Sunday, June 6, 2010


Psychokinesis, or PK, is defined as “the production or control of motion, especially in inanimate and remote objects, purportedly by the exercise of psychic powers” ( PK is said to be an “umbrella term,” meaning it has several different examples that fall under the term. Examples of this include: telekinesis, influencing events, teleportation, phasing through things, forming force fields, etc.

Psychokinesis reached the height of its popularity in the 1930’s. J.B. Rhine, a parapsychologist at Duke University conducted research on the issue in 1934. Gertrude Schmeidler, creator of a Psychokinesis website, discusses how Rhine was not the first to study PK, but was incredibly influential. She writes of how his study of ESP’s effects was said to yield great results. His subject was a gambler that supposedly used mind powers to control the fall of dice. Rhine was hesitant to release his studies initially because of the negative impressions of such studies at the time. However, after doing so, PK really started picking up steam (Schmeidler).

Psychokinesis is a top that was discussed at some length in our class. There were several videos showing the practice being debunked. Cynic, James Randi, was willing to give James Hydrick, a famous magician, $10,000 if he was able to move pages in a phone book using his mind. In order to insure that the magician was not blowing the pages, Randi placed a control (Styrofoam packaging ) around the book. Of course after the control was in place, Hydrick was unable to exercise his psychic abilities. James Hydrick was later exposed as a fraud and confessed in an interview that he was a phony. He claimed to be “testing how stupid America was.” Hydrick was not the only trickster exposed by Randi. James Randi made it his goal to debunk as many frauds as possible.

Prior to taking this course, I did not put much stock into people’s “abilities” to move things with their mind. However, after being reading the material and watching videos debunking the idea, I don’t see how anybody could believe that Psychokinesis is a credible practice. I suppose some people are just easily tricked. You would have to believe something that is so obviously fraud.

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