Self-Fulfilling Skepticism

Why Some Researchers Will Not See the Light

Have you ever noticed how closed-minded skeptics (CMS) rarely if ever have any experiences with psychic faculties or “the paranormal” in general? Soviet research into psychokinesis involving Nina Kulagina several decades ago demonstrated qualitatively that a skeptic’s mere presence does have an effect on a psychic’s ability to function properly. Hence, with a CMS (or several) in the room or otherwise involved in the experiment, a psychic is more likely to “fail,” thus “proving” the CMS right (at least in his own narrow reality tunnel). It is merely a case of self-fulfilling prophecy.

New-science researcher and filmmaker David Wilcock has suggested that if consciousness creates all known energy, it can manipulate matter, and is ultimately a vibrational movement of etheric/zero point energy, then the level of consciousness, intelligence, or love present is directly proportional to the vibrational speed of ether/torsion in that locality. Higher speeds invite higher degrees of intelligence and/or love because there is then more energy available, meaning will has more fuel for exerting effects on “external” systems (Wilcock, The Science of Oneness).

Dr. Valerie Hunt’s research in her book Infinite Mind showed a correlation between auric frequencies and the “level” of consciousness occupied by the individual. Healers, mediums, and mystics showed higher frequencies in their electromagnetic fields than others not of those categories, illustrating that those possessed of “higher” consciousness are, in some sense, literally “on a higher frequency.” Those fixated on or believing solely in “material reality” exhibited lower dominant frequencies and were bereft of the higher.

In fact, gamma frequencies in the brain of 40–100 Hertz—the highest of the better known bands of brainwave frequencies (the higher band being Lambda, reaching up to about 200 Hz (Extraordinary States,—have been linked to the ability to manifest intention in the world. Gamma states represent the brain in hyperdrive, working at its most intense. “This oscillation is conducive to creating links across many parts of the brain,” (Church, D., The Genie in Your Genes, Energy Psychology Press, 2009, p. 99) facilitating an integrated whole-brain state.

Paradoxically, the extreme high and low ends of the brainwave spectrum have the same states of consciousness associated with them, and different oscillations can be present at once in different parts of the same brain (Extraordinary States. To illustrate, Russian PK psi star Nina Kulagina (1926-1990)—who, under controlled experimental conditions, could (among other things) separate an egg yoke from the white from a distance of six feet while it floated in a saline solution using only her intention—exhibited low frequency theta brainwaves of 4 Hz ­normally associated with a deeply relaxed trance—while simultaneously showing extreme physiological agitation/arousal, including a pulse rate of 240 bpm. These strenuous efforts left her absolutely exhausted, and temporarily blind on that particular occasion, (Watson, L., Supernature, Coronet Books, Hodder Paperbacks Ltd, 1974, P 139-40).

Perhaps all of the above explains why Kulagina’s PK abilities “worked better in an atmosphere of friendly mutual trust and belief”—PK, as we know, generally requires intense states of physiological arousal and higher frequency brainwave activity, all of which drains large reserves of bioenergy. PK is a higher brain function. Kulagina experienced less stress when working alone, and it was said that her PK ability was mood-dependent (both her own mood and that of the observers) and expended more energy in a hostile or skeptical atmosphere” (LaMoth, J.D. & L.F. Maire III, Defense Intelligence Agency, Soviet and Czechoslovakian Parapsychology Research, 1975) where the collective vibration would have been lowered. Hostile skeptics have something of an innate psi—or consciousness—damping effect; they literally operate at a lower frequency, their mind fields interfering with those of the test subject. The fact that separate minds interact via measurable electromagnetic—and some not-so-measurable—fields has been proven by Hunt and others, and I detail much of this research in my book, The Grand Illusion. Vol. I., A Synthesis of Science & Spirituality (Balboa Press).

The contrast between open-minded skepticism and closed-minded skepticism can be the difference, for example, between genuine and obvious mediumship as compared to a less successful demonstration (or a complete nonevent). Well-known, American medium Allison DuBois amusingly comments that when she “brought through” her first deceased professional psychic-medium, communicating with and understanding him was very easy; communicating with deceased former skeptics, on the other hand, she likens to pulling mud through a colander. For her, the more open-minded people are more pleasant in death than those who lived with closed minds (DuBois, A., We Are Their Heaven, Fireside, 2006, p 45).

