Psychic Phenomenon and History Clairvoyance Part 3

About the psychic phenomenon clairvoyance also known as ESP or astral projection, history and cases of the gift of second sight.




To pick leading psychics in any field is as tricky a task, and calls for about as subjective a judgment, as selecting a Miss Universe. For sheer quantity of recent performance, intellectual curiosity, and public recognition, the New York artist Ingo Swann probably qualifies as the leading clairvoyant of our time. He is a former member of the U.N. staff, he served with the U.S. Army in Korea, and he paints in a category he calls "cosmic art." Swann is both the bane and delight of parapsychologists; he gives them good results but cares little for traditional methods or experimental conservatism.

Swann (who added the second n to his name on the advice of a numerologist) became interested in ESP when he was sitting in front of his TV with his pet chinchilla on his lap and he suddenly had the thought that the animal ought to be put into its cage for the night. Although the idea had barely reached the surface of Swann's consciousness, the animal streaked off his lap and jumped from one hiding place to another, obviously trying to avoid being caged. This made Swann feel that he was at a distinct disadvantage vis-a-vis his pet; the chinchilla could read his mind, but he couldn't read the chinchilla's. (Animal ESP, involving animal-to-animal and animal-to-human telepathy, and the much-publicized ability of cats and dogs to trail their owners over hundreds of miles, is a continuing subject of parapyschological inquiry.)

Swann's initial testing was undertaken by the American Society for Psychical Research in New York, where the experimenters were Dr. Karlis Osis and Dr. Gertrude R. Schmeidler. The tests were considered in the category of out-of-the-body experience (OBE), on the assumption that the subject, or some part of the subject, left the physical body and thus gained knowledge of a remote target. These experiments were undertaken within the same building, usually from one room to another. The subject was screened from the target he was asked to perceive clairvoyantly (or by OBE).

After achieving positive results in New York, Swann was invited to the Stanford Research Institute, a private research organization in Menlo Park, Calif. The experimenters were Dr. Harold E. Puthoff and Mr. Russell Targ, physicsts with special background in laser technology. Their first experiment with Swann was quite a shock to the subject. They asked him to alter the magnetic field in a probe hidden below a 6-ft. cement floor and protected by three shields. However, after an initial period of quiet desperation (Swann, in fact, felt tricked into having to attempt the virtually impossible) he did well enough to encourage Targ and Puthoff to use him and others in a series of increasingly elaborate experiments.

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