Rhine Magazine

Latest news on psi events and research. Volume 4, Issue 1, 2013

Anomalous Cognition: Documentation of an Obscure Means to Acquiring Knowledge, by S. N. Arseculeratne, Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

S. N. Arseculeratne

MBBS (Ceylon, Dip. Bact. (Manchester), D. Phil. (Oxford).

Faculty of Medicine, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.

Abbreviations. Inv = investigator, CoInv = co-investigator, B = first ‘psychic’, SS = second ‘psychic.


Apart from the conventional means of acquiring information, through the visual or print media, Parapsychology deals with the acquisition of knowledge through Extra-Sensory Perception. The literature contains many anecdotal reports of such performances. Yet, John Taylor (1980) posed the question “Is it possible to obtain results that are statistically significant when subjects are tested for knowledge of (or reaction to) external stimuli (unknown and uninferable to the subject) under conditions that safely exclude the recognized sensory process? ”, while Antony Flew (1979, quoted by Alcock 1981) commented: “Certainly there is still no repeatable experiment to demonstrate the reality of putative psi phenomena”.

The following is a record of performances of two putative ‘psychics’ (B and SS) who were able to, paranormally, acquire knowledge of written items of diverse sorts, that answered Taylor’s question, affirmatively. They were studied in their “consultation rooms” over a 3-year period, in 23 sessions; target items included, words, sentences, in Sinhala, French, German, Latin, numerals, Greek symbols, Corel Art diagrams, hand-drawn diagrams, computer-generated symbols, and coloured writings. At each session, after the preliminary 5 sessions to ascertain the methods of these psychics, co-investigators (CoInv) who were from the sciences or the humanities, were included with the investigator (Inv) who was a scientist. CoInv’s were either skeptical of paranormal performances or were open minded. These performances are recorded here because, they produced consistently accurate ‘readings’ far beyond the rate of hits in reported instances of clairvoyance. Score rates with B unfamiliar with the Zener symbols and the investigator unaware of the targets, ranged from 40 % to 80 %, while rates after B was familiar with the Zener symbols were consistently 100 %, even when the investigator was unaware of the targets. In all sessions the targets were written or computer-printed without the visual access of B or SS. Tedious details of the performances are excluded in this documentation.


The original encounter at which this capacity was demonstrated, occurred to the author in Malaysia; an Indian yogi said he could read concealed writings. He asked that a box with 5 cages on a slip of paper be filled with the author’s date of birth, date of marriage, number of children, number of sisters and brothers, and a wish. These were written in another room, away from the direct sight of the psychic. It was crumpled into a small ball and was then brought and left at the feet of the yogi. He did not touch the ball, but having done some calculations, wrote out all that was written, on a blank piece of paper. He could not identify the falsity of one date; he demonstrated clairvoyance but not telepathy.

Twenty-two subsequent sessions of a similar sort were with two psychics, B and SS, in Sri Lanka.

Investigation of the first putative psychic B.

B’s ‘consultation room’ was small, lit only with 4 oil lamps. There were pictures of deities, with non-reflecting surfaces on the walls that were also non-reflecting. There were no concealed mirrors. On the central table was a bottle of water that B claimed was ‘charmed’, on four betel leaves (betel leaves are used widely in Sri Lankan rituals and ceremonies. Could the bottle of water have served as a ‘crystal ball’?) . Between the bottle and the client was a chart of the Zodiac with the symbols of the 7 planets of the solar system. Inv was asked to write his questions, unseen by B and below the level of the table-top, on a small slip of paper provided by B, to crumple the slip into a ball and throw it with 6 small, sea-shells on the chart. B did not see what was being written on the slip nor did he touch the ball. B made calculations (Fig. 1); could this have been numerology and/or astrology? (Fig. 1). Results are shown in Table 1.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Test items

