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Astronaut Mitchell's Space ESP Experiment -- Bogus?

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posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 01:50 PM
I'd appreciate critical comments on this essay connected with the sad loss of Edgar Mitchell a few days ago. Factual and logical flaws, please swing away!

This NY Times obituary of Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell mentions briefly his famous ‘space ESP’ experiment.

In 1971 he published an article called “An ESP Test from Apollo 14” in the Journal of Parapsychology. I have read and studied the published report. It is not online anywhere, nor is it distributed at all widely.

The description of the ESP experiment in the NY Times is inaccurate. Mitchell made ‘sending’ sessions both on the way out to the moon and the way back. Several participants concentrated at preset agreed-on times and wrote down the Zener card symbols they thought Mitchell was sending.

But Mitchells claim that 51 of 200 guesses were correct was unjustifiable for two reasons.

First, due to rescheduling of major flight events, Mitchell did not ‘send’ at the same times that participants were ‘listening’, and several participants skipped many of the planned ‘sendings’, or did a second listening period immediately after an earlier one. Mitchell was faced with the challenge of selecting which ‘listening’ runs needed to be compared to which ‘sending’ runs, and after several straightforward schemes kept generating essentially random results, he hit on a matching scheme based on numerical sequence of sessions.

Everybody's 1st session would be compared to his 1st sending, everybody's 4th session to his 4th, and so forth, no matter WHAT the actual date/time of each event. Since different participants had different total numbers of listenings, the unmatching sessions would be disregarded.

This meant that when some participants missed sessions, their later listening sessions ‘skipped’ down the list of Mitchell’s sendings, so that the sending which one participant’s listening was being compared to would be different from another participant’s listening, even though both participants’ listenings had occurred simultaneously. As I recall, this also sometimes had a listening being scored against a sending that had not yet even occurred.

The second reason to question the results of the report is that this process of repeatedly redefining the matching sending/listening pairings based on the resulting scores is of course a fundamental violation of experimental protocol [scoring criteria defined IN ADVANCE and then followed] and would result in the experimental results being discarded, in any truly scientific activity.

If your arrow misses the target bulls-eye, you are not allowed to walk over and paint a new bulls-eye around where the arrow hit, which is in essence what Mitchell had done.

Another major reason to discard the experimental results is that it was totally uncalibrated. Mitchell had not made a dry run experiment with him still on Earth, nor did he ever make one after his return. When examining the effects of a NEW factor in a process [spaceflight, in this case] standard experimental protocol requires that the tests be performed both WITHOUT the factor and then WITH the factor [and preferably then again WITHOUT the factor].

It was a bold experiment, I applaud the creativity of the concept. But in preparation, execution, and data reduction, I think it was badly bungled. There was nothing genuinely scientific about it.

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 02:21 PM
Of course Mitchell did not set up an experiment that could match your high standards. He had an amateur interest in the subject and did what he could. He had no peer review, no academic oversight, not a lot of time to set it up, and no particular expertise in designing an experiment of this sort. To call his experiment "bogus" as a result is, I think, unfair. He has to deal not only with people like you, who will fault him on many minor points, but also with people who believe such a thing is impossible and dismiss it out of hand.

Mitchell's solution of pairing sequences seems to me to be as valid as any other. If you've seriously dealt with paranormal phenomena, you know that precise "timing" is often beside the point. It's force fitting a paranormal phenomenon into a normal one. Even physicist are unsure what "time" really is and suggest it isn't real at all, but a product of the human mind. besides, it's not as if Mitchell could go back and re-do his experiment. And if he claimed a correlation that you disavow, so what? Hasn't it been shown that half the stuff that appears in scientific journals is invalid anyway, despite "perfect" statistical method?

You're being way too picky. I suspect you could find fault with any experiment ever designed. He accomplished a hell of a lot during his life, and he has been mis-represented countless times by critics who really weren't listening to what he had to say. You don't really need to add fuel to this fire. No one is likely to think more highly of you because you have.
edit on 2/6/2016 by schuyler because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 02:29 PM
a reply to: schuyler

Bravo! One has to assume that the bitterness felt by the OP towards Edgar Mitchell has only been inflamed by his sad demise.

