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Before WA Skeptics Existed
This Perth group was active
Article is from the now defunct Aquarius Rising: WA's New Age Journal
Volume 1 No 1 Spring 1980 page 3.
A group of psychic researchers in Perth have offered $1000 to|
anyone who can demonstrate genuine psychic abilities. By psychic
abilities they mean things like telepathy, clairvoyance, ESP, astral
projection, mediumship, and telekinesis (or psychokinesis, the
ability to move objects by thought alone).
"We are interested in contacting people who claim to possess
psychic powers in one form or another," explains Cynthia Mitchell,
one of the group's members. "We hope the $1000 will be enough
to encourage genuine people to come forward, but not enough to
encourage trickery or fraud". [$1000 = $3500 in 2007 dollars]
People who claimed to possess psychic abilities would be tested under
controlled scientific conditions by the group, who call themselves the
Unusual Phenomena Research Group. They have been investigating psychic
phenomena in WA for over 18 months. They have a core group of about six
people who include a computer programmer (Cynthia), a psychologist, an
electrical engineer, a biologist and a mathematician.
The group's aim is to sift through and test purported psychic phenomena
to see if there is anything to them. "We are completely open-minded,"
says Cynthia. Though they maintain a strictly scientific attitude to
psychic phenomena, they are not out to rubbish such phenomena or the
people who can demonstrate them. "We would be delighted to find genuine
psychics or psychic phenomena," Cynthia emphasises. Unfortunately the
field of psychic research was open to charlatans and distortion of
results by wishful thinking. "Most of the popular stuff tends to be
trashy and unconvincing," Cynthia remarks. Therefore the group would
like to verify psychic phenomena for itself. "We are trying to establish
something for ourselves, something that is not third-hand," explains
The group visited the Alkimos shipwreck early last year to test reports
of ghostly footsteps and unexplained cooking smells coming from the
wreck. [In 1963 the 7200-ton Alkimos, built in 1943, was being towed to
Hong Kong for refitting after a fire. She went aground in a heavy gale
near Yanchep and was abandoned in 1965.] They also wanted to check the
claim that those visiting the wreck would suffer bad luck. Group members
spent a night on the wreck during which they made sound recordings and
waited for ghostly phenomena to manifest. But neither ghosts nor cooking
smells were detected. Nor did the group suffer any bad luck. But, as
Cynthia says, "It was a good time, great fun."
Ghosts and poltergeists
The group also investigated supposed ghosts and poltergeists at York's
youth hostel. An article in the March issue of Artlook said a group of
school children staying overnight at the hostel had been frightened by
psychic phenomena. The supervisors claimed they heard terrible moans and
screaming and that a jug had moved in mid-air before crashing to the
ground. Cynthia reports, "The supervisors also claimed that when they
went upstairs to investigate with their torches, the torches all went
out when they approached a particular fireplace." In addition to all
this, one girl believed she had been possessed by a spirit that tried to
push her through a glass door.
When the research group came to investigate the hostel they took
photographs and made recordings. They paid particular attention to what
had been the dying room when the hostel was a hospital. This room was
reported to be the venue for a number of unusual phenomena, including a
terrible inexplicable stench. "We set up cameras in the room and I spent
10 minutes in the darkness behind a closed door. But nothing happened,"
Cynthia reports. "But that doesn't mean that there was nothing there,"
she maintains. It was just that the research group didn't find anything.
Similarly their investigations of pyramid power have drawn a blank,
including claims that food kept under pyramids remains fresh for much
longer than normal. "We tried tests on various types of food matter and
all our tests proved quite negative," Cynthia says. There was no
difference in the decay rate between food kept under pyramids and the
same type of food stored normally. Nevertheless they plan to run further
tests on pyramid power claims using an electron microscope.
The group has also investigated the Raudive effect, a spiritualistic
phenomenon that Konstantin Raudive, a German physicist, claims to have
detected. Raudive claims he has recorded the voices of dead people on
tapes by using particular circuits and by tuning a radio receiver to
certain frequencies. The research group has tried this themselves on
several occasions, including the times when they were on the Alkimos
wreck and at the York youth hostel. But so far the results have been
negative. Nonetheless they are still running tests.
And they are still hoping to find genuine psychic phenomena and people
who can demonstrate them. Hopefully the group's $1000 will attract such
people. So if you have psychic abilities that could stand up to
scientific scrutiny, please contact Cynthia or Bruce via this journal.
[There was no response. The group never obtained positive results and
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