And I think that it is certainly possible that the objective universe can be affected by the poet. I mean, you recall Orpheus made the trees and the stones dance and so forth, and this is something which is in almost all primitive cultures. I think it has some definite basis to it. I’m not sure what. It’s like telekinesis, which I know very well on a pinball machine is
-Jack Spicer (The House that Jack Built: The Collected Lectures of Jack Spicer)
Nina Kulagina: The Most Celebrated Psychic
Arguably the most celebrated and tested psychic in the world was the Russian psychic Nina Kulagina (otherwise known as Nelya Mikhailova).
In the history of people claiming to have telekinetic abilities, Kulagina is one of the prominent ones. Throughout her life, she underwent many different tests and experiments. Various men and women of science met her to see for themselves what this well-publicized Soviet psychic could do.
Kulagina was a housewife when her abilities were discovered. Nina Kulagina believed that she could move an object after viewing it during one of her eyeless vision practices. With a tutor to observe her, Nina Kulagina claimed only to use only her psychic sight to influence small objects like match boxes, bread, crystal bowls and compasses.
In 1963, Kulagina’s psychic abilities brought the attention of prominent Soviet Parapsychologist Leonid L.Vasiliev.
There were stories of Kulagina being able to tell what was inside people’s pockets. Nina Kulagina also claimed to be able to identify illness in some people. Kulagina believed that she inherited her abilities from her mother.
Kulagina’s psychic abilities were filmed in silent black and white films during the Cold War. Author Larry Kettlekamp, from the book Investigating Psychics, divulged one scene from the film where Kulagina separated the whites and yolks from the broken egg submerged in water. During one incident, Kulagina was placed inside a metal cage in order to prove her purported ability to remove a single marked matchstick from a pile of it under a glass. This was to prove that no external electromagnetic impulses could interfere.
In 1968, the West learned of these amazing feats of Nina Kulagina through the international wire services. At the First Moscow International Conference on Parapsychology, Western researchers finally saw the film of Kulagina in action. In the said film, Kulagina was moving small objects across a table top- all without touching them.
Forty scientists (including two Nobel laureates) and researchers around the world claimed to have studied Kulagina, among them were:
Dr. Genady Sergeyev – a well-known physiologist from Leningrad military laboratory who studied Kulagina’s electrical fields that existed around her body, and the electrical potential in her brain. He deduced from his research that there is a large gradient between the electrical characteristics in the front of Nina Kulagina’s brain than the back part of it which was 50 to 1 (Ostrander, 1970). This, compared to an average person’s gradient of 4 to 1. Kulagina was also said to have had a force field that was 10x weaker than the magnetic field of the Earth (Ostraner, 1970).
Sergeyev was also one of the other scientists in the lab who witnessed Nina Kulagina stop the beating of a frog’s heart in an experiment held in March 10, 1970.
Aleksandr Danilovich Alexandrov, the rector of the University of Leningrad, Parapsychologist Leonid L.Vasiliev and S.G. Fajnberg examined Kulagina in a platform demonstration at the Psychoneurological Department of the Lenin-Kirov District. Securely blindfolded, Nina Kulagina read from a magazine and performed other feats (B. Levdev, Leningradskaya Pravda, 1964)
Dr. Leonid L. Vasiliev was one of the first to test Nina Kulagina up until his death in 1966.
William A. McGray, one of the Western researchers to meet Nina Kulagina, witnessed how the psychic caused several small objects to move across a dining-room table.
A prominent Czech scientist in the name of Dr. Zdenek Rejdak tested Nina Kulagina’s abilities. After a thorough check-up of her and around the table where she would be demonstrating, Kulagina shown to Rejdak and his team turning the compass needle more than ten times without touching it. She also moved the entire compass and its case.
Dr. V.F. Shvetz, a physicist, claimed to have observed Nina Kulagina making the letters A or O on photo paper. She could claimed to be able to transfer an outline of a picture unto a photo paper (like that of the thoughtography talents of the controversial Ted Serios). This ability of Kulagina to etch an image on a film can also be associated to her ability in setting her clothes on fire, as witnessed by some scientists. She demonstrated this kind of phenomena on TV which caused a bright red patch to appear on the arm of a European journalist.
