind-research, a gap made enduring because of Western intelligence agency and media reluctance to fair open knowledge about that research or its evolutionary background.
Although it took some doing on my part, Martin finally agreed to provide this paper for this website after I impressed on him that no one else could, would or was qualified to do so for the sake of posterity. Of all the essays and papers in this biomind database, this one is of signal importance - for it provides the historical, causative link as to why the intelligence agencies, antipathetic to psi research, were eventually forced into responding.
This paper was to go beyond the Cold War years and into what has happened to the KGB-sponsored research since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reorganization in Russia. Unfortunately, Martin's wonderful wife tragically passed away after an illness, and he has since been unable to proceed. We have decided to put this much of the paper in the database, to be followed by a Part Two when Martin is again up to the exacting work needed to extend it beyond the Cold War years.
I must now take this opportunity to express my deepest and most enduring gratitude to Martin and his fabulous, equally knowledgeable wife, Chariklia Sophia Ebon (1921-1996), who put up with me for so many years since I first met them in 1971. Your friendship would have been more than enough. But your mentorship in all respects, and including so very many difficult situations and decisions I was forced to make, prevented me from making far more mistakes than I did. So, Martin and "Koutsie", you have deeply honored me with your countless kindnesses and often did so far beyond the call of duty.
By Martin Ebon
TOPICAL AREA: Developmental psi/Cold War psi warfare gap
KEY TERMS: Consciousness, psychic research, bio-physics, bio- communications, telepathy, mind enhancement, KGB, CIA, mind-boosting, amplified mind power
ABSTRACT: The background of the Soviet Cold War psi-research effort is summarized under the headings of: The Toth Incident; The American Fear of Psychic Warfare and the Credibility Gap; A Brief History of the Soviet Research Machine; The Novosibirsk Connection; The KGB Takes Control; Centers of USSR Psi Studies; Three Major Directions Within the Soviet Research Machine (Code by Telepathy, Boosting the Human Brain, Amplified Mind Power); Washington's Dilemma; Outline of 1952 CIA Project on ESP; Congressional Response, 1981.
In Moscow on June 11, 1977, Los Angels Times correspondent Robert C. Toth was arrested and detained on a charge of illegally obtaining papers that disclosed "state secrets". The papers had been given to Toth by a Soviet scientist, Valery G. Petukhov.
Toth had first met the Russian biophysicist earlier in the year. While Petukhov seemed eager to show his scientific findings to Toth, the correspondent felt that his work was "only theory and far too complicated" for a newspaper story.
Toth reported that, as best as he could recall, Petukhov asserted that certain particles of living cells "are emitted" when such cells divide, that they can be "detected and measured and that these radiating particles can carry information." Their function could "explain the basis for telepathy" and related phenomena.
To Toth, Valery Petukhov seemed "like
a serious scientist." According to a card he handed the reporter, he was
Chief of the Laboratory of Bio-Physics at the State Control Institute of Medical
and Biological Research.
He had been recommended to Toth by a dissent Soviet scientist who later emigrated. At their first meeting, the Los Angeles Times man told Petukhov that, once the scientists had proved this theory, he would be interested in writing about it.
Months passed. In mid-June 1977 Petukhov
phoned Toth. The biophysicist told Toth that his experiments had succeeded. He
planned to describe them in a formal scientific paper; but, as Soviet
authorities would certainly refuse to publish his work, he wanted to translate
the paper into English and give it to Toth for publication in the West.
At the rendezvous, Petukhov took a manuscript from his briefcase. It contained over twenty typewritten sheets, complete with charts and photos of charts. It looked like a complex, comprehensive scientific paper, well-documented, appropriately technical.
Toth never managed to get a real look at
the paper; for it was at that moment a melodrama began, when a Soviet-made Fiat
braked sharply at the curb.
The car was filled with five plainclothesmen who jumped out and quite unceremoniously pulled Toth inside.
Robert Toth's account stated: "Our car drove through red lights and down one-way streets the wrong way to a militia (police) station. My captors were firm and polite, offering me cigarettes.
I was ushered into a room with an inspector who declined my requests to phone the U.S. Embassy but said a Soviet Foreign Ministry official would be called."
In addition to the Foreign Ministry
official and a KGB agent, a man named Sparkin, the police inspector summoned a
senior researcher of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Professor I.M. Mikhailov.
Mikhailov was asked to provide expert testimony on the paper Petukhov had given
to Toth, which the police were now treating as "evidence."
Specifically, Professor Mikhailov stated: "The article beginning Petukhov, Valery G., from the word of `micro-organism self-radiation' to the words `by means of vacuum particles in space' states that within the content of living cells are particles . . . and these particles are grounds for discussing the fundamental problems of biology in the context of biology and parapsychology. There is also information about the uses of such particles. This material is secret and shows the kind of work done in some scientific institutes of our state."
It was this last sentence that raised the
eyebrows among observers of Soviet parapsychological studies throughout the
Earlier, Moscow authorities on various levels had several times denied that parapsychology was being researched in the Soviet Union. A year before, Leningrad writer Vladimir Lvov had published an article in the leading French daily, LE MONDE, in which he asserted categorically: "The truth is simple: parapsychology is not accepted as a legitimate and official branch within Soviet science. No institute or center or research in the Soviet Union is devoted to telepathy, psychokinesis, etc."
Yet the Mikhailov testimony in the Toth incident directly contradicted the Lvov statement.
Professor Mikhailov's testimony on the
Petukhov paper and Toth's police interrogation at the Pushkin Street Station
lasted about two-and-a-half hours.
At last, a representative of the U.S. Embassy, Vice Consul Lawrence C. Napper, was permitted to come to the station. The reporter's account of his meeting with Petukhov was read aloud and translated into Russian. But Toth refused to sign a handwritten Russian version of it. The KGB man Sparkin then told him he was "free to go."
Toth's Moscow difficulties were not at an
The following Tuesday, Toth had a telephone call from another U.S. Embassy official, Theodore McNamara, who asked him to come to the embassy immediately. The matter, he added, was "serious." At McNamara's office, Napper and two other officials were waiting. They handed Toth a Soviet note that had been delivered a half hour earlier. It contained the following passages:
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is authorized to state the following to the American Embassy:
"On the 11th of June of this year Robert Charles Toth was apprehended at the moment of meeting a Soviet citizen, Petukhov Valery Georgiyevich, which took place under suspicious circumstances. When apprehended, the American journalist was found to have materials given to him by Petukhov, containing secret data.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs the American Embassy that in conformity with established procedure, Toth will be summoned for interrogation by the investigatory organs, in connection with which his departure from Moscow until the end of the investigation is not desired."
Within the hour, a polite KGB agent,
wearing a flowered shirt and gray suit, arrived, asked Toth to identify himself,
and told him to come to the State Security's Lefortovo center for interrogation.
He was advised of Articles 108 and 109 of the Criminal code, and that he did not
have diplomatic immunity.
After two days of confusing interrogation, Toth was told: "Parapsychology as a whole may not be secret information. But there could be fields of science within parapsychology that are secret. It is not for me, as it's a matter for experts, to say what is secret, and what the scientist has stated that the materials you received are a secret. And you received them under circumstances where your behavior and the information seems to be a breach of our law."
After the second interrogation Toth was told that he was no longer needed. The U.S. Embassy received confirmation from the Soviet Foreign Ministry. Toth and his family quickly arranged for a flight to the United States.
The Toth incident was reported world-wide, and the WASHINGTON POST and THE NEW YORK TIMES ran accounts of it.
The incident then passed into oblivion, and most were none the wiser. But intelligence analysts understood that Toth had gotten into his hand, if only for a few moments, one of the tips of the enormous iceberg of top secret Soviet research into psychic powers of the human mind.
Some years before the Toth incident, American intelligence analysts had begun noticing a Soviet secret police (KGB) trend, shortly after 1967, indicating serious interest in what is called "parapsychology" in the West.
This trend began when the KGB's far-flung
operations came under the direction of Yuri Andropov, named General Secretary of
the Soviet Communist Party in late 1982.
But even the KGB, for all of its experience, large staff, skills, and high-priority status, had not developed a clear-cut policy toward psychic experiments; conflicting attitudes within its leadership appeared to have caused erratic actions.
This was well illustrated when agents arrested Toth and thereby revealed that secret research was, in fact, taking place at government institutes.
U.S. government officials were jittery
that research in parapsychology might cause them to be accused of spending
public funds on science fiction projects.
When columnist Jack Anderson reported early in 1981 that a laboratory in the basement of the Pentagon was devoted to parapsychological experiments, his comments were heavy with ridicule and sarcasm.
Anderson's assistant, Ron McRae, alleged
in an article on "Psychic Warfare" (in THE INVESTIGATOR, October 1981)
that "the Pentagon is spending millions on parapsychology in a crash
program to end Russia's psycho-superiority."
McRae, who was doing research for a book on U.S. government projects in psychic studies, said the U.S. Secret Service had "commissioned studies on ways to protect the President from the Kremlin's mind control."
He wrote that its agents, as well as CIA staffers, had been "required to take courses in mind control" at universities in the Washington area, to "prevent them," as he put it, "from falling under the spell of Soviet psychics."
Although such claims at the time bore earmarks of exaggeration, they were none the less indicative of intense American interest in psi warfare possibilities.
But American media accounts of psi warfare
spread alarm and amusement, and an ideological battlefield erupted, not only in
the United States, but in the Soviet Union also.
On the ideological battlefield of international Marxism, the controversy about parapsychology, by whatever name, had gone on for two decades; it showed no signs of abating.