Some test items, eg. bank notes and Zener cards could not be crumpled into small balls for throwing on B’s Zodiacal chart; hence they were transcribed on slips of paper. Each target item was of one word or short sentences. B identified the respective item(s), and made predictions on the content of each. Figures and diagrams were about one inch in size. Words and sentences were handwritten. The slips of paper on which were written the target items, were tightly crumpled into balls, and thrown on the Zodiacal chart on B’s table; the balls were impervious to reading of the contents. In a separate test to exclude fraud on the part of B, it took about one minute to carefully unravel the ball without tearing it; if B did this fraudulently to read the written items, he would have had to re-crumple the ball and replace it, while Inv and CoInv were under hypnosis, which was apparently not the case. In all the sessions, there was no tampering of the ball by B. On some record sheets were written items “seen” by B, and parallel column of the “sent” items; ‘seen’ entries were made by B before we added the ‘sent’ items. B used chanting of esoteric stanzas and calculations, the meaning and significance of which were unknown to Inv and CoInv. In some sessions in which the test slips were torn on re-opening, check slips of ‘sent’ items were maintained

Preliminary Sessions 1 – 5.

Fourteen questions, written in his language Sinhala with one to three words, on slips of paper that were crumpled and placed on B’s table. He identified all the questions correctly and in proper sequence. The correct scores in the 5 sessions were 14 / 14 (100%).

Session 6, 2 runs

Zener card symbols were then used; these were written from a pack of shuffled Zener cards, vertically on slips of paper and the card runs were done in the manner prescribed as the Basic Technique of Rhine & Pratt (1957). The vertical format allowed of easy scoring on record sheets. Zener cards themselves could not be crumpled and thrown on B’s chart. The cards were tested in batches of 5. B was not told of the nature of the Zener symbols. After each throw of the crumpled slip, now a ball, B instructed Inv to remove it.

1st run. Only one symbol was reproduced correctly and in location; the rest (four) were correct but misplaced in sequence. Score 1 / 5.

2nd run. Four of the 5 symbols were different from those of the 1st batch; he scored 3 / 5 hits, and in proper sequence.  Total score 4 / 10 (40 %, Fig. 2).

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Session 7

Ten Zener symbols were written, 5 on each of 2 slips. There was no check-list from which he could have read the symbols, clairvoyantly; the crumpled ball was impervious to direct reading.

B was then shown the Zener symbols.


The ‘reading’ (identity of the symbol and sequence) was correct despite the crumpling of the slip into a ball. Zener symbols were now known to B. B’s scores were 3 / 5 and 5 / 5 (Fig. 3, 8 /10, 80%).

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Session 8

An assistant had drawn, unseen by B, vertically 5 symbols on each of 5 slips of paper, in their order in a pack of shuffled Zener cards. On the back of each of the 5 slips, its number was written so that its crumpled ball could be thrown in proper sequence. The slips were inserted into envelopes by the assistant, and a check list of targets was kept. All 25 symbols were unknown to the investigator. The slips in their numbered-order were crumpled before presentation to B as before. A check slip of ‘sent’ items was made.


                        1st run

The script was very faint on the 1st slip and B said he couldn’t ‘read’ it, and this run was abandoned in case all the slips were also illegible. Comment:  B apparently ‘read’ the contents through clairvoyance because the illegibility due to faintness of the script made him unable to ‘read’ them. In the event that all the slips were illegible, the 25 slips were discarded.

2nd run.

Twenty-five new slips were drawn as before. B’s score was 5/ 5 in each of 5 sets giving a rate of 25 / 25 (100%); Two slips with correct readings are shown in Fig. 4.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Session 9

This session was with a co-investigator who was skeptical to paranormal claims. Zener symbols were drawn, two days before presentation to B. In the 2nd and 3rd slips only 4 symbols and not 5 as in the 1st slip, were written, with a total of 13. A check list was written.

Inv and CoInv proceeded as before.  B’s rate of hits was 13 / 13 (100%) with the proper sequence; despite there having been only 13 items instead of 15 as before.

Session 10

A third assistant wrote out, 9 days prior to the test, 5 Zener symbols on each of 2 slips, with a check list kept by the assistant, all unknown to Inv and CoInv. After several trials, B requested that he could not establish ‘rapport’ with CoInv and the session proceeded with Inv alone. Apparently CoInv was an ‘inhibitor’ of the psychic rapport.