It is said that the tests and experiments put a strain on her health which caused Nina Kulagina to suffer a near fatal heart attack in the late 1970s which forced her to limit her mediumship. While in the hospital though, there are published accounts of doctors witnessing the psychic able to pick up any color of the thread she needed without even glancing at it as she reached into her sewing basket. Thus, local parapsychologists visited her when she recovered the following year. They tested her and found out that she could apparently determine the colours with her fingertips (Henry Gris and William Dick, The New Soviet Psychic Discovery, 1979)
Due to her increasing popularity and remarkable psychic exploits, Nina Kulagina was obliged to use the pseudonym of Nelya Mikhailova. The reason for this was reports of an alleged campaign of harassing phone calls to Kulagina was brought to the attention of the psychic and the scientists that the latter decided to hide Kulagina in the countryside, outside Leningrad.
Skepticism with Nina Kulagina
Critics hounded Nina Kulagina and skeptics claimed that (a) there was no published account of an extraordinary experiment; and (b) if her abilities were legitimate, why were they published in a newspaper (Moscow Pravda) instead in a science journal?
Scientists and psychologists who tested Nina Kulagina pointed out that they physically examined the psychic to make sure there were no hidden magnets or threads. Moreover, there is said to be no direct evidence of her faking her abilities (Henry Gris and William Dick, The New Soviet Psychic Discovery, 1979)
Nina Kulagina died in 1990. It is believed that the over-exhaustion of her psychic abilities led to her death (Henry Gris and William Dick, 1979). The experiments had taken a toll on her and probably hastened her death. During one of her tests with Dr. Redjak, she was totally exhausted and she apparently lost almost four pounds in half an hour. (The psychic was said to be converting matter of her own body into energy.)
Nonetheless, the Soviets praised Nina Kulagina as a “hero of Leningrad” (Henry Gris and William Dick, The New Soviet Psychic Discovery, 1979) because of her bravery during the 900-day siege of World War II. Some also lauded her for the sacrifices of a different kind she made for her country by being a bridge for scientists and doctors to know a power of another kind, an unknown and elusive energy that the world is still excited about even until now.
Uri Geller: Spoon-bender
Smiling and charming, as he was described, Israeli psychic Uri Geller was one of the most famous people known to be skillful in telekinesis. With the power of his mind, the man claimed to be able to bend spoons (as he was famously known) and other metal objects, to be able to repair broken watches, and stop electronic instruments. (David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, People’s Almanac, 1975-1981)
Geller was also said to be able to send and receive mental thoughts and images. He claimed to have drawn images out from what a person from another room was concentrating on. All these Uri Geller claimed to be able to do in a soundproof, electronically-shield room. From one of his tests, he was also able to influence an object without touching it, like breaking a small crystal (lithium fluoride) sealed in a plastic container. (Broughton, 1991).
Skepticism with Uri Geller
Geller was exposed to telekinesis in the 1970s. He was a stage performer before his talent was discovered. Reportedly, it was his skill for entertaining that gave him much criticism. Author Terence Hines criticized Geller by saying all his effects have been made possible by him using conjuring tricks (Terence Hines, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal 2nd Edition, 2003).
Skeptics said that the spoon-bending was just sleight of hand technique made by Geller. As what his arch critic James Randi puts it, what Geller does amounts to no more than tricks of a conjurer.
Another critic, American Physicist Richard Feynman, was a witness to the inconsistency of Uri Geller in his demonstrations. Feynman visited Geller at his hotel room for a demonstration. Geller told him then that he can’t control his supposed powers. He went on with his story claiming that his abilities come from the extraterrestrials. The day ends with Geller not able to guess what the Feynman’s had drawn nor bent a key. Before the visit, Feynman was already skeptical about Geller’s ability.
Researchers at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California found him to be a “difficult but challenging subject”. (David Wallechinsky & Irving Wallace, The People’s Almanac, 1975-1981) Nonetheless, Geller became popular because of his feat. Many have tried to imitate his metal-bending skills from Europe to Japan. He went as far as launching a website where visitors can try to bend a spoon Geller has placed somewhere, with a note that anyone who can bend the spoon will win a million dollars. He even ventured into selling self-help/personal growth kit in which among its features is a topic on how to develop a person’s psychokinetic abilities.
