Finding is believing?

Is it possible to read someone’s mind so accurately that you can locate an object they have hidden in a city of their choice? A 20-minute film has just been posted on the Internet that claims to provide the proof?

Before I comment on that claim, let me share with you my own experience of “mind-reading”.

Thirty years ago, well-known parapsychologist Anita Gregory – who was also principal lecturer in education at the Polytechnic of North London where she taught psychology and philosophy – asked me to test the psychic powers of a Russian who was visiting London.

Anita had translated a classic Russian ESP study into English: L.L. Vasiliev’s Experiments in Distant Influence and was well known and respected by that country’s parapsychologists. So she was intrigued when a Russian turned up in London claiming he could find hidden objects using extra-sensory powers.

I happily agreed, in June 1979, to carry out an informal test for Anita and ended up walking hand-in-hand around a London flat with a rotund man as he tried to find where I had hidden his throwaway lighter.

Hand-in-hand? Well, almost. What he needed to do, he explained, in order to establish a good psychic connection with me, was to hold my wrist lightly as he asked in a loud voice, “Is it high?” “Is it low?” “Is it far?” “Is it close?”. He said he would receive my answers telepathically.

I realised immediately that psychic powers were not involved. What he claimed was “psychic” was in reality “muscle reading” – a method used by some magicians to receive subtle clues from their subjects when performing similar routines.

Although I kept in my mind a very clear image of the lighter hidden behind a paperback book, I also managed to keep my mind blank (something that gets easier the older I become!) when he asked questions.

As a result, despite crawling on all fours peering under a bed and poking around in furniture, the poor man had to admit defeat. I had great satisfaction in showing him where I had hidden the lighter and also in rejecting his kind offer for me to stage a demonstration of his “powers” in a London theatre.

Memories of this bizarre episode came flooding back when I learned from Hay House Publishers’ website that one of their authors, “peace troubador” James Twyman, was releasing a new film called The Proof, which claims to demonstrate that we are all connected in some way. He calls it “oneness” and it indicates that the human race has “one mind” or collective consciousness.

Twyman “proves” this by giving $1,000 to a female subject, inviting her to use the money to travel to anywhere in the United States and hide a copy of his latest book The Kabbalah Code, due for release next month. He then sets out to find it, accompanied by his subject.

As well as plugging his new book, the 20-minute film trailer also publicises a 40-day The Proof Internet programme and book that promise “to embody oneness” for those who sign up for . What’s more, the first two lessons are free!!

Do I believe that we may all be connected at a spiritual level? Well, I must confess collective consciousness is a concept I find very appealing.

Do I believe James Twyman’s film provides us with proof of this? Not at all.
The film shows, to my satisfaction, that he seems to be picking up subtle visual clues from his subject. It’s a clever and plausible demonstration but I suspect a good magician could easily duplicate those results.

Twyman admits on his website: “This may not be a scientific experiment…” In that case, how can he claim it as The Proof?

Now, if Twyman had hopped on an aircraft and travelled alone to the city in question and located the book, I’d be more impressed. But even then, I’d expect an independent observer to be involved, checking procedures and results.

Hay House says was so impressed it coughed up $50,000 for a charity as a reward for Twyman’s success. Mind you, it will presumably get its own reward from sales of the book and Internet course sales it is plugging.

Want to make your own judgment? Click here to see Twyman’s claim and view The Proof. Let me know what you think.


  • Stephen Contrado, B.A., Th.M.
    April 17, 2009 - 15:11 | Permalink

    Hello Roy Stemman, Thank you for “Paranormal Review” (4/16/09). Public claims of psychic ability (e.g., James Twyman) need to be objectively evaluated. James Twyman’s case does seem best explained by assuming he is expert at reading facial muscles and body language. People often answer questions physically before they find the words to express what they think.

    What do you think of Zener cards — the deck of card with symbols (circle, rectangle, star, wavy lines, and plus sign) used in psychic research? I’m not sure psychic abilities evolved to function under laboratory conditions measuring human response in relation to statistical calculations and the laws of probability. The scientific laboratory and experiment seem to be situations where one least needs to utilize psychic senses.

    My conclusion is that individuals have various mental skills operating a little differently in each person and functioning best in certain special situations. A mother’s intuitively knowing her child’s condition we call “maternal instinct.”

    Some animals are also psychic — they demonstrate an intelligence and behavior beyond the normal range of memory and sense experience.

    — Stephen Contrado, B.A., Th.M.

  • May 1, 2009 - 00:36 | Permalink

    I have to wonder why someone like that, who can deduce the answer to a question simply from feeling muscle tension in his subject’s wrist, would bother to set himself up as a fake psychic?

    Now discredited, his skill is worthless. If, instead, he had claimed ‘I can work out what you’re thinking just by holding your wrist’, he’d have a stage show by now.

    People are strange. Someone with a remarkable skill like that should be making use of it, not pretending it’s something else.

    Besides, if the fakes were out of the way, it would be much easier to find any real paranormal events that might be out there.

  • Comments are closed.