Hey Byrd While the attached is not related (directly to the subject)it does offer insight into the culture in question. My next point does require I
ask you. how much do you know about Mayan sound technology?
FROM SLAVIC MYSTERIES TO CONTEMPORARY PSI RESEARCH AND BACK, Part 2
by Larissa Vilenskaya
Menlo Park, California
THE SCIENCE OF WISDOM AND THE WISDOM OF SCIENCE: NOTES ON PSI RESEARCH IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
"The highest wisdom has but one science--the science of the whole--the science explaining the whole creation and man's place in it." Leo Tolstoy,
War and Peace.
In this paper,1 I present some of my observations of para-psychological (psi) research in the former Soviet Union resulting from my trips to Moscow in
October/November 1991, September/October of 1992 and to Moscow and Novosibirsk in April of 1993. The last two trips were undertaken together with a
colleague from California. While narrative overviews of our findings regarding some aspects of psi research in Russia are presented elsewhere (May and
Vilenskaya, 1993, 1994; Vilenskaya and May, 1995), I would like to discuss here the relationship of some of the studied phenomena to shamanism and
their implications for understanding our global interconnectedness. Seeing at a Distance: Studies in Extrasensory Perception Remote Viewing in
Among skills described in many shamanic practices is the ability of "vision at a distance" (Eliade, 1972:184). In all shamanic cultures, the shaman
is the diviner who, through divination, reveals unknown past events, things and persons lost, and future things to happen (e.g., Basilov, 1984:94,
132, 158; Hulkrantz, 1978:37, 54). In other words, shamans are purported to perceive various kinds of information without known senses and known means
of communication. For example, shamanic practitioners among the Sauteaux Indians (the Ojibwa-speaking people of the Berens River in Manitoba, Canada)
are believed to possess clairvoyant powers which enable them "to secure news about people who are hundreds of miles away, or learn of events that are
taking place in another part of the country, [or] ... discover what is going to happen in the future" (Hallowell, 1942:12). Shamans in Siberia are
reported to be "consulted to find men or animals gone astray in the tundra or the snow, to recover a lost object, and so forth" (Eliade, 1972:184).
Scientifically, similar abilities are studied in research of extrasensory perception (ESP) or remote viewing. Some ESP Studies in the Former Soviet
In the 1970s, Ludmila Korabelnikova, an artist in Moscow, participated in 5,000 ESP trials which employed standard double blind techniques. From them,
109 test series with ESP cards in opaque envelopes (these cards depict five symbols: a star, cross, square, circle, and wavy lines) with 25 trials in
each series, i.e., 2,725 trials, resulted, on the average, in 14.5 hits per series (25 trials) instead of the 5 expected by chance. Over 2,000 trials
with numbers from 0 to 9 resulted in 14 hits per series (also 25 trials), instead of the average 2.5 expected by chance (Kobzarev, 1984:95 96; Kogan,
More recently, Korabelnikova took part in different tests, this time including more varieties of tasks than identification of ESP cards or numbers
(Stefanov, 1992). In one of them, she was given rolls of EKG paper with electrocardiograms of patients, all of whom were unknown to her and asked to
state whether or not each of the patients was alive at the moment. She reportedly did not make a single mistake. Two interesting details transpired
during the test. Once Ludmila said, referring to one roll of EKG paper: "He was dead and now is alive." When she heard herself saying this, she got
angry at herself, "I'm sorry for talking nonsense; I must be tired!" It turned out, however, that her "nonsense" made perfect sense: the person
whose EKG was given to Ludmila experienced clinical death and was resuscitated. Working with another roll of EKG paper, Ludmila described it in the
following way: "There is nothing dead or alive here." This was a calibration curve of the EKG machine (Stefanov, 1992:27).