However, there is another purported spoon-bender who can give Uri Geller a run for his money, and this is Matthew Manning.
Matthew Manning : Letters from beyond
Not only an accomplished spoon-bender, British psychic Matthew Manning claimed to be able to repair broken watches and make other electrical equipment work using mind power. He also claimed to be able to do telepathy, precognition, apporting (making a sudden appearance of an object), psychic art (the reproduction of spirit people by drawing, painting, or non-conventional means), and automatic writing.
Automatic writing can be defined as a kind of writing in which the message formed by the writer does not come from his conscious thoughts, and where the writer is unaware what he has written.
Even at the young age of 11, Manning already claimed to have manifested telekinetic geisting (the act of unintentionally moving items using telekinesis) at his family home in Shelford, Cambridge in England. A year later, he scribbled childish writings on wall and even at high ceilings.
At Manning’s boarding school, furniture and objects such as nails, knives and electric light bulbs were sent flying through the air. He reportedly was able to manifest showers of pebbles and pools of water, and strange light show on walls. It was also in this time that he discovered automatic writing. He claims to have received communications from deceased individuals, with some of them written in different languages such as German, Greek, Latin, Russian, Italian and Arabic.
Manning is said to be able to produce psychic art in the manner of artistic styles of Picasso. He also tried his hand on kirlian aura, a form of photogram wherein an object on a photographic plate is connected to a source of high voltage and then small corona discharges creates images on said plate.
While Manning was being interviewed in a Japan television, there was purportedly 1,200 calls received by the network with reports of various telekinetic disturbances occurring simultaneously all over the city in that time. He also had displayed same magnitude of telekinetic competency during an ESP test sponsored by the British newspaper Sunday Mirror.
In the said ESP test, Manning stationed himself in the 580 ft. high London’s Post Office tower and transmitted three images (the color green, the number 123 and the shape of a house). Out of the 2,500 who participated, 575 scored right in the color transmitted by the British psychic, 1 out of 44 got the three-figure number right, and 1 in 30 identified house-like shape (Arthur S. & Joyce Berger, The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Physical Research, 1991). According to Michael Haslam, deputy honorary secretary of the Institute of Statisticians in London, the results were significantly higher than chance expectation. (Arthur S. & Joyce Berger, The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Physical Research, 1991)
Skepticism with Matthew Manning
It was during his 1977 American tour that Manning reconsidered his position in the realm of psychokinesis. After greatly criticized by magician and skeptic James Randi regarding the ESP test in London, he released a statement to Britain’s Cambridge Evening News wanting people to label him as “mentalist” over “psychic”.
In the latter part of his career, Manning specializes and lectures on psychic healing, healing by touch, and sympathetic contact.
The Indian society has a strong faith in their local beliefs. They especially give high respect to sadhus, the holy men in India. These men deeply followed a different path of life in India and make claims of spiritual attainments. They are also otherwise called – Godmen.
Godmen claim to possess paranormal powers or healing abilities. One of their claims is that they have macro-PK abilities. (Macro-PK, is the kind of psychokinetic effect that can be observed directly without statistical analysis.) They were proven though to be difficult in testing their powers because most of the time they were uncooperative. For example, in many cases, they were persistent in wanting to choose the place before holding the demonstration. Only a few godmen allowed observation of their feats under a controlled laboratory test conditions.
Some critics are skeptical about godmen because as more controls are put in place by researchers and scientists, godmen produce fewer examples of psychic ability.
In the fall of 1969, Dr. Elmer Greene (and his wife-colleague Dr. Alyce Green) received a call by Dr. Daniel Ferguson, then-chief of the medical hygiene clinic in the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. The chief doctor informed the couple of meeting a yogi who demonstrated in his hospital an ability to obliterate his pulse. He then invited the two doctors to bring their psycho-physiology equipment over to test the yogi’s ability. The couple agreed. On March 28-30, 1970, a number of biofeedback experiments were then successfully performed by the two doctors with Swami Rama at the Menninger Clinic (Elmer & Alyce Green, Beyond Biofeedback, 1977).
In one of the experiments, Rama would cause the left side of his right hand to increase in temperature several degrees above the right side. The two doctors noted that during this demonstration Rama’s hands did not move. (Elmer & Alyce Green, 1977)
A polygraph record was present in the said experiment, with a voice-actuated relay that put a mark on the edge of the record to identify places where talking occurred. The time when Rama told the two doctors he had already begun the experiment coincided well with the time the deviations of the temperature in the record started.
