Sunday, August 31, 2008

Clairvoyance and dissonance

Exactly what mood does a person have to be in to be psychic? This question has been asked again and again by parapsychologists and many research papers have been written in an effort to answer that question. The failures of one parapsychologist to duplicate the results of another researcher have frequently been blamed on the subjects not being in the right mood. So we come back again to the question: What is the right mood? Unfortunately the answers have sometimes been as cryptic as the question.

Dr. Rex G. Stanford said that he felt in general the above chance scoring ESP subjects might show a greater difference between “self" and “ideal-self” than would the below-chance scoring subjects. This would be caused by the psychics trying harder. They feel a need to improve and so they are comfortable dealing with the Unknown. The Unknown is confusing and conflicting and if the subject is at ease with her idea of self being different from her idea of “ideal-self” she will be comfortable with the Unknown. Dr. Stanford adapted the semantic differential scale of Charles Osgood for a test he reported in September of 1964. The test consisted of giving pairs of adjective, such and “intelligent-dull,” or “religious-skeptical,” to the subject who was asked to rate himself on the ideal self , and then on a different page they rated their self. There were seven points between the two extremes offered by the pair of adjectives.

Religious __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Skeptical

So the person rated his ideal-self on the topic of “Religious-skeptical” on any one of seven degrees between these two extremes. Then another sheet was given to the subject and he rated your-true-self on the same scales.

Then the subjects were given a clairvoyance test.

When the two semantic differential scales were compared the doctor could see if a subject’s idea about “himself” or “Herself” was close to or far from their idea about “ideal-self.” Then the results were compared to the results from the clairvoyance test. Dr. Stanford was right. The above chance scorers had a greater discrepancy between “self” and “ideal self” then did below chance scores. Clairvoyants are more comfortable with this psychological dissonance. The p-value was much less then .005.

The difference between self and ideal self can be interpreted in a great many ways. It might be said that a person who feels very inferior is closer to childlike state of mind. Or it could be seen as an early stage of such mental states as multiple personality, that causes activities like somnambulism. This happens when action is taken by a part of a person’s mind that they don't usually identify with. These may be disassociated states. In fact these mental states have been seen in psychics.

For now the important thing, is that those who score well on ESP tests feel comfortable even in situations that cause or threaten to cause confusion. Psychics can choose methods of reducing this confusion even about themselves and maintain their self confidence.
Stanford, R. G. 1964 Attitude and personality variables in ESP The Journal of Parapsychology 28: 1966-175.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Extraverted Psychic

Since psychiatrist Carl Jung first described the terms extravert and introvert they have become widely used to describe a certain personality traits. The person who is extroverted is outgoing in social relations, prefers to be involved with people and is energized when around other people. The introvert is just he opposite. He wants to be alone, enjoys private pleasures and is energized when alone.

Introversion and extroversion are seen as extremes on one continuum. So in a given test a person will register as either an introvert or an extrovert but we are all constantly changing. So there are times and certain situations when we will move up and down this scale.

Since it was first described by Jung this factor has been seen and tested in many ways. One test is a part of Guilford inventory (Factor T Thinking extroversion). It was also used by Nicol and Humphrey. There are some problems with the written test for “extroversion” though. There is a large amount of what is called, “Self-confidence" mixed in with the scale called “extroversion."

To quote the Dr. Gardner Murphy, “As measured then, extroversion may prove to consist primarily of the capacity to retain self-confidence despite social onslaughts upon it . . .”

Then it is no surprise, since self-confident people tend to score will on tests of psi ability, and extroverted subjects scored well most of the time, too. In the Nicol-Humphrey test, extroversion correlated with above-average clairvoyance scores with better than a .05 probability.

There was another test conducted by Eloise Shields, a school psychologist. She divided 98 school children, who were referred to her, into two groups on basis of personality tests and observations by her and other teachers. Twenty-four were classified as “withdrawn,” while 74 were classified as “Not-withdrawn.” The children who were Not-withdrawn scored significantly above chance on ESP, P = 000001 to be exact.

Now we must ask: why are extroverts more likely to be psychic? It would appear that the introverted person spends more time reflecting on the deeper nature of any question and would be more likely to sense answers from the next level. Further it would seem that an extroverted person rarely listens to that still small voice within that whispers answers from the great unknown universe. But isn’t it also possible that with every exchange in a social situation there is also a pause as when we listen and try to respond to that deeper question that the individuals in the group are asking. If a person is truly successful at the exchange of ideas and attitudes with a group they must be listening to a deeper level; perhaps even more often then they know. So an extroverted person actually is more frequently tuning in to that great psychic unknown than they are aware.

Conversely what about the introverted person that occasionally gets a flash of ESP? Here, I think, we must remember that even when a person is alone they may be thinking of those people in their lives that they would want to be with. In those quite moments they are thinking of what they would do when they next see their friends or lovers. So even an introverted person who is alone could often be thinking outside their current situation. Indeed this is often what a person reports when questioned about a psychic experience. They report that they were thinking about being with the person who was the center of their psychic flash of intuition.

Murphy, G. 1947. Personality: A Biosocial Approach to Origins and Structure. New York: Harpers.