Unfortunately, Russian researchers do not always give enough methodological details in their reports for the readers to judge whether all sensory
clues and conventional modes of receiving information were excluded. We need to maintain closer contacts with our colleagues in Russia and to be able
to better understand their experimental and theoretical approaches. To torabelnikova's credit, she is well-known in Moscow and beyond for her
reported success in locating missing persons and other practical tasks.
Vladimir Safonov, a healer and remote perception operator in Moscow, is also often approached by police to locate missing people. Similarly to
Korabelnikova, he is reputed to be able to identify whether or not the person was alive and the cause of death, if not. For this purpose, he works
with a variety of objects. These include photographs of the deceased individuals (taken when they were alive), undeveloped film, a person's name, and
at times even the person's fingerprint (Fomin, 1991a, 1991b). Most of his statements were reportedly correct. In particular, Yuri Fomin (1991b), an
engineer in Moscow, described the following experiment:
Safonov was shown the fingerprints of an unknown individual. The person who brought the fingerprints to Safonov did not know anything about the person
to whom they belonged. Safonov described the prints as belonging to a shortish woman, slender, with straight hair, aged 30 35, now dead; death had
resulted from a blow on the back of her neck, and she was naked when killed. The prints belonged to the dead body of a naked woman indeed. She was in
fact killed with a blow on the back of her neck. Her appearance was described correctly (p. 153).
Russian researchers reported other numerous attempts to apply remote perception to various practical tasks. Some of them are discussed below.
Applied Remote Viewing
Carefully designed studies of remote viewing have been conducted in this country since the early 1970s (e.g., Puthoff, Targ, and May, 1981; May,
1995). Our Russian colleagues seem to focus their efforts more on applied aspects of remote viewing rather than on experimental research. While in
Moscow, I met with Ivan Sokolov, head of the Center of Alternative Diagnostics in St. Petersburg, and Anna Smirnova, an associate of this center. For
the past several years, this group has reportedly been using remote viewing for solving practical tasks in geology, construction, engineering, and
ecology. Specific tasks included a search for ore and mineral deposites; e.g., one of the projects involved a search for kimberlite pipes--diamond
deposits in Siberia; as well as a search for structural and technological faults in buildings and technological equipment. Sokolov also talked at
length about their recent ecological project performed for city of St. Petersburg in which they identified the areas contaminated by heavy metals in
the vicinity of the territory called Krasny Bor in the St. Petersburg province.2
Action at a Distance: Psychokinesis
"Distant Influence" in Shamanic Traditions
It is maintained in many cultures that some individuals are capable of affecting the surrounding world by yet unknown means. Some shamans, such as
those on the Chukotka Peninsula and Altaian yadachi, are believed to be able to influence the future, in particular the weather, to cause and stop
snow storms, rain or hail (Basilov, 1984:15; Czaplicka, 1914:200; Hulkrantz, 1978:37). The Beaver Indians of northeastern British Columbia believe
that they can affect creation "through a combination of thought and will" (Mills, 1982, p. 37). "If one wants to stop someone in his course of
action ...," they hold, "imbuing one's thoughts with power, or mayine [as they call it], and directing them mentally to that person has the effect
of bringing about the state desired" (ibid.).
Psi research programs in the Soviet Union have primarily focused on experimental studies in "distant influence" on animate and inanimate systems,
i.e., the phenomena termed psychokinesis (PK) and bio-PK by Western researchers ((e.g., Vilenskaya, 1984; May and Vilenskaya, 1993). Bio-PK effects
have been studied in Russia at all levels of complexity of natural systems, i.e., solutions of organic substances, tissue cultures and
micro-organisms, plants, animals, humans. Some of these studies conducted in the former Soviet Union are reviewed below. A paper by Braud and Schlitz
(1991) provides a good overview of respective Western studies for interested readers.
Experiments with Tissue Cultures and Bacteria
In studies by Konstantin A. Chernoschekov and Alexei V. Lepekhin (1993) from Tomsk Medical Institute in Siberia, 17 operators attempted to affect
several kind of enterobacteria. In 28 instances (26.9%) from 104 experimental series, a change in the inherited properties of bacteria was observed.
