Part 3

Tapping into the Field


‘The last century was the atomic age, but this one could well turn out to be the zero-point age.’
Hal Puthoff


The Healing Field

Puthoff, Braud and the other scientists had been left with an imponderable: the ultimate usefulness of the non-local effects they had observed.


Their studies suggested a number of elegant metaphysical ideas about man and his relation to his world, but a number of practical considerations had been left unanswered.

  • How powerful was intention as a force and exactly how ‘infectious’ was the coherence of individual consciousness?

  • Could we actually tap into The Field to control our own health or even to heal others?

  • Could it cure really serious diseases like cancer?

  • Was the coherence of human consciousness responsible for psychoneuroimmunology - the healing effect of the mind on the body?

Braud’s studies in particular suggested that human intention could be used as an extraordinarily potent healing force.


It appeared that we could order the random fluctuations in the Zero Point Field and use this to establish greater ‘order’ in another person. With this type of capability, one person should be able to act as a healing conduit, allowing The Field to realign another person’s structure. Human consciousness could act as a reminder, as Fritz Popp believed, to re-establish another person’s coherence.


If non-local effects could be marshalled to heal someone, then a discipline like distant healing ought to work.

What was clearly needed was a test of these ideas in real life with a study so carefully designed that it would answer some of these questions, once and for all. In the early 1990s the opportunity arose with the perfect candidate - a scientist rather skeptical of the remote healing with a group of patients who’d been given up for dead.

Elisabeth Targ, an orthodox psychiatrist in her early 30s, was the daughter of Russell Targ, Hal Puthoff ’s partner and successor in the SRI remote-viewing experiments. Elisabeth was a curious hybrid, drawn to the possibilities suggested by her father’s remote-viewing work at SRI, but also shackled by the rigors of her scientific training.


At the time, she’d been invited to work as director of the California Pacific Medical Center’s Complementary Research Institute, as a result of the remote-viewing work she’d done with her father. One of her tasks was to formally study the treatments offered by the clinic, which consisted largely of alternative medicine. Often she seemed to be teetering between both camps - wanting science to embrace and study the miraculous, and wanting alternative medicine to be more scientific.

A number of different strands in her life began to converge.


She’d received a phone call from a friend of hers, Hella Hammid, announcing that she had breast cancer. Hella had arrived in Elisabeth’s life through her father, who’d inadvertently discovered in Hella, a photographer, one of his most talented remote viewers. Hella had called to ask if Elisabeth knew of any evidence that alternative therapies such as distant healing - something not unlike remote viewing - could help to cure breast cancer.

In the 1980s, at the height of the AIDS epidemic - a time when a diagnosis of HIV was almost certainly a death sentence - Elisabeth had chosen this specialty in San Francisco, the very epicenter of the US epidemic. At the time of Hella’s phone call, the hottest topic in medical circles in California was psychoneuroimmunology.


Patients had begun to crowd into special town-hall meetings given by mind–body devotees such as Louise Hay or into workshops on visualization and imagery.


Elisabeth herself had been dabbling in her own studies of mind–body medicine, undoubtedly because she’d had nothing much else to offer patients with advanced AIDS, even though she was deeply skeptical of Hay’s approach. One of her own early studies had shown that group therapy was as good as Prozac for treating depression in AIDS patients.1


She’d also read of the work of David Spiegel at Stanford Medical School, showing that group therapy dramatically increased life expectancy for women with breast cancer.2

In her sensible, pragmatic heart, Elisabeth suspected the effect was a combination of hope and wishful thinking, and perhaps a bit of confidence engendered by the support of the group. They may have been psychologically better, but their T-cell counts certainly weren’t improving. Still, she harbored a shred of doubt, possibly derived from the years she’d spent observing her father’s work on remote viewing at SRI.


His success strongly argued for the existence of some sort of extrasensory connection between people and a field that connected all things. Elisabeth herself had often wondered if one could use the special ability observed in remote viewing for something besides spying on the Soviets or predicting a horse race, as she had once done.

Then in 1995, Elisabeth received a phone call from Fred Sicher.


Fred was a psychologist, researcher and retired hospital administrator. He’d been referred to her friend Marilyn Schlitz, Braud’s old associate, who was now the director of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the Sausalito based organization that Edgar Mitchell had set up many years before. Fred now at last had the time in his life to investigate something that fascinated him.


