Blue / Grey hero banner image

2. Volitional Psi

2. Volitional Psi

Reports of psi happening as a result of deliberate action and/or conscious intervention of the experients. Includes clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis, whether obtained by professional psychics or others (e.g., reports of metal-bending by ordinary people or apports and other feats credited to spiritual teachers), stage performances, magic, healing and pain control, dowsing, fire-walking or thoughtography.

keywords: volitional psi, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, magic, dowsing, fire-walking, photography

Barrett, W.F. et al.   PRELIMINARY REPORT OF THE ‘REICHENBACH COMMITTEE’, Proceedings 1, 1882-3, pp. 99-100. Brief note describing the difficulties involved investigating the claims of Baron Karl von Riechenbach, that certain people ‘declared to him that ordinary magnets, crystals, the human body, and some other substances, were to those persons self-luminous, presenting singular appearances in the dark, and otherwise distinguishable by producing a variety of peculiar sensory impressions, such as anomalous sensations of temperature, bodily pain or pleasure, unusual nervous symptoms, and involuntary muscular action.’ volitional psi/aura

Barrett, W.F. et al.   FIRST REPORT OF THE ‘REICHENBACH COMMITTEE’, Proceedings 1, 1882-3, pp. 230-37 (illus). The committee describes experiments which in which none of their members succeeded in confirming the claims made by Reichenbach and only three out of 45 subjects professed to see luminous appearances. However their testimony is considered significant, in that they claimed to see something ‘more like a faint smoke than a light’ in the position of an electro-magnetic pole at the moments when this when this was being activated by a current. volitional psi/aura

Barrett, W.F. NOTE ON THE EXISTENCE OF A ‘MAGNETIC SENSE’, Proceedings 2, 1983-4, pp. 56-60. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 1, 1884 p. 83. volitional psi/electromagnetism/aura

Sollas, W.J. REPORT OF WELLS SUNK AT LOCKING, SOMERSET, TO TEST THE ALLEGED POWER OF THE DIVINING ROD, Proceedings 2, 1883, pp. 73-8. A geologist observes a dowser in action and is satisfied that any movements of the divining rod are caused by muscular action only. The claim by the dowser that of two proposed sites one will yield water and the other will be dry is tested: both wells fill with an equal amount of water. The writer ends with a mathematical calculation tending to confirm his scepticism. volitional psi/dowsing 

Pease, Edward. THE DIVINING ROD, Proceedings 2, 1883, pp. 79-107. The case for dowsing is made, with historical background, a description of methods, the various uses for the discovery of metals and water, a list of claimed successes, and a selection of anecdotal examples. SUMMARY, Journal 1, 1884, pp. 5-6. volitional psi/dowsing 

Barrett, W.F. PSEUDO THOUGHT-READING, Journal 1, 1884, pp. 10-11. Points out that audiences of the stage performances by Stuart Cumberland and Irving Bishop are being taken in by bogus demonstrations of ‘thought-reading’ based on clever conjuring. volitional psi/telepathy/magic/cheating 

Crookes, E. et al. REPORT ON AN ALLEGED PHYSICAL PHENOMENON, Proceedings 3, 1885, pp. 460-3. A metal ring on an individual’s forearm is examined to establish whether it could have got there solely by paranormal means. The conclusion is negative. volitional psi/psychokinesis/cheating

Eubule-Evans, A. EXPERIMENTS WITH THE MAGNETIC NEEDLE, Journal 1, 1885, pp. 254-6. Observation suggests that a magnetic needle can be influenced by an unseen force from a finger. volitional psi/psychokinesis/electromagnetisni

Horner, Gertrude. RED LIGHT, Journal 2, 1885, p. 108. Brief report of an instance of ‘mine fire’, unexplained light sometimes attributed to the presence of tin or copper. volitional psi/physics

Anon, Miss X. RECENT EXPERIMENTS IN CRYSTAL VISION, Proceedings 5, 1889, pp. 486-521. The author (name withheld by the Society) reviews the history of the use of crystals for foretelling future events from the classical age to the present, with extensive descriptions from a book of the sixteenth century practitioner John Dee, and references to other similar works in later times. The author also gives a selection of her own experiences using this medium. DISCUSSION, Journal 4, pp. 82-5, 156 CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 4, pp. 149-50. spontaneous psi/volitional psi/precognition

Anon. PHOTOGRAPHING INDIAN CONJURERS, Journal 5, 1891, pp. 84-6. Photographs suggest that the tricks of Indian ‘jugglers’, including the Indian ‘rope trick’, are simple illusions. volitional psi/psychokinesis/magic/cheating

Henderson, W. Henry. INDIAN CONJURING AND HYPNOTISM, Journal 5, 1891, pp. 84-6. A traveller to a temple in Benares, India, describes the performance of a ‘devil-woman’ who seemed able to hypnotise animals at will, and seemingly levitated both the writer and another individual. volitional psi/hypnosis/psychokinesis/magic/cheating

Hodgson, Richard. INDIAN MAGIC AND THE TESTIMONY OF CONJURERS, Proceedings 9, 1894, pp. 354-66. Hodgson takes exception to articles by the American conjurer Harry Kellar claiming that ‘the high caste fakirs, or magicians, of Northern India have probably discovered natural laws of which we in the West are ignorant.’ Hodgson first casts doubt on Kellar’s assertion that he saw the marvels he describes, then that he possesses any authority to claim that they are not brought about by mere trickery. volitional psi/psychokinesis/magic/cheating

Barrett, W.F. [DOWSING], Journal 7, 1895, p. 310. Discusses the history and contemporary applications of dowsing (summary and discussion). volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. ON THE SO-CALLED DIVINING ROD, OR VIRGULA DIVINA, Proceedings 13, 1897, pp. 2-282. (contents p. 281). Detailed study by one of the Society’s founders. Barrett briefly reviews the English and French literature on dowsing before looking at the evidence, mainly from experienced professional dowsers. One frequently-noted characteristic is the relative violence of the force that works on the divining rod, usually a twig of hazel or other wood, sometimes ripping it apart. The opinion of geologists is sought, and found to be generally unfavourable (220). However a number of landowners and estate managers say they are convinced that dowsing aids the location of viable wells (240). Discussing theoretical conclusions Barrett dismisses the claim of ‘legerdemain’, widely made by sceptics, but considers at greater length the possibility of unconscious awareness of alternative sources of information, such as local humidity, or the appearance of vegetation that may indicate the existence of underground water (248). However he concludes that the motion of the rod is most likely caused by involuntary muscular action and speculates that ‘a more profound stratum of our personality, glimpses of which we get elsewhere in our Proceedings, is associated with the dowser’s art’ (255). Appendices consider the origins and derivation of the words ‘dowse’ and ‘dowser’; geological opinion on underground water; the way to hold the rod; the sensations said to occur in dowsing; and a note on certain experiments described in the text. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 8, 1897, pp. 151-8, 177-8. SUMMARY & DISCUSSION, Journal 8, 1898, pp. 262-4. volitional psi/dowsing