Another researcher, Yevgeny G. Bondarenko, demonstrated in his experiments that some individuals were capable of affecting certain properties of blood
red cells in vitro.
Bondarenko also was an operator in another study in which he was asked to affect hybrid cells that contained a double set of chromosomes from two of
their predecessors (i.e., normal cells of a mouse's spleen and a tumor line of cells also obtained from a mouse). In these tests, an inhibition of
the growth of cellular clones of the hybrids with dominating activity of the genes of tumor origin was found (Tyagotin and Bondarenko, 1991).
A well-known sensitive and healer, Djuna Davitashvili, was asked to affect a kidney cell culture. She held her hands at a distance of 10 to 20 cm from
a container with the culture for 7 to 10 minutes. After 24, 48, and 72 hours, histological studies were conducted. In seven series of experiments it
was established that the relative number of mitoses throughout the given area in test cultures was 20 to 30% higher, as compared to the control
(Kazna-cheyev, Mikhailova, and Vladimirsky, 1990:85; Kaznacheyev and Trofimov, 1992:69).
Another sensitive and healer, Yevgeny A. Dubitsky, while in Moscow, attempted to affect tissue cultures in Novosibirsk. The cells were in three test
tubes each marked by red, blue, or green. In Moscow, Dubitsky chose the color of the test tube he wanted to work with in Novosibirsk, leaving the
other two as controls, and informed one of the experimenters (who later did not work with the tissue cultures) of his chosen color. After he attempted
to affect the tissue culture in the selected test tube, researchers in Novosibirsk studied RNA synthesis in all three test tubes and found it
different in the affected culture as compared with the other two (Mikhailova, Merenkova, and Feldman, 1991:5).
Experiments with Plants
A study conducted at the Research Institute of Fine Mechanics and Optics in St. Petrsburg involved a sprout of corn (or another plant) placed in an
aqueous-alcohol solution, which also contained a dye changing its color with a change in the acidity/alkalinity (pH) of the solution. The test-tube
was tightly closed, and an operator was asked to affect the solution at a certain distance, while pH of the solution was measured. There also was a
control test-tube, not affected by the operator, with the same kind of a sprout and the same solution. In the test solution, a change in pH was
observed from 4.9 to 6.44, while no noticeable change was found in the control solution (Dulnev, 1990:5-6).
On the one hand, this study reportedly yielded positive outcome. On the other hand, it is not convincing because of drawbacks in the reporting style
of our Russian colleagues. In particular, this report does not contain: the total number of trials, the distance between the operator and the
test-tube, whether interchangeable attempts to affect test and control test-tubes were implemented, and whether the order of test and control trials
was randomized. The following studies were reported using somewhat better standards.
A group of researchers from the Russian Agricultural Academy in Moscow (Morozova, Polikarpov, Suponitsky, and Ilyina, 1991) describe several series of
experiments which involved a human operator effect on plant seeds resulting in an increase in germination of the seeds. In other tests, operators were
reportedly capable of stimulating or retarding plant growth, as well as causing two sprouts from one wheat seed (according to the authors, this
phenomenon was observed spontaneously in one of 967 control seeds, but in one or two seeds from every 10 to 15 seeds subjected to an operator's
In experiments with kidney beans, sprouts of the seeds subjected to an operator's influence had an additional number of leaves (with the control
seeds, in one series, one sprout from 38 control seeds showed this effect while four sprouts from 10 test seeds showed it; in another series, four
sprouts from 31 control plants showed the effect while 14 sprouts from 32 test plants showed it). Further studies by Morozova, Dolin, and Suponitsky
(1993) confirmed that some operators were capable of affecting plant seeds in such a way as to cause irreversible changes in various plants, such as
an increase in the germination of seeds or an increase in the frequency of natural mutations.