B’s recording of his answers in the 1st run differed from those at previous session in which he wrote them out on slips of paper. B requested Inv to place 3 betel leaves from the sheaf he brought to inaugurate the session, on his chest. B said that his answers will be written on the top leaf, which he merely touched but did not remove from the 3 on Inv’s chest. The leaf that B selected, when held up against the light of the oil-lamp, had the list of symbols etched on it. At no time did Inv or CoInv see B removing a leaf, and writing upon it. This appeared to be a psychokinetic event preceded by clairvoyance. The assistant when writing out the target symbols, had replaced two Zener symbols with R and K respectively, unknown to Inv. B’s readings when checked with the check-list showed identity in symbol and sequence. B recorded his ‘seen’ items on the 2nd run on a slip of paper and not a betel leaf. Score 5 / 5 and 5 / 5 (100 %).

Session 11a, 11b

Progressively more difficult procedures were now introduced. This session used 3 slips one with 4 computer-generated symbols (Corel Art), the codes of which and not the symbols, were chosen by a third assistant, and unknown to Inv or to B. There were no check slips for this session.

1st run

B reproduced correctly B reproduced correctly the 4 computer-generated symbols (Fig. 5), and in correct sequence. Score 4 / 4 (100 %), Fig. 5.

2nd run

The 2nd slip had 5 symbols, beginning with the Greek letter γ with a bloated stem, a Zener wave, the Greek letter β, a thick-walled Zener circle in purple, and the Greek letter λ in pink. While reading this second slip, B said he sees two colours. In his record the symbols were written upside-down, in reverse order, but their identity was maintained. Score 5 / 5 (100%) Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

3rd run

Four computer-generated symbols were sent, the first 3 with double lines. B identified all 4 correctly, 3 with the double lines (Fig. 5).

Session 12

Two questions were written on a slip of paper, the first in Sinhala (B’s native language) “my good friend” (relating to a close friend of Inv), and the second in Latin “iter meum transoceanum” (“my trip abroad”) on a slip of paper. B said there were two questions. B recognized (Fig. 6) the two questions (clairvoyance present) but failed to comment on the friend Inv had in mind (telepathy absent). B had written the Latin sentence correctly but he was not tested for knowledge of Latin. Score 2 / 2 (100 %).

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Session 13

Betel leaves were picked from Inv’s garden, an hour before the session. There were 2 slips; the first’s 5 target items were from Corel Art, chosen ‘blind’ and at random by an assistant. Neither Inv nor CoInv was aware of the items. The print-out was crumpled, inserted into an envelope 3 weeks prior to the session, and finally taken to B. In recording the readings, B requested Inv to take a betel leaf from the sheaf he brought, place it on his chest and then B, reciting some esoteric stanzas, held the leaf near the flame of an oil lamp, and said the record would appear on the leaf. Indeed they were but only 4 of the 5 complicated target items appeared on the leaf; B drew by hand the 4 items on a paper, for our records; the “V” that B drew on paper was remarkable for the inclusion of a small triangular knob at the apex (Fig. 7). The etchings on the leaf appeared to have been made by a stylus such as a ball-point pen and B too was using a ball-point pen for his calculations, but he was not detected to have written his ‘seen’ items on the leaf. Score 4 / 5 (80 %).

Fig. 7
Fig. 7

The 2nd slip had (a) a quotation in English “Vanity of Vanities. All is Vanity”; (b) 1 sentence in Latin “Timeo danaos, et dona ferentes”; (c) a complex diagram of the 3 nerve roots in the human brachial plexus (CoInv was a surgeon); (d) a German quotation “Wer reitet so spat, durch nacht und wind”. Score 4 / 4 (100 %, Fig. 8). B identified the target items.

Fig. 8
Fig. 8

B’s reproductions of the target items were correct (Fig. 8), except for minor defects; instead of “dona” B had written “done” and “firentes” instead of “ferentes”. Did B demonstrate psychokinesis is his ‘seen’ etchings on the betel leaf as before, in addition to clairvoyance in having read the ‘sent’ test items?

Session 14.

Numerical figures were used as target items. CoInv (N) used 2 bank notes, the serial numbers of which were written by him on slips of paper. B selected 3 betel leaves from Inv’s sheaf, drew them over CoInv’s face, then placed them on Inv’s chest, and then took the top leaf and held it against the light of an oil lamp. The bank note numbers appeared on the leaf and were identical with the originals on the check slip (Fig. 9). The hand-script of B’s etchings on the leaf were different from those of CoInv. Score 2 / 2 (100 %).

