by Davis Plunkett and Kristen Seikel
Franklin Pierce College


from FranklinPierceCollege Website




A simple definition of psychokinesis (PK), is the apparent ability of a human being to affect objects, events or even people around him or her without using the usual intervention by the muscular system (Broughton 1991).


Any movement of physical matter that can be attained by using only mind inducing techniques would be considered as a form of psychokinesis.

Though one may think that psychokinesis is just the act of moving things with the mind, they are actually quite wrong. Psychokinesis definitely covers a wider range of complexity than that. As a matter of fact, there are two certain categories that psychokinesis can be separated into.


They are called macro-PK and micro-PK.


Micro-PK concentrates more on the mind’s direct influence on atomic particles or electronic devices, and macro- PK involves more of the direct movement of large objects such as bending metal.


The distinction is largely based upon whether one can simply see the effect (macro-PK) or whether one needs a statistical evaluation to determine if something unusual happened (micro-PK) (Broughton.1991).

Even though there are many different categories that are included in the subject of psychokinesis, the main one that will be concentrated on is micro-PK. Micro-PK is very similar to basic PK, except a smaller target is used. A subject is asked to cause a change in a physical system using only mental effort, and then the overall change is observed. By all appearances the micro-PK subject has been able to cause a noticeable change from a distance (Broughton.1991).


What we really see in the results of micro-PK research is not the exact movement of an object, but the changing of probabilities in instances based on pure chance. Therefore, micro-PK subjects are not as much shifting around objects, but shifting the odds of the events that are occurring.

Although there has been an abundance of research done in the field of micro-PK, the most effective way to truly determine this phenomena is through different statistical evaluations and experiments.


Most of these experiments performed are usually done with instruments that involve using magnetic fields, or machines that have electrically charged generators. These types of machines have been proven to be the most effective instruments used in the field of micro-PK.

One individual that has proven himself to be very successful in the field of micro-PK, and who has tested very positively, is a man by the name of Ingo Swann. Ingo Swann is a well- known psychic who has been involved in many different experiments, and who has also written books involving of parapsychology and ESP.

One well-known experiment that tested micro-PK was actually performed in the basement of the Varian Physics Building at Stanford University. At this time, Ingo Swann was the main target concentrated on. The main reason this experiment was performed was to determine whether rapport between man and magnetometer was actually possible (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).


What Ingo Swann’s purpose was, to affect a small magnetic probe that was located in a vault below the floor of the building. It was strongly shielded by a mu-metal magnetic shield, an aluminum container, copper shielding, and most important, a superconducting shield, the most effective type of shield known (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).

Ingo was shown the set up and told that if he were to affect the magnetic field in the magnetometer, the affect would result in a change in the output recording. He then "focused" on the interior of the magnetometer, at which time - after about a five second delay - the frequency of the oscillation doubled for about thirty seconds (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).

The straight-forward interpretation was that the magnetic field was decaying at twice the rate expected. It was also explained that perhaps "something was wrong with the equipment", and that the output would have been more impressive if Swann could have stopped the field change altogether (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).

So, in the concluding effects, the experiment was proven to be quite successful. Many of the observers could not believe that a human being could have such an effect on such strong magnetic fields, therefore a suggestion that there was a fault in the equipment proved that there was a definite unexplainable occurrence that happened.

Now that there has been a great deal of discussion explaining how much micro-PK really does exist, there are definitely a great number of people who want to do anything that they can to disprove this phenomena. A number of experiments have been performed using an individual named Pat, who was believed to also be very successful in the field of micro-PK.

Pat participated in a long series of experiments in which the goal was to register counts on a Geiger counter. Unfortunately, these experiments proved to be unsuccessful. In a second series of experiments, the possibility was examined that the subject might have been able to exert a physical influence on a remotely-located mechanical system.


The target was a torsion pendulum suspended by a metal fiber inside a sealed glass bell jar in a lab some distance from the subject. The position of the pendulum was monitored by a laser beam reflected from a small mirror on the pendulum onto a position-sensing detector.