Typical of those who regarded psychic studies as ideological heresy was Soviet mathematician-physicist Dr. Alexander Kitaygorodsky, who had categorized clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis as "supernatural" and thus outside "the domain of the natural sciences." Writing in the Moscow periodical NAUKA I RELIGIA (Science and Religion), an atheistic magazine, Dr. Kitaygorodsky stated as long ago as March 1966: "To me, there is no doubt whatever that those who relate such fairy tales are frauds, mystificators or, at best, grossly deceived. Men have believed in miracles for centuries, and for centuries there have existed charlatan and impostors, conscious or unconscious. And the struggle against such deception of the human mind has gone on for centuries, and in each century it has to begin anew."
But in the same magazine, science writer
Leonid Fillipov took the opposite view and cited Marxist gospel to prove his
He asked: "Does Professor Kitaygorodsky seriously believe that the frontiers of physics have been reached?" He cited scientific breakthroughs in radioactivity, quantum theory, and lasers, and wrote: "What if telepathic phenomena conform to some new, as yet undiscovered laws which do not contradict already known rules governing electrons?" Fillipov added: "Rejecting a priori the possibilities of telepathy and other processes still unfamiliar to science amounts of rejecting Lenin's idea that, on any given level of scientific development, our knowledge of the work remains incomplete."
But beyond viewing-with-exaggerated-alarm,
ridicule-cum-hyperbole and credibility gap lie the realities of psychic
functions, for good or ill.
To obtain the correct perspective, let us keep in mind that parapsychology can play only a supporting role in the Soviet Union's or any other military-scientific complex.
It must, therefore, be seen as one element within a large and diffuse defensive-offensive research apparatus. Psychic elements might well be integrated into, rather than operating separately from, other scientific or military projects.
A major attraction for planners is the
promise of financial and organizational shortcuts: Why engage in high-cost
armaments, for example, if one or several psychics might influence personnel in
the enemy's missile silos, as a DIA report suggested? The costs of military
hardware are a heavy burden in national economies in the East as well as in the
West -- and ESP is cheap.
The origins of the Soviet research remain a mystery at best, mostly due to gaps in accessible documentation.
In any case, it would be clear that the research and attempted development of specific useful psi powers of mind proceeded at the start under severe ideological difficulties.
Thus it is not easily understandable how, and especially why, the Soviet research machine achieved the monumental extent it did by about 1977.
Soviet efforts to harness telepathy
(mind-to- mind communication), telekinesis (better known as psychokinesis, the
influence of the human mind on matter), or any other psychic ability, needed to
overcome strong ideological objections from Marxist theoreticians.
Pragmatists, even those highly placed in scientific or government circles, needed to justify their hopes for psychic experiments in acceptable ideological terms.
Historically, Western parapsychology was rooted in nineteenth-century efforts to find scientific proof for such traditional religious beliefs such as life after death.
And as psychic phenomena retain the mysterious air of the unknown or unexplored, many Marxists accused Western parapsychologists of propagandizing religio-folkloric "superstition" -- and of advocating soft-headed "idealistic" concepts, in contrast to the strictly "materialistic" approach promulgated by Karl Marx and V. I. Lenin.
Such criticisms had been voiced, on and off, for some twenty years in the Soviet Union. During the life of Mao Zedong, Chinese communist ideologues even accused the Soviet Union and the United States of using parapsychology to foster "religion without the cross" in order to distract their citizenry form economic difficulties.
As we examine analyses of Soviet research,
this continuing ideological conflict must be kept in mind. But there can be
little doubt that the extent of the Soviet effort did become enormous.
In 1978, an American intelligence report was declassified and released, although it had originally been scheduled for declassification in December 1990.
The report was entitled "Controlled
Offensive Intelligence Agency (DIA), Task Number T72-01-14.
In part it read: "The Soviet Union is well aware of the benefits and applications of parapsychology research. The term parapsychology denotes [in the Soviet Union] a multi-disciplinary field consisting of the sciences of bionics, biophysics, psychophysics, psychology, physiology and neuropsychology.
"Many scientist, U.S. and Soviet, feel that parapsychology can be harnessed to create conditions where one can alter or manipulate the minds of others. The major impetus behind the Soviet drive to harness the possible capabilities of telepathic communication, telekinetic and bionics are said to come from the Soviet military and the KGB [Committee of State Security; Secret Police]."
In continuing, the report of the Defense
Intelligence Agency asserted that the Soviet Union enjoyed a "head
start" in the field and had provided substantial financial backing. The
report concluded that "Soviet knowledge in this field is superior to that
of the U.S."
It noted that Soviet researchers had explored "detrimental effects of subliminal perception techniques" that might even be "targeted against the U.S. or allied personnel in nuclear missile silos" by "telepathic means."
The report stated: "The potential applications of focusing mental influences on an enemy through hypnotic telepathy have surely occurred to the Soviets . . . Control and manipulation of the human consciousness must be considered a primary goal."
At this point, the reader should again be
cautioned that the ideological controversy about the study and use of psychic
potentials in the USSR had created gaps in public knowledge that inevitably led
to rumors and unverifiable claims.
"Hypnotic telepathy," of which the DIA report spoke, may well have been one of the target areas of Soviet research, but little current information on its status was available.
However, Russia had a long history of
hypnosis studies in medicine, education, and psychiatry. Soviet literature
reflected on-going and contemporary scientific interest in the stimulation of
telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis, either by drugs or electronic means.
In the past, Russian researchers had experimented with telepathy-at-a- distance, a technique of intriguing potential.
It was quite likely that the early origins of the Soviet research machine may have begun with the work of Bernard Bernardovich Kazhinsky, a student in Tiflis (now Tbilisi), in the state of Georgia boarding on the Black Sea. His interests apparently were triggered by a telepathic experience of his own.
In February, 1922, Kazhinsky was invited
to address the All-Russian Congress of the Association of Naturalists, a top
scientific organization perhaps equivalent to the American Institutes of Mental
The topic of his lecture was HUMAN THOUGHT-ELECTRICITY, and he quickly published a book under the same title. Having been invited to address the All-Russian Congress, it would be clear that the Congress supported and funded Kazhensky's work, while his research thereafter apparently became classified.
By 1923, he had published his early findings in a book entitled THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE. This book attracted favorable attention among important brain researchers at the time.
More visible and easier to document was
the work of Professor Leonid L. Vasiliev, later to become Chief of the
Department of Physiology at the University of Leningrad.
Born in 1891, Vasiliev had been a student of Leningrad physiologist Vladimir M. Bekhterev who had established the Leningrad Brain Research Institute. His granddaughter, Natalia P. Bekhtereva, had joined the Institute in 1921, and ultimately became its director.
Vasiliev became a member of the Committee
for the Study of Mental Suggestion the following year.
"Mental suggestion," or hypnosis, became central to his interest. In 1928, he visited Paris, as well as other Western European cities. Vasiliev spoke and wrote French fluently, and the Paris Institut Metapsychique International (IMI) remained his major contact with Western psychical research throughout his life.
Vasiliev established an ideological basis for the Soviet research in several books, lectures, and articles. His basic thesis was the experimental facts of telepathy, for example, should be examined from a physiological (or material) viewpoint, so that they could not be exploited by advocates of "religious superstition" (or an idealistic view-point). He was criticized as providing a pseudo-scientific framework for a return to idealism under the mantle of Marxist dialectical materialism.
His major and influential book BIOLOGICAL
RADIO COMMUNICATION was published in Kiev by the Ukrainian Academy of Science in
Kazhinsky concluded that "experimental confirmation of the fact that communication between two people, separated by long distances, can be carried out through water, over air and across metal barrier by means of cerebral radiation in the course of thinking, and without conventional communication facilities."
He added: "One important feature of the above-mentioned experiment is worthy of attention. The electromagnetic waves accompanying the thought-formation process (visual perceptions) in the inductor's brain reached the cells of the indicatee's cortex after having traveled a long distance, not only in the air and through water but also through the hull of a submarine.
"This would justify the following conclusions: 1) these electromagnetic waves were propagated spheroidally, not in a narrow directed beam; 2) these waves penetrated though the submarine hull, which did not block them, that is, it did not act as a `Faraday cage'."
Kazhinsky noted that a radio receiver in
the marine laboratory of the Soviet scientific research vessel VITYAZ had been
unsuccessful in intercepting electric waves emitted in the water by the torpedo
He added that: "the radio receivers in the submarine did not intercept these waves. This prompts the conclusion that some electromagnetic waves of a biological origin possess yet another, still unknown, characteristic which distinguishes them from conventional radio waves. It is possible that our ignorance of that particular characteristic impedes further development of research work in that field."
Vasiliev noted in another book EXPERIMENTS
IN DISTANT INFLUENCE (which first appeared in Moscow in 1962) that while
official denials of the shore-to-submarine experiment suggested "a certain
caution," nevertheless "This experiment showed - and herein resides
its principal value - that telepathic information can be transmitted without
loss through a thickness of water, and through the sealed metal covering of a
submarine - that is, through substances which greatly interfere with radio
"Such materials completely absorb short waves and partly absorb medium waves, the latter being considerably attenuated, whereas the factor (still unknown to us) which transmits suggestion penetrates them without difficulties."
Many have claimed that the infamous
NAUTILUS story of 1959 in the United States served as the major prod for Soviet
However, by 1959, some four decades after the Soviet research had already begun, presumably their machine would not have needed such a prod.
The NAUTILUS was the world's first nuclear powered submarine, launched in 1954 and christened by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower, wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The NAUTILUS made its first voyage under the North Pole in 1958. Soon afterward, French accounts claimed that while the submarine was cruising deep in Arctic waters it received telepathic messages from a research center maintained by the Westinghouse Corporation at Friendship, Maryland. The U.S. Navy denied that such a test had ever taken place, or that it was otherwise engaged in telepathy experiments.