Fig. 9
Fig. 9

Did B demonstrate both clairvoyance and psychokinesis? Were the rituals of B (placing the leaves on CoInv’ face and Inv’s chest, getting Inv to write out figures from 1 – 108 and delete any 5) merely to add impressive mystery and esotericity to the proceedings?

            Comment. The foregoing results were communicated to Professor Robert L. Morris (now deceased), Arthur Koestler Chair of Parapsychology, University of Edinburgh. He advised consultations with a professional magician to exclude trickery. The magician used sleight-of-hand, removal of the original test ball, substituting a fake ball, and reading the original. Morris recommended prevention of opening of the test ball and we thenceforth used a slip of paper with target items, gummed the entire slip, crumpled the slip into a ball, and used it when dry. The gummed ball was unopenable without tearing of the original slip, making written items illegible.

Session 15.

The gummed-ball technique was used.

B said correctly that “he sees 5 items” written on the slip. He refused to read them complaining that we had planned this test, doubting his capacity, and that the ‘mediumistic goddess’ is displeased with us. Inv made several visits to B to reassure him that this was how scientists ensured validity of their results, and he finally relented; Inv took back the original ball back to B in Session 16.

Session 16.

The gummed-ball of Session 15 was used by Inv, 2 months after it was made. B said he sees a triangle, and he identified the 5 target items, 5 / 5 (100%), though instead of our symbol ‘+’, B had drawn  ‘x’; 2 items, the circle and the triangle were misplaced. After the session, the gummed ball was opened with difficulty, in the presence of a former CoInv, and it tore extensively (Fig. 10), indicating that B had not fraudulently opened the ball and read it’s contents. Score 5 / 5 (100 %).

Fig. 10
Fig. 10

Session 17.

Three items were drawn on a slip of paper, 2 from the mystical symbols of P. D. Ouspensky, selected by a CoInv, and the third, a letter in Sinhala, copied from B’s own handwriting.  The slip was gummed on its edges, folded twice and then crumpled.

B said he “sees” 3 items, and requested Inv to place 5 of his betel leaves on the crumpled ball, unfold the ball without opening it, and to tear the gummed and folded slip into 2 pieces and then the 2 into 4 pieces, and to replace the pieces in Inv’s pocket. B instructed Inv to hold the 5 leaves against the lame of the oil lamp, and to look at the leaf nearest him. The leaf had the 3 target items drawn on the original paper slip, etched on it. The fragments of the torn original slip were then re-aligned, and the slip was re-opened in the presence of CoInv.

One Ouspensky etching on the leaf was identical with that on our original slip. B’s reproduction of the second Ouspensky symbol was in slight error, as was the Sinhala letter. All 3 were however recognizable as the original ‘sent’ targets. 3 / 3 (100 %).

Session 18.

This entire session was video-recorded. Three test, target items were used on an un-gummed slip. B’s ‘seen’ items were etched by him on a betel leaf; all 3 were correctly reproduced (Fig. 11). B asked Inv to hold the leaf before himself, while B held his hand over a blank sheet of paper; the 3 test items appeared ‘written’ on the paper correctly.

Fig. 11
Fig. 11

Comment. The video showed that B had not taken the ball way to read its contents, and replacing it on the table. Psychokinesis was probably the mechanism of the leaf etchings and paper writing by B.

Session 19.

B was asked to read the original Zener cards without transcribing them on slips of paper, but he refused saying that the cards could not be crumpled for throwing on the Zodiacal chart.

Investigation of the second putative psychic “SS”.

He too said that he studied this technique, which he called a Malayalee technique, on the Malabar coast of South India. The Malayalees are reputed for their occult practices. We told him we were researching his performance.

Session SS 1

SS had a 7-sectored chart that differed from B’s. SS wanted Inv to write on a slip, 3 items ; item 1 was of 3 words, item 2 of 2 words, and item 3 of one word, all having been written by Inv unseen by SS. The slip was crumpled before Inv returned to SS’s table. SS, like B, had an esoteric procedure, “state a number below 10, state your birth date, and your astrological chart’s ruling sign”.  While holding the crumpled ball between his thumb and forefinger he proceeded to calculate; he then stated accurately the written topics and then commented on them accurately unlike B. SS also commented on unrelated matters accurately, eg. that Inv had a pain in his leg, which indeed was bothering Inv.