Body isn't even cold yet mr Oberg, tsk tsk.

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 03:19 PM
a reply to: JimOberg

Not now! This thread is in poor taste, Oberg.
You should know better.

Manup and strike it.

edit on 6-2-2016 by Aliensun because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: schuyler

I agree, let's just remember him as Astronaut Mitchell, sixth man to walk on the moon.

Come on Jim, the argument is over, he's gone.

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 03:26 PM
a reply to: Aliensun

Not only that, but in his initial obituary thread he started arguing against the guy! Fair enough to state you guys disagreed, but to try and elucidate point by point why you think the guy was wrong at the same moment you're ostensibly paying him tribute is disingenuous.

posted on Feb, 6 2016 @ 04:26 PM
I recall that Jim Oberg said he and Dr. Mitchell shared a lot of respect for one another, despite having different beliefs.

It seems timely to review Edgar Mitchell's ESP experiment with Apollo 14. Of course Jim is going to present a critical article. That's what he does. I don't find that to be disrespectful. And, I don't think it is that unusual to revisit a scientific theory when the theorist passes away. If nothing else, it brings the topic back to the forefront for other researchers who may not be aware of his experiment and its results.

Not to mention, that in looking at the Abstract of Dr. Mitchell's article, I think one could present a counter-argument for the experiment's validity. However, I believe that one would need to have access to the full article in order to do so.

If anyone is interested in the article, it's available via ProQuest: An ESP Test for Apollo 14. All of the libraries that are currently accessible to me are closed. So, I'm trying to get in touch with a couple of students that I know who may be able to get me a copy.


posted on Feb, 7 2016 @ 01:58 AM
an alternative hypothesis exists, (given the particular nature of the experiment and its insufficiency to obtain properly vetted suppositions) that the rational appraisal would advocate the experiment was in all actuality a purposeful cover-story for an undisclosed nefarious operation ...

posted on Feb, 7 2016 @ 03:16 PM
a reply to: Misinformation

That was an interesting CNN news video. They appear to be discussing something similar to Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or the God Helmet. I hadn't thought of the consequences of weaponizing this effect.

However, I'm not sure how that video relates to Dr. Mitchell's psi experiment aboard Apollo 14.


posted on Feb, 7 2016 @ 03:22 PM
I do know that Edgar Mitchell believed deeply in things such as this. He contacted a kid named Adam McCloud a healer from a very young age and became a close friend of his, i have a few of his books and this kid just blew me away. He distant heals, and also has the ability to see into a humans body and view the dead or damaged energy around organs. If you google Adam Dream Healer you'll find him. He's helped a lot of people ordinary and other, such as Ronnie Hawkins.

There's an interesting story about him that correlates to my personal life, but maybe for another time.


posted on Feb, 7 2016 @ 03:48 PM
to everyone citisising the OP - get a fooking grip

the sad death of dr mitchell does NOT rend his work immune to critiscism .

the " experiment " was a shonky failure - get over it

posted on Feb, 8 2016 @ 08:26 AM
It DOES seem strange to me that the full text of the article has never been made easily accessible to the public.

posted on Feb, 9 2016 @ 10:22 PM
Show of hands -- who hereabouts has read, or even just knows somebody else who has read, the paper under discussion?

posted on Apr, 22 2016 @ 11:35 AM
a reply to: JimOberg

Just coming on this forum, I must say I was disappointed that the famous space ESP test turned into a bit of a mess. The link given to ProQuest yields only an abstract, and even from that it is difficult to say exactly which analysis found what. I had no idea that the paper had been published in the first place, and have never heard or seen anything about it until now. Obviously, would-be writers about it were so confused by the outcome that they decided not to bother.

With hindsight, the Rhine-type design, which was a way of generating a lot of not-very-good data with the aim of facilitating statistical analysis, was never a useful research tool. The Remote Viewing kind of protocol, getting the subject to describe his or her visual and other impressions about each target, maybe complex images rather than a small set of symbols, might have been better.

I would guess that a few of the shuttle missions would have included more sophisticated experiments on these lines but we probably won't hear anything about these for a long while...

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