As a hospital administrator, he’d always been something of a philanthropist. At Schlitz’s suggestion, he approached Elisabeth about the possibility of working with him on a study of distant healing. With her unique background, Elisabeth was a natural choice to head up the study.

Prayer was not something Elisabeth had much experience of. She had inherited from her father not only her melancholic Russian looks and thick black tresses, lightly tinged with grey, but also her passion for the microscope.


The only God in the Targ family home had been the scientific method. Targ had imparted to his daughter a sense of the thrill of science, with its capability of answering the big questions. As he’d chosen to work out how the world works, so his daughter had chosen to figure out the workings of the human mind. As a 13-year-old, she’d even wangled a place working in Karl Pribram’s brain research laboratory at Stanford University, examining differences between left and right hemisphere activity, before deciding on an orthodox course of study in psychiatry at Stanford.

Nevertheless, Elisabeth had been highly impressed by the Soviet Academy of Science during a visit she’d made there with her father, and the fact that laboratory study of parapsychology could be so openly carried out by the establishment. In officially atheist Russia, they had only two categories of belief: something was true or not true.


In America, a third category existed: religion, which placed some things strictly beyond the reach of scientific investigation.


Everything scientists couldn’t explain, everything connected with healing, or prayer, or the paranormal - the territory of her father’s work - seemed to fall into this third category. Once it was placed there, it was officially declared out of bounds.

Her father had built his reputation on designing impeccable experiments, and he had taught her respect for the importance of the air-tight, well-controlled trial. She grew up believing that any sort of effect could be quantified, so long as you designed the experiment to control for variables. Indeed, Puthoff and Targ between them had demonstrated that the well-designed experiment could even prove the miraculous.


The outcome was gospel, regardless of whether that outcome violated the researcher’s every expectation. All good experiments ‘work’: the problem is simply that we may not like the conclusions.

Even as Targ senior shifted his thinking to embrace certain spiritual ideas, Elisabeth remained the cool rationalist. Still, throughout what was an orthodox training in psychiatry, she’d never forgotten her father’s lessons: received wisdom was the enemy of good science. As a student she would seek out dusty psychiatric writings of the nineteenth century, before the advent of modern psychopharmacology, when psychiatrists lived in sanatoriums, writing down the rantings of their patients in an attempt to gain further understanding of their conditions.


Somewhere in the raw data, Targ believed, separated out from the dogma of the times, lay the truth.

Elisabeth agreed to collaborate with Sicher, even though privately she doubted it was ever going to work. She would put distant healing to the purest test. She would try it out on her patients with advanced AIDS, a group so certain to die that nothing other than hope and prayer was open to them anymore. She would find out whether prayer and distant intention could cure the ultimate hopeless case.

She began trawling through the evidence on healing.


The studies seemed to fall into three broad categories: attempts to affect isolated cells or enzymes; healing of animals, plants or microscopic living systems; and studies of human beings. Included was all of Braud and Schlitz’s work, which showed that people could have an influence on all types of living processes.


There was also some interesting evidence showing the effects humans could have on plants and animals. There’d even been some work showing that positive or negative thoughts and feelings could somehow be transmitted to other living things.

In the 1960s, biologist Dr Bernard Grad of McGill University in Montreal, one of the earliest pioneers in the field, was interested in determining whether psychic healers actually transmit energy to patients. Rather than using live human patients, Grad had used plants which he’d planned to make ‘ill’ by soaking their seeds in salty water, which retards growth.


Before he soaked the seeds, however, he had a healer lay hands on one container of salt water, which was to be used for one batch of seeds.


The other container of salt water, which had not been exposed to the healer, would hold the remainder of seeds. After the seeds were soaked in the two containers of salt water, the batch exposed to the water treated by the healer grew taller than the other batch.
the healing field

Grad then hypothesized that the reverse might also happen - negative feelings might have a negative effect on the growth of plants. In a follow-up study, Grad had several psychiatric patients hold containers of ordinary water which were to be used again to sprout seeds. One patient, a man being treated for psychotic depression, was noticeably more depressed than the others.