As with B, SS did not remove the ball and fraudulently open it, read its contents and replace it on his chart.

Session SS 2

Three questions, each with 2 words, were written unseen by SS on a slip of paper, which was crumpled into a ball and placed on SS’s chart. SS ‘read’ the 3 questions accurately and commented on them, also accurately. Score 3 / 3 (100 %).

Session SS 3

This session was video-taped from the start. A single-worded item (a name) was written on a slip of paper by Inv with his left hand covering the writing, and with SS looking away, as confirmed on the video; nor did SS remove the crumpled ball for fraudulent reading. The lettering was small and could not have been read by SS at a distance of about 1 metre. The subject referred to by the single word (a name) was commented on accurately by SS.

Session SS 4

SS was shown the Zener card symbols.

1st run

Five Zener cards from a shuffled pack were placed face down on the table after Inv had looked at the contents of each card which was then placed on Inv’s chest, while SS made his ‘reading’.  SS’s score was 0 / 5, indicating that the cards per se could not be read.

2nd run

Five Zener symbols were written on a slip of paper the top of which was marked. The crumpled slip was placed on SS’s chart. SS wrote out his ‘seen’ items which were in reverse order but correct in identity; score 5 / 5 (100%), indicating that he succeeded with his crumpled ball-chart technique, unlike in the 1st run.


SS’s performance indicated clairvoyance in having ‘seen’ correctly the written (transcribed) ‘sent’ items on crumpled slips of paper, but not telepathy as he was unable to ‘read’ the cards themselves the contents of which Inv was aware. This indicated that the crumpled ball placed on his zodiacal chart was an essential step in his ability to ‘read’ or ‘see’ correctly.

With repeated scores of 100 %, with B and SS, statistical treatment was considered unnecessary.



From the Rhine tests we know that quite small objects, down to 1/16” can be observed (even down to 1/100” in some cases)’ (Taylor 1980). Our test “sent” items, read correctly by B and SS, were of the former order.

The use of slips of paper containing the “sent” items was indispensable for their technique of having the ball placed on their charts; this also avoided cues from indicators on oft-used Zener cards, in addition to conforming with Alcock’s (1981) comment: ‘Nowadays “respectable” parapsychologists do not allow subjects to handle the cards, but that was not the case in earlier days when the most successful demonstrations took place’. Long series of test items were broken up into tests with 5 items each: “If the subject appears to be working hard on each trial, it is wise to break up the run into sections” (Rhine & Pratt 1957; see also Inglis 1985).

            Writing the test items outside of B’s room and unseen by B or SS eliminated error or fraud through reflections off mirrors or shiny surfaces of pictures or walls, (none of which were in the psychics’ rooms), from the investigators’ spectacles, or even his corneas (Watson 1974), or by inference from movements of the pen.

In successive tests with B, we tightened and made more difficult the procedure, but these efforts did not diminish the success rates of B, although Thouless (1972) commented “A scrupulous experimenter, too openly preoccupied with precautions can produce in his experimental room, a condition of stress and suspicion likely to be unfavourable to psi-functioning”; “When the experimenter thinks too much about his experiment, he may be changing crucial conditions “ (McConnell 1983). These comments apply, of course to InV and CoInv and not to B or SS.

            The performance

The oft-documented ‘decline effect’ with parapsychological test results did not occur with either B or SS, because their consistent scores were 100% except in two preliminary sessions with B (see Table 1); “Gradually, in the course of a series of runs, their scores would fall to chance level” (Inglis 1985).      The ‘sheep-goat’ effect when believers (in the paranormal) score higher than non-believers (“…only believers will detect or experience psi…” Alcock 1981), did not occur, as in some sessions as skeptics as co-investigators did not result in low scores by B. Whether the investigator, co-investigator was known to B, or whether they were open minded or skeptical, did not affect the results. “In parapsychology, as you may know by now, one of the major obstacles to experimentation is the interaction between the experimenter and what he would like to regard as his isolated experimental system” (McConnell 1983), “… in the laboratory too, emotional rapport between experimenter and subject is of decisive importance” (Koestler 1972); this was possibly illustrated in Session 10 when the intended co-investigator was refused admission to the session with B on the grounds that B “could not establish rapport with the young man”; Inglis (1985) commented: “Can it be that experimenter-effects may work not just at the psychological, but also at the parapsychological level so that individuals who are psi-inhibitors may be exercising their inhibitory influence on subjects through ESP”. The fact that Co-Inv in Session 9 was unknown to B, did not affect the success of the session.