Smith, J.G. SOME CASES RECORDED IN THE ANNALES DES SCIENCES PSYCHIQUES, Proceedings 14, 1898, pp. 115-28. Brief descriptions of French papers on clairvoyance under hypnosis and table-turning. volitional psi/hypnosis/psychokinesis

Lang, Andrew. CRYSTAL VISIONS, Journal 8, 1898, pp. 201-2. Refers to historical and personal experiences of scrying with a crystal (summary and discussion). CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 222-4, 270-71. spontaneous psi/clairvoyance

Anon. EXPOSURE OF A TRICK CODE, Journal 9, 1899, pp. 61-4. Illustrated investigation of a circus clairvoyance act reveals that the subject, retaining some sight despite being blindfolded, is being signalled by the agent through the use of his toes. volitional psi/clairvoyance/mental mediumship/cheating

D’Outrepont, Dr. A CONTRIBUTION TO THE HISTORY OF THE DIVINING ROD, Journal 9, 1899, pp. 83-6. A Dutch diviner tells the author about his methods and activities. volitional psi/dowsing

Lang, Andrew. THE FIRE WALK, Proceedings 15, 1900, pp. 2-15. Draws together testimonies from different parts of the world: New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, West Indies, Bulgaria, etc. SUMMARY & DISCUSSION, Journal 9, 1899, pp. 146-50. volitional psi/firewalking

Beauchamp, Henry K. et al. FIRE-WALKING CEREMONIES IN INDIA, Journal 9, 1900, pp. 312-21. Eye-witness accounts by an army officer. See also Langley, S.P. THE FIRE WALK CEREMONY IN TAHITI, Journal 10, 1901, pp. 116-21. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 10, 1901, pp. 132-4. See also FIRE WALKING IN MAURITIUS, Journal 10, 1901, pp. 154-5, 250-3, 296-7. volitional psi/firewalking

Barrett, W.F. A NOVEL USE OF THE DOWSING ROD, Journal 9, 1900, pp. 328-31. A dowsing rod is used to discover a leak in an underground water pipe. volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. ON THE SO-CALLED DIVINING ROD, Proceedings 15, 1901, pp. 130-383. (illus, contents). Chapter headings: introduction; author’s experiments; cases where the dowser found a good supply of underground water near to a useless well previously sunk to as great or greater depth; experiments with two or more dowsers independently tried on the same ground; experiments in blindfolding the dowser; details of further cases of amateur dowsers; professional dowsers in England and Wales; continental, colonial and Californian cases; Belton, the nineteenth century French dowser; involuntary muscular action and the motion of the rod, pendule, or other autoscope, the malaise of the dowser and its origin; origin of the stimulus that gives rise to the motor-automatism of the dowser. THE DIVINING ROD, Journal 11, 1903, pp. 86-94. An educated man describes how he accidentally discovered the power of dowsing for water. volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. FURTHER EXPERIMENTS ON DOWSING, Journal 11, 1903, pp. 152-7. Barrett enumerates various conclusions about dowsing from his observations and researches (summary and discussion). volitional psi/dowsing

Anon. AN ACCOUNT OF THE INDIAN ROPE-CLIMBING TRICK, Journal 11, 1904, pp. 299-308. A witness describes the famous trick in which a conjuror extends a rope to a height of 20 feet and a small boy climbs up it, eventually disappearing. The discussion is inconclusive, but favours some kind of suggestion as the basis of hallucination by the spectators. This hypothesis is reinforced by a separate account of a Japanese conjuroring trick, in which the spectators are induced to believe, erroneously, that several of the audience have left their seats. See also Journal 12, 1905, pp. 30-31. A woman describes having witnessed the trick, in which the conjurer follows the small boy up the rope, throws down his limbs one by one and reassembles him on the ground. Some years later a correspondent familiar with the environment claims this must have been a dream (Journal 25, pp. 179-80). See also Journal 20, 1922, pp. 401-2. Eye-witness account. volitional psi/magic/hallucinations

Barrett, W.F. SOME OBJECTS AND METHODS OF WORK IN PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, Journal 12, 1906, pp. 213-7. Describes clairvoyance experiments with a gifted dowser (summary and discussion). volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. THE DOWSING ROD, Journal 14, 1909, pp. 50-60. Reports of successful dowsing cases by different individuals. volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. ON THE DETECTION OF HIDDEN OBJECTS BY DOWSERS, Journal 14, 1910, pp. 183-93. Dowsers find coins and other objects hidden to test their abilities. volitional psi/dowsing

Lang, Andrew. PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS, Proceedings 25, 1911, pp. 364-76. Includes brief comments on dowsing. volitional psi/dowsing

Mitchell, T.W. DR VAN RENTERGHEM ON THE FAMILY PHYSICIAN, Journal 15, 1911, pp. 109-10. Reflections on the decline of value of the general medical practitioner, with patients having recourse either to specialists who lack the necessary broad outlook or to charlatans and faith-healers. volitional psi/healing

Baggally, W.W. DOWSING EXPERIMENTS WITH MR. J.E., Journal 15, 1912, pp. 243-9. Claimed powers of dowsing are investigated by a Society representative who concludes the movements of the rod in the dower’s hands are caused by auto-suggestion. volitional psi/dowsing

Anon. A SITTING WITH ZENO, Journal 15, 1912, pp. 268-71. A sitter describes a method of substitution used by an apparently fraudulent clairvoyant. volitional psi/clairvoyance/cheating/mental mediumship