Nicol, J.F., and Humphrey, B.M. 1953. The exploration of ESP and human personality. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 47: 133-178

Nicol, J. F., Humphrey, B.W. 1955. The repeatability problem in ESP personality research. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 49: 125-156.

Shields, E. 1962. Comparison of child’s guessing ability (ESP) with personality characteristics. The Journal of Parapsychology 26: 200-210.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Psychics and Self-Confidence

As we look at the literature about the psychology of psychics some observations and test results may seem hard to understand but we are not surprised that psychics have been found to be very self-confident. How else could they continually reach out to the unknown world and deal with what comes back at them? Indeed self confidence has been observed again and again when a person is getting in touch with that great unknown. And situations that help you feel better about yourself are also situations that frequently enhance your psychic ability.

Some of this evidence comes from Dr. J. Fraser Nicol and Dr. Betty Humphrey. They were among the first who found that being self-confident is a factor. “We found persons who rated high on self-confidence (from the Guilford-Martin questionnaire) also scored high on ESP.”
Psychics apparently tend to have high self-confidence when they are being psychic. In fact this personality factor was one of the more statically significant. And the evidence shows that the more self-confident the subject, the more likely he was to be psychic.

“From the work of our subjects there is evidence that extrasensory perception is related to at least eight factors of personality. The most striking of these is Guilford-Martin’s factor I, Self-confidence. which is highly correlated with the total ESP scores (p = .0015)”, they reported.

This personality factor has been observed in many psychics who have been studied by psychiatrists. Dr. Berthold E. Schwarz published a study of three psychics; Mrs. Krystal, a “Dr. Cambell’s” mother – “Dr. Cambell” is a pseudonym, and dowser Henry Gross. His study is very helpful in understanding the psychology of psychics. About Mrs. Krystal he says, “She gave the impression of processing a great amount of energy and self-confidence.”

In general we see that there are many good things about the nature of the psychic. As Drs. Humphrey and Nicol say in another place, “Broadly speaking, those personality attributes that may be described as ‘Socially desirable,’ were found to be associated with high ESP scores.”

However, all psychics will not necessarily have all of these personality factors all the time. People change from day to day and even from hour to hour, depending for instance on who they are with. And certain personality factors may be important to some types of psychic phenomena, while others would be important to other psi activity.

This personality factor of self-confidence is very important for those who can control things by just thinking to them. This psychic ability is called psycho kinesis. A psychic, who feels that he can move matter, that his force of thought can do that, obviously doesn't feel hampered by the material world.

Self-confidence doesn't always come to those who talk a lot and mix easily with people though. Some people misunderstand that. Self-confident people are often quiet and easy-going. However, if a person is both self-confident and extroverted he is more likely to be psychic. For extroverted is another, personality trait known to show up in the psychic.
Nicol, E., and Humphrey, B.M. 1953. The exploration of ESP and human personality. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 47:133-178.

Nicol, J. F., Humphrey, B.W. 1955. The repeatability problem in ESP personality research. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 49: 125-156.

Schwarz, Bertrhold E. A psychiatrist Looks at ESP. New York: New American Library, Inc., 1965

Monday, August 11, 2008

Psychics and Creativity

Even those psychics who have very high sensitivity skills also have off days. And we know that personality tests measure the mood a person is in when they take the test and may not tell us much about the long term values or priorities of a person. Still just knowing what mood a person is in when some psychic ability comes to them will be interesting and perhaps useful.

Early in the 1900’s Frederic W. H. Myers theorized that there were some common factors in both creativity and ESP but creativity has always been a difficult personality trait to measure. That problem was solved in one test by parapsychologist Thelma Moss and J.A. Gengerelli when they chose to group jobs as creative or not creative. So they could find out how creative psychics realy are. In 1968 Dr. Thelma Moss and J.A. Gengerelli started a series of tests designed to find out how creative people scored on a telepathy test.

They paired up test subjects and tested their telepathic ability. The telepathic ability of artists (writers, musicians, actors, painters, etc) was then compared to that of non-artists.
The group was divided into pairs and each pair was tested separately. One of two was the Transmitter and the other was the Receiver. The Transmitter was bombarded with sight and sound show, down the hall in a soundproof room from the Receiver.

At the same time the Receiver was dictating his or her thoughts into a tape recorder. Then a selection from the Transmitter's slide show, along with one that was not from the set of slides the Transmitter saw, was shown the Receiver. He tried to pick the one that was shown to the Transmitter. On any given call the Receiver had a .5 chance of guessing right.

Also the subjects were looked at in relationship to how creative their jobs were. “Included in the sample were 38 artists ( writers, musicians, actors, painters, etc.), 19 businessmen, 28 students, 24 housewives, 20 psychologists or psychiatrist, 5 professional ‘sensitives,’ and 10 of various occupations."

After the first test was over an analysis was made (post hoc as they say.) And the artists proved to be very good, “the 72 teams were redivided according to artistic ability, the criterion the professional occupation. These three groups were labeled, ‘Both Artists’, ‘One an Artist’, and ‘Neither an artist.’