However, several sources in France
appeared which claimed otherwise. My own efforts to obtain confirmation of the
French reports were unsuccessful.
The reports held that such major U.S. corporations as Westinghouse, General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y., and Bell Telephone in Boston had begun telepathy research in 1958.
The aim was to develop thought transmission by telepathy, to record and produce telepathic signals, and to determine the amplitude and frequencies on which telepathy operated.
According to the French sources, President
Eisenhower had received a study prepared by the Rand Corporation of Los Angeles,
a "think tank" under contract to the armed forces and other U.S.
The report was said to recommend studying the use of telepathy to establish communication with submarines, particularly those cruising in waters under the Polar Ice Cap where radio communication channels were particularly difficult.
Westinghouse's Friendship Laboratory
allegedly undertook just such an experiment with the U.S.S. NAUTILUS, linking
one person on Land (the sender or inductor) with another person in the submarine
(the receiver or inductee), while the vessel was submerged. Representatives of
the U.S. Navy and Air Force were present during the experiment, according to the
The original French reports fixed the starting date as July 25, 1959. The tests continued daily for a total of sixteen days. The person in charge was identified as Colonel William H. Bowers, director of the Biological Department of the Air Force research institute and the man who directed the experiments at Friendship.
Later accounts identified the sender or inductors as "Smith" a student at Duke University, who was confined in one of the Westinghouse laboratory's buildings during the experimental period.
The procedure was designed to have Smith
transmit "visual impressions" twice daily at specified times.
Using methods developed by J. B. Rhine at the Parapsychology Laboratory, Duke University, Durham, N.C., a controlled timing device shuffled one thousand ESP cards in a revolving drum in such a manner as to drop five cards on a table, one at a time, at one-minute intervals. Smith pricked each card up as it came out of the drum, looked at it, and sought to memorize the image. At the same time, he drew a picture of the symbol (square, cross, star, wavy lines, or circle) on a piece of paper before him.
Each test thus produced a sheet of paper covered with five symbols. Smith sealed each paper into an envelope, which Col. Bowers locked into a cage.
At the same time, a Navy lieutenant,
identified as "Jones," sat isolated in a stateroom on the NAUTILUS,
functioning as the recipient of the images Smith sought to convey by telepathy.
Twice daily Jones drew five symbols on a sheet of paper, choosing from among the same symbols used by Smith. He placed the sheet inside an envelope, sealed it, and turned it over to his superior, Captain William R. Andersen.
The captain wrote the time and date of the experiment on the envelope and put it into a safe in his own cabin. During the sixteen-day experiment period, Jones saw no one else except for one sailor who brought him meals and performed other routine services.
The final segment of these events, as
reported in France, began with the arrival of the NAUTILUS at Groton, its cruise
The envelopes were removed from the commander's sage, sent by car under escort to the nearest military airfield, flown to Friendship Airport, near Baltimore, and then taken to Col. Bowers's laboratory. There the two sets of sheets were taken from their envelopes, dates and times matched with each other, and the results tabulated. In over 70 percent of the cases, the figures tallied: Jones had correctly "guessed" three-fourths of the images seen by Smith.
I was put off by these reports,
particularly by the high score ascribed to these experimental subjects, and by
their all-too-typical American names.
On the other hand, the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE had reported in November 8, 1958, that the Westinghouse Electric Corporation had begun to study ESP using specially designed apparatus.
Dr. Peter A. Castruccio, director of the company's newly organized Astronautic Institute, had spoken of the ESP studies as "very promising," with the caution that "a lot more work must be done before we can come up with anything practical."
I questioned W. D. Crawford, Staff
Section, Air Arm Division of Westinghouse, on the project and he said that
"while these studies have scientific value, any conclusion at this time
would be premature and inconclusive."
These statements were published in the NEWSLETTER of the Parapsychology Foundation (January-February 1959), as was a report that Bell Telephone Laboratories had considered an ESP research project but had abandoned it.
The NAUTILUS story is often referred to as hoax, since the French and other sources remain unconfirmed. However, the telepathic part of the story might have added interest to the Soviet effort, already four decades long by 1958.
In any event, in Paris, a prominent member
of the Institut Metapsychique International, Raphel Kherumain, collected
articles on the NAUTILUS story and mailed them to his long-time professional
friend, Leonid Vasiliev.
Whether of fact of hoax, the implications that the Americans MIGHT be conducting ESP experiments did enter into the ongoing monolithic research machine which influenced the lives of countless men and women, and caused expenditures which by 1983 were supposed to amount to $500 million annually.
Across the Ob River from Novosibirsk, a pioneer town in western Siberia, lies
Academgorodok, or Science City. For some four years, its Institute of Automation
and Electrometry maintained a research unit with the nondescript name of
"Special Department No. 8."
The building that housed the department could only be entered if one knew the code, changed each week, that opened the main door's lock.
The "No. 8" operation was devoted to experiments in information transmission by bioenergetic means.
As part of its program, physicists sought
to discover the nature of "psi particles," the elusive elements that
some Soviet scientists regarded as essential to the function of such psychic
techniques as biocommunication and bioenergetics.
Novosibirsk was a logical place for such advanced studies. Its Science City was developed, after World War II, with such single-mindedness that even the names of the streets and city squares reflect it nature. For example, one could take a bus down Thermophysics Street, get off at the corner of Calculators Street, and walk across Institute of Hydrodynamics Square. The city contained some forty research centers and housed tens of thousands of scientists and their families.
When the No. 8 project was established in
1966, some sixty researchers were brought to Science City from other parts of
One of them, Dr. August Stern, provided an account of the department's operation after he migrated to France in 1977.
He told the NEW YORK TIMES that the project's director, a Soviet officer, Vitaly Perov, had shown special "deference to two visitors," presumably KGB officers, "who came in the early days" of the project "to check on the installations."
Theory and application of psi principles were part of the experiments. Stern dealt with aspects of theoretical physics, designed to solve the enigma of psychic energies flowing between living things.
The center's elaborate equipment, he said,
had "cost many millions." In line with other Soviet experiments, the
Novosibirsk center did such things as applying electric shocks to kittens to see
whether their mother, three floors above, would react to their experience in a
This type of experiment was similar to a rumored test in which baby rabbits were taken down below sea level in a Russian submarine, the killed, while the mother rabbit remained ashore, her reactions monitored by measuring brain and heart functions.
Project No. 8 included telepathy-type
distance experiments among people.
Inductors, or senders, were stimulated in one group of rooms, while recipients were placed elsewhere, their responses monitored on closed- circuit television.
The center also undertook the study of electromagnetic forces in person-to-person and mind-over-matter experiments. Among laboratory animals used in the project were monkeys.
Stern recalled further details:
"There were also experiments with photon waves, in which frogs' eyes were
used as a more sensitive measuring instrument than a machine.
Another experiment involved putting bacteria on two sides of a glass plate to see whether a fatal disease could be transmitted through the glass. It was reasoned that if this could be done, it would show that photons - light particles - accounted for some inexplicable forms of communication."
Stern did not succeed in the project he
had been assigned, and which he regarded as a legitimate scientific challenge.
In fact, the whole of No. 8 was dissolved in 1969, although it was much too
early to achieve definitive results.
Stern concluded that the shut-down reflected "a change in attitude of power balance in the Kremlin." Presumably, Moscow authorities had decided on different administrative or research tactics in dealing with psychic studies.
Stern's recollections concerning photon
waves have since been confirmed. Three researchers at Novosibirsk's Institute of
Clinical and Experimental Medicine and at the Institute of Automation and
Electrometry (Siberian Section, USSR Academy of Science) are credited with
undertaking the key experiment on the problem.
They were Vlail Kanachevy, Simon Shchurin, and Ludmilla Mikhailova. Their experiment, designed to establish photon communication between cells of living organisms, has been listed in the State Register of Discoveries by the Committee for Invention and Discoveries, which functioned under the USSR Council of Ministers.
An English translation of their paper appeared in the JOURNAL OF PARAPHYSICS (Vol. 7, No. 2, 1973) as "Report from Novosibirsk: Communication between Cells."
Their experiment indicated that cells could communicate illness, such as a virus infection, despite the fact the cells were physically separated.
The tests showed that when one group of cells was contaminated with a virus, the adjacent group -although separated by quartz glass - "caught the disease." When regular glass was used to separate the two cell groups, the non-contaminated cells remained healthy.
The experimenters linked their idea to the
concept prominent in Soviet bioenergetics research: the existence of unknown
communication channels in living cells for the transfer of information - "a
language of waves and radiation," as Shchurin called it.
The medical researcher added these comments: "Why should information on all the processes of life be necessarily transmitted by chemical means, which are certainly not the most economical methods? After all, any chemical change is primarily an interaction of electrons, complicated formations that carry a reserve of energy. In colliding with a substance, they would either transfer this energy to it or radiate it in the form of photons, or light particles.
"Today there are no methods for studying the specific character of photon radiations, the constant normal radiation or normal cells. We decided to evade the ban imposed by physics by creating an artificial situation. We subjected cells taken from an organism to extreme effects to observe the character of radiations emitted by them, That the cell radiated photons was known. But perhaps the cell was able to perceive them, too? Our experiments provided the answers to this question."
The barrier of quartz glass permitted
neither viruses nor chemical substances to travel between the two vessels
inhabited by the cells. Yet, as Shchurin picturesquely put it, "the
affected cells virtually cried out loud about the danger" when they were
attacked by the virus, and "their cry freely penetrated the barrier of
quartz glass which permitted ultra-violet waves to pass.
Something highly improbable happened. These waves were not only perceived by the neighboring cells, they also conveyed the sickness to the neighboring cells."
Although the No. 8 project was shut down
and sections of it transferred to other cities, animal research in information
transmission continued in Science City.