Negativity causes chaos or entropy in the local ambient (and personal) energy fields, whereas positivity, gratitude, or love cause coherence, beauty and order—consider the instances of saints and yogis whose dead bodies have remained impervious to decay weeks, months, and years! (The Grand Illusion). Hence, the mere presence of a skeptic (especially a dogmatic and belligerent one) during psychical research may cause disorder and potentially negate psi effects; they create incoherence or “psi-damping” effects (just one of the many reasons that no sane or well informed psychic would ever get involved with the thought fields connected to any “super skeptics” psychic “challenges”). Closed-minded skeptics act as human frequency scramblers and—somewhat ironically—psychically manifest their own beliefs, albeit unconsciously. (Fear of failure—which might be likely to increase around hostile observers—also plays a role in some psi experiments, creating inner conflict in the subject that can negate results.)

Practically speaking, the minds of the experimenter/s and the subject are entangled in ether/zero point field/vacuum/time-space/implicit order, and therefore psi-negative beliefs belonging to the mind or torsion/scalar field of the former can deleteriously affect the psi operations of the latter’s.

In 1942 psychologist and parapsychologist Gertrude Schmeidler initiated her infamous “sheep-goat” experiments, designed to test whether belief and open-mindedness would enhance psi function in contrast to skepticism. Two groups, “sheep” who believed in or were simply open to psi, and “goats” who did not believe, were put through identical standard controlled ESP tests. The outcome indicated that believers in the possibility of ESP scored better than those who did not: the disbelievers scored lower, ergo belief is a legitimate variable mediating psi functions (Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler).

Some disbelievers have actually produced results significantly below chance (Radin, D., Entangled Minds, Paraview Pocket Books, 2006)—manifesting their negative belief in psi—to statistically significant levels. The irony is delicious. Dr. Mario Varvoglis was President of the Parapsychological Association from 2001-02 and has been involved in psi research since the mid-1970s. Of Schmeidler’s research he has said that the sheep-goat discrepancy “has been confirmed by many other researchers. A meta-analysis by [psychologist Tony Lawrence], covering 73 experiments by 37 different researchers, clearly confirms that subjects who believe in psi obtain, on the average, higher results than those who do not believe in it.” (Mario Varvoglis,

Lawrence’s meta-analysis involved all sheep-goat, forced-choice experiments conducted between 1947 and 1993 and consisted of more than 685,000 guesses by 4,500 participants. (Forced-choice studies tend to engage the analytical left brain more because of front-loading the subject with data from the start, whereas in free-response studies the subject is unaware of what the target may be and leaves the right hemisphere to operate with less interference. Targ and Puthoff found in their early research that the latter method was more effective. Hence you often hear psychics in informal situations say to their sitter before the reading, “Don’t tell me anything,” the overall results were strongly in favor of the sheep-goat effect-to such an extent, in fact, that to reduce the results statistically to chance would have required an additional 1,726 unpublished and/or nonsignificant studies. No plausible explanations for this result other than psi have been put forth. (Lawrence, T., “Gathering in the Sheep and Goats: A Meta-analysis of Forced Choice Sheep-Goat ESP Studies,” 1947-1993. Proceedings of Presented Papers: Parapsychological Association 36th Annual Convention, 75-86.)

American psychic and author Harold Sherman (1898–1987) had noted in the early 1940s that while it is possible to receive thought impressions from a skeptic, it is extremely difficult for someone of that mindset to act as receiver (Wilkins, H. & Harold Sherman, Thoughts Through Space, Hampton Roads, 2004). Even for professionals, trying to “receive” from a skeptic can be a big task (as per DuBois’ previous comments). Varvoglis confirms that the more open we are to psi experiences, the better the chances that the world will “respond” by creating them (Varvoglis, M., The Sheep/Goat Effect).

Co-developer of the early American military’s remote viewing program (and one of the star remote viewers) Ingo Swann weighs in on Schmeidler’s sheep-goat tests, stating that the results initially came as a bombshell because, “Skeptics and disbelievers, of course, very much desired not to be seen as dysfunctional regarding something they were trying to debunk.” Ergo, after these experiments were replicated variously by other researchers with similar results, “skeptics and disbelievers decided NOT to take part in ESP tests. In any event, here was something to be swept under mainstream carpets … ” (Swann).

It is important to realize, as author and former host of the PBS television series Thinking Allowed Jeffrey Mishlove points out, that the sheep-goat studies do not necessarily distinguish those who believe in ESP from those who do not. In most studies, the “sheep” merely accepted the possibility that ESP could occur in the test situation, while many of the “goats” were willing to accept that ESP could occur between people who loved each other, or in certain times of crisis; but they did not accept that ESP might operate for them in their test situation (Mishlove, J., The Roots of Consciousness). On that basis, imagine how psi-negative the beliefs of the fanatical and hostile “skeptic” must be. It is far better to be open to possibility than closed to it for fear of one’s beliefs being wrong.