The output from the detector was monitored by a chart recorder. The subject was provided feedback at the remote location either by closed circuit video or by a second chart recorder connected to the recorder in the enclosed target lab. Pat was to try to increase or decrease the oscillation of the pendulum during one minute intervals determined by a random number table.


Although there appeared to be some evidence in pilot studies that Pat could, by concentration, influence the motion of the pendulum, data taken in controlled experiments, although showing a trend in the desired direction, did not reach statistical significance (Targ and Puthoff, 1977).

Now that there has been a view of some of the experiments that can be, and have been conducted to test for the presence of micro-PK, there is another way to check if the ability is there or not. These are called PK games.

The first computerized PK game required a very expensive laboratory computer, but several years later, the microcomputer made it possible for any parapsychology laboratory to turn any PK or micro-PK experiment into a game. The gaming approach should be viewed as just one method of PK testing, and some researchers may not like to use this strategy.

One example of a PK game involves using the strategy of computerized dice. A highly modified version of a commercially available product. This particular game has the rules of craps yet also consists of a number of original ideas. The object of the game is to accumulate a high score (that is, high numbers on the faces of two computer-display dice) and to avoid doubles (which reduce the score). The numbers on the die faces come from a Schmidt-type Random Number Generator, so they are potentially influenceable by PK (Broughton, 1991).

The only "performance" that would enable subjects to win consistently in the dice game was PK performance. It was brought up that by simply adding a competitive element to the game, then maybe it could entice PK out of the subjects. The first experiment that was performed for this was tested wrong.


Although the scores in the competitive condition were higher than chance, they were not significantly so, nor were they significantly different from the noncompetitive scores. In the noncompetitive game, there was no relationship between the game scores and the subjects anxiety.


For the competitive game, however, there was a significant negative relationship. This meant that subjects who were more relaxed and at ease with the competition game got higher scores and were more likely to win the game. The subjects that were more anxious, were in fact more likely to lose (Broughton, 1991). This just proves that in fact, PK effects are definitely influenced by the subjects attitude and mood.

Psychokinesis is defined in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary as,

"the production or alteration of motion by the influence of the mind without somatic intervention in objects discrete from the subject’s body."

This definition, however, fails to present accurate accounts of psychokinesis, or PK, in a laboratory setting.


There have been numerous studies performed in an attempt to study this most interesting phenomena yet gaining further insight is necessary in determining sufficient evidence. As a group we have compiled descriptive and factual assessments based on information gathered on psychokinesis.

When studying a topic such as psychokinesis, it’s necessary to look deeper into the actual ways in which this "psi" phenomena is performed. However, there are numerous, elite scientists that are "highly skeptical" about the existence of psychokinesis (McConnell and Clark, 1992).


In fact, 77% stated that they believe that it "does occur" but still remain a bit skeptical about the phenomena. In contrast, 19% voiced no opinion on the matter, while only 2% stated that they were true believers of the phenomena. What makes it so difficult to believe in psychokinesis or microkinesis?


There have been numerous experiments done over the years in an attempt to prove once and for all that it does occur but regardless, the skeptics remain strong in their opinions. Does psychokinesis exist? From the experiments conducted decades ago to the present research in the phenomena, I think it is clearly apparent that it does in fact occur.

Research began on psychokinesis in 1930 under the control of Dr. J.B Rhine, a researcher at Duke University (Rhine, 1967).


Rhine was determined to discover if,

"the mind can know without the ordinary means of knowing?"

The actual research began with a young gambler who stated that he had the ability to make dice fall at will to the perceived number of intention.


Rhine found this attribute to be crucial in proving the existence of psychokinesis so he, in turn, brought the research to Duke for further study. Rhine asked ESP students to be subjects in the research.


What he discovered was that the subjects found considerable success in dice rolling (Rhine, 1967). On a six sided cube, or die, an individual has a one choice in six of having it fall on a desired face. The dice thrown by the students averaged considerably more on average of a successful result.


This was the first notion of the existence of psychokinesis and once upon completion of the research the skeptics began to state their disbelief. One of the early skeptics was William Gatling.