Dr. Yuri S. Dolin, a biophysicist in Moscow, has conducted a number of bio-PK experiments together with a group of researchers in the Ukraine, which
also involved a human operator's "distant influence" on plant seeds (Tkachuk, et al., 1992). Enzyme activity in some metabolic processes in winter
wheat plants grown from "treated" seeds, as compared to "untreated" seeds, was studied. Three-minute exposure of the seeds to "distant
influence" turned out to be more effective than nine-minute exposure. In another test series, the pigment content and chloroplast leaf cell
photochemical activity of plants were studied after an operator's influence on winter wheat seeds. Again, three-minute influence turned out to be
more effective than nine-minute influence.
Back in early 1970s, Veniamin N. Pushkin of the Research Institute of General and Pedagogical Psychology in Moscow reported that changes in the
psychophysiological state of a person in hypnosis or through self-regulation affected the electro-physiological activity of plants (Dubrov and
Pushkin, 1982:94-99). Recently Yuri S. Dolin and his associates confirmed these findings in carefully designed experiments (Dolin, Davydov, Morozova,
and Shumov, 1993).
Experiments with Animals
Dr. Dmitry G. Mirza, head of the Research Division of the National Center for Traditional Folk Medicine in Moscow, and his associate V. I. Kartsev
conducted three experimental series on bio-PK (healing) influence on gray mice exposed to lethal doses of ionizing radiation (Kartsev, 1993). The mice
were subjected to 850, 900, and 915 rad from a Cs137 source in the first, second, and third series, respectively. All the mice for each series (i.e.,
the test and control groups) were irradiated simultaneously with the 30 rad/min dose power. There were 10 mice in each test and 10 in each control
group (with one exception in the second series where one test group contained nine mice).
The results of the second and third series are most interesting. There were four experimental and four control groups in the second series that was
conducted beginning August 13, 1991. For controls, the mortality was 100%, i.e., all 40 mice died without a single one surviving the 19th day after
the irradiation. In the test groups, in 19 days, the mortality was 90%, 50%, 40%, and 22% (the last was in the group of nine mice), respectively.
While other operators worked at relatively small distances (meters from the mice), the operator who turned out to be the most successful affected mice
located in Moscow from the town of Yalta in the Crimea, at a distance of about 800 miles. In January 1993, 15 mice from 39 in the test group were
still alive as compared to zero in the control group. In the third series, nine out of 10 animals in one test subgroup and all 10 in another subgroup
survived, as compared to three mice in the control group.
Bio-PK Effect on Human Physiology
Dr. Yuri S. Dolin, whose experiments with plants we discussed above, showed us the equipment and design of another interesting experiment. In this
test, a subject was located in a dark, sound-proof, electrically shielded chamber, his electroencephalogram (EEG) was monitored, and changes in the
brain wave spectrum as the result of remote attention were recorded. The recorded variable was the relative alpha power change during effort compared
to control periods. There were experiments conducted both at short distances, when an operator was from 5 to 100 meters from the subject
("receiver"), and at longer distances, from 1 to 10 km. The choice whether a given trial was a test or control and the direction of influence
(activation or inhibition of the subject's alpha rhythm) were determined randomly. The subject was not aware whether the given trial was a test or
control. With four operators and two receivers, 109 trials were conducted: 53 control and 56 test trials. From these, 21 test trials had the operator
attempting "activation" of the subject (thereby intending to decrease the subject's alpha power) and 21 test trials attempted "inhibition,"
thereby intending to increase the subject's alpha power; in the rest of the test trials the direction of effect was not specified. The results were
statistically significant indicating that a person seems to be able to affect alpha power of the sensory-isolated receivers (Dolin, Dymov, and
Operators' method of "distant influence" in this study reminds us of above-mentioned shamanic concepts of "bringing about the state desired"
through a "combination of thought and will" of another person (Mills, 1982:37). During the bio-PK session, the operator attempts mentally to
"impose" on the subject an image of an event which would be pleasant (in calming-down trials) or upsetting for the subject. It was specifically
pointed out that if the operator attempts to "impose" a picture which may be upsetting for someone, but which is not a part of the life or
experience of this particular subject, it does not work: the operator has to know what can be emotionally arousing or upsetting (or pleasant) for this
Although I did participate in some tests using this stimulation vs. inhibition approach, I personally would prefer to send love instead of upsetting
images. Rein and McCraty (1993) in this country reported that coherent heart frequencies of individuals focusing on generating deep feelings of love,
care or appreciation, caused conformational changes of DNA from distances of up to 0.5 miles from the test area. Perhaps this model will lead us to a
better understanding of unity in living nature.