A Novosibirsk toxicologist, Dr. S. V. Speransky, discovered a form of telepathy between starving and normally nourished mice. He observed that impulses from hungry mice were transmitted in such a manner that the non-starving mice acted as if they, themselves, were famished.
The most complete account of the Speransky experiment appeared in PARAPSYCHOLOGY IN THE USSR (Part III), translated by Larissa Vilenskaya from the researcher's original manuscript.
As a toxicologist, Speransky's primary
interest was the impact of poisons on living organisms; the mind-to-mind
reaction among the mice was encountered accidentally. Speransky's "upper
mice" lived on in the fourth-floor laboratory, while the "lower
mice" were kept in the basement.
In some experiments, the upper mice were starved, in others, they were nourished. Out of the thirty experiments, results in twenty-seven were positive: Non-starving mice responded to the suffering of their "friends," who were several stories removed; in only three cases were the results negative.
Refining his methodology, Speransky
engaged in additional series of experiments, varying sex, weight and other
He found that the "biological significance of the rapid increase in weight if mice which received signals about starvation from their `friends' is clear: a danger of starvation has to give them an additional stimulus to be sated."
In other words, telepathy-like signals warned the non-starving mice that food was short, so they increased food consumption and storage within their bodies.
Speransky drew this conclusion: "Undoubtedly, mentioning that the transmission of information occurred beyond ordinary channels of perception will remind the reader of such notions as telepathy, extrasensory perception, and `biological radio- communication.' It is possible to suppose that the transmission of information about starvation pertains to this type of phenomenon? We think so, but cannot strictly affirm it at present. It is only clear that the transmission of information about starvation in conditions of our experiments goes beyond ordinary forms of interaction of animals. Therefore, we propose to call it extraordinary transmission of information."
Actually, related phenomena had been
recorded by Western researchers. Sir Alister Hardy, Professor Emeritus of
Zoology and Comparative Anatomy at Oxford University, had considered the
possibility that telepathic communication among animals might even affect
evolution and adaptation.
In an essay on "Biology and ESP," Professor Hardy suggested that animal habits might be spread by "telepathic-like means," and that a "psychic pool of existence" might function among members of a species by some method "akin" to telepathy.
Speransky linked his findings about communication between mice to work done by Gulyaev with his auragram on humans, by Sergeyev in human brain activity, and by Presman on the influence of electromagnetic fields upon living organism. A. S. Presman's work, notably his book ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS AND LIFE (New York, 1970), is internationally known.
One rare positive reference to
parapsychology- related work to appear in (what was) an East German publication
was printed in NEUE DEUTSCHLAND, the East Berlin daily published by the
Socialist Unity Party, May 15, 1982.
In an article on "Man, Animals and Magnetism," Professor Hans Weiss and Dr. Jurgen Hellebrand discussed the question of whether a correlation between electromagnetic fields and life processes does, in fact, exist. They found that the views of physicists, chemists, and biologists vary greatly.
They cited Presman's work, notably his references to the apparent ability of snails and birds to orient themselves through the earth's magnetic field. The two authors denounced popular claims for magnetic healing devices as "clearly humbug," but stated that in such fields as food production further basic research "may permit developments leading to practical applications."
As a leading research center, Novosibirsk
was a natural contact point for long-distance experiments in telepathy. The top
Soviet scientist, Professor Ippolite Kogan, arranged a long- distance test from
his Bio-Communication Laboratory in Moscow to the Novosibirsk laboratory.
Kogan reported on this experiment, in absentia, to a meeting at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1969. The test concentrated on the telepathic transmission of the identity of various objects, with Yuri Kamensky in Moscow trying to communicate the images to Karl Nikolayev in Novosibirsk. The methods used corresponded to other long- distance tests.
However, Kogan noted that the recipient in
the Siberian city, "did not have an assortment of items before him,"
as was arranged later during the Moscow-Kersh tests, so he "could not give
specific names for the object he saw telepathically.
Kogan said that the Novosibirsk recipient was limited to listing "the characteristics" of each item, which restricted statistical analysis of the experimental results to "an approximation."
In one such test, the transmitting
telepath in the Soviet capital was asked by supervising scientists "to
suggest an object they had chosen randomly." Six segments of test were used
to transmit images of six different objects. Half of these tests gave positive
During the Cold War it became a commonplace observation that the Committee for State Security (KOMITET GOSUNDARSTVENNOI BEZPASTNOSTI, or KGB for short) permeated Soviet society at all levels.
Its role in psi research was, clearly, a minor aspect of KGB activity.
The KGB's uneasy role in psi research illustrated that it was not, and could not have been, a monolithic agency. Its sometimes contradictory aims, as well as its enormous domestic and international scope and diversity, made total efficiency impossible.
Western analyst have concluded that the
KGB took control of Soviet studies in parapsychology no later than 1970.
More precisely, the agency appears to have taken a serious interest in the field during this period, and its involvement after that became more active and consistent.
The KGB's alternately benign and hostile
attitude toward psychic studies is well illustrated by the rise, fall, and
resurrection of the bioenergetics laboratory attached to Moscow's A. S. Popov
Scientific-Technical Society for Radio Engineering, Electronics and
Communication (known as NTORES, the acronym of its Russian name).
The original initiative for the Popov lab came from members of its Bionics Section in 1965, who suggested a series of telepathy experiments under the label "biological communication."
The new section met on October 11, 1965,
and developed a three-point program:
(1) study and analysis of international literature on the subject;
(2) a synthesis of spontaneous telepathic phenomena previously observed; and
(3) a plan for laboratory-controlled telepathic experiments.
The resulting Laboratory for
Bio-Information functioned on two levels, private and official. The core of the
operation was a team of unpaid volunteers, who were permitted to work on
premises leased by the Popov institute, and whose activity was "officially
The little band of parapsychology enthusiasts inside the Bio- Communication Laboratory was well aware that they operated under official scrutiny, that at least one KGB operative was a staff member and other regularly reported to the agency.
Much of their work was clearly visible, such as the long-distance telepathy experiments, but other studies were never published.
Among the unpublished studies was the work
of Yuri Korabelnikov and Ludmilla Tishchenko-Korabelnikova, a husband- and-wife
team who organized more than eight thousand clairvoyance tests.
They placed different geometric designs of numbers inside opaque envelopes. According to the group's compilations, the two psychics were able to name about 70 percent of the images correctly, compared to 20 percent expected by probability.
In addition to the existence of rival
"idealistic" and "materialistic" cliques, there was a
continuous effort on the part of publicity-conscious Edward Naumov to push for
more research in psychokinesis, while the laboratory's director, Professor
Kogan, favored telepathy experiments.
Barbara Ivanova, then employed as a government translator, engaged in a series of experiments that included remote-viewing and distant healing. Larissa Vilenskaya, impressed by the performances of Rosa Kuleshova, investigated dermo-optic vision and developed techniques for teaching this ability.
One of Ivanova's early students, Boris
Ivanov, eventually denounced her as bringing an "idealist" taint to
healing research. Ivanov himself specialized in "charging" water with
"bio- energy," a technique that had long been examined by a Canadian
researcher, Dr. Bernard Grad of McGill University, Montreal.
After Ivanov left the Popov laboratory to continue his studies at the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a curtain of secrecy dropped over his work.
The KGB reorganized the Popov laboratory
in 1978 along lines that favored military-oriented research.
The new unit, under the direction of academician Yuri Kobzarev, was established after three years of soul-searching.
Professor Kobzarev was considered by Moscow researchers as a sound scientist but, to the degree that this was possible within Soviet society, something of a "political innocent."
As such, he occupied the position of an academic figurehead for the new Laboratory for Bio-Electronics, while the day-to-day functions of the unit rested in the firm hands of his deputy, a KGB functionary who had been active within the old laboratory and was instrumental in its eventual dissolution.
Debates regarding "inhumane" projects often arose. Determined to avoid these, the authorities did not permit within the unit's secretariat, its council, or the laboratory team, the presence of anyone who might oppose "inhumane" projects.
To enforce this policy, a strict screening
process was established, complete with "Rules for Admittance to Membership
in the Central Public Laboratory for Bio-Electronics" (December 7, 1978).
The rules specified that all potential staff members had to be interviewed by the lab's directors, commit themselves in writing to adhere to the rules, file two passport-type portrait photographs, and submit a statement of three to four pages showing "familiarity with bio-electronic problems." The laboratory, in tern, established a file on each individual and issued an identity card.
Once admitted to the staff, members were forbidden to give lectures or publish papers "without the laboratory's prior permission." They were not permitted to "engage in any research concerning the structure, or the improved quality of biofields" outside the laboratory, without the prior permission of the Scientific-Technological Section.
In order to widen the geographic scope of
bio- electronic research, Popov institutes in Leningrad, Kiev, Alma Ata,
Kishinev, Taganrog, Minsk, and Tallin were urged to establish similar
laboratories and engage psychics for experiments.
In addition to KGB guidance of the Bio-Electronics Laboratory, the military was well represented among its officers. The full extent and purpose of the military interests remains vague due to lack of documentation. The military presence, however, was known to be large.
Among eighteen members selected on October 31, 1978, two were senior scientists at the Soviet Ministry of Defense: Jan I. Koltunov and Nikolai A. Nosov; a third, Mikhail A. Sukhikh, was a Candidate of Military Sciences at the Ministry of Defense.
An appraisal of the KGB's role in Russian
parapsychology must be acknowledge that the agency was an ever-present fact of
Soviet life, rather than an omnisciently sinister force.
Thus, when we observe that the KGB slowly tightened its hold on psi studies, it simply means that - with a lot of backing and filling - it started to take the psychic potential seriously, examined it more closely, and began to guide its use toward serious application.