Klinckowstroem, Count Carl v. THE DIVINING ROD IN GERMANY, Journal 15, 1912, pp. 329-34. Describes the growing interest in the divining rod in Germany, referring to research and some individual cases. volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, William. DOWSING AND UNCONSCIOUS MUSCULAR ACTION, Journal 15, 1912, pp. 335-7. American researcher Professor James Hyslop describes a personal experience of successful dowsing, where unconscious muscular action seemed to be excluded. volitional psi/dowsing

Barrett, W.F. THE PSYCHICAL VERSUS THE PHYSICAL THEORY OF DOWSING, Journal 16, 1913, pp. 43-8. A young Boer farm boy is reported as having a clairvoyant ability to ‘see’ water underground, and his parents hire him out for this purpose to their neighbours. Similar cases are reported, in a brief discussion of the nature of the dowsing ability. volitional psi/dowsing/theory

Anon. THE THINKING HORSES OF ELBERFIELD, Journal 16, 1913, pp. 98-102. A German jeweller, stimulated by the experience of Clever Hans, the horse who appared able to understand arithmetic, buys horses in order to repeat the experiment, with some apparent success. The authors make a limited investigation, finding no obvious sign of any signalling by the owner, either conscious or unconscious, that might explain the phenomenon, as in the case of Clever Hans. NOTES ON CURRENT PERIODICALS, Journal 16, 1914, p. 192. Briefly reports on a paper regarding ‘the thinking horses of Elberfield’, which describes failed experiments and proposes theories. NOTES ON CURRENT PERIODICALS, Journal 16, 1914, p. 255-6. Report of periodical founded by the owner of ‘thinking horses’. See also Journal 16, 1914, p. 271-2; Journal 18, 1917, p. 64; Journal 19, 1920, p. 233. volitional psi/animal psi/experiments

Schiller, F.C.S. ON THE SO-CALLED THINKING ANIMALS, Journal 16, 1914, pp. 244-8. Discussion of the controversy raging on the continent about thinking animals, largely provoked by Clever Hans and other ‘thinking horses’. This paper is stimulated by the appearance of an article on ‘the problem of the thinking dog of Mannheim’, in which a dog is said to have been taught by its owner to communicate simple ideas. The author reaches no conclusions and urges greater investigation. volitional psi/animal psi/experiments

Fostick, J.A. A ‘THINKING DOG’, Journal 17, 1915, pp. 99-104. A dog in New Zealand, a small terrier, seemingly understands simple arithmetical questions put to him vocally and is able to give accurate answers by barking. Since the dog is blind the explanation of unsconscious signalling is considered less likely, though some auditory channel is not excluded. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 123-4. volitional psi/animal psi

Anon. THE INDIAN ROPE TRICK, Journal 19, 1919, pp. 124-7. Three eye-witness reports of the conjuring trick, one in which the boy was cut up and reassembled, and another accompanied by a photograph that seems to disqualify any theory of suggestion. volitional psi/magic

Kindermann, Henny. LOLA, OR THE THOUGHT AND SPEECH OF ANIMALS, Journal 21, 1923, pp. 122-4. Contains a detailed account of an Airedale terrier, whose owner claimed to have taught it to talk. volitional psi/animal psi

Geley, Gustave. L’ECTOPLASMIE ET LA CLAIRVOYANCE, Journal 21, 1924, pp. 300-302. Gives the facts of the authors investigations of clairvoyants and mediums, including Eva C and Kluski. See also Journal 24, 1927, pp. 91-2, brief announcement of English edition. book review/volitional psi/psychokinesis/clairvoyance/physical mediumship/mental mediumship

Klinckowstroem, Carl v. THE PRESENT POSITION OF THE DIVINING ROD QUESTION IN GERMANY, Journal 22, 1925, pp. 54-60. Describes initiatives by German physicists to determine the material basis of dowsing. volitional psi/dowsing

Anon. THE GLASTONBURY SUB-COMMITTEE, Journal 22, 1925, pp. 62-3. Briefly describes the findings of diviners that lend support to any excavation. volitional psi/dowsing

Besterman, Theodore. THE PRESENT STATUS OF DOWSING IN THE BRITISH PRESS, Journal 24, 1927, pp. 152-5. An analysis of press reviews of a recently published book on dowsing find that only two out of 28 definitely refuse to accept its reality: the rest either accept it, appear to accept it, or conceal their feelings. volitional psi/dowsing

Anon. THE FIRE WALK, Journal 24, 1928, pp. 278-84, Also pp.325-9. Account of a fire-walk in Bombay. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 26, 1930. Account of a ceremony in Malaysia. volitional psi/firewalking

Solovovo, P-P. NOTE ON THE GUNTHER-GEFFERS CASE, Journal 24, 1928, pp. 306-7. A German court twice acquits a clairvoyant, involved in helping solve police cases, of the accusation of fraud. volitional psi/clairvoyance/mental mediumship

Woolley, V.J. THE VISIT OF M. PASCAL FORTHUNY TO THE SOCIETY IN 1929, Proceedings 39, 1931, pp. 347-57. Written partly in French. Record of private and public sittings organised by the Society with the French clairvoyant Pascal Forthuny. Notes of his comments in French are given of one public sitting in which a high degree of accuracy was obtained that the author considers due to a supernormal facility. Notes of accurate comments in private sittings are given in English. Comments in successful psychometry experiments are given in French. volitional psi/clairvoyance/mental mediumship

Miller, G.R.M. AN INDIAN FORTUNE-TELLER’S TRICK, Journal 27, 1931, pp. 37-8. An Indian palm reader impresses a sitter by succeeding in imprinting figures on his hands. volitional psi/magic

Besterman, Theodore, et al. TOWARDS A THEORY OF DOWSING, Journal 27, 1931-2, pp. 142-60. Besterman chairs a symposium of papers by two continental researchers on the question of whether dowsing should be understood in physical or in psychical terms. Following his introduction, Vicomte Henri de France discusses work done in France, and briefly considers both approaches. Carl von Klinckowstroem discusses the possible role of radioactivity; the weather-sensibility of dowsers; the behaviour of lightning; the ill effects on health of undergound streams; the correspondence between gaps in clouds and the distribution of streams and rivers; and the nervous system of the dowser. He also criticises the ‘fantastical’ theories of rival researchers, among them Henri de France, against whom he argues that dowsers are gifted with a special disposition. The argument is developed in answering papers by both researchers. In a final summary Besterman concludes: ‘the evidence and the probabilities are emphatically on the side of the psychical theory, and ...the adherents of any physical theory have yet to produce evidence justifying the further investigation of their views.’ See book review, pp. 259-61. volitional psi/theory/dowsing