William Gatling, a divinity student, set out to prove J.B Rhine’s opinion of psychokinesis to be false (Rhine, 1967). What Gatling did was organize a contest to benefit his research. He recruited two teams, one made up of four divinity students, in which they volunteered their time and were informed of the situation (Rhine, 1967).


This team believed that "psi" phenomena was a God-given ability and not just characterized by gamblers (Rhine, 1967). The other team created in Gatling’s study were the "four best crapshooters" on the Duke campus.


Though Gatling was not absolutely sure that they were the top four, they were titled as the best by word of mouth around the campus community. The mere fact that they accepted to partake in the contest showed that they felt they were worthy of the honor as the best the college had to offer. The atmosphere and competitiveness of the study was not recorded, however, the mathematical outcome was processed.

Under the same standard conditions the results were recorded. They threw six dice at a time from a cardboard cup onto a table with a padded top (Rhine, 1967). They completed this process four times each in which 24 dice were rolled. The result was that both sides won, rather not against each other but against chance (Rhine 1967).


The scores recorded were so similar that neither group could be considered the winner. A total of 540 runs were thrown by the gamblers with a positive deviation of 282, an average run score of 4.52 per run instead of 4.00 to be expected by chance (Rhine, 1967).

The ministerial students, on the other hand, threw 702 runs and got a deviation above expectation of 359, an average of 4.51 (Rhine, 1967). The end result showed that the combined results were four times higher as is necessary in general science to be considered significant . This experiment began the long search for further evidence in the existence of psychokinesis.

The urge to discover more about the fascinating world of "psi" phenomena was not only pursued by Americans, but by other countries as well. In the former Soviet Union, research was being completed on psychokinesis from the use of a EEG, or electrocardiograph chamber. An EEG is a force field detector that determines the presence of a human’s ability to produce an "invisible, electrical, aura" (Ostrander, 1970).


The subject being studied in this highly technological study was Nelya Mikhailova. The researcher who closely monitored the event was Dr. Genady Sergeyev. It was discovered that Mikhailova had the incredible ability to produce electrical energy at free will. During psychokinesis, her pulse would rise to 240 beats per minute (Ostrander, 1970). This enhances polarization in the brain between the front and back cortex. Disturbance of the magnetic fields is done in a frequency of five cycles (Ostrander, 1970).


Heartbeat, brain waves, and force field fluctuation are in ratio to the interruptions. It was discovered that the fields of energy around Mikhailova are stronger further away as opposed to close to the head (Ostrander, 1970). By having this control of energy, she was able to direct it towards a desired area and, thus, altering the object. Mikhailova was able to display light objects of plastic material and metal from 10 to 50 grams.


During this process the EEG indicated an electrostatic fluctuating field.

It becomes apparent by looking at the remarkable experiments on Nelya Mikhailova that she is capable of performing micro kinetic tasks at will. Other new discoveries resulted from this research that had not been known prior to its completion. One finding was that the energy level is higher and more electric away from the body which proved that distance plays a role in psychokinesis.


Another finding was that not only does the heart rate increase upon the rise of energy but that the brain and heart work together as one unit in the production of the electrostatic energy (Ostrander, 1970).


The Mikhailova experiments gave the world more hope of the existence of not only psychokinesis, but the other "psi" phenomena as well. Through the use of an EEG, Sergeyev was able to document the entire experiment. Regardless of the accuracy of the study "skeptics" still searched for clues in how it could have been manipulated.

In 1941, an updated study was performed by Dr. J.B Rhine on the rolling dice theory, which he completed in 1930. The reasons for the experiment were to determine any actual evidence of psychokinesis (Vasileir, 1965). Rhine felt as though the experiments he completed a decade earlier, which involved the use of ESP students and gamblers as subjects, wasn’t sufficient evidence for many people.


The result was the completion of a "dice - throwing machine." It consisted of a reticular cylinder rotating around a central axis and was operated by an electric motor (Vasileir, 1965). The experimenter sat on the right of the machine while the subject, who is attempting to influence the dice, sat on the left. Rhine believed that if a subject had a psychokinetic ability they would concentrate on a certain side and that chosen side would repeatedly appear. In one series he’d ask the subject to concentrate on one side while in another series he’d ask the subject to think of various sides.


