- The recent news story that certain scientists
now appear to accept that the power of the mind can influence physical
objects has thrown up some interesting questions. If the mind can control
matter, can it also involuntarily influence one's environment along certain
subconcious thought processes producing the classic signs of a 'haunting'?
Does the confirmation of 'Mind over Matter' by scientists at Princeton
University in New Jersey call into question many years of paranormal research?
- In 1964, three British researchers, Brooke's-Smith,
Hunt and Batchelor, began experiments which eventually suggested to them
that paranormal phenomena could be produced without the intervention of
any psychic entity. In 1970 they published their results, claiming that
such phenomena could be produced by anyone in the right frame of mind.
- However, in 1972, a Toronto-based psychic
research group took the idea a stage further and decided to actually 'create'
a ghost. A member of the group wrote a detailed but entirely fictional
account of a 17th century aristocrat called Philip, his life, his family
and his mistress. They based this story in Warwickshire, using a real
house as the 'aristocrat's' home. The basic facts of the invented haunting
were that Philip fell in love with a gypsy girl called Margot, who was
denounced by Philip's jealous wife as a witch. Margot was burned at the
stake and full of remorse at his lack of intervention on her behalf Philip
- The group studied this story at length
and also immersed themselves in the history of the area in which the 'hauntings'
were to take place. They then attempted to 'contact' Philip. After a
while, they actually began to produce results which increased in intensity,
beginning as vibrations through the table at which they all sat, leading
then to inexplicable rappings and scratchings until eventually, at the
behest of the members, Philip was able to move the table and cause lights
to flicker. Food for thought!
- Up and down the country there are enthusiastic
ghosthunters who could just be chasing their own tails. When called to
investigate a haunted building, can paranormal investigators be sure that
the 'phenomena' they encounter are not creations of their own collective
subconsious? According to the studies by Brooke's-Smith, Hunt and Batchelor,
results can be produced when the possiblity of a paranormal event is firmly
believed in and even expected. It would seem likely, then, that if a group
is too 'keen' to produce results the events they are hoping for will actually
occur. Indeed we are aware of situations where over-enthusiastic investigators
have found spirits in places which had no previous paranormal occurences.
- When the findings of Dr Brenda Dunne
of Princeton University are assessed together with other researches in
this field it must surely bring into question some of the methods employed
by paranormal investigators. Even the use of highly sophisticated equipment
might be found to be unreliable if the evidence that the human mind can
influence the physical world is proven.
- Scientists have handed paranormal researchers
a double-edged sword. On one hand they seem to be endorsing a phenomena
that many have long accepted as a reality and will be pleased to see gaining
credibility. However, the same 'discovery' has thrown a spanner in the
works for the paranormal investigators 'out in the field' who must now
surely have niggling doubts about the phenomena they encounter.