In the voluntary heart control experiment, the two doctors were now joined by other observers, Dr. Ferguson, amongst them. The Swami did manage to stop his heart from pumping blood for 17 seconds, and did not even move an eyelash during that time to show the person near him that the demonstration was on-going (only those in the control room could monitor it) (Elmer & Alyce Green, 1977).
The experiment was a remarkable feat where the scientists were able to study Rama’s ability in voluntarily controlling bodily processes (such as heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature). Results of the tests showed that Rama could produce different brain waves at will, including sleep waves, while being conscious of his environment.
Observers at the Menninger Foundation also talked of Rama demonstrating moving a knitting needle twice from a distance of five feet. However, one physician observer was not entirely convinced, despite of the yogi wearing a facemask and gown, and air vents in the room all covered. He claimed that the act was caused by air movement.
Swami Rama was born with the name Brij Kiśore Dhasmana or Brij Kiśore Kumar to a Northern Indian Brahmin family in a small village called Toli in the Garhwal Himalayas. He was later raised by his master Bengali Baba whom he traveled with along temples of Himalaya. He finally coveted the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham (also Karveer Peeth or Karweer Peeth) in South India from 1949 to 1952. The Swami only set foot in the West by the encouragement of his teachers to teach there.
Rama accomplished much besides being a “godman”. He became the founder of the Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, with branches in the USA, Europe and India. He also authored several books on becoming a yogi and practices of meditation. He also was critical on the subject of a yogi using supernatural feat to demonstrate enlightenment.
According to Swami Rama, “mediation alone is real life. There is nothing higher than mediation that is my experience in life.” (Elmer & Alyce Green, 1977) I believe that these words of Swami Rama imply his stand on the area of telekinesis, and that is the power of mind can influence everything around us, from inanimate objects to even ones that gives a person life.
Another godman noted to have special powers is Swami Premananda.
Psychologist Richard Wiseman and Parapsychologist Erlendur Haraldsson studied Swami Premananda. He claimed to be able to manifest a regurgitation of Shiva (one of the greatest gods of Hinduism) and materialization inside his bands of vibuti (sacred ash).
In one demonstration, the Premananda did not succeed to materialize paranormal manifestations. This was probably due to the controlled and videotaped circumstances, which the swami seemed to be uncomfortable with. In the end, he was able to materialize vibuti, however, under skeptical conditions.
Premananda’s real name is Prem Kumar. He was born in Matale, Sri Lanka to a family originally from India. He helped built an Ashram (or religious hermitage) in Tamil Nadu, India in the 1990s. The Ashram became refuge to orphan girls and refugee families from Sri Lanka.
Sathya Sai Baba
Both Richard Wiseman and Erlendur Haraldsson also investigated another guru from southern India – Sathya Sai Baba.
Baba was very popular as a guru, spiritual figure and educator. He could materialize vibuti too, and other alleged macro-psi events. He claimed to be a reincarnation of the great spiritual guru – Sai Baba of Shirdi. His people believed that after stung by a scorpion on March 8, 1940 in Uravakonda, his divine identity started. Furious of Baba’s odd behavior, his father asked him afterwards who he was. Baba calmly and firmly announced “I am Sai Baba”. He then became known as the reincarnation of the late Shidi master, Sai Baba.
Baba was described by his people as an “unusually intelligent” kid ((Babb, Lawrence A. (1991). Redemptive Encounters: Three Modern Styles in the Hindu Tradition). Sathyanarayana Raju (Baba’s real name) was born to Eswaramma and Peddavenkama Raju Ratnakaram . Talented ever since as a kid, Baba was said to be capable of making foods and sweets appear out of thin air.
In his lifetime, Baba built free educational institutions, hospitals, and had supported other charitable works in India and abroad through his Sathya Sai Organization.
Skepticism with Sathya Baba
However, the guru also had his share of controversies. The Deccan Chronicle (an English newspaper in Hyderabad) pointed out the alleged fraud committed by Sathya Baba from the video sequence of his performance. Yet, despite the investigators’ great efforts to improve the quality of the video to check if there is fraud, they could not see any existence of it based from the tape alone. Skeptics considered his manifestations as simple conjuring tricks, but devotees consider them evidence of divinity.
