Monday, September 13, 2010

Ganzfeld telepathy example

Here's an example of data collected in a ganzfeld telepathy test session. This was conducted in our lab on September 10, 2010. My friend Gail was the receiver in this test; her friend Tom was the sender. This is Gail being prepped for exposure to the ganzfeld condition.

While Gail was going through a relaxation exercise, I led Tom to a distant location a floor above the lab and on the other side of the building. Once there, I gave him four opaque black envelopes, each of which had been prepared with a color photo inside, and then the four envelopes were thoroughly shuffled. Of course, neither Tom or Gail had any idea what those images might be. I gave Tom a die and asked him to toss it to get a random number 1 through 4. He did, and the photo inside that envelope became his target.

Tom then examined the photo and attempted to send it to Gail. Here is what Gail said during the 20 minute sending period, while under the Ganzfeld stimulation and listening to white noise played over headphones. Each sentence below is a continuous statement. The breaks between sentences indicate long pauses:

Keep feeling like looking up at tall, I'm looking up at something tall.

Something about texture. Texture.

I feel like something has a rough texture.

Tall, very tall impression, looking up high.

Feel as if I'm walking around observing something, like when you would walk in an art gallery or in a museum and you would look at something.


First I'm feeling like tall trees, and then I'm feeling like tall building.

And then I'm like a Yosemite kind of image of a tall rock or a tall, some kind of a very tall solid stone something.

Seeing browns and grays

Something like a feeling of walking around, looking up and being in awe, in awe of something.

Monolithic or I don't know what the word is.

I'm getting images of Mount Rushmore, I know you're not supposed to say things [Gail was asked to avoid naming her impressions, as naming is known to often pull impressions into word-association fantasies].

Half-dome, like just a big stone.

I sort of feel like I'm walking around in a picture, and I'm giving my hand and we're climbing up ...

or something about going up, there's ....

It seems like there's also some kind of a round tall cylinder, and, something long and gray on the right.

Water fountain.


At first I felt very much like I was in a nature, forest type of setting, ... and now I'm feeling more

something about a, like

a plaza

These are the four images in the target pool. Can you guess which one was the target?


David Michaels said...

Thanks for sharing this. As I was reading it, I started picturing something very different in my mind. I was expecting a scene from Northern California or something. Maybe Yosemite or the Redwood National Forest...

I see how the pyramids largely fit the majority of her descriptions and emphasis.

My question is, how do we go from "stone" and "monolithic" to "I see the great pyramids of Egypt"?

I want to believe in psi. I guess I was just hoping for something stronger. How do we get there? How do we intentionally increase our accuracy?

Marcus T. Anthony said...

I'd just about call that a 'hit'! Thanks for that very simple example of the ganzfeld, Dean. I may use it for future references in my won writing and blog.


Dean Radin said...

Yes, the target was the pyramids.

Why didn't Gail just say "pyramids"? Sometimes a participant will name a target exactly, but it's uncommon.

There is substantial evidence that psi information is perceived in "right-brained" impressionistic glimpses, as feelings, forms and colors, rather than as "left-brained" words or analytical details.

So this session is representative of a good hit in a typical ganzfeld session. This happens often enough over repeated trials to provide strong statistical evidence that information can be "transferred" from sender to receiver.

Machina Labs said...

>I want to believe in psi. I guess I was just hoping for something stronger. How do we get there? How do we intentionally increase our accuracy?

Practice. Though, the issue with that is because a lot of this stuff is niche in a lot of ways, there aren't any hard and fast resources for training.

I'd recommend delving into what is known as the Psionics community. and Veritas Society ( might be good places to start. But it's not always reliable. It's more like a martial art that a science - everyone has their interpretation on the right way to do it.

There are a lot of issues with identification, and there appear to be basically two bottlenecks in information flow. The first is the anomalous flow of experience from one place to a person. Then, that raw impression needs to be interpreted by the brain so it can be consciously processed.

You know like when you smell something but you can't recall for the life of you what that smell is? It's like that. Again, training improves this, and the Metaphysics section of your bookstore is full of books on how to build clairvoyance, but your mileage *will* vary.

