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LSD & ESP: Scientific Studies of Psychics and Psychedelics

Research suggests that psychedelic drugs might enhance telepathic, precognitive, and psychokinetic abilities.

By David Jay Brown / Source: SantaCruz Patch

Few people are aware that there have been numerous, carefully-controlled scientific experiments with telepathy, psychokinesis, remote viewing, and other types of psychic phenomena, which have consistently produced compelling, statistically-significant results that conventional science is at a loss to explain. 

Even most scientists are currently unaware of the vast abundance of compelling scientific evidence for psychic phenomena, which has resulted from over a century of parapsychological research.
Hundreds of carefully-controlled studies -- in which psi researchers continuously redesigned experiments to address the comments from their critics -- have produced results that demonstrate small but statistically significant effects for psi phenomena, such as telepathy, precognition, and psychokinesis.
According to psychologist Dean Radin, a meta-analysis of this research demonstrates that the positive results from these studies are significant with odds in the order of many billions to one. 

Princeton University, the Stanford Research Institute, Duke University, the Institute of Noetic Science, the U.S. and Russian governments, and many other respectable institutions, have spent years researching these mysterious phenomena, and conventional science is at a loss to explain the results. 

This research -- which was originally published in numerous peer-reviewed scientific journals over the past century -- is summarized Radin's remarkable book The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. Just as fascinating as the research into psychic phenomena is the controversy that surrounds it. 

In my own experience researching the possibility of telepathy in animals, and other unexplained phenomena with British biologist Rupert Sheldrake, I discovered that many people are eager to share personal anecdotes about psychic events in their life -- such as remarkable coincidences, uncanny premonitions, precognitive dreams, and seemingly telepathic communications.

In these cases, the scientific studies simply confirm life experiences. However, many scientists that I've spoken with haven't reviewed the evidence, and remain doubtful that there is any reality to psychic phenomenon, because the mechanism isn't understood yet.

Nonetheless, surveys conducted by British biologist Rupert Sheldrake and myself reveal that around 78% of the population has had unexplainable "psychic" experiences, and the scientific evidence supports the validity of these experiences.

It's also interesting to note that many people have reported experiencing meaningful psychic experiences with psychedelic drugs -- not to mention a wide range of paranormal events and synchronicities, which seem extremely difficult to explain by means of conventional reasoning.

A questionnaire study conducted by psychologist Charles Tart of 150 experienced marijuana users found that 76% believed in extrasensory perception (ESP), with frequent reports of experiences while intoxicated that were interpreted as psychic. 

Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, and psychologist Stanley Krippner, have collected numerous anecdotes about psychic phenomena that were reported by people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, and several small scientific studies have looked at how LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline might effect telepathy and remote viewing.
For example, according to psychologist Jean Millay, in 1997, students at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands did research to establish whether or not the use of psilocybin could influence remote viewing. 

This was a small experiment, with only 12 test-subjects, but the results of the study indicated that those subjects who were under the influence of psilocybin achieved a success rate of 58.3 percent, which was statistically significant.
A new edition of the 1964 book ESP Experiments With LSD-25 and Psilocybin: A Methodological Approach, by Roberto Cavanna and Emilio Servadio was republished in 2010, with a new preface by Charles Tart. 

In the introduction Tart states that, "this study remains as important today as when it was first published, and will hopefully guide a new generation of researchers to finding the knowledge we need!"

A great review article by Krippner and psychologist David Luke, that summarizes all of the psychedelic research into psychic phenomena, can be found in the Spring, 2011 MAPS Bulletin that I edited about psychedelics and the mind/body connection. (This article can be found here: www.maps.org/news-letters/v21n1/v21n1-59to60.pdf)

When I conducted the California-based research for Rupert Sheldrake's book about unexplained phenomena in science, The Sense of Being Stared At,  one of the experiments that I ran involved testing blindfolded subjects to see if they could sense being stared at from behind. 

A particular subject that I worked with reported an unusually high number of correct trials while under the influence of MDMA. 

I'd love to run a whole study to see if MDMA-sensitized subjects are more aware of when they're being stared at.


It is especially common for people to report experiences with telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, remote viewing, and psychokinesis while using ayahuasca, the potent hallucinogenic jungle juice from the Amazon. 

In fact, when the chemical structure of an important psychoactive component of ayahuasca was first discovered, now called "harmaline," one of of the original suggestions for its name was "telepathine," due to the psychedelic brew's common association with telepathy.

There have only been several studies with ayahuasca which demonstrate health benefits, but this is an area that is just crying out to be explored carefully and in depth. 

Future studies with ayahuasca could examine its potential and accuracy as a catalyst for psychic phenomena.
All of the traditional studies that have been done with psychic phenomena, which generated positive results, could be redone with subjects dosed with different psychedelic drugs or hallucinogenic plants to see if test scores can be measurably improved.

Increasing our psychic abilities may open up the human mind to new, unimagined possibilities -- and if you think that harnessing telepathic and clairvoyant abilities is pretty wild, then hold on tight to your hat when my next column appears. 

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