Oneness: Evidence for Global Interconnectedness
Traditional Slavic mythological views and folk healing practices discussed in the previous paper of this series are supported by results of modern
parapsychological studies. In reviewing publications in the field of psi research in the former Soviet Union, I came across findings describing
interactions at all levels of biological systems hierarchy, i.e., between tissue cultures, plants, animals, and humans.
About 25 years ago, Vlail P. Kaznacheyev, a member of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, and his associates discovered a phenomenon of
communication between cells. In their tests, one tissue culture was infected by a virus or subjected to an influence of lethal poison and placed in
"optical contact" (occurring through quartz glass which is transparent to ultraviolet light) with an intact culture. According to methodological
details published by the researchers, accidental contamination of the second culture was reliably excluded. A number of hours later, the cells in the
second culture, as if showing "empathy" with their infected counterparts, died with the same specific features of cell death as in the infected
culture. The "transmission" of toxicity was reportedly successful for poison and viruses; however, the pattern of cellular death was different,
specific for each toxic agent (Kaznacheyev and Mikhailova, 1981, 1985). Interaction between cell cultures in various conditions of their growth, at
different distances from each other, was also studied by a number of other researchers in the former Soviet Union, including Kirkin (1981), Molchanov
(1985), and Mostovnikov and Khokhlov (1977).
It was also found that non-radiated plants were apparently capable of relieving radiation injuries in radiated plants at a distance (Sanayev and
Zorina, 1977:80). Nikolai Sochevanov (1980) in Moscow observed a response of a plant to a "drastic" stimulation of another plant by an electric
shock or burn at a distance of up to 800 meters. In the 1970s and 1980s, Sergey Speransky (1983, 1990) from Novosibirsk demonstrated "anomalous"
communication between two groups of white mice. Distant synchronization of changes in animal electroencephalograms was observed by researchers in
Simferopol (Makeyev, Volvovskaya, and Rebezova, 1975:319). A study conducted in Novosibirsk back in the late 1960s discovered communication between
rabbits at a distance of up to 7 km (Perov, 1984).
These findings emphasize a more profound meaning in the worldviews of native people who "practice, and believe in, a kind of telepathy between
people, animals and plants; indeed between all elements of creation" (Mills, 1982:37). They also remind us of interconnection between different
dimensions in our own lives--logical and intuitive, scientific and spiritual. By perceiving these dimensions not as opposite but complementary, we
restore balance and richness to our lives. In accepting transpersonal view of reality, it is important to remind ourselves from time to time: "You
are all included as part of All That Is... The ONE" (Black and Black, 1992:26).
I am grateful to all my friends and colleagues in Russia and the United States who have supported me in my quest. In particular, I deeply appreciate
the assistance of Charlotte Berney, Dr. Yuri S. Dolin, Dr. Ruth-Inge Heinze, Dr. Edwin C. May, and Dr. Marilyn Schlitz.
1. A version of this paper was presented at the 10th International Conference on the Study of Shamanism and Alternate Modes of Healing, San Rafael,
CA, September 5, 1993.
2. Personal communication from Ivan Sokolov, St. Petersburg, April 1993.
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