Tor said...

Thanks for sharing that one Dean. Seems like judging the results aren't hard in cases like this single test.

I am still amazed by some of the Stargate material, where almost photo realistic drawings came out of the real life intelligence work. And not to mention the work of Stephan Schwartz. I really like the Indiana Jones type of psi :)

Dave Smith said...

Thanks for sharing.

Was Gail shown the 4 pictures in the judging session? Or did she just receive the target as feedback and someone else did the judging?

I ask because there was an interesting reference to a forest scene at the end of the transcript which may have been associated with the birds nest?

I wonder about the extent to which precognition plays a role in these kinds of ganzfeld experiments rather than telepathy?

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

That was interesting. Have you tried the experiment using an image that the receiver has visited or had an interest in. I'm asking because I'm aware of how I receive information from spirit or the energy field of the body. Lets say I'm a finite number of frequencies or pathways for information to flow. I've worked with the earth so one of my frequencies/pathways is earth: the feel, smell, the experience of digging, etc. If earth is sent to me I'd maybe receive that. So in my situation spirit, which is a frequency, is trying to communicate to me that they were a farmer or gardner. I'd receive, I feel like my hands are in the earth, I'm a gardner, now I can smell the earth . . . I think I can receive any and all information, but it doesn't consciously appear. In this experiment tall and looking up is something that we all have the pathway for, but as soon as it's a conscious thought it then gets messed up by everything that is tall.

I can recieve images of the body: nerves, cells, muscle tissue, without any medical training, but they come when I'm not concentrating on them. As soon as I think about what I'm seeing, I'll slide off the information. I see the same thing happening here, the reciever is trying too hard and attempting to interpret what she's seeing rather than letting it unfold. She's getting it, it's just being messed up in her field.

Bob Hermann said...


Thank you for posting this.

I am an amateur remote viewer. I have been participating in remote viewing exercises, both in public workshops such as those given by Russell Targ, and in private experiments, since 2004.

Gail's responses match what I typically experience during remote viewing. One does not typically get vivid "visions." Instead, the perceptions are almost like memories. Retired U.S. Army Major Paul Smith, on the Web site of the International Remote Viewing Association, really describes these perceptions well when he says, [remote viewing perceptions] "are like half-remembered memories that we nevertheless know are memories you never had before."

This is why I think that Dean's theories as to the basis of psi which he discusses in his book, "Entangled Minds," are on the mark. He argues that events create patterns of "disturbances" (my interpretation, not his) which then evoke memories in the receiver. As in Gail's example, the "viewer" is better off just sticking with describing the target rather trying to analyze it or name it.

Experiencing remote viewing (or, telepathy, as in this example), is fascinating and fun, and I urge all interested readers to give it a try.

Dean Radin said...

> Was Gail shown the 4 pictures in the judging session? Or did she just receive the target as feedback and someone else did the judging?

For her judging period she was shown a black and white photocopy of all four pictures, and asked to rank-order them. When the sender arrived he showed her the actual, color photo.

Yes, some of her responses might be interpreted as matching the other photos, which is a problem faced in any experiment where the receiver gets to see the entire target pool. Nevertheless, this method is still surprisingly effective.

Dick Bierman did a study years ago where judges tried to match reported mentation to real vs. sham target pools, to see if receivers tended to describe the actual pools better. They did. So this suggests there is some "leakage" due to seeing all of the pictures.

matthewx78 said...


I had a Sudden Interest and you of all people could help


I found something on Google Scholar by Nancy Blackmore (Bllllaaaaaaaa!) which showed a small correlation in a small sample size. I

I tried hard to find your email, could not find it.

Perhaps some of the very interesting similarities in Monozygotic twins is from ENTANGLEMENT?

Gareth said...

i really enjoyed this post. i picked the pyramid before reading the thread. none of the other images really match the description, by my reading.

Sandy said...

I've tried some of the online tests that consider such things. Dick Bierman has one that is kind of fun ( ). (You can use google translate to put it into English.)

