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PART VI. Parapsychological Techniques

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A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF MAJOR EMPIRICAL STUDIES IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY INVOLVING RANDOM EVENT GENERATORS OR REMOTE VI EWI NG . James E. Alcock Department of Psychology Glendon College York Univers ity Commi ss i oned by: Committee on Techniques f or the Enhancement of Human Per f ormance Commiss ion on Behavioral an] Social Sciences and Educat i on Nat i one ~ Research Counc i 2102 Constitution Avenue, Washington, D. C. 20418

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( Alcock ) As far back as h istory goes, most human be ings have viewed the world as possessing a transcendental aspect beyond the materialistic dimension to which our physical senses are limited. Be it manifested through gods who employ their unlimited abilities at whim or through natural magic, which supposedly allows those cognizant of its secrets to influence and control events through the use of charms and incanta- tions, this "transcendental temptation" (Kurtz, 1986) has always beckoned both individual and society alike. The r ise of modern science proved to be a particularly dif f icult challenge to transcendental thinking. Science succeeded best whenever it concentrated only on the material- istic world and put any considerations of spirituality aside. While successful as a strategy for understanding nature, this approach created difficulty for the many scientific resear- chers who were also religious because science came to be identified with materialism, in direct challenge to their religious beliefs. As_I have discussed elsewhere in some detail {Alcock, 1985), psychical research was born in the latter part of the nineteenth century out of the desire to bend the scientific method to the study of the putative non-material aspect of human existence. The formation of the Society for Psychical Research in England in 1882 marked the beginning of organized 2

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( Alcock ) empirical inquiry into post-mortem survival. Likewise, the early work of Joseph Banks Rhine in the United States focused con this subject. Gradually, the quest narrowed to the search for evidence of psychic abilities (or "psi" in today's terminology), but underlying this search, even as it does fo' many people today, lay the dies ire to estabI ish a scienti f ic teas is for supposed non-mater ial and immortal aspects of our existence . What is psi? It is not a simple matter to def ine this term because, f or one thing, there is a lack of agreement even within parapsychology as to what is its teas ic nature . In general terms, psi includes processes which involve the transfer of information or physical influence between one mi nd and another or one mi nd and an object when no known physical channel is involved. Extrasensory perception (ESP ~ is said to involve the ability to receive information from someone's mind directly or to receive information about a distant object or setting, or even to receive information about future events which have not as yet occurred, all this w1'chout_ belief it of any known phys ical channe ~ . Psychok ines is (PK) refers to the putative ability of the mind to influence objects directly - to move them or alter the ir movement- again without recourse to any known physical channel. Psi is essentially def ined negatively in that its occurence is OCR for page 601
(Alcock) physicalist explanations. Thus, i-f a physical explanation is overlooked, a particular event might be deemed to have been a demonstration of psi; upon discovering a the physical explanation, the psychic explanation would fall away. In recent years, in the attempt to be more rigourous, some parapsychologists have begun to take a "psi-as-anomaly" approaches. That is ~ rather than assuming that some process or phenomenon (e.g., "ESP") has occurred, "psi" is used as a label when results in some experiment are anomalous with current understanding of the way the universe operates. However, this approach has tts own problems, for there are many instances of empirical findings which are clearly anomalous but would not appear even to par-apsychologists ~ or perhaps especially to parapsychologists, to be instances of pS1 . Indeed, in order to capture the sense of what is meant when people talk about psi, it seems inescapable that one must include the notion that consciousness is directly interacting with other minds and with matter, and this interaction is unimpeded by the usual constraints imposed by the physical world. Psi, if it exists, seems intrinsically to violate certain traditional scientific assumptions about the nature of r eat ity, s uch as the notion that events cannot precede their cause. PSi processes appear to be unaffected by considerations of time or distance. No known physical matter 4