Feilding, Everard. MORE ALLEGED OCCURRENCES OF THE ROPE-TRICK, Journal 27, 1931-2, pp. 281-6. Detailed descriptions of the rope-trick in which a boy disappears up a rope into the sky and later reappears elsewhere. In one account, the witness takes photographs which show nothing of the sort occurring. volitional psi/magic/hallucinations

Thomas, E.S. THE FIRE WALK, Proceedings 42, 1934, pp. 292-309. Describes a number of cases of firewalking different parts of the world as reported by European witnesses. volitional psi/firewalking

White, S.M. A ‘FIRE WALKING’ CEREMONY IN FIJI, Journal 28, 1934, pp. 170-75. Detailed description of an Indian religious ceremony based on fire-walking. The author doubts whether the feats he saw could have a normal explanation, or be explained in terms of mass hypnotism. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 223-4. Reminds readers about a parallel feat attributed to D.D. Home, in handling hot coals. volitional psi/firewalking

Penrose, Evelyn M. DIVINING FOR WATER, MINERAL AND OIL, Journal 29, 1935, p. 117. A Cornish diviner employed by the Canadian government, demonstrates her methods and implements. volitional psi/dowsing

Solovovo, P-P. A NOTE ON ‘RADIAESTHESIA’ IN FRANCE, Journal 29, 1936, pp. 273-5. Critical enquiry into dowsing and the use of pendulums in France. The author concludes that once strict controls are observed the feats of dowsers are at chance level, and notes several instances of obstruction by dowsers to scientific experiment. volitional psi/dowsing

Carrington, Hereward. A RECENT INVESTIGATION OF SOME UNUSUAL ‘PSYCHIC PHENOMENA’, Journal 34, 1947, pp. 93-4. Investigations into claims by an individual of being able to diminish or increase the light emitted by a light bulb. The impressions are found to be an optical illusion. volitional psi/psychokinesis/physical mediumship

West, D.J. SOME EXPERIMENTS IN DIVINING, Journal 34, 1948, pp. 220-22. Report of unsuccessful experiments. CORRESPONDENCE, p. 248. volitional psi/dowsing

Sharp, Allen J. & Cameron, Denis B. AN UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPT TO LOCATE WATER BY DIVINATION, Journal 34, 1948, pp. 222-3. Report of unsuccessful experiment. volitional psi/dowsing

Pauwels, R.D. GERARD CROISET: PSYCHIC HEALER, Journal 35, 1949, pp. 44-5. Comments as a postscript to a recent TV programme. volitional psi/healing

Tromp, S.W. PSYCHICAL PHYSICS, Journal 35, 1950, pp. 210-15. Major academic investigation on divining phenomena. volitional psi/dowsing

Ongley, P.A. & Maby, J.C. WATER DIVINING: SUMMARY OF AN EXCHANGE OF VIEWS, Journal 36, 1952, pp. 674-8. Précis of articles by a research chemist dismissing the claims of dowsing on the basis of his own experiments and by a full-time dowser who contests these findings. volitional psi/dowsing

Rose, Louis. SOME ASPECTS OF PARANORMAL HEALING, Journal 38, 1955, pp. 105-21. Critical examination of the claims of healers, finding many claims exaggerated but others with some validity, concluding with suggestions for continued research. volitional psi/healing/methodology

Parsons, Denys. CLOUD BUSTING: A CLAIM INVESTIGATED, Journal 38, 1956, pp. 352-64. Claims by an individual that he can cause clouds to dissolve by the power of will are tested and found to lack any basis in fact. The author puts forward this case as a good example of an experience common in parapsychology: ‘as soon as tests are organized on a common-sense basis, the phenomena - commonly stated by the claimant to be 90 per cent reliable - begin to assume a spasmodic or sporadic character, or vanish altogether’. volitional psi/psychokinesis

Anon. A CASE OF CLAIRVOYANCE?, Journal 38, 1956, pp. 244-8. The Dutch psychic G. Croiset helps locate some missing papers. volitional psi/clairvoyance/mental mediumship

Poortman, J.F. THE FEELING OF BEING STARED AT, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 4-12. Speculates on a phenomenon that the writer believes should be studied by parapsychology. He gives some examples from his own acquaintance and personal experience. Briefly discusses the involvement of mirrors, the non-experiences of the blind, and the interest of novelists, many of whom - Tolstoy, Galsworthy, Thomas Mann, Huxley, and others - refer the phenomenon in their books. He describes a series of experiments with a percipient, which approach significance. Speculates that the phenomenon, if genuine, seems to form ‘a kind of transition between ordinary and extrasensory perception. Compares it with a theory of telepathy formulated by Whately Carrington. volitional psi/DMILS/staring

Parsons, Denys. EXAMINATION OF A DOWSER, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 12-7. An investigation of a dowser, despite his confidence, results in total failure. The author briefly describes some pitfalls: unconscious use of sensory clues; the tendency to discount failures; and the weakness of the negative experimenter effect hypothesis. volitional psi/dowsing

Parsons, Denys. THE BLACK BOXES OF MR GEORGE DE LA WARR, Journal 41, 1961, pp. 12-31. Illustrated. Detailed examination of claims by de la Warr that radiation from his ‘black boxes’ can diagnose or treat ailments in animals and humans. The author reviews a number of encounters between de la Warr and interested scientists, mostly with negative results. He concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support the claims. volitional psi/healing/methodology

Anon. PSYCHICAL RESEARCH IN THE SOVIET UNION, Journal 41, 1961, pp. 201-3. Note on the growing interest of Russian scientists in telepathy. volitional psi/telepathy

Rushton, W.A.H. SERIOS PHOTOS: IF CONTRARY TO NATURAL LAW, WHICH LAW?, Journal 44, 1968, pp. 289-93. An examination of what may be supposed to occur photographically if the Serios phenomenon is genuine. Examines and rejects the view that Serios somehow paranormally imprints his mental image upon the film directly. Argues that it is light that forms the Seriosphoto, perhaps preternaturally generated as a self luminous picture which floats in space in front of the camera lens. Because this luminous picture occurs unnoticed, it must be small and near the lens probably in the ‘gismo,’ that blackwalled hollow cylinder whose interior points to the camera but which is empty when examined before or after the exposure. Tested this hypothesis by creating a very small reflecting prism fitted with a microfilm picture that, held against the lens of the camera, produced a credible imitation of the Serios phenomenon. PsiLine CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 424-5; Journal 45, 1970, pp. 251-3, 424-7 (illus). volitional psi/photography