Later, when Grad tried to sprout seeds using water of the patients, the water that had been held by the depressed man suppressed growth.3 This may be one good explanation why some people have green fingers and others can get nothing living to grow.4

In later experiments, Grad chemically analyzed the water by infrared spectroscopy and discovered that the water treated by the healer had minor shifts in its molecular structure and decreased hydrogen bonding between the molecules, similar to what happens when water is exposed to magnets. A number of other scientists confirmed Grad’s findings.5

Grad moved on to mice, who’d been given skin wounds in the laboratory. After controlling for a number of factors, even the effect of warm hands, he found that the skin of his test mice healed far more quickly when healers had treated them.6


Grad also showed that healers could reduce the growth of cancerous tumors in laboratory animals. Animals with tumors which were not healed died more quickly.7 Other animal studies have shown that amyloidosis, tumors and laboratory-induced goiter could be healed in laboratory animals.8

Other conducted scientific studies had shown that people could influence yeast, fungi and even isolated cancer cells.9 In one of them, a biologist named Carroll Nash at St Joseph’s University in Philadelphia found that people could influence the growth rate of bacteria just by willing it so.10

An ingenious trial by Gerald Solfvin showed that our ability to ‘hope for the best’ might actually affect the healing of other beings. Solfvin created a series of complex and elaborate conditions for his test. He injected a group of mice with a type of malaria, which is usually fatal in rodents.

Solfvin got hold of three lab assistants and told them that only half the mice had been injected with malaria. A psychic healer would be attempting to heal one-half of the mice - not necessarily all those with malaria - although the assistants would not know which mice were to be the target of the healing. Neither statement was true.

All the assistants could do was to hope that the mice in their care would recover, and that the psychic healer’s intervention would work.

However, one assistant was considerably more optimistic than his colleagues, and it showed. At the end of the study the mice under his care were less ill than those cared for by the other two assistants.11

Like that of Grad’s healers, the Solfvin study was too small to be definitive. But there had been earlier research by Rex Stanford in 1974. Stanford had showed that people could influence events just by ‘hoping’ everything would go well, even when they did not fully understand exactly what they were supposed to be hoping for.12

Elisabeth was surprised to find that scores of studies - at least 150 human trials - had been done on healing.


These were instances in which an intermediary would use one of a variety of methods to attempt to send healing messages, through touch, prayer or some sort of secular intention. With therapeutic touch, the patient is supposed to relax and attempt to direct his or her attention inward while the healer lays hands on the patient and intends the patient to heal.

A typical study involved ninety-six patients with high blood pressure and a number of healers. Neither doctor nor patients were told who was being given the mental healing treatments.


A statistical analysis performed afterwards showed that the systolic blood pressure (that is, the pressure of blood flow as it is being pumped from the heart) of the group being treated by a healer was significantly improved, compared with that of the controls. The healers had employed a well-defined regime, which involved relaxation, getting in touch with a Higher Power or Infinite Being, using visualization or affirmation of the patients in a state of perfect health, and giving thanks to the source, whether it was God or some other spiritual power.


As a group, the healers demonstrated overall success and, in certain individual instances, extraordinary results. Four of the healers enjoyed a 92.3 per cent improvement among their total group of patients.13

Perhaps the most impressive human study had been carried out by physician Randolph Byrd in 1988. It had attempted to determine in a randomized, double-blind trial whether remote prayer would have any effect on patients in a coronary care unit.


Over 10 months, nearly 400 patients were divided into two groups, and only half (unbeknownst to them) were prayed for by a Christian prayer group outside the hospital.


All patients had been evaluated, and there was no statistical difference in their condition before treatment. However, after treatment, those who’d been prayed for had significantly less severe symptoms and fewer instances of pneumonia and also required less assistance on a ventilator and fewer antibiotics than patients who hadn’t been prayed for. 14

Although a large number of studies had been carried out, the problem with many of them, as far as Elisabeth was concerned, was the potential for sloppy protocol. The researchers hadn’t constructed trials tightly enough to demonstrate that it was truly healing that had produced the positive result. Any number of influences, rather than any actual healing mechanism, might have been responsible.

In the blood-pressure-healing study, for instance, the authors didn’t record or control whether the patients were taking blood-pressure medication. Good as the results were, you couldn’t really tell whether they were due to the healing or the drugs.