Harold Sherman, who was ahead of his time, articulated the role of belief and the subconscious mind in the attempt to function as a successful receiver in a psi endeavor, explaining that telling yourself with certitude that there is no such thing as psi is tantamount to instructing your subconscious mind to shut down the psi faculties so they do not operate for you (Wilkins & Sherman).

The late American intuitive Edgar Cayce found that there were various factors that could prevent him from giving a reading for someone by hindering or blocking his subconscious mind; for instance, the thoughts of those in the room who were “not in accord with the type, class or character of information sought at that particular time.” Because of the sensitivity of the process, as well as the difficulty of interpreting the Akashic records themselves, “anyone present for a reading had to be unified in his or her desire to be of help to the questioner.” The absence of this synergistic factor could, and in some cases did, blunt Cayce’s ability “to reach that position, that plane, that sphere, from which the [data] was being sought.” (Todeschi, K., Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records, A.R.E. Press, 1999, p 84–5)

I am reminded of ex-skeptic Steve Pavlina’s comment that all skepticism achieves is the manifestation of more reasons to continue disbelieving: “It would be hard to manifest a more boring reality than that.” (Pavlina, S., The Death of Skepticism)—boring, limiting, and disempowering. In a dream-like reality such as ours, it pays to be open-minded.

Assuming our reality to be a mechanistic and observer-independent universe devoid of consciousness merely creates that appearance in that individual’s subjective perception and experience of it. When you open your mind, strange things can start to happen that otherwise would not be permitted by your subconscious filters and your limiting conscious beliefs.

The power of belief was demonstrated profoundly to various members of the American Psi Spies (government-funded military remote viewers) in their “nonphysical” excursions. They discovered that when a target site had some form of psi protection against them, they could circumvent that protection and resume viewing if the session monitor simply asked the viewer what he would find without the protection there (Marrs, J., PSI Spies, New Page Books, 2007, p 174–5). The mere belief in the reality of the psychic blockers on the part of the remote viewer meant that those blockers or scrambler frequencies appeared to succeed in doing their job. However, their effectiveness could be undermined by not believing in them or disregarding them altogether.

Popular American author, futurist, and playwright Robert Anton Wilson (1932–2007) shared an interesting anecdote in Cosmic Trigger regarding his then-youngest daughter, Luna (who was sadly beaten to death in a store robbery at age fifteen). As a child, she had been meditating with two of her siblings when a sudden thud jolted them out of their trances. Luna, who had been on the right of her siblings, was suddenly on the left. Her brother and sister believed she had either levitated or teleported, though Luna herself could not remember moving. When Wilson discussed it with her, she made a stunningly insightful comment by any child’s standards. She told her father: “You believe in ESP, so it happens around you. You don’t believe in levitation, so it doesn’t happen around you.” (Wilson, R.A., Cosmic Trigger, New Falcon Publications, 1977, p 78–9).

Believing (or disbelieving) is a creative act.

Yet, observe one of the few cases where skeptics actually attempted to provide empirical evidence for one of their “it must be other than psi” rationalizations for psi-positive results. In 1939, psychologists Kennedy and Uphoff asked twenty-eight observers to record 11,125 mock ESP trials to see if “motivated recording errors” could explain positive ESP results. They found that 1.13% of the data was mis-recorded (as expected), but of the errors made by believers, 71.5% increased the ESP scores, while for skeptics, 100% of their errors decreased the ESP scores (Honorton, C., “Rhetoric over substance: the impoverished state of skepticism.” The Journal of Parapsychology, June, 1993). Such is the power of fanatical disbelief. With such ardency, anything resembling objectivity is impossible.

As author and originator of the Matrix Energetics healing technique Richard Bartlett suggests in The Physics of Miracles, ask yourself “what if there are no rules?” (Bartlett, R., The Physics of Miracles, Atria Books, 2009). That is a much more psi-conducive form of mental software to run, because it opens up your own perceptions of reality to the massive variability and potential of the endless software programs of the Infinite.


Brendan D. Murphy is a leading Australian researcher, thinker, and public speaker. He is author of The Grand Illusion: A Synthesis of Science and Spirituality, Vol. 1, available at

By Brendan D. Murphy