Though his results were not recorded, another experimenter, R.H Thouless used the same machine technique which resulted in negative outcomes. The chosen side of the die came up 2,809 times out of 16,232 trials, which then has a positive deviation of 104 (Vasileir, 1965). The chances of such a deviation is one time out of 33, which is not very convincing.


The conclusion to the "dice - throwing machine" was that the results provided no further proof in the existence of psychokinesis.

It has been discovered that energy plays a crucial role in successful psychokinesis experiments. This is especially true in the case of Dr. Julius Krmessky, a Czechoslovakian researcher (Ostrander& Schroeder, 1976).


Dr. Krmessky is noted for his incredible psychokinesis experiments. He has demonstrated, numerous times, his ability to move mobiles completely sealed under glass and shielded by wood and metal (Ostrander & Schroeder, 1976). The most intriguing mobile is created by attaching a white file card to an inverted test tube and suspending it over a long, upturned needle.


Krmessky, seated a few feet away, gazes instantly at the mobile and slowly the card begins to turn. Soon thereafter a switch is tripped and a lamp lights. Coincidence? The energy that Krmessky gives off is similar to that of Neyla Mikhailova, the Russian who produced incredible electrical heat while monitored in an EEG chamber.


What becomes further evident through processing past experiments is that energy is the main source needed in successfully completing research in psychokinesis.

In regard to energy, other experiments have resulted in positive outcomes because of mystical forces.


Alla Vinogradova, from Moscow, has the ability to move various objects on a dielectric surface without touching them (Long, 1972). They discovered that there was enough light around the object to light a small neon glow tube. Measurements with extra-sensory field meters indicated potentials of at least 10 to 12 kV meter (Long, 1972).


It was also discovered in this study, as was also true in Nelya Mikhailova’s research, that the energy field shifted according to the distance between Alla and the object. This again shows the intensity required in order to successful alter a desired object. Due to the numerous, recorded results proving that energy is responsible for the process of psychokinesis, why are there 77% of scientist studied who still remain skeptical about psychokinesis?

When looking at psychokinesis, we must analyze experiments, both new and old, and take notice of how the researcher went about his/her research and why. H. Forwald completed a series of papers on experiments to determine the effects of the physical conditions of objects on psychokinetic phenomena (Long, 1972).


What he intended to do was look at every object and report on the possibility of altering the object in some way. In relation to dice or cubes, he found that the magnitude of the acceleration acting on the average cube was 15% that of the gravitational acceleration (Long, 1972).


When a force is acting, the object should reveal a more direct demonstration. A ball then should be easy to move by psychokinesis right? Wrong Forwald states "the reason stems from the fact that psychokinesis does not involve any force" (Long, 1972). He goes on to state that "the nature of the phenomenon lies in the allowed quantum mechanical states of the system and the associated probabilities for those states"(Long, 1972).


He based his theory on the question of the dependence of the magnitude of the cube deflection on cube material and construction (Long, 1972). Through research, Forwald was able to defend his theory and develop a strong conclusion to the study. Despite finding numerous mistakes made in the past study of psychokinesis, Forwald was able to prove its existence without intervention or repetitive error.

Another individual who attempted to prove the existence of psychokinesis was Helmut Schmidt, a physicist (Broughton, 1991). Schmidt constructed a pyschokinesis device known as a random number generator (RNG). The design of the experiment involved a oscillator that electronically flipped back and forth between two positions.


The display was a ring of nine lights, lit one at a time by the RNG (Broughton, 1991). If the light stopped in one position, the light moved one step clock wise and if the light stopped in the other position, the light moved counterclockwise. The light was, basically, moving around the ring, in a timed pattern clockwise and counterclockwise (Broughton, 1991).

The subjects were not expected to comprehend what was going on in the RNG, rather they were asked to "will" the lights in a certain direction (Broughton, 1991). A run of this experiment consisted of 128 binary counts and lasted approximately two minutes (Broughton, 1991). The pilot experiment with the RNG produced unexpected results. Eighteen subjects contributed a total of 216 runs, but the light neglected to follow in the desired direction that the subjects urged the light to move in.