B’s performance indicated clairvoyance rather than telepathy because while he read the “sent” items correctly, he could not comment accurately on the context or truth of the items, that was known to the investigator.

B’s use of 6 sea shells thrown with the crumpled slip of paper with the target items, recalls the procedure in reading the Chinese Book of Changes or I Ching: “To form each of the traditional patterns, the person consulting the oracle, divides a number of yarrow stalks or tosses coins to get what amounts to a yes or no answer” (Watson 1974).

We believe that adequate precautions against trickery were used: “It is because the claims of parapsychologists would be of such extreme importance, if true, that extraordinary precautions are needed” (Alcock 1981). The performances of B answered Taylor’s question affirmatively: “What can be sensed clairvoyantly – pictures, or words as well, and what range of discrimination occurs?…. Colours?”.

The mechanism

One other possible variable on the parapsychological plane has to be taken into account: the existence of discarnate intelligences, of the kind that are assumed to be spirits, intervening in trials. Intervention of this kind has commonly been reported in investigation of poltergeists, and occasionally in connection with ESP tests – for example, through unaccountable disruption of recording equipment at critical junctures. It is now more commonly attributed to ‘exteriorisation’ – psychic energy emanating from a living person, or persons” (Inglis 1985). B said that the spirit of his dead father, supports his work.

“If the subject guesses significantly above chance, he could be using any one of a number of ESP faculties. The most obvious is clairvoyance. Somehow he is able to ‘see’ the card even though it is placed face downwards on the pack. On the other hand, it is just possible that the experimenter himself is clairvoyant and ‘sees’ the card in his mind. The subject then reads the experimenter’s mind by telepathy” (Ellis 1974); with our psychics B and SS clairvoyance was a possibility though telepathy was not evident with B. “Another explanation might be that the subject has ‘seen’ into the future and has more or less a clear vision of the order of the cards as they are revealed at the end of the experiment. He would then be gifted with precognition. Nor can we rule out the possibility that he has consciously worked out a particular sequence for the cards and has willed them to fall into this sequence during the cutting and shuffling. This could be psychokinesis” (Ellis 1974). Precognition of the part of B and SS could not be excluded. The possibility of precognition and psychokinesis with B is excluded because he was unaware of the Zenner symbols on the first 5 preliminary trials, though they remain possibilities in the rest of the trials with B and SS, although with items written several days before the sessions, the possibility of precognition is probably excluded. Psychokinesis is evidently the mechanism for B’s etchings of his answers on the betel leaves.

Alternative mechanisms could be ‘sensory automatism’ and ‘motor automatism’ as identified by Myers; could B have heard a spirit’s voice telling him what was written on the test slips (sensory automatism); or were B’s records made by “another hand” (motor automatism or psychography) , as suggested of Rudyard Kipling’s writings?

A significant fact in the psychic capability of B and SS is that this was developed through their studies in India; a parallel is with the training of blind persons to see, in Indonesia (Merpati Putih Abadi Foundation, Division of Visually Handicapped Rehabilitation, Jakarta, Indonesia); in their training to see their way around (Obstacle Avoidance Phase, and Colour Detection) and the exercise “…to sharpen and enhance the sensory powers” as a part of the community rehabilitation of the blind, as related to Inv by CoInv in session 11, from his first hand experience at the Institute of Child Health, Great Ormond Street, London, UK. A second parallel is that described as “eyeless sight” of Rosa Kuleshova who was able to ‘read’ and identify colours through her finger tips (Ostrander & Schroeder 1970), a capacity that was amenable to being learn, as  with B and SS. A further parallels are with the phenomenon of “remote viewing” (Mind over Matter, Kit Pedler, 1981) and with the work of the US Department of Defense STAR GATE program although in these two instances the congruence of ‘seen’ targets was not the 100% achieved by B and SS: and again the experience of James Cameron (1974) with a guru in India, who reproduced verbally and accurately, 3 questions written by Cameron on a piece of paper that was folded, inserted into an envelope and placed on the guru’s desk.