Miroslaw Magola: Real-life Magneto
Magneto, a fictional character of X-Men (comic book, TV series) can be seen with metal objects flying around him because he has the power to generate and control magnetism. A young Polish person, by the name of Miroslaw Magola, claimed that he also had this ability.
Magola claims to be able to stick objects to his body using his thoughts alone. He can defy gravity by moving heavy items from the floor to his body. Using his forehead, he can also lift items from the floor and transport them through the air. From metal pans to non-metal objects (regardless of its weight), to marble statues, Magola can manipulate them. He claims to be able to attract items up to the weight of 1kg, from his chest, stomach and shoulders. He can still even jump around while the object is still stuck to his head!
How did he develop these abilities? Magola found out he can do these things after researching about psychic energy. In his youth, he was busy with yoga and other forms of meditation. It was in a German refugee camp in the year 1987, that he noticed metal objects sticks to his hands. He did not pursue this ability until three years later. Upon visiting a friend in the USA, he demonstrated his performance to some witnesses. He then later began his series of demonstrations and public lectures.
Dr. Friedbert Karger of the Max Planck Institute was able to investigate this phenomenon manifested by Magola. Two witnesses from the university believe that he possesses unusual “suction properties in his skin.”
Skepticism with Miroslaw Magola
Miroslaw Magola, however, was unable to perform any levitation effects in a UK television show, Beyond Belief, in February 1996.
Magician and paranormal debunker James Randi said that Magola tried to join his Psychic Challenge (in which Randi gives out prize to anyone who can demonstrate evidence of any paranormal). Magola’s application was discredited because it said to have not fallen within the designation of paranormal or supernatural. His ability is said to be a common bio-magnetic power claim by other people and which can be defeated with a few grams of talcum powder.
However, Magola refuted this story made by James Randi, saying he did not send his application to the contest. He also never received any call or letter from Randi stating his intention to test Magola using talcum powder. The magnetic man is said to be very willing to meet Randi any time, even in television, to demonstrate to him and to the public his ability, even with talcum powder. He revealed in an interview that his ability is influenced by nothing except that it needs a special concentration in his brain.
Asia’s Magnetic Man
Another alleged extraordinary person who claimed to be able to perform the same ability as Miroslaw Magola is an Indonesian man named Tan Kok Thai. The man is said to able to attract handphones, calculators, plastic and glass bottles, books, biscuits, planks, bananas, flashlights, remote controls, electric irons, knives, canned food, tubes of toothpaste, rocks, metal, plastic and rubber items, pieces of wood, plus bananas and even an air conditioner.
Tan, a 66-year-old farmer, had even demonstrated the ability to lift two bicycles tied to a cleaver that was “magnetically attached” to his body. He discovered his ability when a coin stuck to his chest one day while he was taking off his garment. Now, he claims to be able to keep a 38.5kg of rock stuck to his chest.
Levitation by Eusapia Palladino
Seated near one end of the table, the woman began to lift up in her chair, and after a short time, settled back to her place, still seated on her chair. This was claimed to have happened on September 28 (and repeated on October 3), and the woman medium was Eusapia Palladino.
Throughout her levitation in particular sitting, Palladino’s hands were held by Professor Charles Richet (a French Physiologist) and Professor Cesare Lombroso (an Italian psychiatrist and criminologist), holding her still in her chair. Per account of the witnesses, her voice was changed and in a trance she speaks “Now I lift my medium up on the table.” The two professors were perplexed as they were sure that they did not assist the levitation.
That was one of the many séances Palladino participated in. In Milan alone, a total of 17 séances were held with Palladino gave evidence of paranormal events.
Palladino had been in many countries in the east to display her purported extraordinary powers in the dark. Aside from levitating, she claimed that she could elongate herself, apporting flowers, materialize the dead, producing hands and faces of spirits in wet clay, levitate hard objects, play a musical instrument without touching it, communicate with the dead (through her spirit guide) and other forms of mediumship.