This resulted in significantly below what chance would predict. The main experiment consisted of fifteen subjects and 256 runs (Broughton, 1991). These subjects produced a scoring rate of 49%, and though not a strong effect it was statistically significant. The experiment proved not to be a strong support for the existence of psychokinesis, however, Schmidt would continue in an effort to gather proof of the phenomena.

Schmidt’s next experiment attempted to see if there would be a difference in results between a psi test structured for precognition and one structured for PK (Broughton, 1991).


In this experiment, Schmidt used his four button machine.


In the precognition part of the study, the machine worked as usual with the subject pressing one of the buttons and a split second later the internal RNG caused one of the lamps to turn on. In the PK test, everything looked the same to the subject but it was altered. The machine, using the output of RNG, would count over that many lamp positions according to the number pushed.


Through this experiment, Schmidt was able to compare precognitive and PK performance under equivalent psychological conditions. The results produced 30% for the precognition experiment and 31% for the PK experiment (Broughton, 1991). With 25% expected by chance, both proved to be statistically significant. Schmidt chose one selected subject who was able to score 33% for precognition and 30% for PK (Broughton, 1991).


These results, once again, were highly significant. Schmidt concluded that there was no difference between the two conditions, they both resulted in the same degree of success. Schmidt’s experiment made it apparent that when dealing with psychokinesis, we may not be able to distinguish between them operationally ( Broughton, 1991 ).

In looking at psychokinesis from a clinical perspective, it becomes necessary to look further into the psychological impact of a study upon the subjects involved.

Do anxiety and PK interrelate in a extraneous manner to determine success or failure in psychokinesis?

Can it be determined strictly on luck?

There are many questions relating to psychokinesis and the way in which it is achieved. The brain has many random, automatic processes (Broughton, 1991). However, there are things that are beyond our control; for example, other people’s random behavior.


If PK is to address these " things " and be able to process the situations,

Do we have to exert ourselves in PK?


Why it is that some people can perform psychokinesis without hesitations while others cannot?

What becomes apparent by looking at these questions is that more research must be done in determining how psychokinesis is actually transmitted to a focal point.


Though numerous experiments have found statistical significance in their results, it is necessary to address how they were reached. Some experimenters have tried but were unable to determine the actual methodology behind psychokinesis.

Psychokinesis is a "psi" phenomena that will continue to be researched and analyzed for many years to come. From the original founder of psychokinesis, J.B Rhine, to the more recent Helmut Schmidt, psychokinesis has been approached from a skeptical point of view.


Through amazing performances by psychics such as Nelya Mikhailova and Dr. Julius Krmessky many have been able to question those who remain skeptical about psychokinesis.


However, from a scientific viewpoint there needs to be more clear cut evidence into the phenomena. Since there has not been any clear cut evidence to date is remains a phenomena until there is documentation available to us which will prove how and why psychokinesis is an existing conscious power.


This will, unfortunately, require time and with that time we can search for our own clues into the phenomena of psychokinesis.



  • Broughton, R.S, M.D (1991). Parapsychology: The Controversial Science . New York; Ballantine Books.

  • Long, J.K (1977). Extrasensory Ecology: Parapsychology and Anthropology. London; Scarecrow Press.

  • McConnell & Clark (1991). National Academy of Sciences Opinion on Parapsychology. Journal of American Society of Psychical Research., 85, 363-365

  • Ostrander, S. (1970). Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. London: Prentice Hall.

  • Ostrander, S., & Schroeder, L. (1976). The ESP Papers. New York, New York; Bantam Books.

  • Rhine, L.E. (1967). ESP in Life and Lab: Tracing Hidden Channels. New York, New York: Collier-Macmillan.

  • Swann, Ingo (1993). Everybody’s Guide to Natural ESP. New York; St.Martin’s Press.

  • Targ, R. & Puthoff, H.(1977). Mind-Reach. New York, New York; Dell Publishing Co.

  • Vasileir, L.L. (1965). Mysterious Phenomena of the Human Psyche. New York, University Books.