Although Byrd’s prayer study was well designed, one obvious omission was any data concerning the psychological state of the patients when they’d started the study. As it is known that psychological issues can affect recovery after a number of illnesses, notably cardiac surgery, it may have been that a disproportionate number of patients with a positive mental outlook had landed in the healing group.

To demonstrate that healing was what had actually made patients better, it was vital to separate out any effects that might have been due to other causes.


Even human expectation could skew the results. You needed to control for the effects of hope or such factors as relaxation on the outcome of trials. Cuddling animals, or even handling the contents of Petri dishes, could potentially bias the results, as could the act of traveling to a healer or even a warm pair of hands.

In any scientific trial, when you are trying to test the effectiveness of some form of intervention, you need to make sure that the only difference between your treatment group and control group is that one gets the treatment and the other doesn’t. This means matching the two groups as closely as you can in terms of health, age, socioeconomic status and any other relative factors. If the patients are ill, you need to make sure that one group isn’t more ill than the other.


However, in the studies Elisabeth read about, few attempts had been made to make sure the populations were similar.

You also have to make sure that participation in a study and all the attention associated with it doesn’t itself cause improvement, so that you have the same results among those who have been treated and those who haven’t.

In one such study, a six-week distant healing study of patients suffering from clinical depression, the test was unsuccessful - all the patients improved, even the control group who hadn’t been subject to healing. But all patients, those receiving healing and those with no healing, may have had a psychological boost from the session, which might have overwhelmed any actual effect of healing.15

All these considerations represented a tremendous challenge to Elisabeth in putting together a trial. The study would have to be so tightly constructed that none of these variables affected the results. Even the presence of a healer at certain times and not others might tend to influence the outcome. Though a laying on of hands might aid in the healing process, to control properly in a scientific sense meant that patients should not know whether they were being touched or healed.

Targ and Sicher spent months designing their trial.


Of course, it had to be double-blind, so that neither patients nor doctors could know who was being healed. The patient population had to be homogeneous, so they selected advanced AIDS patients of Elisabeth’s with the same degree of illness - the same T-cell counts, the same number of AIDS-defining illnesses. It was important to eliminate any element of the healing mechanism that might confound the results, such as meeting the healer or being touched.


This meant, they decided, that all healing should be done remotely. Because they were testing healing itself, and not the power of a particular form of it, such as Christian prayer, their healers should be from diverse backgrounds and between them cover the whole array of approaches. They would screen out anyone who appeared overly egotistical, only in it for the money or fraudulent.


They’d also have to be dedicated, as they’d receive no pay and no individual glory. Each patient was to be treated by at least ten different healers.

After four months of searching, Fred and Elisabeth had their healers - an eclectic assortment of forty religious and spiritual healers all across America, many highly respected in their fields. Only a small minority described themselves as conventionally religious and carried out their work by praying to God or using a rosary: several Christian healers, a handful of evangelicals, one Jewish kabbalist healer and a few Buddhists.


A number of others were trained in non-religious healing schools, such as the Barbara Brennan School of Healing Light, or worked with complex energy fields, attempting to change colors or vibrations in a patient’s aura. Some used contemplative healing or visualizations; others worked with tones and planned to sing or ring bells on behalf of the patient, the purpose of which, they claimed, was to reattune their chakras, or energy centers.


A few worked with crystals. One healer, who’d been trained as a Lakota Sioux shaman, intended to use the Native American pipe ceremony.


Drumming and chanting would enable him to go into a trance during which he would contact spirits on the patient’s behalf. They also enlisted a Qigong master from China, who said that he would be sending harmonizing qi energy to the patients.


The only criterion, Targ and Sicher maintained, was that the healers believed that what they were using was going to work.

They had one other common element: success in treating hopeless cases. Collectively, the healers had an average of 17 years of experience in healing and reported an average of 117 distant healings apiece.

Targ and Sicher then divided their group of twenty patients in half. The plan was that both groups would receive the usual orthodox treatment, but only one of the two groups would also receive distant healing. Neither doctors nor patients were going to know who was being healed and who wasn’t.

All information about each patient was to be kept in sealed envelopes and handled individually through each step of the study. One of the researchers would gather up each patient’s name, photograph and health details into a numbered folder. This would then be given to another researcher, who would then renumber the folders at random.