The “talented”medium was born into a peasant family in Minervino Murge, Bari province. When she was still little, she would hear raps on the furniture against which she was leaning, saw eyes glaring at her in the dark, sometimes she was terribly frightened when invisible hands stripped off her bedclothes at night. She was not well-educated. When she became orphaned, a family in Naples took her in as a nursemaid. Her foster family also came to know of her powers, but it wasn’t till Signor Damiani, a well-known psychic investigator, that Palladino acquired mediumistic education.
Damiani and Palladino met through John King, Palladino’s soon to be spirit control. Damiani’s wife first met King in one séance sitting in London. King then relayed to her a powerful medium in Naples and gave her Palladino’s complete address, whom he already referred to as his reincarnated daughter.
Palladino’s powers progressed at a rapid rate after that meeting with Damiani. She devoted her study mainly to phenomena of movements without contact. She then later learned about spectral appearances, wherein phantom limbs appeared from her body, and materialization of incomplete and sometimes full figures out of nowhere.
One peculiar thing in her séances was that the particular phenomenon had to be wished for. Sitters must incessantly asked and voice out their strong desire.
As time passed, scientists and various investigators went out to sit with her. First to proclaim the truth of Palladino’s extraordinary phenomena was Dr. Ercole Chiaia, an ardent Italian psychical researcher. He learned of Palladino through Lombroso’s article The Influence of Civilisation upon Genius. (Arthur S. & Joyce Berger, The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research, 1991).
Nobel laureate physicists Pierre and Marie Curie were also amongst those who investigated her in 1905 (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life, 1995). The Institut General Psychologique of Paris carried out extensive experiments on Palladino in 43 sittings until 1907. The two scientists regarded mediumistic séances as “scientific experiments” (Barbara Goldsmith, Obsessive Genius, 2005). They thought that they would discover in spiritualism the source of an unknown energy that would reveal the secret of radioactivity. Moreover, the two physicists’ circle of friends, including Pierre Curie’s brother Jacques) were also exploring spiritualism. These individuals include: Professor Richet, British Physicist William Crookes, French Physicists Jean Perrin (and his wife Henriette), Louis Georges Gouy and Paul Langevin.
Pierre Curie reported to his friend Gouy concerning the séances they experienced with Palladino at the Society for Physical Research. He described the phenomena by Palladino as “inexplicable as trickery”. (Susan Quinn, Marie Curie: A Life)
Evidently, the Society for Physical Research appointed a committee of three in 1908 to examine more of Palladino’s abilities (Everard Fielding, Sittings with Eusapia Palladino & Other Studies, 1963). The members that were appointed include: Mr. Hereward Carrington (investigator for the American Society for Psychical Research and an amateur conjurer), Mr. W. W. Baggally (a much experienced investigator and conjurer), and the Hon. Everard Fielding (an investigator educated on fraudulent mediums). All of them were convinced that Palladino possessed unusual powers (Everard Fielding, Sittings with Eusapia Palladino & Other Studies, 1963).
Skepticism with Eusapia Palladino
Fielding again sat with Palladino in 1910, with British magician William Marriott, to repeat the 1908 Naple sittings (with Carrington and Baggally). However, Fielding and Marriott detected her cheating this time (Everard Fielding and W.Mariott, Report on Further Series of Sittings with Eusapia Palladino at Naples,1910). She was said to be an expert in freeing a hand or foot to cause the phenomena.
Palladino was regarded as a genuine Spiritualist medium by many Europeans. In the west, however, she was described as a medium who resorted to trickery when she could not produce psychic effects. Palladino’s penchant to cheat, as what the skilled investigators realized, doesn’t serve her well amongst her critics.
However, Palladino defended herself by stating in an interview that those who sit by her in séance who expect tricks will only see tricks, as her power is inclined to do what the sitters bid her to do or what they desire. She said they will her to do the trick.
Nonetheless, others who were skeptical of her abilities later believed. They are Professor Lambroso (he began to accept the spirit theory after making several more researches), Swiss Professor Theodore Flournoy, French Astronomer Cammile Flammarion, and well-known physical investigator Frank Podmore.
Poland Psychologist, Dr. Julian Ochorowicz, concluded on the phenomena demonstrated at Palladino’s séance that it was caused by a “fluidic action” (Ochorowitz, 1850-1918) and were performed not only by the medium’s powers but also that of the other participants in the séances.