Bayless, Raymond. [PENDULUM TRICK], Journal 46, 1972, pp. 104-6. Describes the reappearance of an old trick in which a pendulum can be made to move, seemingly by psychic force but in reality by applying physical pressure. volitional psi/dowsing/cheating

Brookes-Smith, Colin. DATA-TAPE RECORDED EXPERIMENTAL PK PHENOMENA, Journal 47, 1973, pp. 69-89. Describes procedures used in 57 sittings between 1971-1972. These aimed to explore the technical possibilities of using data-tape recording to measure mechanical forces and other variables associated with psychokinetic table-levitations. Detailed descriptions of apparatus used are given, including a data-tape that simultaneously records forces acting on different parts of a table. Experiments on light occultation effects, levitation forces, and finger tip traction forces are presented. Although the experiments on occultation and pressure effects did not yield significant results, they may encourage further attempts at utilizing experimental apparatus and procedures to obtain empirical evidence for psychical research. (PsiLine)CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 277-8. volitional psi/psychokinesis/methodology

Barrington, M.R. & Stiles, J.W. INVESTIGATION OF A DIVINING INSTRUMENT CALLED THE ‘REVEALER’, Journal 47, 1973, pp. 173-91. Questionnaires were mailed to 93 companies, who used the ‘revealer’, (a chromium-plated copper commercial divining instrument for use in locating metallic and non-metallic objects underground.) Responses indicate that they treated the instrument as an ordinary working machine; opinions on efficiency varied greatly. Field tests were then conducted on five operators selected from different companies. Test designs varied as experimentation proceeded, but basically objects were buried under the ground or in boxes and the S tried to locate the target object and identify it. Results indicate that the ‘revealer’ does not obtain consistent performance under test conditions. (PsiLine) volitional psi/dowsing/methodology

Gunner, W.C.G. & Gunner, Lesley M. [URI GELLER EFFECT], Journal 47, 1974, pp. 344-5. A mother and daughter watch Uri Geller on television, imitating his actions subsequently succeed in making a defunct Victorian watch function and bending cutlery. volitional psi/psychokinesis

Philips, J.B. [EVIDENCE OF UNUSUAL HEALINGS], Journal 47, 1974, pp. 397-9. The author describes abortive attempts to document evidence of healings. volitional psi/healing

Berendt, H.C. URI GELLER PRO AND CON, Journal 47, 1974, pp. 475-84. In this report I shall give my own interpretation using such facts as are known to me about Uri Geller’s work as a gifted stage conjuror and as a possible psi medium who seems to combine telepathy and psychokinetic abilities. I suggest that two factors may account for his outstanding success: (1) The mood of our time in general, with its search for new aspects of life characterized by an outspoken anti-materialistic undercurrent which clings to every form of mysticism. (2) The ‘explosion’ of the communication media  radio, TV, and the press for ever on the lookout for exciting news. Their choice has a strong and selective influence on the general public. As Geller’s outstanding performances lend themselves excellently to TV coverage, it is this aspect of his experiments which has claimed, and claims the major part of the limelight. (PsiLine) volitional psi/psychokinesis/telepathy/clairvoyance/mental mediumship/physical mediumship/cheating

Berendt, H.C. Dr. PUHARICH AND URI GELLER, Journal 48, 1976, pp. 314-21. Puharich’s book, Uri (1974), prompts speculation about the mental state of its author. On first inspection Puharich’s reports strike the reader as fantastic or insane, but another explanation is available.   It may be that Geller telepathically ‘picked up’ certain fantasies and ideas in Puharich’s mind, which he then, by means of his ESP and PK gifts, made into perceived realities for himself and the scientist.   This, at any rate, is a possibility that should be considered. (PsiLine) volitional psi/psychokinesis/telepathy/theory/mental mediumship

Hasted, J.B. AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF THE VALIDITY OF METAL-BENDING PHENOMENA, Journal 48, 1975-6, pp. 365-83. [NB: This pagination appears twice in this volume] Illustrated. During 1974-75, following the television appearances of Uri Geller, an increasing number of subjects, mostly children, reported the bending of metal objects by allegedly paranormal means. Our involvement (1) with investigation of these phenomena has enabled us to gain experience on the requirements necessary for validation of paranormality. Metal can be bent by force produced physically (mechanically), or can bend spontaneously by the relaxation of internal stresses. If bending can be proved to have taken place and these causes can be precluded, then paranormal bending is validated. Since spontaneous bending is slight, validation might at first appear to be a simple physical problem of eliminating physical force. It still appears to us to be reasonably simple, but the psychological issues involved in the credibility are much more complex. In this paper we discuss the physical and psychological issues which have been encountered in our validation of these reports. (PsiLine)CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 49, 1977, pp. 558-9. volitional psi/physics/psychokinesis/experiments

Bayless, Raymond. LOW AMPLITUDE, TAPE-RECORDED PSYCHOKINESIS, Journal 49, 1977, pp. 475-6. The author claims to have demonstrated that paranormal ‘raps’ and other noises can be picked up by high-amplification recordings. See also Journal 50, 1979, p. 322, where he elaborates on his new technique. volitional psi/psychokinesis/experiments/methodology

Baines, C.C. [FRAUDULENT PSYCHICS], Journal 49, 1977, p. 469. Attack on sea-side psychics. volitional psi/cheating

Harper, H.C. AN EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION OF LETHBRIDGE’S SYSTEM OF PENDULUM RATES, Journal 49, 1977, pp. 625-9. Sumarises an experiment based on a system of pendulum rates described by T.C.Lethbridge. Expected results did not occur. The author describes certain methodological issues. volitional psi/dowsing

Graphos. [FAKE ESP DEVICES], Journal 49, 1978, p. 844. Draws attention to the number of electronic eavesdropping devices that could potentially be used by entertainers or charlatans to fake ESP. volitional psi/telepathy/clairvoyance/cheating

