A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology

By Paul Kurtz | Go to book overview

8
Confessions of a Telepathist:
Thirty-Year Hoax Exposed
DOUGLAS BLACKBURN

The following article appeared in the Daily News ( London), September 1, 1911. It was written by Douglas Blackburn, who along with G. A. Smith was extensively tested by the Society for Psychical Research. The tests with Blackburn and Smith were taken as scientific evidence of the existence of thought transference, or telepathy. Smith, who had been employed by the SPR, denied the allegations.—ED.

For nearly 30 years the telepathic experiments conducted by Mr. G. A. Smith and myself have been accepted and cited as the basic evidences of the truth of Thought Transference.

Your correspondent "Inquirer" is one of many who have pointed to them as a conclusive reply to modern skeptics. The weight attached to those experiments was given by their publication in the first volume of the proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, vouched for by Messrs. F. W. H. Myers, Edmund Gurney, Frank Podmore, and later and inferentially by Professor Henry Sidgwick, Professor Romanes, and others of equal intellectual eminence. They were the first scientifically conducted and attested experiments in Thought Transference, and later were imitated and reproduced by "sensitives" all the world over.

I am the sole survivor of that group of experimentalists, and as no harm can be done to anyone, but possible good to the cause of truth, I, with mingled feelings of regret and satisfaction, now declare that the whole of those alleged experiments were bogus, and originated in the honest desire of two youths to show how easily men of scientific mind and training could be deceived when seeking for evidence in support of a theory they were wishful to establish.

And here let me say that I make this avowal in no boastful spirit. Within three months of our acquaintance with the leading members of the Society for Psychical Research, Mr. Smith and myself heartily regretted that these personally charming and scientifically distinguished men should have been victim

-235-

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