World-renowned magician and investigator, Howard Thurston, also is convinced that Palladino did not use her feet, knees and hands to perform the levitations.
Both most skilled Europeans and Americans experimentalists studied Palladino in twenty years (1888-1908). In those years, Professor Richet reported that around 30 very skeptical scientific men or more were convinced that there proceeded from her body, forms that appeared to have life (Occultism & Parapsychology Encyclopedia, 2001).
As what distinguished British physical investigator Dr. Hereward Carrington claimed, Palladino’s large number of striking, unexplained phenomena far out cries that of others regarded to be as result of trickery.
Time passed, Palladino’s alleged psychokinetic abilities diminished as she aged.
Felicia Parise: A fan of Telekinesis
Felicia Parise was a research associate in the Department of Hematology at Maimonides Medical Center. She was so impressed with the Russian psychic Nina Kulagina that she began to mimic the psychic’s abilities.
Parise first saw a film about Nina Kulagina at the Maimonides Dream laboratory. It was brought by Dr. Montague Ullman from his trip in Leningrad, Russia. Inspired, she then went on to practice at home. She was allegedly been able to demonstrate telekinetic abilities beginning in the 1970s. Reportedly, she could move a plastic pill container, compass needle and pieces of aluminum foil (Richard S. Broughton, Parapsychology: The Controversial Science, 1991).
At the Dream laboratory, Parise was already involved in ESP dream experiments, and had also tried clairvoyance, precognition, ESP cards, and the Schmidt machine. She became so interested in ESP because she realized that this thing was so easy for her. She always had direct hits during experiments of conjuring the right image in a sealed envelope from her dreams.
In her initial attempt on telekinesis, Parise tried to move a small plastic pill bottle at home. For weeks she hoped to mimic Kulagina’s feat. After several months, she claimed to finally able to do it. She was suffering an emotional problem at that time– her grandmother’s health had just turned for the worst. Preparing to leave for the hospital, she was about to reach for her eyelash container when she noticed it shied away from her hand. She continued to develop her ability from then on by manifesting her telekinesis in moving other objects such as compass needle. Eventually, she was the focus of her lab’s investigation.
Parise demonstrated her ability to move the same bottle to Dr. Charles Honorton, a Research Associate of Department of Psychiatry in Maimonides Medical Center. Dr. Stanley Krippner, a parapsychologist, also witnessed Parise moved a compass needle.
Parise realized she would probably receive a lot of criticism about this unique ability, so she decided to stick to plastic, aluminum foil, cotton balls, corks and avoided magnetic objects (except compass) when demonstrating.
A skeptical photographer took a 10-minute film of Parise, with Dr. Honorton as witness. In the said documentary, she moved the plastic pill box on the table, and able to cause a cork to roll and to flutter strips of aluminum foil. Like Dr. Honorton, the photographer also was amazed of Palladino.
Every attempt though proved to be tiring for Parise because she had to rest in between attempts. She felt pains in her arms after every attempt. She supposedlyt perspired heavily, lost a few pounds, her blood sugar rose and her heart rate increased (Parapsychology Review). However, she took this pain aside and said that she performed well under stress. Later on, she noted that, unlike others who could successfully demonstrate their ability without stress, it was different with her. She is always mindful of her health.
Parise decided to quit doing psychokinesis, for personal reasons. She didn’t like constantly having to defend herself, and also of having her integrity under fire.
Others who claimed to be Telekinetic
Ted Serios – His ability to make images appear on photographic film was akin to a feat made by Nina Kulagina. A Chicago bellhop, he was popular in the 1960s in producing thoughtographs (or nensha, a form of spirit photography which allows a person to physically burn images from one’s mind onto surfaces) on Polaroid film by using his psychic power.
Serios made a believer out of Dr. Jule Eisenbud, a Denver based psychiatrist, who eventually wrote a book about Ted Serios titled “The World of Ted Serios: “Thoughtographic” studies of an extraordinary mind (1967)”.
Serios was able to produce such images, though, when he was drunk or at least drinking. Once, Dr. Eisenbud challenged Stage Magician James Randi, who also touted to share same ability like Serios. The magician, however, refused when given the condition that he must have same degree of blood alcohol in his system too. Parapsychologist Stephen Braude took note of Randi’s refusal as evidence that the magician is incapable to do same feat like Serios.