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(Alcock) is capable of inhibiting them. Nonetheless, parapsychologists claim to have evidence that psi does indeed exist, although such claims continue to receive a cold shoulder at the doors of science. A BRIEF HISTORY OF PSI IN THE LABORATORY It was Joseph Banks Rhine who introduced parapsycholog- ists to the laboratory. Although a botanist by training, after obtaining his doctorate Rhine devoted his entire career to parapsychology. As a university student, he had been troubled by the conflict between, on the one hand, the religious beliefs with which he had been raised (he had originally planned to become a minister) and on the other, the skepticism about these beliefs engendered by his training in science. As did many other pioneers in parapsychology, the scientific study of putatively psychic phenomena provided a good compromise between his respect for science and his conviction that there is more to our existence than material- istic philosophy suggests . Around the time of his graduation from university, Rhine contacted and found favour with Will lam MacDouga ~ I , a lead i ng social psychologist who was also unable to accept strict materialism and who was interested in scientif ic invest~ga- tion of the psychic realm, a realm which, through the popular i ty of sp i r i tua ~ ism in the late nineteenth and ear ly twentieth centuries, certainly seemed to cry out for 5

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(Alcock) investigation. (In fact, mainstream psychologists on both sides of the Atlantic had given serious consideration to spiritualists' claims, but had become disillusioned and had abandoned the quest because of the failure to find anything other than fraud). When MacDougall accepted the post of chairman of the psychology department at Duke University, he invited Rhine to work under his supervision in the investiga- tion of a body of transcripts of mediumistic communications, and this grew into a full-time position, with Rhine eventual- ly setting up his famous Parapsychology Laboratory. It is not surprising that, finding himself in a psychology department and under the guidance of a psycholog- ist, Rhine adopted an experimental psychological approach to the study of psi. As had psychologists done in their studies of "normal" human behaviours and abilities, Rhine came to depend almost exclusively upon statistical analysis as the arbiter of whether or not anything psychic was going on in his studies. Rhine built his quest for empirical evidence of psi on what, for _want of a better term, might be called the "wishing-guessing" paradigm. In the study of psychokinesis, for example, a subject would watch Lice being rolled by a machine and would "wish" the dice to come up in some prespecif fed way. Rhine would calculate the success rate over a (usually very large ~ number of trials, and then by 6

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(Alcock3 means of statistical tests, would decide whether or not the observed success rate exceeded that expected if only "chance" were operating. In the study of precognition or telepathy or clairvoyance, the typical task involved a set of 25 cards consisting of 5 sets of 5 different symbols (the "Zener" deck). The subject's task would be to guess which of the five types of cards was the target card. The wishing/guess- ing paradigm was an attractive one in that it made it the likelihood of the event occurring by chance readily calcul- able. Because of Rhine's claims of above-chance scoring, there ensued in the 1930s and 1940s considerable Sedate between a number of psychologists who challenged the validity of Rhine's statistical analyses, and Rhine and his defenders. Although some of the attacks struck home, leading to changes in the ways that parapsychologists did things thereafter, the brunt of the assault on statistical grounds was successfully deflected. Although Rhine came to believe that he had clearly demonstrated the reality of psi through his card-guessinq and d$ce-rolling studies, most scientists refused to accept that claim due to the lack of replicability of the demonstrations produced by Rhine and by the belief that his research was flawed by his failure to institute adequate experimental controls. With regard to dice-rolling, for example, Rhine 7

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(Alcock) himself found that as controls were made more rigourous, PK effects tended to disappear. Evidence from dice-rolling studies is no longer held in much esteem by most para- psychc 1 og ~ sts . There is a small number of "class ic" Rhine studies which are still sometimes adduced as evidence by parapsychologists, but which, because of lack of repl~cability, stand essential- ly as reports of miracles; some may believe that psi effects really were produced while others may well consider that the results were due to some sort of methodological artifact which may not be obvious from the written reports, and still others may even posit fraud as the explanation. While one must be wary when pointing the finger of fraud, and while it must be emphasized that there has never been any evidence to suggest that Rhine cheated in any way in his research, the possibility of fraud should never be overlooked completely. Some important parapsychological demonstrations by one of Rhine's leading contemporaries, S.G. Soal, have fallen into disrepute as evidence grows that Soal cheated. Psychokinesis research The history of psychokinesis research is especially relevant to this paper since the random event generator research which will be discussed in detail falls in that domain. Stanford (1977) described three phases of modern PK 8