If B was fraudulent, it is difficult to explain why he did not score 100 % in the initial sessions. Moreover, his score was 100 % with the gummed and unopenable ball. The tests with the gummed-slips that were crumpled, probably eliminated fraudulent opening of the ball and reading of test items by the psychics.

Inv invited B to demonstrate his capacity in the University before an academnic audience; he refused stating that his shrine room was conditioned by his incantations, rituals and pictures of deities, recalling Watson (1974): “There seem to be specific conditions in which telepathy can take place, and trying to examine it in a laboratory under controlled conditions is a little like trying to study the behavior of a dead animal”. At a conference (National Conference, Training cum Workshop on Yoga and Parapsychology, Vishakapatnam, India, 2006) at which an oral presentation of some these results were presented by this author, it was suggested that “… the performance should be made outside the ‘psychics’ room and in a laboratory”; at this workshop Srinivasan quoted the work of William Tiller; in my records of this discussion I wrote: “In Tiller’s experiments with mediators who imprinted their directives for a physical effect on en Intention Imprinted Electrical Device (IIED), the electrically-insulated room in which this was done was found to have been ‘conditioned’ and to be capable of continuing the ‘thought transfer’ even in the absence of the IIED or the mediators”. Perhaps a similar reason holds for the refusal of the psychics to demonstrate elsewhere; Dr. Mario Varvoglis, (Institut Metapsychique Internationalé, Paris, France) at this conference commented that “Anglo-Saxon parapsychology is obsessed with methodology”.

Our findings illustrate the conclusions of Eysenck & Sargent (1982): “Unless there is a gigantic conspiracy involving some thirty university departments all over the world, and several hundred highly respected scientists in various fields, many of them originally skeptical to the claims of psychical researchers, the only conclusion that the unbiased observer can come to must be that there exists a small number of people who obtain knowledge existing in other peoples’ minds or in the outer world, by means as yet unknown to science”. Finally what seems to be of primary importance is: “From the point of view of establishing the existence of the paranormal, however, the decision of whether telepathy or clairvoyance is responsible for the results is of less importance than the demonstrations which the results gave of ESP, not just at Duke but in trials in other universities” (Inglis 1985).

The consistent scores of 100 % achieved by B and SS contradict the conclusion of Flew (1979) quoted by Alcock (1981): “Certainly there is still no repeatable experiment to demonstrate the reality of putative psi phenomena”.

Other evidence of psi, by SS but not by B, was his ability to comment on the context of even a single-worded test item

The implications of the performances of B and SS.

We believe that the demonstrations of B and SS justify the comments of Alcock (1981): “What is required is a solid, reliable demonstration of a phenomenon to study. Once that is found (if it can be found), parapsychologists would be in danger of being pushed aside in the stampede  of researchers from all domains of science who want to study what would surely be the most exciting discovery in the modern history of science”.


In 23sessions, over a 3 year period, two professional psychics B and SS, demonstrated their ability to read correctly by non-sensory means, words, sentences in 4 languages, Latin, French, German, Sinhala (Sri Lanka’s predominant language), letters of the Greek alphabet, identify colours, Zener card symbols, Corel Art diagrams, computer-generated diagrams and in proper sequence. These items were written on slips of paper that were crumpled into balls which were thrown on their Zodiacal charts. Fraud, through mirrors or reflecting surfaces, opening and reading the balls was excluded; video records of both ‘psychics’, made during their performances, revealed no trickery. The test items were either known or unknown to the investigators. The final sessions were done with gummed slips, tightly crumpled into unopenable balls. The psychics’ readings were made either on paper or psychokinetically, by B on betel leaves. The rate of correct ‘hits’ in 20 / 23 sessions was 100 %, with trickery excluded by direct vision or video recordings.  The two sessions with a rate of hits of 40 % and 80 %, were with Zener card and computer-generated symbols, respectively that were presented for the first time to B; the rest of the sessions in which the target items were known to B, gave 100% ‘hits’. The replicability of their performances satisfies an essential ingredient of scientific respectability, replicability: “Thus replicability is even more important in parapsychology than it is in normal science….. and the onus still rests with the parapsychologists to deliver what the sceptic has demanded for so long – an experiment that is replicable by anyone who makes a careful effort to replicate it” (Alcock 1981); “A high degree of replicability, in this writer’s opinion, is essential to both the progress and the recognition of parapsychology” (Adrian Parker, quoted by Alcock 1981).