A third researcher would then randomly divide the folders into two groups, after which they were placed in locked filing cabinets. Copies in five sealed packets would be sent to each healer, with information about the five patients and a start date specifying the days to begin treatment on each person. The only participants in the study who were going to know who was being healed were the healers themselves.


The healers would have no contact with their patients - indeed, would never even meet. All they’d been given to work with was a photo, a name and a T-cell count.

Each of the healers was asked to hold an intention for the health and well-being of the patient for an hour a day, six days each week, for ten weeks, with alternate weeks off for rest. It was an unprecedented treatment protocol, where every patient in the treatment group would be treated by every healer in turn. To remove any individual biases, healers had a weekly rotation, so that they were assigned a new patient each week.


This would enable all of the healers to be distributed throughout the patient population, so that healing itself, not any particular variety of it, would be studied. The healers were to keep a log of their healing sessions with information about their healing methods and their impressions of their patients’ health.


By the end of the study, each of the treated patients would have had ten healers, and each of the healers, five patients.

Elisabeth was open-minded about it, but the conservative in her kept surfacing. Try as she might, her training and her own predilections kept surfacing. She remained fairly convinced that Native American pipe smoking and chakra chanting had nothing to do with curing a group of men with an illness so serious and so advanced that they were virtually certain to die.

And then she saw her patients with end-stage AIDS getting better. During the six months of the trial period, 40 per cent of the control population died. But all ten of the patients in the healing group were not only still alive but had become healthier, on the basis of their own reports and medical evaluations.

At the end of the study, the patients had been examined by a team of scientists, and their condition had yielded one inescapable conclusion: the treatment was working.

Targ almost didn’t believe her own results. She and Sicher had to make certain that it was healing that had been responsible. They checked and rechecked their protocol. Was there anything about the treatment group that had been different? Had the medication been different, the doctor different, their diets different? Their T-cell counts had been the same, they had not been HIV positive for longer.


After re-examining the data, Elisabeth discovered one difference they’d overlooked: the control patients had been slightly older, a median age of 45, compared with 35 in the treatment group. It didn’t represent a vast difference - just a ten-year age gap - but that could have been factor in why more of them had died. Elisabeth followed up the patients after the study, and found that those who’d been healed were surviving better, regardless of age.


Nevertheless, she knew they were dealing with a controversial field and an effect that is, on its face, extremely unlikely, so science dictates that you have to assume the effect isn’t real unless you are really sure. Occum’s razor. Select the simplest hypothesis when confronted with several possibilities.

Elisabeth and Sicher decided to repeat the experiment, but this time to make it larger and to control for age and any other factors they’d overlooked. The forty patients chosen to participate were now perfectly matched for age, degree of illness and many other variables, even down to their personal habits.


The amount they smoked, or exercise they took, their religious beliefs, even their use of recreational drugs were now equivalent. In scientific terms, this was a batch of men who were as close as you could get to a perfect match.

By this time protease inhibitors, the great white hope drug of AIDS treatment, had been discovered. All of the patients were told to take standard triple therapy for AIDS (protease inhibitors plus two anti-retroviral drugs such as AZT) but to continue their medical treatment in every other regard.

Because the triple therapy appeared to be making a profound difference on mortality rates in AIDS patients, Elisabeth assumed that, this time, no one in either group would actually die. This meant she needed to change the result she was aiming for. In the new study, she was looking for whether distant healing could slow down the progression of AIDS.


Could it result in fewer AIDS-defining illnesses, improved T-cell levels, less medical intervention, improved psychological well-being?

Elisabeth’s caution finally paid off. After six months, the treated group were healthier on every parameter - significantly fewer doctor visits, fewer hospitalizations, fewer days in hospital, fewer new AIDS-defining illnesses and significantly lower severity of disease.


Only two of those in the treatment group had developed any new AIDS-defining illnesses, while twelve of the control group had, and only three of the treated group had been hospitalized, compared with twelve of those in the control group. The treated group also registered significant improved mood on psychological tests. On six of the eleven medical outcome measures, the group treated with healing had significantly better outcomes.