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(Alcock) research. The first of these, from 1934-1950, he labelled the "early quantitative-experimental period". It was dominated by the work of Joseph Banks Rhine and his colleagues, and as mentioned earlier, dice-rolling was the major experimental PK task. A subject would attempt to influence a die in motion so as to make it stop with a particular face up. However, as Stanford points out, the methodology was often less than rigourous in these early experiments; dice were often hand thrown or cup thrown and each of these methods is subject to bias. Moreover, there was the problem of bias in the die itself: due to the fact that the higher faces of the die are lighter, they are more likely to turn up more often. This problem was not corrected, as it should have been, by balancing the target faces across trials. In about 1944, the "quartile decline" (QD) effect was discovered: it was found that PK success is unequally distributed over the period of testing, and that there was a typical pattern in the success rate: if one divided the results for a session in four quarters, the success rate for the fight quarter was higher than that for the last one. In an re-analysis of 18 studies by Rhine and his colleagues up to 1943, the vast majority showed this effect. However, Stanford points out that while the decline effect and other similar effects occasioned considerable interest because they seemed impervious to methodological artifact such as that due 9

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(Alcock) to die bias, he points out that die bias can cause such internal effects, and that spurious internal effects could be caused by a number of factors having nothing to do with psi. At any rate, from 1944 to 195', more research was carried out looking at internal effects, exploring new testing methods, and attempting to overcome methodological problems. Stanford refers to the period from 1951-1969 as the "middle period". Here the die face method fell into relative disuse as the "placement" method superseded it to a large degree. With this method, the subject attempts to influence an object such as a die or ~ ball to move in one direction or another during its roll. However, this methodology, as had d$e-rolling, failed to yield convincing data. As Stanford commented, "The 1960s evinced a clear decrease in the number of PK studies done and reported. Some inves- - tigators seemed to feel that PK results were difficult to get and were weaker and less reliable than in the case of ESP" (p. 3281. Contemporary PK research has, in Stanford's view, been revolutionized by the introduction of electronic random event generators (REGs). Such apparatus appeared to answer the demands of critics of Rhine's work, such as C.E.M. Hansel, who had called for the use of automated equipment which would both produce the targets at random and record and analyze the 10

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REFERENCES Alcock, J.E. 1985 Parapsychology as a "spiritual science". Pp. 537-568 in P. Kurtz, ea., A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology Buf falo: Prometheus Books . Calkins, J. 1980 Comments. Zetetic Scholar 6: 77-80 . Bisaha, J.P. & Dunne, B.J. 1979 Multiple subject and long-distance precognitive remote viewing of geographical locations. Pp. 109-124 in C.T. Tart, H.E. Puthoff, & R. Targ, eds., Hlnd at large. New York: Praeger. Dunne, B. & Bisaha, J.P. 1979 Precognitive remote viewing in the Chicago area: A replication of the Stanford experiment. Journal of Parapsychology 43:17-30. Dunne, B.J., Jahn, R.G. & Nelson, R.D. 1983 Precognitive remote perception. Technical Note PEAR 83003. Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, School of Engineering/Applied Science, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. (178 pp. Estes, W.K. 1976 The cognitive side of probability learning. E:ycholool- Ca 1 Bu l l e t i n 8 3 ( 1 3: 3 7 -6 4 . Hansel, H. 1980 ESP and Parapsychology: A Critical Re-Evaluatiorl. Buf falo: Prometheus Books . 107