What I've noticed is that it is much easier to just draw the picture than it is to describe it with words. And after you draw it, you still might not know what it is, even if it looks just like what it is supposed to. I also found that negative images were much easier to "see" and describe with words than positive images were.

Cal Booker said...

To David Michaels, in the first comment:

It's my understanding that the Ganzfield is done with average people, in specialized conditions. As in, they're not supposed to be particularly psychic, but the conditions they're put in are supposed to help with that.

And though this is not an area of expertise, I would guess that increasing accuracy would be a matter of practice, if there is, in face, an effect here. I always believe in practice.

Anders said...

Hello Dean, I didn't understand if Gail had seen the four pictures before the test or not. On the home page you say "Of course, neither Tom or Gail had any idea what those images might be", but in your comment September 14 you say "Yes, some of her responses might be interpreted as matching the other photos, which is a problem faced in any experiment where the receiver gets to see the entire target pool", which sounds as if she saw the entire target pool (4 photos) prior to the test.

Dean Radin said...

> I didn't understand if Gail had seen the four pictures before the test or not.

She knew nothing about the target pool. If she did it would turn the test into a forced-choice guessing game. I was referring to a potential precognitive bias as a result of later seeing the four pictures.

Cal Booker said...


That's got to be a bitch to have to control for precognitive bias. I don't envy you.

Dean Radin said...

> That's got to be a bitch to have to control for precognitive bias.

Yes, precognition does make things more complicated. Fortunately the experiment still works well enough, even with information slipping around in time, to provide persuasive evidence for psi.

Fred said...

I find this scientific research into telepathy fascinating. I am satisfied that the evidence supports the fact that telepathy works. Following questions are - how does it work and then how can one train and improve.

With a background in communications engineering, I can see a somewhat analagous situation that supports the theory of telepathy being suppressed by excess conscious stimulation and noise.

Suppose you buy from the supermarket a cheap hand-held radio that has a short wave band (if you can still get them). You turn it on in an industrial area, pull the (short) antenna up and see what you can hear. If you're lucky you might hear a small handfull of barely readable stations that just break through the noise.

Now go buy a high quality communications receiver (much more expensive) and set it up in an electrically quiet area with a decent antenna, perhaps 10m or more high. The number of stations now heard from all around the world will blow you away.

The point of this is that we are imersed in an all-pervasive electromagnetic field produced by thousands upon thousands of transmitters operating on different frequencies.

For psychic phenomena, the analogy would be an all-pervasive consciousness field resulting from millions of people concentrating on what they're doing.

So how can we improve our reception? - food for thought

Dean Radin said...

> So how can we improve our reception?

The idea of telepathy as a kind of "mental radio" has been around a long time. The analogy is useful in thinking about noise reduction (through sensory isolation), antenna optimization (through attention training), etc., but the underlying sender-receiver model is probably misleading.

Unlike with EM communications, both the empirical and anecdotal evidence suggest that distance and shielding don't attenuate telepathy. This means we are probably not dealing with any conventional form of force-like signal transfer. So we need some other form of interconnection, perhaps one that does not require establishing a connection, but rather using "connections" which are inherently part of the physical fabric of reality. As far as I can tell, the leading candidate is something like (note: not exactly like) quantum entanglement, which does not involve signal transfer.

Within that model the potential for telepathy is always present because everything, including our brains, is entangled all the time (and always has been). Telepathic receptivity is modulated largely through the focus of attention, which in turn is modulated by motivation, emotion, etc.

Some people are much better at this than others because they do not censor their attention as much as "ordinary" people do. I.e. we all have perceptual filters and biases that determine what we consciously experience. My guess is that people like Gail, who was the "receiver" in the example ganzfeld session in this blog post, do not analyze, judge and ultimately distort their perceptions like the rest of us do. So she sees the world a little clearer. In Gail's case it was a natural talent. Through disciplined meditation, I think most people can learn to achieve the same type of openness.

Anders said...

I would like to ask a question on Ganzfeld and REG trials in relation to the "file drawer effect" - is there a blog somewhere where this can be discussed?

Dean Radin said...

I'm not aware of a blog specifically devoted to ganzfeld topics, but you can ask your question here and perhaps a reader will know the answer.