Krippner, Stanley. A SUGGESTED TYPOLOGY OF FOLK HEALING AND ITS RELEVANCE FOR PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION, Journal 50, 1980, pp. 491-500. The author presents an outline of folk healing in which the following types of healers are distinguished: shamanic, spiritist, esoteric, religious ritual, and intuitive healers. Persons usually classified as psychic healers were placed in the latter category. In addition to providing examples of each type of healer with references to relevant literature, Krippner discusses the possible interplay of psi phenomena, particularly PK, with ostensible psychic healing. Finally, the author draws some suggestions for PK experimentation from his discussion. (PsiLine) volitional psi/healing/beliefs

Osborne, Charles F. JAMES RANDI AND THE EXPERIMENTER EFFECT, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 37-9. Points out that although they confirmed his sceptical prejudices, recent dowsing experiments carried out by magician James Randi, when properly analysed, show significant results. During the experiments, carried out in Sydney, Australia, in 1980, Randi tested whether or not dowsers could locate brass, gold, or water randomly hidden 50 cms below the surface of a ploughed field. Randi analysed the experiments separately, pooled the results, and concluded that no genuine ‘dowsing’ had occurred. Osborne takes exception to the statistical analyses of the individual experiments and to the pool of results across experiments. On the basis of a re-analysis Osborne concludes that the results of the brass and gold experiments were closer to chance than Randi had reported, and that the results of the water dowsing were significant at the .009 level, two tailed. Osborne speculates on Randi’s motivation and competence. (PsiLine) James Randi’s rebuttal appears in Journal 51, 1981, pp. 194-5. volitional psi/dowsing/personality

Hansen, George P. DOWSING: A REVIEW OF EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH, Journal 51, 1982, pp. 343-67. Author’s abstract: Although considerable research has been done on dowsing, its status remains uncertain. This research is reviewed in an attempt to clarify this problem. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century work is summarized to provide historical background. The parapsychological work and the experimental investigations concerning human sensitivity to magnetic fields are reviewed; the results have not been consistent. In both areas the level of experimental control has varied enormously, and positive although not conclusive results have been found with reasonably good controls by investigators from both standpoints. The work on the physiology of dowsing is reviewed. The controversy regarding the cause of the movement of the rod, Soviet research, and sociological studies of water witching are also discussed. (PsiLine) volitional psi/dowsing/experiments

Parsons, Denys. DOWSING: A CLAIM REFUTED, Journal 51, 1982, pp. 384-6. A short summary of a series of tests done with Anthony Hopwood, who previously published some seemingly positive results. These suggested that he could detect, with the aid of an L-shaped metal divining rod, the electrostatic voltage of an overhead wire as he walked under it at right angles to its length. Because Hopwood’s original tests had not been conducted with double-blind controls, Parsons designed apparatus and a double-blind test to further investigate his claim. In three series, correct and incorrect guesses (indicating On’ when Hopwood felt the electrostatic charge was flowing, and Off when it was not) were equally distributed (run 1 : 49 correct, 51 incorrect; run 2: 47 correct, 53 incorrect; run 3: 25 correct, 25 incorrect). In the first run, overhead voltage was set at 1 kV. In runs 2 and 3, the overhead voltage was set at 2 kV. Hopwood claimed satisfaction with the experimental set-up, but the chance results refuted his claim. (PsiLine) volitional psi/dowsing/experiments

Bononcini, Annamaria, & Martelli, Aldo. PSYCHOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION OF SUBJECTS WHO ARE PROTAGONISTS OF ALLEGED PK PHENOMENA: A PRELIMINARY REPORT, Journal 52, 1983, pp. 117-25. Describes a psychological investigation carried out on four subjects, agents of alleged PK phenomena. Three of them are ‘mini-Gellers’ and one is the protagonist of a complex poltergeist case. By examining the personalities of these subjects, mainly by means of psychological tests, some possible relations are considered: one, that relation between mini-Gellers’ spontaneous phenomena and typical, recurrent poltergeist phenomena; and two, that between some features of personality, brought out by test analysis, and PK manifestation. (PsiLine) volitional psi/psychokinesis/poltergeist/personality

Thomas, Caroline M. GOD MEN, MYTHS, MATERIALIZATIONS AND THE KALAS OF IMMORTALITY, Journal 55, 1989, pp. 377-403. Author’s abstract: Swami Premananda and Sathya Sai Baba are renowned spiritual teachers; reputed for materialization, teleportation, bilocated and healing. Vibhuti (holy ash) flows from their fingertips, and stone lingams (phalli) are regurgitated from their mouths. A conjuror’s and an occult analysis of a film of vibhuti flowing from Swami Premananda’s fingertips into the author’s hand, indicated that fraudulent or paranormal methods of production were poossible explanations. Chemical analysis of samples of ashes produced by Swami Premananda and Sathya Sai Baba revealed that all, except the vibhuti from Swami Premananda’s fingertips, were similar in composition to those used in temple worship and thus correspond to a symbolic interpretation of the Siva-Sakti myth. Chemical analysis does not indicate whether the samples were produced by paranormal or fraudulent means. Analysis of the myths indicates that vibhuti, kum-kum and nectar are symbols of the inner, noumenal kalas, produced by occult and mystical methods of yoga, which confer physical and/or spiritual immortality. Although fraud is clearly not ruled out, the vibhuti produced by Sathya Sai Baba and Swami Premananda may be a paranormal representation of this inner process. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 56, 1990, pp. 100-101. volitional psi/beliefs/psychokinesis/magic/theory

Hearne, Keith M.T. A QUESTIONNAIRE AND PERSONALITY STUDY OF SELF-STYLED PSYCHICS AND MEDIUMS, Journal 55, 1989, pp. 404-11. Author’s abstract: A questionnaire and personality study was conducted on 50 psychics/mediums (62 per cent Spiritualists). The great majority of subjects were female, and there was evidence that this was not wholly due to a reporting bias. It was found that the most frequent modes of receiving psychic information were (in descending order): seeing images, feelings, voices, thoughts, and dreams. A mean 16PF personality profile was calculated from subjects’ data. The most prominent factors were ‘self-sufficient’, ‘undisciplined’, and ‘affected by feelings’;. An analysis was performed on examples of psychic experiences reported by subjects. Foreknowledge constituted half the cases. Several of the telepathy cases reportedly coincided with, or happened within hours of, a death. In descending order of frequency, subjects’ psychic experiences were: messages from the dead and telepathy, clairvoyance, physical materializations and trance mediumship, premonitions, psycho-kinesis, psychometry, automatic writing, and healing. Some significant correlation were observed between questionnaire items. volitional psi/personality