Even the power of positive thinking among the patients had been controlled for. Midway through the study, all the participants were asked if they thought they were being treated. In both the treatment and the control groups, half thought they were, half thought not. This random division of positive and negative views about healing meant that any involvement of positive mental attitude would not have affected the results. When analyzed, the beliefs of the participants about whether they were getting healing treatment did not correlate with anything.


Only at the end of the study period did the subjects tend to guess correctly that they’d been in the healing group.

Just to be sure, Elisabeth conducted fifty statistical tests to eliminate whether any other variables in the patients might have contributed to the results. This time, there were no more than chance.

The results were inescapable. No matter which type of healing they used, no matter what their view of a higher being, the healers were dramatically contributing to the physical and psychological well-being of their patients.16

Targ and Sicher’s results were vindicated a year later, when a study entitled MAHI (Mid-America Heart Institute) of the effect of remote intercessory prayer for hospitalized cardiac patients over 12 months showed patients had fewer adverse events and a shorter hospital stay if they were prayed for. In this study, however, the ‘intercessors’ were not gifted healers; to qualify to take part, they simply needed to believe in God and the fact that he responds when you pray to Him to heal someone who is ill.


In this instance, all the participants were using some form of standard prayer and most were Christian–Protestant, Roman Catholic or nondenominational. Each was given a particular patient to pray for.

After a month, symptoms in the prayer group had been reduced by more than 10 per cent compared with those receiving standard care, according to a special scoring system developed by three experienced cardiologists from the Mid-America Heart Institute, which rates a patient’s progress from excellent to catastrophic.


Although the healing didn’t shorten their hospital stay, the patients being prayed for were definitely better off in every other regard.17

More studies are now under way in several universities. Elisabeth herself began a trial (which, at the time of writing in 2001, is still going on) comparing the effects of distant healers with nurses, a group of health professionals whose caring attitude toward their patients might also act as a healing mechanism.18

The MAHI study offered several important improvements over Randolf Byrd’s study. Whereas all the medical staff in Byrd’s study had been aware that a study was being carried out, the medical staff in the MAHI study had no idea.

The MAHI patients also didn’t know they were participating in a study, so there would not have been any possible psychological effects. In Byrd’s study, of the 450 patients, nearly an eighth had refused to be involved. This meant that only those who were receptive to, or at least didn’t object to the idea of, being prayed for would have agreed to be included.


Finally, in Byrd’s study, those doing the praying had been given a great deal of information about their patients, whereas in the MAHI study, the Christians had virtually no information about the people they were praying for. They were told to pray for 28 days, and that was it.


They had no feedback about whether their prayers had worked.

Neither the Targ nor the MAHI study demonstrated that God Himself answers prayers or even that He exists. As the MAHI study was quick to point out:

‘All we have observed is that when individuals outside of the hospital speak (or think) the first names of hospitalized patients with an attitude of prayer, the latter appeared to have a “better” CCU experience.’19

In fact, in Elisabeth’s study, it didn’t seem to matter what method you used, so long as you held an intention for a patient to heal.


Calling on Spider Woman, a healing grandmother star figure common in the Native American culture, was every bit as successful as calling on Jesus. Elisabeth began to analyze which healers had the most success. Their techniques had been profoundly different.


One ‘flow alignment’ practitioner based in Pittsburgh felt, after attempting work with several of the patients, that there was a common energy field in all of them, which she came to think of as an ‘AIDS energy signature’, and she would work on getting in touch with their healthy immune system and ignore the ‘bad energy’. With another it was more a case of working on psychic surgery, spiritually removing the virus from their bodies.


Another, a Christian in Santa Fe, who carried out the healing in front of her own altar with pictures of the Virgin and saints and many lit candles, claimed to have summoned up spirit doctors, angels and guides. Others, like the kabbalistic healer, simply focused on energy patterns.20

But what they all seemed to have in common was an ability to get out of the way. It seemed to Elisabeth that most of them claimed to have put out their intention and then stepped back and surrendered to some other kind of healing force, as though they were opening a door and allowing something greater in.


Many of the more effective ones had asked for help - from the spirit world or from the collective consciousness, or even from a religious figure such as Jesus. It was not an egoistic healing on their part, more like a request: ‘please may this person be healed’. Much of their imagery had to do with relaxing, releasing or allowing the spirit, light or love in.