Anders said...

Maybe this comment is out of scope of this blogg, but anyway. Psi effects have by critics been explained as being due to publication bias or "the file drawer effect", i.e. that to every successful test, there would be x unpublished unsuccessful tests which would "nullify" the successful test, since according the the laws of probability, a successful test happens every once a while. There was a discussion during 1985, I think, between a critic (Hyman) and Honorton concerning Ganzfeld and publication bias, and it ended with Hyman admitting that publication bias could not explain away the success of Ganzfeld trials. Concerning REG Dean Radin showed in 1985 (I think) that REG results were not a result of publication bias, but recently I read in "Nature" (1 March 2007) about the PEAR lab, where they quoted an article by Bösch et al from another magazine, where Bösch said (according to the report in "Nature") that the REG experiments could be "nullified" by only a few negative results not being reported. There was a reply to this in the other magazine by Radin, Nelson and a couple of others, and Bösch finally made a reply to that reply. My question is, what was the final result of this discussion of publication bias and REG experiments?

Dean Radin said...

> what was the final result of this discussion?

Depends on your assumptions. We believe Bosch et al started out with the wrong assumptions. From our paper:

"Bosch et al. assumed that mental intention acts uniformly on each random bit, regardless of the number of bits generated per sample, the rate at which bits are generated, or the psychological
conditions of the task. To illustrate why Bosch et al.’s assumption is fallacious, we provide the following scenarios:

Consider that we conduct a study involving 1,000 experienced meditators, each of whom is selected on the basis of his or her performance on a previous, similar PK task. Each participant is asked by a cordial, enthusiastic investigator to engage in a daily intention-focusing practice for 4 weeks in preparation for the experiment, in which he or she will be asked to intentionally influence the generation of a single random bit. Participants are told that the outcome of that random decision will determine the outcome of a meaningful bonus, such as winning a scholarship.

Now consider a second study in which a bored student investigator indifferently recruits an arbitrarily selected college sophomore, who is asked to mentally influence 1,000 random bits generated in a millisecond, with no feedback of the results and no consequences regardless of the outcome.

The physical context of these two studies may be identical, using the same RNG and statistics to evaluate the resulting data sets, each of which consists of a total of 1,000 randomly generated bits. But it is clear that the psychological contexts differ radically.

If we presume that the only important factor in this type of experiment is the number of bits generated, then the two studies should provide about the same results. But if a significant variable is the amount of time or effort one can apply in focusing mental intention toward each random event, then the former study might result in an effect size orders of magnitude larger than the latter."

Machina Labs said...

There isn't a blog on it, but the Skeptiko forum at has a few active discussions talking about the experimental and statistical procedures of psi experiments.

The "file-drawer effect is the source of psi results" argument has been around since the 1940's. IMHO it's a pretty stale argument that doesn't fit the evidence, and discussed ad-nauseum for the past 70 years.

Anders said...

Thanks for your reply, which was published in Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 132, No. 4, 529–532.

But Bösch et al made a reply to your reply in the same issue, and I would like to hear what you think of their reply to your reply, since I have read it and cannot understand what it all leads to, since I don't know so much about psi research.

Dean Radin said...

Their reply to the reply was that "Any conclusion about the evidence lies in the eye of the beholder. This situation is unlikely to change anytime soon."

I agree. My colleagues and I believe we are right because the evidence for mind-matter interaction phenomena does not just rest on RNG studies. There are many converging lines of evidence, and in my view the likelihood that the overall results are explainable as a filedrawer effect is exceedingly low. There just aren't enough people doing this sort of work for that explanation to be viable.

Helen said...

Hi all. I apologise if this is a stupid question, but I am a little bit confused about the statistical-based arguments. If you have a forced-choice kind of experiment where you have to chose which of X simple potential targets is the target, then I understand that chance could be one explanation (but not the only explanation) for a successful hit.

However, if you have a target that simply has to be described accurately e.g. a place, and you do so accurately and in detail, then chance is surely not in the picture any more. The fact that someone else can't describe the target accurately surely doesn't nullify the fact that someone else can?

