UK PSYCHICS REPORT - 1 August 2002
Researchers at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit of Edinburgh University are set to launch a major series of tests to find out whether people really do get glimpses of future events.
In the study, 140 volunteers who believe they have already had psychic experiences will be asked to visualise a picture on a random postcard which will later be sent to their homes.
Dr Fiona Steinkamp, who is leading the research at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit of Edinburgh University, said: "We are trying to find out if people can actually get an impression of the future.
"If this study proves successful, it would mean we would be able to predict disasters such as plane crashes and accidents. You might even be able to win the Lotto."
Test subjects will be isolated in a laboratory where they will listen to relaxation tapes to help them to relax and block out the outside world. They will then have to listen to white noise for 15 minutes while they try to visualise a picture that will be sent to them in the post.
Next, they will be shown four pictures from which they will be asked to choose the picture that most closely resembles the visual impression they had.
Two days later, a randomly selected picture will be posted to them at their homes.
When the volunteers receive the pictures in the post, they will then find out whether they have really had a genuine precognitive experience - unless, of course, they just happened to make a lucky guess.
Steinkamp admitted that the element of chance is not something that can be ignored.
"What we need is a significant number of volunteers to pick the correct picture before we can eliminate the possibility of chance," she said.
The proposed study has been met with some scepticism in scientific circles.
David Concar, deputy editor of New Scientist magazine - which has traditionally taken a skeptical stance on psychic phenomena - said: "If we, as a species, really could do this, we would surely know about it by now. There is no way this study can impose on us an ability that we simply do not have."
Photo shows Ganzfeld sensory-deprivation technique used to heighten psychic receptivity.