The actual being, whether it was Jesus or Spider Woman, appeared irrelevant.

The success of the MAHI study suggested that healing through intention is available to ordinary people, although the healers may be more experienced or naturally talented in tapping into The Field. In the Copper Wall Project in Topeka, Kansas, a researcher named Elmer Green has shown that experienced healers have abnormally high electric field patterns during healing sessions.


In his test, Green enclosed his participants in isolated rooms made with walls constructed entirely of copper, which would block electricity from any other sources.


Although ordinary participants had expected electrical readings related to breathing or heartbeat, the healers were generating electrical surges higher than 60 volts during healing sessions, as measured by electrometers placed on the healers themselves and on all four walls. Video recordings of the healers showed these voltage surges had nothing to do with physical movement.21


Studies of the nature of the healing energy of Chinese Qigong masters have provided evidence of the presence of photon emission and electromagnetic fields during healing sessions.22


These sudden surges of energy may be physical evidence of a healer’s greater coherence - his ability to marshall his own quantum energy and transfer it to the less organized recipient.

Elisabeth’s study and the work of William Braud raised a number of profound implications on the nature of illness and healing. It suggested that intention on its own heals, but that healing is also a collective force. The manner in which Targ’s healers worked would suggest that there may be a collective memory of healing spirit, which could be gathered as a medicinal force. In this model, illness can be healed through a type of collective memory.


Information in The Field helps to keep the living healthy. It might even be that health and illness of individuals is, in a sense, collective. Certain epidemics might grip societies as a physical manifestation of a type of energetic hysteria.

If intention creates health - that is, improved order - in another person, it would suggest that illness is a disturbance in the quantum fluctuations of an individual. Healing, as Popp’s work suggests, might be a matter of reprogramming individual quantum fluctuations to operate more coherently. Healing may also be seen as providing information to return the system to stability.


Any one of a number of biological processes requires an exquisite cascade of processes, which would be sensitive to the tiny effects observed in the PEAR research.23

It could also be that illness is isolation: a lack of connection with the collective health of The Field and the community. Indeed, in Elisabeth’s
the healing field

study, Deb Schnitta, the flow alignment practitioner from Pittsburgh, found that the AIDS virus seemed to feed on fear - the type of fear that might be experienced by anyone shunned by the community, as many homosexuals were during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. Several studies of heart patients have shown that isolation - from oneself, one’s community and one’s spirituality - rather than physical conditions, such as a high cholesterol count, is one of the greatest contributors to disease.24


In studies of longevity, those people who live longest are often not only those who believe in a higher spiritual being, but also those who have the strongest sense of belonging to a community.25

It might mean that the intention of the healer was as important as his or her medicine. The frantic doctor who wishes his patient could cancel so he could have his lunch; the junior doctor who has stayed up for three nights straight; the doctor who doesn’t like a particular patient - all may have a deleterious effect. It might also mean that the most important treatment any doctor can give is to hope for the health and well being of his or her patient.

Elisabeth began to examine what was present in her consciousness just before she went in to see her patients, to make sure that she was sending out positive intentions. She also began to study healing. If it could work for Christians who didn’t know the patients they were praying for, she thought, it could also work for her.

The modus operandi of her healers suggested the most outlandish idea of all: that individual consciousness doesn’t die.


Indeed, one of the first serious laboratory studies of a group of mediums by the University of Arizona seems to validate the idea that consciousness may live on after we die. In studies carefully controlled to eliminate cheating or fraud, the mediums typically were able to produce more than eighty pieces of information about deceased relatives, from names and personal oddities to the actual and detailed nature of their deaths.


Overall, the mediums achieved an accuracy rate of 83 per cent - and one had even been right 93 per cent of the time. A control group of non-mediums were only right, on average, 36 per cent of the time. In one case, a medium was able to recite the prayer a deceased mother used to recite for one of the sitters as a child.


As Professor Gary Schwarz, who led the team, said,

‘The most parsimonious explanation is that the mediums are in direct communication with the deceased.’26

As Fritz-Albert Popp described it, when we die we experience a ‘decoupling’ of our frequency from the matter of our cells.


Death may be merely a matter of going home or, more precisely, staying behind - returning to The Field.

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