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~ Alcock 3 Hyman, R. 1977 Psychics and scientists: "Mind-reach" and remote viewing. The Humanist XXXVII(3) :6-20. 19 81 Further comments on Schmidt ' ~ PK exper iments . The Skeptical Inguirer V(3) :34-41. Jahn, R.G., Nelson, R.D. & Dunne, B.J. 1985 Variance effects in REG series score distributions. Pap- the Parapsycho log i ca ~ Assoc i at i on {Jnivers ity, Bedford, MA. E.P. & Swariff, P. Karnes, E.W., 19 79 Karnes,E.W. & 19 79 er presented at convent i on, Tuf ts Ballou, J., Susman, Remote viewing: Failures to replicate with control comparisons . Psychological Reports, 45: 963-973 . Susman, E. P . Remote viewing: A response bias interpretat ion . Psychological - Reports 4 4: 471-479 . Karnes, E.W., Susman, E.P., Klusman, P. & Turcotte, L. 1980 Failures to replicate remote-viewing using psychic sub j ects . Zetet i c Scho lar 6: 6 6 - 7 6 . Kurtz, P. 1986 The Transcendental Temptation. Buffalo: Prometheus Books . Marks, D . 19 81a Sensory cues invalidate remote viewing experiments. Nature 292:177. 198ib On the review of The Psychology of the Psychic: 108

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( Al cock ) reply to Dr. Morris. Journal of the American Society for Esychical Research 75 :197-203 . Marks, D . & Karnmann, R . 1978 Information transmission in remote viewing experiments. Nature 274 680-681. 1980 The Psychology of the Psychic. Buf falo: Prometheus Book s . Marks, D. & Scott, C. 1986 Remote viewing exposed. Nature, 319:444. Morris, R.L. 1980 Some comments on the assessment of parapsychological stud ies: A review of The Psycholoc~y of the Psych ic, by David Marks and Richard Kammann. Journal of the Amer ican Society for Psychical Research 74:425-443. 1981 Dr. Morris replies to Dr. Marks. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 75:203-207. Nelson, R.D., Dunne, B.J. & Jahn, R. 1984 An REG experiment with large data base capabil ity, III: Operator related anomalies. Technical Note PEAR ~ 4 0 0 3, Pr i nce ton Eng ~ neer i ng Anoma ~ i es Research, Scho `~ ~ of Engineering/Appliec] Science, Princeton Univer- sity. (159 pp. Palmer, J. 1985 An evaluative report on the current status of pare psychology. Paper prepared for the United States Army 109

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1981 Radtke, R.C., 1971 Schlitz, M. & 1980 1981 (Alcock) Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. (Fine' Draft). Puthoff, H.E. & Targ, R. 1979 A perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research. Pp. 13-76 in C.T. Tart, H.E. Puthoff, & R. Targ, eds, Hind at large. New York: Praeger. Rebuttal of criticisms of remote viewing experi- ments. Nature 292:388. Jacobs, L . L . & Goede I, G . D . Frequency ~ iscr imination as a function of frequency of repetition and tr ials . Journal of E:xper imental Psychol - ogy 89:76-84. Gruber, E. Transcont inental remote viewing . Journal of Para - psychology 4 4: 305-317 . Transcontinental remote viewing: A re judging. your na 1 0 f Parapsycho 1 ogy 4 5: 2 3 3 - 2 3 7 . Schlitz, M. & Haight, J.M. 1984 Remote viewing revisited: An intrasubject reE~ c~ ~ ~ i on . Jour na ~ o f Parapsycho ~ ogy 4 8: 3 9 - 4 9 . Schmidt, H. 1969a Precognition of a quantum process. Journal of Par~- psycholocy 33:99-108. 1969b Clairvoyance tests with a machine. Journal of P.~l_~_ psychology 33:300-306. ~0