“Of the 12 teams in which both T (Transmitter) and R (Receiver) were artists, 11 score two or three correct ( p=.003); and of the 14 teams with one member and artist, 13 scored two or three correct ( p= .0009). Pooling these groups (26 teams), results give a probability of .000005."
Since it isn't good practice to change the purpose of a test halfway through, they did the thing again with another group and got similar results. Then the probability was .003 against the positive scoring that the artists group did.

So as well as keeping cool, the second personality trait that a contributes to a psychic’s sensitivity is that they may be in a creative mood.


Moss, T., and Gengerelli, J. A. 1968 ESP effects generated by effective states. The Journal of Parapsychology 32:90-100.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Keeping Cool and ESP

Most people enjoy taking personality tests. You get to select desirable and undesirable options and then at the end you are usually told the results and find what larger category you fit into. What you are finding out really is just what mood you are in when you take that test. Quite often you could take the same test tomorrow and get different results. And even if you get the same results you are only finding out that when you take that test you are in a certain mood. So what? You are probably not really measuring any long term characteristics. Nor are personality tests particularly deep, in that you could fake the answers if you want.

Realistically the personality tests are by no means perfect. They attempt to measure what a person feels about a certain type of experience. They offer a wide spectrum of possible opinions and attitudes ask you to select one. Then the answers are given a number value and a conclusion is drawn as to where you stand on some scale. The subjects’ attitudes and opinions may indicate where they are on the sociability, creativity, conformity to social standards, etc. Some tests only reveal two groups of people, such as: you are above average or below average in the given area, such as creativity. Or they may show where you stand in comparison with the group on any one to ten scales. The person may be high on some scales and low on others. If you are highly creative you may be low on the social conformity.

Even though generally personality tests have limited value they could be very useful to the parapsychologist. Because as we study those occasional flashes of ESP we ARE concerned with what mood a person it in at that time. We assume that they are not always in the mood for ESP or we would all be getting psychic impressions all the time. So it can be most useful to take these personality tests along with ESP tests and compare the results.

The procedure is to divide the test results into two groups; one that has an above-average score in some personality trait and the other that has a below-average score. Then they reshuffled the papers and separated again, this time into two groups: one that has above chance scores on the psi tests and the other that has merely chance. Then they try to see if there is an unusual number who are in both the above chance-psi-scores group and one or another of the personality traits they have tested. It is then possible to see how these personality traits are related to psychic ability.

The standard card guessing tests are often used. They were first used at Duke University by Dr. J. B. Rhine and his associates. These tests were the first to impress the scientific community with the existence of psi. Even though we have gone far beyond these tests today, we still owe them a great deal. Today precognition of targets that a computer will randomly select gives consistently high results; and subjects that have been hypnotically training are also impressing even the skeptical.

But for the parapsychology lab that must work on a budget, the old pack of 25 cards (five each of five faces) is still is popular. Sometimes, tables of random numbers serve the purpose selecting the target cards, these are arranged on a target paper. The deck itself may really be collecting dust on the shelf or the back of some drawer.

Keeping cool

One area that was studied was irritability. Some people are very irritable and the least little thing bothers them. Others will remain calm if the world were falling apart around them. Dr. J. Fraser Nicole and Dr. Betty Humphrey reported the results when they compared two test results. One was a clairvoyant test. The other was designed to find out how easily person becomes annoyed.

If they score high, they get annoyed easily, as if the subjects scores low, he doesn't get annoyed. The group who scored below average on this scale was above average and above chance on the clairvoyant test. The degree to which this was true is such that if tests were given 1000 times this result would only be expected 26 times for the P value (probability) was .026.

When a result is less than .05 it is considered “marginally significant." If it is below .01 it is “significant.” So .026 is something more than marginally significant. However, when a test result is in this degree of significance the required degree of .01 can usually be achieved by repeated tests. Most learned journals require at least .05 p – value before they will publish the paper. When testing psychic ability the advantage goes to well funded researchers who can afford to test large numbers of subjects. They can get those rare results that are highly significant: .01 or .0001, etc.

So in the case of the irritability test Dr. Nicol and Humphy summarize this part of their results, ”The evidence favoring the hypothesis that ESP is a correlate ( of low irritability ) .. is good."

In order to understand these results better we should remember something about the nature of that great mass of knowledge that psychics must tune into; the psi-unknown. An encounter with it would connect you with information from every source; everything and every mind. It is very complicated and would be confusing to face this thing, if a person were unprotected by his ability to feel at ease in spite of annoying things. So psychics are not easily annoyed.
In my book Operation Blue Light: My Secret Life among Psychic Spies I quote from some declassified papers in the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Even back in 1952 the CIA analyst who wrote the request for funds saw the value of these personality tests in understanding who would be of value to the CIA “It is quite possible,” he wrote, “that some of these (personality) types might be related to ESP ability.” So it was that Subproject 136 MKULTRA-ESP Research, was born .


Nicol, J. F., Humphrey, B.W. 1955. The repeatability problem in ESP personality research. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 49: 125-156.

Subproject 136 MKULTRA-ESP Research, CIA behavior control experiments collection, National Security Archive, George Washington University.(1952)