No-one says its chance that Dean can play the violin, its talent and practice!! I can't play for toffee, does that mean Dean's talent doesn't exist? I understand that Dean's experiment with Gail gave her a free-reign to describe whatever she saw in her head. Is there really enough ambiguity in her description to make that chance? Possibly I suppose. When is it good enough to put chance out of the picture? Have the sceptics that write it off as chance provided a measure of what this dividing line between chance and accuracy might be?

Maybe I am missing something......

mf said...

i think that there may be a way to assess this -- could you have outside raters assess a transcript of the percipient's mentation and pick which one they think is the target and, importantly, rate their confidence and the similarity between the mentation and their choice of target. there would be a clear prediction that confidence/similarity ratings should be higher when they pick the actual target. also, it would be interesting to have raters choose from a different set of four pictures in which there is no target (to rule out precognition). here, you would predict that the confidence/similarity rating would be lower when there is no target. this would give you an idea of how similar the mentation can be to a given picture just by chance.

it seems like using this confidence/similarity rating would be a quantitative way to assess how well the percipient's mentation matches the target. surprisingly, i haven't come across this in the literature. dean, do you know if anyone has done this before? if not, it seems like this is something that could be done with existing datasets.

Helen said...

Hi MF. Many thanks for the reply, appreciated. I think there is some matching with independent arbiters like you describe, but I don't have the literature, maybe others will. I would be curious how this kind of research is received by sceptics.

I feel "chance" is a lazy response to some of the evidence. The filedrawer effect is something that pervades all science. It is an issue for clinical trials, which lead to drugs being approved for instance. Surely this is an area that sceptics should be more worried about? An extraordinary claim that a drug will cure you surely requires extraordinary evidence? Yet doctors are even allowed to prescribe drugs "off label" i.e. in circumstances where benefit is unproven. I’m not saying this is wrong, I just struggle to understand why evidence like Dean and others produce which seem to manifest the concepts of empathy, anticipation and other very common feelings and emotions should be so controversial that no amount of evidence is good enough.

I read a book by Daniel Dennett a few months ago on consciousness. He is very knowledgeable and puts forward some interesting explanations for why the brain would experience things before they happen. However he dismisses the possibility of multi-directional time or loops in time as silly, which didn't seem very open minded or scientific to me.

99 said...

Oh, now, see? I used to go for long walks on the beach three times a week. I'd walk a few miles north right on the sand and then walk the few miles back up on the wildflower-covered headlands. I'd frequently have the feeling the wildflowers were looming over me, or about to, even though they didn't reach my knees... really wild zooms in and out with my POV. I might have picked the wildflowers.

She seemed to be in the trees. Even when talking about rocks and megaliths, she still seemed to be in the trees.

And, it seems to me that if you want to preclude precognition, you just do not EVER show the images to the subject.... I bet you'd start getting stronger correlations that way too.

Jime said...

Perhaps readers here are interested in Chris Carter's recent critique of Richard Wiseman's lastest attempt of debunking of parapsychology:

Carter's paper was published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research

By the way, Carter just released his book on NDEs entitled Science and Near-Death Experience:

Bruce Greyson, a top NDE scholar, has said that Carter's book is "The best book on NDE in years"

This is a very important scholarly contribution to the NDE debate.

Anders said...

Hello Dean, in your reply September 28 you say "My colleagues and I believe we are right because the evidence for mind-matter interaction phenomena does not just rest on RNG studies. There are many converging lines of evidence, and in my view the likelihood that the overall results are explainable as a filedrawer effect is exceedingly low." Since I don't know much about psi research, could you or someone else please tell me where to read about mind-matter phenomena that don't rest on RNG studies?

Autism Mom Rising said...

Very interesting.I just came upon your blog while researching for a post I was writing. Look forward to going through it. Neat stuff here.

MickyD said...

This old post was tweeted by Steve Volk. I was wondering was this session part of an expt, and if so, has it been published?

Dean Radin said...

This session was not part of a formal study, so I didn't publish it. It joins a number of other datapoints in our (mostly positive) filedrawer of demonstration, exploratory and pilot sessions.