In culture after culture, people believe that the soul lives on after death, that rituals can change the physical world and divine the truth, and that illness and misfortune are caused and alleviated by spirits, ghosts, saints ... and gods.

STEVEN PINKER, How the Mind Works

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Can you conjure up a ghost with your mind ?

In the 1970s a group of researchers conducted a unique experiment to create their own paranormal entity.  

Known as the 'Philip Experiment', the endeavor involved para-psychological researchers from the Toronto Society for Psychical Research and aimed to determine if it was possible to manifest an entity using nothing more than the power of the mind.

To do this, the group started out by creating a complete history for their entity, who they called Philip. Over the space of a year they talked about this fictional individual amongst themselves, focusing on what he would look like and willing him to appear to them.

Finally in 1973 during a seance, Philip actually started to communicate to the group by rapping on the table and causing the lights to dim. The results were so impressive that they attempted the same thing again in front of a video camera and audience, this time succeeding in having the table levitate in front of more than 50 people.

But what do these results mean ? Could the Philip Experiment indicate that with enough willpower it is possible to break through and connect with the other side or does it imply that paranormal experiences are in fact nothing more than a product of the human subconscious ?