October 24, 2011

Student Out to Prove Psychic Activity Exists

I closed my eyes and thought about the shining light that was supposed to be cacooning my body.

"Picture it flowing from your heart," a voice told me and, putting my skepticism aside, I tried to. I pictured it flowing onto my arms and legs and head. And then I opened my eyes and tried to force a psychic episode.

All this while talking to a masters student in psychology.

Mandy Scott, who's finishing her master's at Laurentian University's psychology department, doesn't just believe in psychic activity. She plans to prove it exists.

Scott is working on an experiment to measure changes in brain activity during psychic functions. Basically, she wants to map out what happens in the brain when a person is having a legitimate psychic episode.

"I've always been interested in all these strange phenomena. I've always been a dreamer," said Scott, who is a First Nation Cree. "My cultural background has contributed a lot to looking into (psychic phenomena.) ... It's about recognizing that we live in a spiritual world."

Scott's research will concentrate on remote viewing, or the ability to perceive and describe something that is hidden from the senses.

"Psychic functioning is the ability to perceive and describe targets, which could be people, places, events, situations, anything that's hidden from you at a distance of space in time," she said.

REMOTE VIEWING

Scott firmly believes that anyone can learn to do this. So I decided to try it out.

Sitting in the small office that she shares with several others, I let Scott teach me how to remote view. She's done this before. This will be her third and last experiment with remote viewing, which will eventually become her thesis.

First, we start with visualizing. After closing my eyes and taking a few calming breaths, I'm told to visualize different parts of my body, then the strange white lights that are supposed to be emitting from it. I'm then led on a virtual tour of the school. After I'm done visualizing, she picks an envelope at random, assures me that she has no idea what image is inside it, and starts the remote viewing process.

Feeling foolish and slightly nervous, I take another virtual tour in my head. I'm told to visualize picking up the envelope, ripping it open and looking at the photo. What do I see?

Well, nothing. At first.

Then, I start to see colours. Yellow and red. Later green.

I decide that the image must be outside. Maybe with rolling hills and vast spaces. Feeling confident, I open the envelope. It was a picture of steep steps and a building behind it. Not a bit of green. Not one rolling hill in sight.

But Scott isn't interested in matching images. Instead, it's about picking up little pieces of the puzzle. I was right about the setting, it was outside, there were no people, and the clouds sort of looked like rolling hills. Kind of. If you squint.

Scott isn't expecting that anyone will get the exact image right, but she does think some descriptions will match in her experiment.

The study will include three groups: The control group, who have no psychic experience; the experimental group, who also have no experience; and the psychic control group, who have completed a course on remote viewings and psychic functions. One of the inexperienced groups will be taught to remote view, while the other will not. Those who are being taught will go through what I did, except they'll also undergo an EEG test. The tests will help Scott understand brain activity and function.

Participants will undergo six EEG tests and one four-hour long workshop. They can quit anytime during the six weeks and are eligible to win a prize if they complete the study.

As a psychology student, Scott has been criticized for her field of study.

"I've encountered lots of people over the years who don't know what to make of it, and it's taken me a long time to learn how to respond to critical questions about my research," she said.

While I don't know if I have the psychic gift, Scott seems determined in her research.

"Psychic function is real and we need help in pinpointing how it works," she said.

Those interested in participating can call 705-675-1151, ext. 4824 or email Scott at mx_scott@laurentian.ca.

rpoliakov@thesudburystar.com