Evidence for this interest can be found in
When émigré August Stern reported on the carefully guarded operations of a laboratory in Novosibirsk, he made two significant references to the KGB's role in the operation of this unit in particular and in psi studies in general.
He expressed the belief that two visitors who had inspected the Novosibirsk installations during its early days were KGB men, and stated that experiments in Leningrad and Novosibirsk were later reported to have been combined into one Moscow laboratory, operated under KGB auspices.
Stern understood in 1974 that all psi
tests had been curtailed, except for the "secret KGB laboratory," but
when he was told that something "important" and "very
dangerous" had been discovered in the course of these laboratory
experiments, Stern said, "I never believed it. How can the KGB do effective
research? They need real scientists."
Speaking from the elitist viewpoint of a scientists, Stern may well have underestimated the results that can be achieved under police pressure, if not guidance.
One American researcher stated bluntly: "The KGB simply discovered or decided that parapsychology phenomena are real, that they work, that all theoretical wrangling be damned, and that the only thing that counts are results - and they just went ahead, full steam, to get more reliable results to suit their "specific aims."
The pattern that emerged of the KGB's rule
in Soviet psi research was one of increasing secrecy about actual research with
the USSR, accompanied by fluctuating tolerance of encouragement of the exposure
of peripheral, irrelevant, or even inaccurate information concerning Soviet
Three stages in this process can be identified; they were influenced by the role and policies of Yuri A. Andropov, who held the post of KGB chairman from 1967 to 1982. On November 12, 1982, Andropov was named General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the country's top position, succeeding Brezhnev, who died a few days before.
The "golden age" of Soviet psi
research, the first stage of its contemporary development, lasted through most
of the 1960s.
It began with Professor Vasiliev's spirited advocacy of the research he had long proposed; it became obscured after Andropov took control of the KGB, which intruded more firmly into scientific activities, including the monitoring, supervision, and actual conducting of experiments.
From mid-1968 on, and quite noticeable by
1970, contact between Soviet psi researchers and their colleagues abroad began
to dry up. By 1975, the Laboratory for Bio-Communication was disbanded.
Publication of findings by such authorities as Professor Kogan ceased, while rumors concerning secret KGB-operated laboratories circulated.
This was a period of transition, with new plans made, blueprints prepared, staff tentatively selected, some projects at least publicly abandoned, and other pursued in an exploratory, probing, and even confused manner.
The KGB's influence on scientific research
generally had been uneven. While it had the task of assuring maximum ideological
and political loyalty among scientists, it had to also encourage optimum
This called for a relatively open exchange of information, including a monitoring of scientific developments abroad. But the sheer volume of data in science and technology available openly - at meeting, in journals and books - in the United States, Western Europe, and Japan during any given day must have severely taxed the transmission and translation facilities available to Soviet science.
Even so, the skilled manpower needed to evaluate, analyze, and apply such data was limited. Soviet scholars found KGB censorship of incoming mail uneven and heavy-handed; publications were often simply stolen in transit and sold on a specialized black market.
Soviet science, arts, and literature experienced a "thaw" of several years during the regime of Nikita Khrushchev. When direction of the KGB was taken over by Andropov, controls over Soviet society were tightened; flexibility, unpredictability, and changes in policies thereafter characterized the agency's operations.
In 1975, foreign observers detected a
distinct tightening-up of KGB and Communist Party control over the academy.
The weekly magazine U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORTS (March 1, 1967) described this development as "one of the most important Soviet internal changes since World War II."
The magazine quoted one analyst as saying "It is right up there with Stalin's death and the reversal of Khrushchev's reforms, because it destroys the only important island of independence left in the country."
The limited information and massive disinformation available regarding the KGB
takeover of Soviet psi research did not in itself contribute to an in-depth
analysis of the Soviet psi research machine, especially when its large size was
considered, along with the known extent of its multidiscliplinary activities.
For example, through privileged sources available to me, I was able to confirm by 1983, that the arms and functions of the machine were so extensive as to include all of the following twenty-nine research centers.
A. S. Popov All-Union Scientific and Technical Society of Radio Technology and Electrical Engineering, Moscow; Laboratory of Bio- Information, 1965-1975; Laboratory of Bio-Energetics, established 1978.
Scientific Research Institute of General and Educational Psychology, USSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Moscow.
Baumann Institute of Advanced Technology, Moscow; Laboratory of Dr. Wagner.
Institute of Energetics, Moscow; Laboratory of Dr. Sokolov.
Moscow State University; Laboratory of Prof. Kholodov.
State Instrument of Engineering College, Department of Physics, Moscow.
Moscow Institute of Aviation.
I. V. Pavlov Institute, Moscow.
Institute of Reflexology, Moscow.
Moscow University, Department of Theoretical Physics.
Department of Geology, Moscow State University.
Interdepartmental Commission for Coordination of Study on the Biophysical Effect, Moscow (dowsing research).
Adjunct Laboratory of Medical and Biological Problems, Moscow.
University of Leningrad, Laboratory on the Physiology of Labor; Department of Physiology, Laboratory of Biological Cybernetics.
A. A. Uktomskii Physiological Institute, Leningrad.
Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, Department of Cybernetics.
University of Leningrad, Bekhterev Brain Institute.
Research Institute of Psychology, Ukrainian SSR Academy of Sciences.
Institute of Problems of Information Transmission of the USSR Academy of Science, Moscow.
Pulkovo Observatory, Leningrad.
Filatov Institute, Laboratory of the Physiology of Vision, Odessa.
Scientific-Industrial Unit "Quantum," Krasnodar.
State University of Georgia, Tbiblisi (Tiflis).
Kazakhstan State University, Alma Ata, Kazakhstan.
Institute of Cybernetics of the Ukrainian SSR, Kiev.
Institute of Clinical Physiology, Kiev.
Scientific Research Institute of Biophysics, Department of Cybernetics, Puschino.
Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Kharkov.
Institute of Automation and Electricity, Special Department No. 8, Siberian Academy of Science (1965-1969), Novosibirsk.
Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Novosibirsk.
Although the full extent of the discoveries and details of the Soviet research
have remained shrouded in deep secrecy before and after the end of the Cold War,
it has been possible to identify three major directions - CODE BY TELEPATHY;
BOOSTING THE HUMAN BRAIN; and AMPLIFIED MIND POWER. These early alarmed American
analysts, and partially account for the American responses.
The most spectacular experiments undertaken by the Moscow Laboratory of
Bio-Information used the Soviet Union's star telepathists -Yuri Kamensky, a
biophysicist, and Karl Nikolayev, an actor.
The two men first discovered each other's capabilities in thought transference when they met socially. Even before the Popov research group arranged formal tests, their skills attracted a mixture of curiosity, awe, and doubt in Moscow society.
The first long-distance experiment took place in 1966, with Kamensky staying in Moscow, acting as sender of the telepathic signals, while Nikolayev served as receiver in Novosibirsk, the science research center in western Siberia. The Moscow daily KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA (July 9, 1966) reported that the experiment consisted of two types.
The first, modeled after tests pioneered
in the United States by Dr. J. B. Rhine at the Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke
University, employed a deck of cards made up of five different geometric
symbols: cross, circle, star, wavy lines, and square.
The newspaper account did not provide details on the experiment's design, nor did it publish specific results.
It concluded, however, that "the number of correct identifications of symbols was higher than correct random identifications, as computed according to the theory of probability."
The report said, "The reception of other symbols was disturbed by considerable associative interference," a condition that would be "reduced in the future."
The second experiment aimed at the
transfer of images of concrete objects. The paper reported that Nikolayev, in
Novosibirsk, "received quite clearly" the images of dumbbells and of a
screwdriver sent from Moscow by Kamensky.
The Moscow paper commented: "It is quite possible that these results will equally disappoint the most ardent adherents of telepathy and its opponents.
The former, because no miracle occurred, because there were no perfect identifications.
The latter, because the experiment demonstrated the reality of the phenomenon and produced valuable data, both positive and negative, which pointed up the need for continued research."
A follow-up experiment, this time between
Moscow and Leningrad, took place a year later. It was designed to harness the
emotional content of crisis telepathy into a code transmission.
The Popov group set out to design an experiment that would (a) be suited to the skills of its telepathists, (b) utilize emotional elements, and (c) achieve specific information transmission.
The problem faced by the Moscow experimenters is a basic one in efforts to use psychic powers for practical purposes. In designing the Moscow-Leningrad experiment, they had to come up with an answer to the question: "How do you tame a telepathic flash; how do you transform a split-second impression into a meaningful message?"
The answer was provided by Dr. Genady
Sergeyev, then a staff member of the A. A. Uktomskii Physiological Institute in
Leningrad and senior experimenter with Nina Kulagina.
Sergeyev, who had been a World War II radio operator stationed in the Baltic region, decided that a short outburst of emotion might have sufficient impact to form the Morse Code equivalent of a letter of the alphabet.
The experimental design called for a
message of aggressive emotion lasting fifteen or thirty seconds to act as the
equivalent of a dot in Morse Code, while a message of forty-five seconds was to
be the equivalent of a sash.
To generate sufficient violence, Kamensky was instructed to imagine that he was giving Mikolayev a severe beating, lasting wither the short of the long period.
The experiment did not assume that
Nikolayev would experience the "code beating" consciously or
Rather, it was designed to be registered by his brain and/or cardiovascular system.
To measure these effects of the telepathic transmission, Nikolayev sat alone in a soundproof test chamber in Leningrad University's physiology laboratory. His heart action was monitored by an electrocardiograph, while his brain function was recorded by an electroencephalograph.
The work of Professor Ippolite M. Kogan, who directed the Bio-Communication
Laboratory of the Popov Institute in Moscow until 1975, has disappeared into a
fog of silence.