Walti, Bernard. A PERMANENT PARANORMAL OBJECT? PRELIMINARY REPORT ON AN UNUSUAL EXPERIMENT WITH SILVIO, Journal 56, 1990, pp. 65-70. Author’s abstract: Below we report the result of an experiment in which a reputedly paranormally gifted individual (Silvio) intertwined two frames made out of two different materials, i.e. paper and aluminium, in a manner as yet unexplained. Although the mere existence of such an object cannot be regarded as ultimate proof of paranormal action, the threshold for a conventional explanation is put high after careful examinations of the object have failed to reveal any trace of normal technical manipulation. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 56, 1990, pp. 252-4. volitional psi/psychokinesis/experiments

Gardner, Martin. HOW TO FABRICATE A PPO, Journal 58, 1991, pp. 43-4. Swiss psychic Silvio Meyer claimed to have made a permanent paranormal object (PPO) by passing a foil frame into the centre of a sheet of paper by means of a slit which he then ‘healed’. Sceptic Martin Gardner here describes a method by which such an object can be constructed by actually making the paper itself from a mixture of paper fibres and water. volitional psi/psychokinesis/magic/cheating

Inglis, Brian. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 59, 1993-94, p. 76. Inglis rebuts a claim that the philosopher Sir Freddy Ayer witnessed him trying to levitate. volitional psi/psychokinesis

Haraldsson, E. & Wiseman, R. REACTIONS TO AND AN ASSESSMENT OF A VIDEOTAPE ON SATHYA SAI BABA, Journal 60, 1994-5, pp. 203-13. Authors’ abstract: Sai Baba has a prolific history of performing a variety of ostensible psychic feats, A recent claim of ‘exposure’ was published in the Deccan Chronical. A careful analysis of the film involved reveals a hand movement which led to the allegation and would have given Sai Baba the opportunity to use sleight-of-hand. Whether he did so or not cannot be firmly determined by examining the film. There is need to distinguish carefully between allegation and proof of trickery. The paper discusses the difficulties encountered by researchers wishing to assess psychic claimants on the basis of filmed evidence. volitional psi/beliefs/psychokinesis/magic/cheating

Jacobson, Nils O. & Tellefsen, Jens A. DOWSING ALONG THE PSI TRACK: A NOVEL PROCEDURE FOR STUDYING UNUSUAL PERCEPTION, Journal 59, 1994, pp. 321-39. [Imich Project Prize-winning entry]. Author’s abstract: When a person concentrates vividly on a physical object in his surroundings, we have found that a ‘psi track’ seems to be established to the object. This track can be detected by dowsing. A procedure is described to explore and utilize this phenomenon. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 60, 1994, pp. 119-20. volitional psi/dowsing/methodology

Carvalho, M. Margarida. A HEALING JOURNEY IN BRAZIL: A CASE STUDY IN SPIRITUAL SURGERY, Journal 60, 1994-5, pp. 161-7. A sympathetic account of the practices of a ‘spiritual surgeon’, in which cures are effected by a medium who claims to be acting as a channel for a long-dead German doctor. psi/psychic surgery/healing

Wiseman, R. & Haraldsson, E. INVESTIGATING MACRO-PK IN INDIA: SWAMI PREMANANDA, Journal 60, 1995, pp. 193-202. Authors’ abstract: Reports a field investigation into the ostensible macro-PK ability of Swami Premananda (a religious leader living in Southern India). Premananda claimed to be able to materialize small objects in his bare hands. A method for testing this type of claim is outlined and its rationale discussed. The authors observed Premananda producing ostensible materializations under informal conditions. Under more formal conditions, however, Premananda failed to produce any phenomena. Immediately following the removal of controls against trickery, the authors videotaped Premananda ‘materializing’ a small statue and vibuti. Careful analysis of this videotape reveals that Premananda could have capitalized on the investigators lapses in attention to pick up secretly small objects from his lap and, after a short while, ‘materialize’ them in his hand. No direct evidence of fraud, however, was obtained during the investigation. Finally, the methods and results of this investigation are discussed, along with the ramification of this work for future research in this area. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 281-2. volitional psi/psychokinesis/magic/cheating/

Haraldsson, E. & Wiseman, R. TWO INVESTIGATIONS OF OSTENSIBLE MACRO-PK IN INDIA, Journal 61, 1996, pp. 109-13. Authors’ abstract: Two individuals in India who claimed to be able to materialize small objects were investigated. The first claimant, Minu Bhowmick, produced ostensible materializations but did not allow herself to be searched prior to these productions nor to be closely observed as they occurred. Circumstantial evidence suggested that the materializations could have been the result of simple sleight-of-hand. The second claimant, Dr AB, succeeded, under informal conditions, in making vibhuti-like powder appear on two framed pictures of Indian deities. volitional psi/psychokinesis/experiments/magic/cheating

Greenfield, Sidney M. THE PATIENTS OF DR FRITZ: ASSESSMENTS OF TREATMENT BY A BRAZILIAN SPIRITIST HEALER, Journal 61, 1996-7, pp. 372-83. Interviews with 32 patients treated by a Brazilian spiritist healer-medium support claims that they experience little pain, recover without complications and are satisfied with their treatment. beliefs/psi/healing

Imich, Alexander. JOE A NUZUM, A LITTLE-KNOWN PSYCHIC, Journal 61, 1997, pp. 336-7. Briefly describes phenomena personally witnessed by the author, performed by a 36-year old American psychic he describes as being in the same class as D.D.Home. In one case Nuzum accurately located a page in a book to a number the author had thought of, then put the book under an inverted aquarium. The author was asked to inspect an envelope, finding it empty, and seal and hold it. After a while, on his demand, the author opened the envelope and found it contained a torn corner of the chosen page, which was found to fit exactly. A number of similar feats are listed without detail. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 62, 1997, pp. 93-6. volitional psi/clairvoayance/psychokinesis/physical mediumship/mental mediumship

