A Note of Caution in Searching for Information on Psi

Or Why You Should Not Trust Wikipedia

Anyone looking for information on psychic phenomena, or anything about a person associated with the field, needs to be aware that certain sites are biased to the point of falsifying facts, disparaging researchers and distorting or omitting relevant information. 

The most common on-line go-to is Wikipedia.  You will find nothing, or almost nothing positive about psi there.  Anti-psi activists write the articles or alter existing pieces to conform to their materialistic worldview. They have no compunctions about distorting the truth. They are not skeptics, but pseudo-skeptics

For example, if you look up Eusapia Palladino, Wikipedia will say she “claimed” extraordinary powers, and that “She convinced many persons of her powers, but was caught in deceptive trickery throughout her career.” They go on to quote extensively “debunkers” such as Houdini, or the biased British detractors who being warned that Palladino would rather cheat than put herself through the taxing ordeal of psychokinesis, purposely relaxed their controls allowing her to do so–and then condemned her.

 Missing from their extensive article are the reports of the experts who examined her extensively over many years and found her to be genuinely gifted.

Even D.D. Home, who was extensively studied by William Crookes, in Crookes’ home and under Crookes’ conditions as well as by hundreds of others scientists and luminaries and never found to be fraudulent, comes in for their innuendos and snide treatment. An example: 

[Home had] the reported ability to levitate to a variety of heights, speak with the dead, and to produce rapping and knocks in houses at will. . . Harry Houdini described him as “one of the most conspicuous and lauded of his type and generation” and “the forerunner of the mediums whose forte is fleecing by presuming on the credulity of the public.” Home conducted hundreds of séances, which were attended by many eminent Victorians. There have been eyewitness accounts by séance sitters describing conjuring methods and fraud that Home may have employed. 

They never dare state that he was a fraud, but slyly imply that he was or at least might have been.

Similarly, anyone who is noted for their work in psi or psychic studies comes in for the same treatment, but you can check it out for yourselves.

Nina Kulagina is also given this shabby, discriminatory treatment.  Again, they quote primarily arch pseudo-skeptics, and they hint and use half-truths to vilify her.  An example:

Many individuals and organizations, such as the James Randi Educational Foundation and the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims on the Paranormal (CICAP) express skepticism regarding claims of psychokinesis. Massimo Polidoro has written that the long preparation times and uncontrolled environments (such as hotel rooms) in which the experiments with Kulagina took place left much potential for trickery. Magicians and skeptics have argued that Kulagina’s feats could easily be performed by one experienced in sleight of hand, through means such as cleverly concealed or disguised threads, small pieces of magnetic metal, or mirrors and the Cold War-era Soviet Union had an obvious motive for falsifying or exaggerating results in the potential propaganda value in appearing to win a “Psi Race”. .

Note the citing of notoriously anti-psi organizations whose members are zealous psi-deniers.  The partial truth of “uncontrolled experiments” in hotel rooms (when she demonstrated her powers for visiting researchers) without mention of the hours and years of tightly controlled and grueling laboratory experiments she endured.

Notice, too, the technique of stating she “could have” used sleight of hand and attributing some far-fetched political motive for her efforts. 

The psi-deniers on Wikipedia even go so far as to change or remove facts about living parapsychologists.  When these researchers and scientists have taken the time to change these errors, the trolls have immediately changed them back again.

So, if you are looking for further information about topics or individuals you read about on this site, or are interested in other areas of parapsychology, I highly recommend you go to https://psi-encyclopedia.spr.ac.uk/. This is the URL for the Psi Encyclopedia, which is a “collection of articles and case studies about psi research, the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena.” It, like all scientific work, is a work in progress.  It is a project of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in London.

More information on Fraud & Trickery

Watch video of historian Mitch Horowitz’s brilliant talk on the reality of psi and the damage psi-deniers’ have done.
“Sound-bite skepticism and polemically skewed coverage—especially on Wikipedia—cannot, finally, dispel the excellence and repeatability of decades of academic ESP research.”