The investigator thanks B and SS for their cooperation, the co-investigators for their participation and the two persons who video recorded the performances.


Alcock, James E. 1981. Parapsychology: science or magic. Oxford, Pergamon Press

Cameron, James. 1974. An Indian Summer. London, Penguin Books, pp 60 – 64.

Ellis, Keith. 1974. Science & the supernatural. London, Wayland Publishers Ltd.

Eysenck, H. J. & Sargent, Carl. 1982. Explaining the Unexplained. Mysteries of the paranormal.

London, Book Club Associates.

Inglis, Brian. 1985. The Paranormal. An encyclopedia of Psychic Phenomena. London, Paladin

Grafton Books.

Koestler, Arthur. 1972. The Roots of Coincidence. London, Hutchinson.

McConnell, R. A. 1983. An introduction to parapsychology in the context of modern science.

University of Pittsburgh.

Ostrander, Sheila & Schroeder, Lynn. 1970. PSI. Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain. London,


Pedler, Kit. 1981. Mind over Matter. A scientist’s view of the paranormal. London, Thames

Rhine, J. B. & Pratt, J. G. 1957. Parapsychology. Oxford, Blackwell Scientific Publications.

Taylor, John. 1980. Science and the Supernatural: An investigation of paranormal phenomena.

London, Granada.

Thouless, R. H. 1972. From anecdote to experience in psychical research. London, Routledge &

Kegan Paul.

Watson, Lyall. 1974. Supernature. A natural history of the supernatural. London, Coronet


Table 1. Summary of B’s scores



Session number                                   Score of correct hits                %

.                                                           …………………………………….

1- 5,  test items                                                          14 / 14               100

12,  2 sentences in Sinhala, Latin                               2 / 2                  100

13b, 3 sentences, 1 in English, 1 in Latin

1 in German, 1 anatomical diagram              4 / 4                   100



Session number           test item


6, Zener symbols, unfamiliar to B                             4 / 10                   40

7, Zener symbols, familiar to B                                10 / 10                100

8,         “                      “                                           25 / 25                100

9,         “                      “                                           13 / 13                100

10,       “                      “                                           10 / 10                100

11a, computer-generated symbols,

unknown to Investigator                               4 / 4                   100

11b, computer-generated symbol, 2 Zener symbols

2 Greek letters in colour                    5 / 5                   100

13a,     computer-generated symbols

Unknown to Investigator                            4 / 5                   80

14,       serial numbers of 2 currency notes                  2 / 2                 100

16,       Zener symbols with gummed-slip technique,

Symbols known to investigator                  5 / 5                 100

17,       3 test items; 2 mystical Ouspensky symbols, 1 identical 1 similar,

Sinhala letter from B’s writing, gummed-slip technique- letter similar

18,       3 symbols, hand-written,                                3 / 3                 100

19,       failed test, Zener cards only                           –                       –


Symbols hand-written in sessions 6, 11b, 16, 17; computer-generated and printed in 11a, 11b, and 13a

Legends to Figures

Fig. 1. B’s calculations. Numerology? Astrology?

Fig. 2. Hand-drawn items, correct 3 / 5

Fig. 3. Sent and Sent Zener symbols. Score 8 / 10

Fig. 4. Seen and Sent, Zener symbols, score 5 / 5, 5 / 5

Fig. 5. Corel Art diagrams, Seen 4 / Sent 4, 5 hand-written symbols 5 / 5 reversed order,

4 computer-generated symbols 4 / 4 in correct order

Fig. 6. Sent Sinhala sentence, Latin sentence, Seen items

Fig. 7. Corel Art diagrams. Sent (5) and Seen (4 / 5)

Fig. 8. English sentence, Latin sentence, Brachial Plexus, German sentence

Fig. 9. Two Bank note numbers, N’s Sent and B’s Seen

Fig. 10. Gummed-ball technique with B. Sent and Seen Zener symbols

Fig. 11. Video recorded session with B. Seen and Sent drawings


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This entry was posted on October 4, 2013 by in ESP, Parapsychology, Psi, Psychic and tagged , , , .


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