ESP and Paranormal Research

Does ESP affect paranormal research? Does ESP affect paranormal research?

It’s a question I’ve discussed with several people in relation to multiple topics, but especially ghost hunting.

Here’s a quote that may be relevant:

“Comments by Captain Ed Mitchell, the American astronaut, during a radio interview in January 1973, helped to strengthen the growing interest in psychokinesis. He told listeners of experiments in which metal had been fractured by this mental process. ‘It’s an ability that can be trainable,’ he said.”

[from “Ghost Hunting, A Practical Guide” by Andrew Green]

Mr. Green also believed psychokinesis has a connection to hauntings. Describing poltergeists, he said:

“This phenomenon, one of the most publicized and so often misunderstood, is comparatively easy to establish as nothing more than psychokinesis (sometimes referred to as telekinesis), though exactly how this operates is not yet fully known.”

Poltergeists – Psychokinesis (PK) or PK Plus an Entity?

Many 20th-century ghost hunters believed that a living person was the source (or nexus) of the energy. But, was it that person’s subconscious wish to make the noises or move the objects? Or, was some kind of entity involved, as well?

In my opinion, the latter is more likely, but I’m not sure how we could prove that.

In history, one of the most famous poltergeist cases involved the Fox sisters. Many associate them with the founding of the 19th-century Spiritualist movement.

No matter what the truth about the apparent activity around the Fox girls, their home had a long history of poltergeist activity. That’s why few tenants stayed there, even before the Fox family moved in.

Testing the ESP/Psychokinesis Connection

In The Ghost Hunter’s Guide, 20th-century paranormal researcher Peter Underwood wrote about testing during a ghost hunt.

“I have found it useful to have with me a pack or two of Zener cards to test the possible ESP of the nexus of the poltergeist and other occupants of the house.”

That’s an interesting thought, but I’m not sure what it would prove, one way or the other.

I would like to see if – during ghost hunts – psychics test differently than they do in not-haunted locations. Again, it probably wouldn’t prove anything, but it might be intriguing.

If the results were much better at the haunted location, something at the location – perhaps ghosts or paranormal energy – could be a factor.

Psychokinesis and Conjuring Up Philip

It’s important to consider the effects of ESP and psychokinesis (PK) in the Philip case, as well. Could all of that phenomena be attributed to ESP and PK?  We may never know.

The following YouTube video is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the full Philip experiment. (If you can find – or borrow – a copy of the book, it’s essential reading for serious paranormal investigators.)

(If that video doesn’t appear automatically, here’s a link –

Many questions come to mind.

  • How much poltergeist activity might be psychokinesis (PK) instead of ghosts?
  • If poltergeist activity is a two-part phenomenon – the spirit and the (living) energy source – does it matter whether PK is involved?
  • If an historian is on-site during an investigation, how many psychics’ (and others’) “impressions” are actually mind-reading or ESP?
  • In famous cases such as the Amityville Horror house, how much of the disturbance was contributed to, by the residents?

The ESP/ghosts/psychokinesis/poltergeists knot is difficult to untangle. I don’t know how we’d even begin to separate these kinds of activity.

I’m interested in your thoughts about this topic, and any way we could distinguish paranormal activity from psychokinetic abilities.

4 thoughts on “ESP and Paranormal Research”

  1. Not much sense tying ourselves up in knots over phenomena such as PK that occur too rarely to make any dent in normal sensory perception.What knocks me over is the frequent occurrences of LOA that really shake the foundations of scientific principles like cause and effect.So much so that for me retrocausality is as normal as causality,but that would make paranormal a redundat word,a mere tautology.A world glimpsed by Carroll where White queen casually elucidates the causality as moving both backwards and forwards,and the idea of multiverse thown in more emphatically than Hugh Everett3 did 85 years later.

    1. That Carroll reference is a brilliant one. The “Alice…” context hadn’t crossed my mind.

      But, I’ll raise an eyebrow at the idea that PK occurs rarely. What if it explained most of what we usually describe as “poltergeists”? Many lengthy investigations at deeply disturbed, haunted sites seem to involve unexplained noises, and real or unseen objects thrown with a clatter.

  2. I tried posting about this in the comments section of the most recent poll on, but it didn’t seem to go through. That’s okay, though, because it is probably more appropriate to post it here. Dr. Garry Nolan recently gave a talk at Harvard about people who gain “anomalous information.” (it sounds, to me, like he wanted to say “psychic” without saying “psychic”) Nolan has, until recently resigning, worked with Tom DeLonge at To The Stars. He claimed that the anomalous information seems to come down to the activity in a certain part of the brain. One of the things that interested me about it was the ability to use brain scans to be able to tell which people are particularly psychic. I’ll post a link to an article about it, below. The article contains some speculation that this method might be used by entities in higher-dimensional spaces to try to communicate with us, which would line up with some of the things in the Sekret Machines books, which are also put out by To The Stars. Check it out:

    1. Very interesting! And I’m amused by the phrase “anomalous information,” but it’s also an intriguing way of looking at the insights some psychics seem to receive, in a variety of settings.

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