But either Kogan or his successors may well have continued this work,
The AiResearch Manufacturing Company, in its January 14, 1976 report to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, suggested that "further theoretic and experimental developments along the lines outlined by Kogan are continuing in the Soviet Union."
The report added: "Kogan posed to many interesting and challenging questions for himself and his colleagues not to have delved into them further. Based on the well-known predilection of Soviet physicists to solve difficult and challenging problems, and their excellent training in modern physics, the possibility that a team of Soviet physicists is at work to systematically uncover and learn the physical mechanisms of parapsychological events is highly probable."
The California research group used the term Novel Biophysical Information Transfer (NBIT) to label the telepathic aspects of psi when it stated "Had Kogan not presented such a clear and sound proposal six years ago, one might have wondered if Soviet physicists have any interest at all in novel biophysical information transfer (NBIT) mechanisms. Clearly, if one could find out where Kogan is working and what he is doing, this question would be answered."
But Kogan had not been heard from since
his Moscow Bio-Information Laboratory was closed down in 1975, and he was not a
member of the staff of the laboratory that replaced it three years later.
Kogan's background in the theory and practice of radio-electronics, together with his dramatic tests in long-distance telepathy, made his research particularly significant to studies in the transmission in Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radio waves.
These research areas were of specific interest to shore-to-submarine communications. The AiResearch study made the following points:
"Assuming that the USSR started a special NBIT program sometime in 1970, by now they could have developed some sensitive instruments to detect, monitor and analyze VLF and ELF radiations for possible instrument content, as Kogan suggested should be done.
"Also, they must have been instrumental in developing sensors to monitor fluctuations in the human body's electric and magnetic fields, and they may have a team of scientists studying the properties of bio- organic molecules and their response to electromagnetic ELF/VLF radiation."
The report suggested that Soviet
researchers were using electronic means for boosting telepathic communications.
"The Russians may now be implementing the next logical step," it said,
"namely to reinforce, enhance or aid NBIT in certain trained or gifted
individuals after having discovered the basic communication carriers."
How could such enhanced telepathic or clairvoyant ability be utilized?
The most dramatic means possible, despite its science fiction connotations, is tuning in on people's minds.
Less precisely focused monitoring was well
under way. The Soviet Union operated an elaborated an elaborate eavesdropping
network, with several monitoring stations on the eastern seaboard of the United
States, to record radio-telephone conversations among U.S. government agencies,
private corporations, and individuals.
The monitoring of more intimate communications, even "thought reading," can be seen as an extrapolation from these undertakings - particularly if it can extend to the mind-reasoning of prominent decision-making officials.
It may be taken for granted that Moscow
was interested, on a continuous basis, in monitoring extremely low frequency
communications between U.S. navel command posts and submarines at sea, then in
an experimental state. Tuning in on the mind processes and decisions of
individuals, on ELF/VLF wavelengths, could have been hardly less tempting.
The AiResearch report noted: "If experiments which generate special ELF/VLF waves are being conducted, it may will travel across the world."
It added that these frequencies may be "undetectable by the usual relatively broadband frequency detectors," and commented: "It is rational to assume that the Soviets pursue the investigation of various physical methods that might serve novel biophysical information transmission mechanisms. Whether or not ELF/VLF mechanisms explain parapsychological events may be a moot question, if these mechanisms can be utilized for human information transfer."
In other words: If it works, who cares what you call it?
To discover the "carrier
mechanism" of this capacity, the AiResearch team undertook what it called
"a short speculative study" and decided that three methods were
"compatible with current modern physics." These included:
(1) Very Low Frequency (VLF) and Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) electromagnetic waves;
(2) Neutrinos, based on the photon theory of neutrinos;
(3) Quantum-mechanical *****(UI - I think the sign is alpha???) waves, based on schizo-physical interpretation of basic QM [Quantum Mechanics] theory.
The report said that experiments in the United States and the Soviet Union in this field point to the ELF/VLF mechanisms, but "the other two possibilities cannot be ruled out."
Whether one uses such terms as NBIT, bio-
communication, or the handy word telepathy, there is an awesome fascination in
the prospect that a single mind may be monitored, or thought transference
between two people intercepted, on an extremely low frequency receiver.
Medical electronics have perfected apparatus that come close to the frontier of such uses.
For years, Russian neurologists and
psychologist had treated the human mind as little more than a complex
electro-chemical apparatus. As such, they felt, it could function as the
"recipient" of information or as an "inducer" of energies.
With skill, these faculties might be manipulated: made more sensitive, more powerful, more responsive to outside influence.
In his book entitled THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE,
Kazhinsky had concluded that the human nervous system incorporates the elements
of its own historic evolution.
He wrote: "Like all other parts of the living organism, nerve elements and nerve circuits perform adaptive and protective functions; that is, they adapt the organism to the influence of the environment, as well as to the influences of environmental factors.
"They have undergone changes and improvements for many thousands of years. Nature took care to equip all living matter with highly delicate nerve structures that have resulted in great improvement of all vital functions. Electromagnetic transmission of mental information over a distance is a vital function of the nervous system.
"This leads to a logically justified idea: the human central nervous system (including the brain) is a repository of highly sophisticated instruments of biological radio communication, in construction far superior to the latest instruments of technical radio communication.
"There may exist `living' instruments of technical biological communication still unknown to contemporary radio engineering. A thorough and original laboratory study of such `living' instruments may help us raise radio communication to an unprecedentedly high level, placing entirely new and vastly improved radio facilities at its disposal."
Kazhinsky disagreed with those who
regarded the telepathic ability as a remnant from man's earlier stages of
Instead, he maintained that "the phenomenal capacity of a person to exert a mental influence over others from a distance is still in an embryonic stage."
He added: "Those who believe that this brain capacity is moribund, degenerating, etc., are wrong. On the contrary, it is the beginning of a new and higher stage of development of the human mind, on a new and firmer foundation, based on biological radio communication. This hypothesis is confirmed by a simple law of nature: the more a capacity is exercised, the keener it will become and the greater man's power over nature will be."
Kazhinsky's concepts were, in several
ways, a prototype of some Soviet thinking in this filed.
He notes the "insignificantly low energy emitted by the brain of the `biological radio transmitter' in the transference of sensations and experiences over distance."
He urged that efforts be made to develop instruments that can duplicate the `remarkably delicate and perfect natural instrument" that the brain represents in functioning as such a transmitter.
Kazhinsky bolstereds his arguments with a quotation from V. I. Lenin, "Sensation is the resulting effect of matter on our sensory organs." (MATERIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM, Moscow, 1953).
By 1961, Vasiliev's psychiatric colleague,
Professor K.I. Platonov, was able to address a Kharkov meeting on telepathy and
recall experiments he had conducted in 1924 at the All- Russian Congress of
Psychoneurologists, Psychologists and Teachers in Leningrad.
Vasiliev, who was present during the original Congress, published Platonov's account in his book. During a meeting of the Congress's hypnological Section, a female subject, M., sat at the presidential table, facing the audience, while Platonov stood behind a blackboard that hid him from M., although he could be seen by the audience.
Platonov had told the audience earlier
that, when he silently covered his face with his hands, he would try to put the
subject to sleep hypnotically.
His report continued: "Having covered my face I formed a mental image of the subject M. falling asleep while talking to Prof. G. [who sat next to her on the dais]. I strenuously concentrated my attention on this for about one minute. The result was perfect: M. fell asleep within a few seconds. Awakening was effected in the same way. This was repeated several times."
Platonov's observations included the
finding that, when he gave the subject the actual mental suggestion of saying
"Go to sleep" or just "Sleep!" he didn't get any results.
But when he wanted to conclude the experiment - he had positive results.
He noted that the subject woke up suddenly, "within a few seconds after I had started mentally visualizing her awakening." Platonov emphasized that the subject was "entirely unaware of the nature of the experiment."
Platonov said that his tests should prompt
scientists to take these phenomena "extremely seriously."
He concluded that his findings give researchers "the right to search for means of finding a scientific, materialistic grounding, not only for the phenomena of telepathically inducing sleep, but for many other telepathic phenomena as well.
The crucial question was whether
hypnosis/telepathy could influence men or women who were unaware of being
Many cases had been reported, similar to Platonov's mental influence on the subject M., which seem to prove that the subject can be hypnotized while unaware of the experiments.
It is likely that the pioneer work done by Soviet scientists in this field has led to more intensive and wider studies.
Soviet long-distance telepathy experiments
are a matter of record; we may assume that the "reinforcement" or
"mind amplification" by hypnosis or drugs, of telepathic senders
(inducers) and receivers had been attempted in all types of telepathy tests.
By 1969, the growing evidence that the Soviets were undertaking research into
amplified mind power techniques led to the American dilemma of how to respond to
the "psi situation."
The American science community was not predisposed to undertaking a significant step toward "psychic research," and many government and intelligence leaders feared ridicule.
But at the very least it had to be determined if there was any "potential threat" to American security if the Soviets had developed an array of amplified mind power techniques.
After what may have been a lot of soul
searching, the CIA responded in 1973 by funding a classified exploratory project
at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) placing it under the guidance of a
physicist, Dr. H. E. Putoff.
For years, the CIA involvement remained vague. But in 1996, Puthoff published a report entitled CIA-INITIATED REMOTE VIEWING PROGRAM AT STANFORD RESEARCH INSTITUTE (JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION Vol. 10, No. 1. pp 63-76, 1996.) [NOTE: this document can be found in Section IV of this site.]
Up until 1973, it was commonly understood
that the American intelligence community had taken no interest in psychic
research or ESP. But in 1981, the following document suggesting otherwise was
declassified and released.