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19 70a 1970b 1970 1973 1974 1975 1976 1978 19 79a 19 79b ~ Alcock ~ A PK test with electronic equipment. Journal of Para- psychology, 34: 175-~81. A quantum mechanical random number generator for ps tests . Journal of Parapsychology, 34: 219-224 . PK exper iments with animals as sub jects . Journal of Parapsychology, 34: 255-261. PK tests with a high-speed random number generator. Jou- rnal of Parapsychology, 37 :105-~8. Compar ison of PK action on two di f ferent random number generators. Journal of parapsychology' 38: 47-55. Toward a mathemat ical theory of ps i . Journal of the Amer ican Society for Psychical Research 69:301 -319 . PK ef feet on pre-recorclec] targets . Journal of the Amer lean Society for Psychical Research 70: 267-291. A take-home test in PK with pre-recorded targets. Pp. 31-36 in W.G.Roll, ea., Research in Parapsychology 1977. Metuchen, N. J .: The Scarecrow Press . Search for psi fluctuations in a PK test with cocks roaches. Pp. 72-79 in W.G. Roll, ea., Research in Parapsychology 1978. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press . Use of stroboscopic ~ ight as rewarding feedback in a PK test with pre-recorded and momentar fly-generate`] random events. Pp. ~15-~17 in W.G. Roll, ea., Research

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~'4 ( Alcock ) ire Parapsychology 1978 . Metuchen, N. J Press . Evidence for direct interaction between the human mind and external quantum processes. Pp. 207-220 in C. T. Tart, H.E. Puthof f, & R. Targ ads ., Mind atiarge . New York: Praeger. PK tests with pre-recorded and pre-inspected seed numbe rs . Jour na l o f Parapsycho l ogy, 4 5: 8 7 -9 8 . Addition of feet for PK on prerecorded targets . Journal of Parapsychology 49: 29-244. Schmidt, H . & Pantas, L . 1972 Psi tests with internally different machines. Journal of Parapsychology 36: 222-232. Schmidt, H. Morris, R.L., & Ru<3olph, L. 1986 Channeling evidence for a PK effect to independent observers. Journal of Parapsychology 50 :1-16. Stanford, R. G. 1977 Experimental psychokinesis: a review from diverse perspectives. Pp. 324-381 in B.B.Wolman' ed. ~ Handbook of Parapsychology. New York: Van Nostrand. Targ, R . & Puthof f, H.E. 1974 Information transfer under conditions of sensory shielding. Nature 251: 602-607 . Mi nd-reach . New York: De lacorte . 19 79c 19 81 19 85 ,: The Scarecrow 1977 112

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(Alcock3 Targ, R., Puthoff, 1979 Direct Tart, C.T. H.E., & May, E.C. perception of remote geographical locations. Pp. 13-76 in C.T. Tart, H.E. Puthoff, ~ R. Targ, ads., Mind at larch. New York: Praeger. 1980 Comments on Karnes et al., 1980. 6:85-86. Tart, C. T., Puthof f, H . E. & Targ, R . 19 ~ O I nf ormat i on Nature 284:191. Terry, J. & Schmidt, H. 1978 Conscious targets. Pp. 36-41 Zetetic Scholar transmiss i on in remote viewing exper iments . and unconscious PK tests with prerecorded in W.G. Roll DaraDsMcholocy 1977 Fletuchen, NJ: _ - _ _ ~ ~ _ 113 ea.' Research in Scarecrow.

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1981 Radtke, R.C., 1971 Schlitz, M. & 1980 1981 Schlitz, M. & 1984 (Alcock) Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. (Fine' Draft ~ . Puthof f, H. E. & Targ, R . 1979 A perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research, Pp. 13-76 in C.T. Tart, H.E. Puthoff, & R. Targ' eds' Hind at large. New York : Praeger. Rebuttal of criticisms of remote viewing exper i ments. Nature 292:388. Jacoby, L.L. & Goedel, G.D. Frequency discrimination as a function of frequency of repetition and trials. Journal of Experimental Psychol ogy 89:78-84. Gruber, E. Transcont inental remote viewing . Journal of Para - osychology 44:305-317. Transcontinental remote viewing: A re judging. Four na 1 o f Parapsycho 1 ogy 4 5: 2 3 3 - 2 3 7 . Haight, J.M. Remote viewing revisited: An intrasubject rep~- ~ion. Journal 0 f Parapsychology 4B: 39-49 . Schmidt, H. 1969a Precognition of a quantum process. Journal of Para psycholocy 33:99-108. l969b Clairvoyance tests with a machine. Journal of P.__ psychology 33:300-306. 110

