ESP and Mind Reading Precognition or Seeing the Future Part 2

About the psychic phenomenon known as precognition or seeing the future, history and research studies.


One experiment which has been successfully repeated by several researchers involves mice or gerbils. The animal is put in a cage divided into 2 halves by a barrier low enough to be jumped over quite easily. The floor on both sides is wired to give a very mild electric shock. The shocks are given randomly on the 2 sides, and if the animal moves to the opposite side to avoid the shock just before it is given, this is shown as a precognitive "hit" by the automatic equipment monitoring the experiment. The average score is about 8% above a baseline established by observing the animal's movements from side to side with no electric shocks being given.

The Maimonides Dream Laboratory experiments mentioned under Telepathy were also adapted to precognition. The dreamer was told to dream of an experience that he would have the following day. After his dreams were recorded by one experimenter, another experimenter, who did not know what the dreams were, used a random-selection system to pick an art print, and designed an environment around the theme of the print. Later in the day the dreamer was taken into that environment. For example, when the print showed a scene of snow and ice, all the furniture in the room was covered with white sheets, a fan blew cold air at the subject, and the experimenters dropped ice cubes down the back of his neck. His dreams had in several respects corresponded to the theme of coldness and snow. In one series of such tests, 8 nights of dreams resulted in 5 dreams directly matching the target (judged by independent judges), and 2 corresponded quite closely--a strong indication of the reality of precognition.

Such indications raise major philosophical problems. If we can see the future, does it mean that the future already exists? Can it be changed? What does this do to the concept of free will? Such are the questions that must be faced if it is eventually proved beyond a doubt that all forms of ESP are a fact. Some parapsychologists feel strongly that this has already been proved. Others believe that they will have to produce the "repeatable" experiment to become acceptable in the eyes of most scientists. Even then there will be hesitation on the part of some people. Many of humankind's ideas will have to change if ESP is to be integrated into our concepts of reality, and resistance to change is basic to human nature.


The ESP Reader, edited by D. C. Knight. New York, Grosset & Dunlap, 1969. One of the best introductions to the world of ESP, this anthology presents highlights from most of the better-known cases in a style that is both literate and easy to read.

Dream Telepathy by Montague Ullman and Stanley Krippner with Alan Vaughan. New York, Macmillan, 1973. Written by the experimenters and one of their subjects, this is a fine account of the experimental work at Maimonides Dream Laboratory. Background material and a roundup of other ESP dream cases are valuable additions.

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