Parapsychology: Research on Exceptional Experiences

By Jane Henry | Go to book overview
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Chapter 10

Jane HenryPsychokinesis (PK) (movement by the psyche) refers to 'paranormal' action, that is, the mind's ability to affect or move an object at a distance by intention alone.Parapsychologists divide the phenomena into macro-PK, micro-PK, recurrent spontaneous PK and DMILS.
Macro-PK is the ability to affect an object through mental intention where observation is sufficient to establish the effect, for example to affect the throw of a dice or deform the shape of a spoon.
Recurrent spontaneous PK refers to naturally occurring PK, like poltergeist activity.
Micro-PK refers to the ability to affect very small objects, such as random number generators (RNGs), where the effect is typically assessed statistically through significant deviations from chance.
DMILS refers to direct mental interaction with living systems, such as raising or lowering heart rate by intention.

Examples of each of these varieties of PK follow. For a review of a wide range of PK phenomena see Schmeidler (1990).


Macro-PK has a long history and covers a wide variety of events where mind appears to influence matter. Most spiritual traditions are associated with some form of psychokinesis, from healing the sick to apparent miracles like the biblical story of the parting of the Red Sea. Closer to home, gamblers have long believed they can affect dice or a roulette wheel by the power of intention.

In the mid-nineteenth century apports and materialisations were reported by spiritualists and physical mediums who claimed to be able to produce physical phenomena such as ectoplasm (Braude 1986). Such reports seem to have declined and are now very rare, though certain Indian gurus such as Sai Baba are attributed (by followers) with the ability to materialise. A


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Parapsychology: Research on Exceptional Experiences


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