Hussein, Jamal N., Fatoohi, Louay J., Hall, Howard & Al-Dargazelli, Shetha. DELIBERATELY CAUSED BODILY DAMAGE PHENOMENA, Journal 62, 1997-8, pp. 97-113. Examines the phenomenon of Deliberately Caused Bodily Damage (DCBD) in which individuals cause serious wounds to the human body, yet with complete control over pain, bleeding and infection, and unusually fast wound-healing. The authors review the feats as they have been reported from cultures in various parts of the world, such as North American Indians, Hindu devotees in Malaysia, medium-cults in Singapore, and Sufis in the Islamic world. They also refer briefly to experiments by researchers. Fraud is briefly considered (99). More popular explanations are Altered States of Consciousness and trance (100). The authors take issue with the common view of experimenters that DCBD feats are self-healing, arguing that the idea of hypnosis or change of consciousness is no less vague than the phenomena it aims to explain, while the wound is often inflicted by one individual on another, the first being responsible for its healing. Controversy on these and related points is detailed. The view of DCBD as ‘pain-control’ phenomena is also challenged (104). The authors describe their personal interest as having been stimulated when they came across a Sufi school known as Tariqua Casnazaniyyah (an Arabic-Kurdish name that means ‘the way of the secret that is known to no one’), whose followers are distributed throughout the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and other countries. They describe witnessing dervishes peform DCBD feats in religious places on many occasions, and the phenomena they observed when they conducted laboratory experiments with these individuals, who were able to insert skewers and spikes into the body, use hammers to drive daggers in the skull, and chewing and swalling glass and sharp razor blades. The subjects showed no sign of being in an altered state, reflected in the normality of their EEG. Other details of the experiments are given. The authors conclude that DCBD phenomena ‘demonstrate very unusual healing capabilitites that, if mastered, could well be responsible for unprecedented improvement in the welfare of humanity,’ but have been understudied and misunderstood. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 375-6; Journal 63, 1998, pp. 179-81. volitional psi/altered states/hypnosis/beliefs/psychokinesis/healing

Grosse, Maurice. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 62, 1997-8, p. 190. Offers to produce a paranormal object in answer to a challenge with a monetary reward. CORRESPONDENCE, p. 380. volitional psi/psychokinesis/methodology

Mulacz, W. Peter. DELIBERATELY CAUSED BODILY DAMAGE (DCBD) PHENOMENA: A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE, Journal 62, 1998, pp. 434-45. Illustrated, [link hussein et al 1997, 62, p. 97] Described ritual body piercing by Sufi Dervishes as witnessed by the author, in which a long skewer is passed through the layer of fat on the side of the abdomen, causing only minimal internal bleeding. The author then describes the case of a Dutchman, Mirin Dajo, who allowed himself frequently to be pierced through different parts of his body, including internal organs, in order to demonstrate the power of ‘mind over matter’: he believed he could ‘dematerialise’ the object as it passed through. However he died from an infection that followed after swallowing a stilletto. The author concludes from both cases that the mastery of pain and injury in such cases is exaggerated, since little pain and injury would normally be caused. He therefore takes issue with the conclusions of Hussein et al (Journal 62, 1967, p. 97), arguing that far from demonstrating unusual healing capabilities, such activities are not at all remarkable. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 63, 1998, pp. 246-50. volitional psi/altered states/hypnosis/beliefs/psychokinesis/healing

Randall, John L. HARRY PRICE: THE CASE FOR THE DEFENCE, Journal 64, 2000, pp. 159-76. Author’s abstract: Harry Price (1881-1948) was the best-known British psychical researcher of the twentieth century and his output of published work was immense. Yet during his lifetime he was scorned by some of the leading members of the SPR, and after his death attempts were made to destroy his reputation by accusations of fraud. The present paper examines some of the reasons for the antipathy to Price, and argues that the case against him has been grossly overstated. It is suggested that a careful reappraisal of his earlier work with physical mediums might yield valuable clues for the understanding of macroscopic PK phenomena. volitional psi/physical mediumship/methodology

Hall, Howard. DELIBERATELY CAUSED BODILY DAMAGE: METAHYPNOTIC PHENOMENA?, Journal 64, 2000, pp. 211-23. Author’s abstract: Instantaneous healing of Deliberately Caused Bodily Damage (DCBD) has been reported by a Sufi School known as Tariqa, Casnazaniyyah. Followers of this school have demonstrated immunity to damage from spikes and skewers inserted into the body, daggers hammered into the skull, as well as the ability to chew and swallow glass. Such extraordinary ability is alleged to be accessible to anyone and not restricted to a few individuals. In this paper it is argued that such phenomena are not related to the use of hypnosis with explicit or implicit suggestion, nor altered states of consciousness, nor the placebo effect. A discussion of my personal experience with DCBD at the Casnazaniyyah School during my travels to Iraq will be presented. DCBD may represent an example of an energy based/metahypnotic phenomena where further research from Western scientists is needed. volitional psi/altered states/beliefs/hypnosis/psychokinesis/healing

Lamont, P. & Wiseman, R. THE RISE AND FALL OF THE INDIAN ROPE TRICK, Journal 65, 2001, pp. 175-93. Authors’ abstract: In the classic version of the Indian rope trick the performer first causes a rope to rise into the air. His boy assistant then clambers up the rope and promptly disappears. Next, the performer climbs the rope after the boy and also vanishes. Moments later, dismembered parts of the boy’s body fall to the ground. The performer now descends the rope and puts these parts into a basket. Finally, the boy jumps from the basket, fully restored to life. This legendary rope trick has generated over a hundred years of debate among scientists, psychical researchers, journalists, magicians and the public. This paper is an attempt to present a comprehensive solution to the legend. The paper describes how the legend of the trick became known in the West via a hoax article carried by an American newspaper in 1890. The paper then notes how the legend gained momentum when witnesses claimed to have actually seen the trick, and occasionally produced photographic and cine-film evidence to support their claims. The paper presents a detailed critique of this evidence and concludes that it is less than convincing. The photographic and cine-film evidence is either inauthentic or hoaxed, and the eyewitness accounts were unreliable. The paper then outlines how those who believed in the reality of the trick attempted to account for the illusion, and notes how writers variously argued that the trick was a genuine paranormal event, the result of mass hallucination or a magic trick. A final section of the paper considers why the legend of the trick has achieved worldwide popularity. volitional psi/magic/beliefs/methodology/theory