The following text, released by the Central Intelligence Agency under the
Freedom of Information Act, deals with a twofold project designed to examine the
potential use of extrasensory perception for "practical problems of
The author of the memorandum outlined a project of at least three years in length and estimated the cost for its first year. The project was envisioned as aiming at reliability and repeatability among "exceptionally gifted individuals" and at the utilization of "scattered" ESP results through "statistical concentration."
Names, telephone numbers, and other items that might permit the identification of individuals or departments were deleted by the CIA at the time the document was released in 1981, and such deletions are noted in the text.
There are no indications whether the project was actually undertaken, nor is it clear whether the text is an interoffice memorandum between two agency officials or was addressed to a CIA official by a researcher working under a contract or grant outside the agency.
The memorandum is dated January 7, 1952, and its full text follows without quotes:
If, as now appears to us established
beyond questions, there is in some persons a certain amount of capacity for
extrasensory perception (ESP), this fact, and consequent developments leading
from it, should have significance for professional intelligence service.
Research on the problems of extrasensory perception (ESP), this fact, and
consequent developments leading from it, should have significance for
professional intelligence service. Research on the problems of extrasensory
perception has been in the hands of a few very workers and has not been directed
to the purpose here in mind, or to any practical application whatever. However,
having established certain basic facts, now, after long and patient efforts and
more resistance than assistance, it now appears that we are ready to consider
practical application as a research problem in itself.
There are two main lines of research that hold specific promise and need further development with a view to application to the intelligence project. These two are by no means all that could be done to contribute to that end; rather, everything that adds anything to our understanding of what is taking place in ESP, is likely to give us advantage in the problems of use and control. Therefore, the Rockefeller-financed project of finding the personality correlates of ESP and the excursions into the question of ESP in animals, recently begun, as well as several major lines of inquiry, are all to the good.
The two special projects on investigation that ought to be pushed in the interest of the project under discussion are, first, the search for and development of exceptionally gifted individuals who can approximate perfect success in ESP test performance, and, second, in the statistical concentration of scattered ESP performance, so as to enable an ultimately perfect reliability and application.
We have something definite to go on in each case, and it is with this in mind that we are inclined to make a serious effort to push the research in the direction of reliable application to the practical problem of intelligence.
First, a word about the "special subject": On a number of occasions, through the years, several different scientific investigators have, under conditions of excellent control, obtained strikingly long runs of unbroken success from subjects in ESP tests. The conditions allowed no alternative. At least one of them occurred with the target cards and experimenter in one building and the subject several hundred yards away in another.
Due to the elusive, unconscious nature of ESP ability, these same subjects could not reliably repeat, and during the years of investigation under the conditions of extreme limitations with which the work has had to be done, it has not been possible to solve the problem of overcoming this difficulty and bringing the capacity under reliable control. We have recently learned of two persons definitely reported to be able to keep up their rate of almost unbroken success over much longer stretches of time. These investigations have been going on in scientific laboratories, and from reports in our hands we have no reason to question their reliability. We have not been able to bring the subjects here or extend our investigation to the laboratories concerned. It looks, however, as if in these two cases the problem of getting and maintaining control over the ESP function has been solved. If it has, the rest of the way to practical application seems to us a matter of engineering with no insuperable difficulties. Even if there is anything wrong with one or both of these cases, this more extended control must come eventually, we think, and we have had in mind many lines of research, designed to try to bring it [about].
I shall not enlarge on the practical and technological developments that would be followed in bringing a capacity, such as that demonstrated in these card tests, of getting information in a practical situation. It will be seen that if a subject under control test conditions can identify the order of a deck of cards, several hundred years away in another building, or can "identify" the thought of another person several hundred miles away, the adaptation to the practical requirements for obtaining secret information should not give serious difficulty.
The other practice on which research should be concentrated, we believe, is that of developing ways of using small percentages of success in such a way that reliable judgment can be made. While we are still exploring the advantages of this instrument of application, we have gone far enough to see how it is entirely possible and practical to use a small percentage of success, above that expected by chance alone, so as to concentrate the slight significance attaching to a given trial to the point where reliance can be placed upon the final application to the problem in hand. I believe you went into this matter thoroughly enough with [name of individual or unit deleted] that I will not need to review her the actual devices and procedures by which this concentration of reliability is brought about.
If we were to undertake to push this research as far and as fast as we can reasonably well do in the direction of practical application to the problems of intelligence, it would be necessary to be exceedingly careful about thorough cloaking of the undertaking. I should not want anyone here in the [word or words deleted], except [two names apparently deleted] and myself to know about it. We are all three cleared for security purposes tot he level of "Secret." I would perhaps feel bound to have confidential discussion on the matter with [name or names apparently deleted]. Funds necessary for the support of the work would understandably carry no identification and raise no questions.
If there is no reason why there could not be, at any time it was justified, a renegotiation of additional needs that might arise that cannot be anticipated at this stage, I should prefer to proceed with some restraint in estimating what such a project would involve in the matter of funds. I shall estimate a research team of five persons working on this project primarily. There will be no careful line drawn. Three will be a great deal of exchange and, of course, no designation in the [several words deleted] a separate unit. For our purposes at the moment, however, the [deleted] can consider that such a test might consist of [names apparently deleted], a well-qualified statistician and two research workers qualified not only to handle groups of subjects but assist in the evaluative procedures as well. The total salary estimate for these five people would be between $22,500 and $25,000. In order to take advantage of mechanical aid in the statistical work and such other matters as traveling expenses, it would be advisable to add $5,000 as a conservative estimate. I think $30,000 would be well spent on the first year. It is almost anyone's guess as to what the next year would lead us into, but it would almost certainly be more and probably a great deal more. I doubt if it would be profitable to try to fix it at this time.
Frustrated as we have been by having to deal in short-term projects and the wastefulness of effort that accompanies the attempt to do long-term research projects on that basis, I am about ready to say that without pretty definite assurance of at least a three-year program I should not want to try to assemble the personnel, deign and research program and put the overall effort into what is really a major undertaking like this.
Much as I feel the urgency of having our country have as much a lead as possible in this matter, I do not think it is advisable to undertake it unless there is a certain amount of confidence on both sides of the agreement, and these short-term grants-in-aid are, after all, usually measures of limited confidence.
I might add that, while the Russians have both officially and through their leading psychologists disapproved of our kind of work, as they would have to do because of the philosophy of Marxian materialism, I have seen at least one reference to the fact that they have done experiments on our lines, giving a materialist interpretation. If you can give me any information on this, I would appreciate it. Sometime we might discuss what the Nazis undertook to do ...
Between 1969 and 1981, classified documentation regarding the Soviet psi
research efforts had become abundant - but never released into the public, which
remained ignorant of the "threat situation."
Congressional leaders, however, were provided copies and extracts of the most sensitive documents.
The result was that in June 1981, the Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives issued a staff report that called for "a serious assessment" of parapsychology research in the United States.
The report took note of "the potentially powerful and far-reaching implications of knowledge in this field" and observed that the Soviet Union "is widely acknowledged to be supporting such research at a far higher and more official level" than is the case in the United States.
The report submitted the following questions "for congressional consideration": "Is funding for such research adequate? What is the credibility of such research in the sciences, humanities, and religions? How does the public perceive the credibility of research in this field from both a subjective and objective point of view? What should the Federal role in such research be and what agencies are or should be involved in such research?"
These suggestions and questions were part of a comprehensive SURVEY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ISSUES, PRESENT AND FUTURE, commissioned by the committee.
In a section on "Research on the
Physics of Consciousness (Parapsychology)," it defined the issue this way:
"Recent experiments in remote-viewing and other studies of parapsychology suggest that there exists an `interconnectiveness' of the human mind with other minds and with matter. This interconnectiveness would appear to be functional in nature and amplified by intent and emotion."
The report noted the history of studies in
parapsychology generally, and in telepathy and psychokinesis specifically, and
said: "Attempts in history to obtain insights into the ability of the human
mind to function in as-yet misunderstood ways goes back thousands of years. Only
recently, serious and scientifically based attempts have been made to understand
and measure the functional nature of mind-mind and mind-matter
"Experiments on mind-mind interconnectiveness have yielded some encouraging results. Experiments in mind-matter interconnectiveness (psychokinesis) have yielded less compelling and more enigmatic results. The implications of these experiments is that the human mind may be able to obtain information independent of geography and time."
The report acknowledged there could be "no certainty as to what results will emerge from basic and exploratory research" now underway, so that its potential importance and "its implications for the United States and the world at large can only be speculated upon." It then listed several categories on which parapsychological studies might have an impact.
One of these categories had to do with
"In the area of national defense, there are obvious implications of one's ability to identify distant sites and affect sensitive instruments of other humans. A general recognition of the degree of interconnectiveness of mind could have far-reaching social and political implications for this Nation and the world."
The congressional report noted that
studies in parapsychology had "received relatively low funding." It
attributed this to the fact that "credibility and potential yield of such
research is widely questioned, although less today than ever before."
It added: "Thus far, the quality of research that even the strongest proponent of such research believe is necessary has been lacking due in part to low funding."
Such cautious, obviously well informed appraisal of parapsychology on the part of a congressional body was unprecedented. Until then, Congress as a whole had not taken cognizance of ESP potentials in peace or war.
Only one of its members, Representative Charles Rose, Democrat of North Carolina and a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, had shown long-range interest in psychic studies generally and their warfare potentials in particular.
Agencies of the Federal government
sporadically encouraged ESP research. But, given the ubiquitous nature of
government concerns, such efforts often seemed no more than an expression of
personal interests, the cautious involvement of "closet
parapsychologists" at various levels in one or another agency.
Individuals and groups that might want to follow the ideas expressed by the staff report on science and technology were likely to be held back by fear of ridicule, wither from within Congress of in the Media.