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(Alcock) Hyman, R. 1977 Psychics and scientists: "Mind-reach" and remote viewing. The Humanist XXXVII(3):6-20. 1981 Further comments on Schmidt's PK experiments The Skeptical Ingulrer V(3):34-41. Jahn, R.G., Nelson, R.D. & Dunne, B.J. 1985 Variance effects in REG series score distributions. Pap- er presented at the Parapsychological Association convention, Tufts University, Medford, MA. Karnes, E.W., Ballou, J., Susman, E.P. & Swarlff, P. 1979 Remote viewing: Failures to replicate with control comparisons. Psychological Reports, 45:963-973. Karnes,E.W. & Susman, E.P. 1979 Remote viewing: A response bias interpretation. Psychological - Reports 44:471-479 . Karnes, E.W., Susman, E.P., Klusman, P. & Turcotte, L. 1980 Failures to replicate remote-viewing using psychic subjects. Zetetic Scholar 6:66-76. Kurtz, P. 1986 The Transcendental Temptation. Buffalo: Prometheus Books. Marks, D. 1981a Sensory cues invalidate remote viewing experiments. Nature 292:177. 1981b on the review of The Psychology of the Psychic: A 108

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( Al cock ) reply to Dr. Morris. Journal of the American Society for Esychical Research 75 :197-203 . Marks, D . & Karnmann, R . 1978 Information transmission in remote viewing experiments. Nature 274 680-681. 1980 The Psychology of the Psychic. Buf falo: Prometheus Book s . Marks, D. & Scott, C. 1986 Remote viewing exposed. Nature, 319:444. Morris, R.L. 1980 Some comments on the assessment of parapsychological stud ies: A review of The Psycholoc~y of the Psych ic, by David Marks and Richard Kammann. Journal of the Amer ican Society for Psychical Research 74:425-443. 1981 Dr. Morris replies to Dr. Marks. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 75:203-207. Nelson, R.D., Dunne, B.J. & Jahn, R. 1984 An REG experiment with large data base capabil ity, III: Operator related anomalies. Technical Note PEAR ~ 4 0 0 3, Pr i nce ton Eng ~ neer i ng Anoma ~ i es Research, Scho `~ ~ of Engineering/Appliec] Science, Princeton Univer- sity. (159 pp. Palmer, J. 1985 An evaluative report on the current status of pare psychology. Paper prepared for the United States Army 109

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1981 Radtke, R.C., 1971 Schlitz, M. & 1980 1981 Schlitz, M. & 1984 (Alcock) Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. (Fine' Draft ~ . Puthof f, H. E. & Targ, R . 1979 A perceptual channel for information transfer over kilometer distances: Historical perspective and recent research, Pp. 13-76 in C.T. Tart, H.E. Puthoff, & R. Targ' eds' Hind at large. New York : Praeger. Rebuttal of criticisms of remote viewing exper i- ments. Nature 292:388. Jacoby, L.L. & Goedel, G.D. Frequency discrimination as a function of frequency of repetition and trials. Journal of Experimental Psychol- ogy 89:78-84. Gruber, E. Transcont inental remote viewing . Journal of Para - osychology 44:305-317. Transcontinental remote viewing: A re judging. Four na 1 o f Parapsycho 1 ogy 4 5: 2 3 3 - 2 3 7 . Haight, J.M. Remote viewing revisited: An intrasubject rep~- ~ion. Journal 0 f Parapsychology 4B: 39-49 . Schmidt, H. 1969a Precognition of a quantum process. Journal of Para- psycholocy 33:99-108. l969b Clairvoyance tests with a machine. Journal of P.__ psychology 33:300-306. 110