As columnist Jack Anderson had phrased it,
the Central Intelligence Agency had its "mouth watering" when it
looked into Soviet research on remote-viewing.
Anderson wrote on March 20, 1981: "Who'd need a mole in the Kremlin is a psychic sitting at a desk in Washington could zoom-in mentally on a super-secret Soviet missile site or a Politburo meeting?"
One of Anderson's researchers, Ron McRae,
was alerted to what he interpreted as serious armed forces interest in the
psychic when he read Lt. Col. Alexander's article in MILITARY REVIEW, late in
McRae told another Washington writer, Randy Fitzgerald, the article had convinced him "there were people in the Pentagon who were really taking it seriously."
Anderson-McRae erroneously claimed that a psychic task force, budgeted at $6 million per year, had been established in the Pentagon "basement," and that the National Security Agency was examining the use of extrasensory perception in its code-breaking work.
Anderson's flippant terminology seemed
designed to ridicule his findings or allegations.
He wrote of "wacky projects" that covered "ESP weapons that can brainwash or incapacitate enemy leaders by thought transfer, deliver nuclear bombs instantaneously thousands of miles away by psychic energy, or even create a protective `time warp' to make incoming Soviet missiles explode harmlessly in the past."
He added: "The CIA, though historically less alarmist about the Red Menace than the Pentagon spooks are, also has been monitoring Soviet ESP research and pondering the possibility of less bizarre psychic weapons."
While the 1952 ESP project mentioned
earlier may never have been undertaken, it seems certain that the Central
Intelligence Agency did engage in psychic experiments.
One source of information on this subject is ex-CIA employee Victor Marchetti, who wrote several books based on his fourteen years with the agency.
Marchetti, who tended to be critical of
the CIA's activities, has said that it once sought to establish mediumistic
communication with the spirits of agents who had died.
He recalled that the agency's "scientific spooks" were "progressing into parapsychology, experimenting with mediums in efforts to contact dead agents, with psychics in attempts to divine the intentions of the Kremlin leadership and even with stranger phenomena."
Marchetti asserted that the CIA had tried
to make contact, through a medium, with Oleg Penkovsky, a colonel in the Soviet
Army who had been one of its most valuable contacts during his lifetime.
On May 11, 1963, Penkovsky appeared before the Soviet Supreme Court in Moscow, where he was declared guilty of treason and sentenced to be shot to death. As a colonel in the military intelligence branch of the Soviet Army, he had been assigned to artillery in a "civilian capacity."
Penkovsky was a member of the Soviet State Committee for the Coordination of Scientific Research Activities, with responsibilities in domestic and international technological liaison and development.
Penkovsky had been an agent for Western intelligence agencies, presumably British services as well as the CIA.
There is a simple kind of logic in trying
to keep in touch with such a valuable agent, even after death.
It is speculative, of course, whether such contact can actually be established, whether spirit communication can be specific and reliable, could be checked against information from other sources, or merely used to fill gaps in existing data.
It may be regarded as imaginative rather
than foolish to have tried to reach someone like Penkovsky through a medium (or
several mediums, cross-checking any resulting information for correlations and
But the number of qualified mediums is limited; it would be difficult to keep such an assignment secret, even if the mediums concerned did not know whom they were expected to contact.
Marchetti said that, after Penkovsky had been executed, someone in the CIA had suggested: "Why don't we contact him?" and that this suggestion had led to the agency's becoming "involved with mediums." He said, "They began to contact our own dead agents, as well as dead agents from the other side."
If the project expanded beyond an attempt
to get in touch with the spirit of Penkovsky, it may be assumed that at least
some of the mediumistic messages had been satisfactory or at least promising to
CIA staff members. "There is no indication that they have stopped,"
Marchetti said, "and no reason why they would."
At any rate, Marchetti's recollections suggest that the CIA had been alert to psychic potentials, no matter how unproved, in the service of intelligence-gathering.
The CIA was certainly justified in keeping an eye on Soviet studies.
References have earlier been made to a report on Soviet parapsychology commissioned by the Central Agency from the AiResearch Manufacturing Company of Torrance, California.
The research group's experts suggested that, in view of Soviet studies, the U.S. government should initiate developments in what it called Novel Biophysical Information Transfer Mechanisms (NBIT) that "are functional," although "they may have no relationship to common parapsychological phenomena."
The report (January 14, 1976) advised that
such studies should be interdisciplinary, as this type of research "crosses
so many widely different scientific disciplines."
The report noted that on Soviet researcher Professor Gennady Sergeyev of Leningrad, appeared to have perfected a mechanism capable of measuring human brain function from a distance of five meters. The report observed that Sergeyev's instrument was classified and that "no credible description of it is available - only allusions to its existence."
The AiResearch report traced reference to
the Sergeyev device in Russian scientific literature, while noting that
"there is reason to doubt the Russian claim."
It speculated that "it is possible that a sensitive electric or magnetic sensor, or some combination of the two, would detect electrical signals from a human body at a distance of five meters.
"Although it is unlikely that the output of such an instrument would be a direct measure of the EEG, it would provide information of interest to a police interrogator, such as the strength and rate of the heartbeat, the tensing and relaxation of,muscles, the depth and rate of breathing, and perhaps the electrical properties of the skin. The uses to which the instrument would be put are reasons enough for official secrecy about its operating principles."
The report noted Sergeyev's professional
competence, concluded its analysis with the assumption that Sergeyev's remote
sensor "does exist: in some form, and examined the possible development of
remote sensors by Soviet researchers, "following the indicated lines of
Where, the report asked, could Sergeyev's findings lead? It made this cautious forecast: "Perhaps the Russians have, in fact, developed such instruments; perhaps they are going to do so. Perhaps they have tried and have not been successful.
Possible sensor developments discussed in the following paragraphs are not meant to be exhaustive; rather, they are speculative and offered as examples of what may or might be:
"A tuneable antenna for detecting low-frequency, very-low-frequency, or extremely-low-frequency electromagnetic radiation could be used. The Russians believe both in mental telepathy and in a prosaic physical mechanism for it. The most probable mechanism is electromagnetic radiation.
"A tuneable antenna could be used in two types of experiments: trying to detect the radiation from the telepathic agent and trying to generate radiation of the right frequency to interfere with telepathic receptions.
"A neutrino detector may be used. Both the Russian Je. Parnov (NAUKA I RELIGIA, No. 3, pp. 44 to 49, 1966) and the American Martin Ruderfer (NEUTRINO THEORY OF EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION, in ABSTRACTS: 1st INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF PSYCHOTRONICS, Vol. 2, Prague, pp. 9 to 13, June 1973) have suggested neutrinos as the means of transmitting thought from one mind to another.
One of the collaborators of the present
study, J. Eerkens, had a plausible hypothesis about the production and detection
of neutrinos that could be experimentally tested by relatively modest
expenditures for equipment and labor.
"A magnetic field or field gradient detector could be used. The Russians and other Eastern Europeans are greatly interested in dowsing, or finding ground water. A currently popular theory of dowsing is that the human body is sensitive to small changes (temporal and spatial) in the magnetic field of the earth, such as might be produced by water near the surface of the ground. If the human body can generate as well as sense magnetic fields, such a human magnetism might be the basis of some form of thought transference or psychokinesis."
In conclusion, the AiResearch study suggested five areas of research as "the most fruitful lines of investigation," as follows:
1. THE PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY OF AWARENESS OF NBIT
This area includes such questions as what are the modes of awareness that facilitate NBIT? How to select and train individuals for high resolution and reliable performance? Which of the possible transmission mechanisms can humans utilize for NBIT?
2. TRANSMISSION MECHANISMS
This area includes such questions as what are possible NBIT transmission mechanisms? How is information transmitted from the source to the recipient?
3. THE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOCHEMISTRY OF HUMAN TRANSDUCER MECHANISMS
In this area, research would be conducted on physiology and biochemistry of reception and receptor mechanism.
4. STATISTICAL DEVELOPMENT
This area includes nonstationary analysis of random data, deviation from normally distributed data, and new developments in communication and information theory with respect to noisy channels.
5. DEVELOPMENT OF NON-CONTACT PHYSIOLOGY SENSORS
This area includes development of MEG, thermography, low- frequency electric field monitors, and other sensors.
Translated from its technical terminology, the report suggested to the CIA, or other U.S. government agencies, that the conditions under which telepathy and related capacities operate should be more fully explored.
Such a study would, of course, be designed to harness, control, boost, and direct telepathic and other psi abilities.
Among Washington's superstitious fears was concern over scathing criticism
dispensed by Senator William Proxmire, Democrat from Wisconsin.
The monthly DISCOVER (February 1982), which was consistently skeptical of parapsychological claims, spoke of him as "one of the capital's most visible and colorful politicians, and certainly one of the wittiest."
It wrote: "An energetic foe of government waste and boondoggles, Proxmire is perhaps best known for his Golden Fleece of the Month Award, intended to publicize what the senator considers to be examples of foolish federal spending."
The magazine concluded that the senator at times displayed a "know- nothing attitude about science," but credited him with "being bright enough to know that scientific curiosity had been responsible for many of the civilization's greatest advances."
Imaginative research was given strong
support by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983, when he advocated
intensified studies in so-called "Star Wars" technology.
The President spoke of futuristic means, designed to "eliminate" nuclear weapons. Space-based lasers, particle-beam weapons, and similar devices were publicly discussed. Yet open-ended exploration of antinuclear weaponry might well include "mind amplification" and other psychic warfare elements.
Washington's dilemma over psi studies placed it firmly between the recommendations to the Committee on Science and Technology and the real or imagined wrath of Senator Proxmire. It was thus caught squarely between the two Big Cs: Courage and Caution.