Felicia Parise taught herself to move small objects and deflect compasses using only mental forces or psychokinesis (also called “PK” for short). In my “Bindelof” book I called her a “Mini-Kulagina” (a reference to Nina Kulagina) in that she was inspired by seeing a film of the Russian woman moving objects without touching them and emulated her.
Felicia worked in the Department of Special Hematology at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, at the time Montague Ullman, Stanley Krippner, and Charles Honorton were conducting experiments in Dream Telepathy there (Ullman, Krippner, & Vaughan 1973). A friend signed her up to be tested for the program and she turned out to be one of their best subjects. They discovered that she had strong clairvoyant and telepathic abilities and was willing to work with researchers.
Dr. Ullman (who was one of the Bindelof boys) returned from a visit to the then USSR, where he witnessed and examined Nina Kulagina. Kulagina was a former Russian soldier who was being studied by scientists for her ability to move objects, deflect compasses, and even affect and stop excised frogs hearts. He brought back a film showing some of her feats, which he shared with the others.
In addition to Honorton and Krippner, a professional magician and members of the Lab including Felicia attended the showing. Most of those present—all men — doubted Kulagina’s ability and speculated on how she might be performing some trick. Felicia, however, became annoyed with their remarks and skeptical attitudes. She believed the Russian woman (Kulagina) to be genuine and decided to try to learn to move small objects as well. She had become confident in her telepathic and precognitive abilities in the lab but, as she said when I interviewed her, “I didn’t know at the time I could do PK. Seeing her film inspired me to try.” (Pilkington, 2015)
HOW FELICIA TAUGHT HERSELF TO USE PK
Without telling anyone, Felicia began to practice with small, light objects. Her grandmother was gravely ill, and one evening after returning from visiting her, Felicia tried to move a small plastic pill bottle in which she kept a small quantity of alcohol for storing her false eyelashes. In the midst of her concentration, the phone rang. It was the hospital telling her to come quickly; her grandmother was dying. She reached for the bottle to put it away and, to her astonishment, it moved away from her.
In that interview I did with Felicia, she described her feelings and thoughts at that time:
Yes. I wanted to see if I could do it and it just bugged me that just because a magician could duplicate what [Kulagina] was doing doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not real. It just means he or she is a good magician. I didn’t tell anybody I was going to try PK because I didn’t know if I was going to be successful. But, I believed that she could do it.
. . . [A]nd then don’t forget, after four or five years in parapsychology, I experienced things that I never in my life thought I could do. [It’s] kind of like you feel invincible. You know, “I could do that.” And, well, it was worth a try, and I did it. I tried with the plastic bottle, my eyelash bottle. Before the plastic bottle, I tried influencing a compass with no success. I then tried it with the little plastic bottle. Why the bottle? When I came home every night I took the bottle out, put it on the counter and put my false eyelashes in it. (Everybody wore them in those days so I did too.) So it was there every night and I decided to use it to practice. I tried to approach it calmly at first, just relaxing my mind and letting my eyes see it move—imagining the bottle was moving.
. . . I visualized it from the very beginning moving away from me . . . never toward me. It just came very natural that I would be pushing instead of pulling it. But that didn’t seem to work and that’s when I started thinking, “Well, how did she do this?” She looked very excited and so I tried mimicking her. . . . I was trying to work up an excitement. Like thinking, you know, how would I feel if it did move? And, that excited me.
For the next month or so she worked with the plastic bottle increasing the movement and her control of it. It took a great deal of effort and exertion. By the summer of 1971 she felt confident enough to contact parapsychologist Charles (“Chuck”) Honorton, who was doing some research in North Carolina, to tell him of her success.
On his return Honorton came to Felicia’s apartment jokingly asking how much of the alcohol she had drunk before she saw the bottle move. (She was not amused.)
FELICIA DEMONSTRATES HER PK SKILL
Felicia placed the bottle on the Formica countertop in her kitchen, where she had been accustomed to practicing, and with her fingertips placed lightly on the edge of the counter gazed intently at it for several minutes. Finally Honorton observed it move about two inches to the right and away from Parise. (He had criticized Kulagina’s film because the objects seemed always to move toward her.)
Honorton picked up the bottle saying that he wanted to try it. He placed it on the counter and waited for it to “slide.” It didn’t—until Felicia took over and concentrated on it once more.
He tried everything he could think of to get the bottle to move, pressing on the counter from the top, from underneath, jarring it, wetting the counter surface and bottom of the bottle with some of the alcohol. Nothing worked.
He even used a level to see if perhaps the counter was slightly tilted. It was—the bottle had moved up the slant.
IT CAN BE A SHOCK TO WITNESS PK FOR THE FIRST TIME
Felicia reported that Honorton had turned pale. He asked her to do it again, but she refused to do it immediately because she felt he needed time to “collect his thoughts.”
Honorton underwent a profound change: Even though he had been involved in PK research for years, producing small, statistically significant effects on delicate instruments, this was the first time he had witnessed large-scale, undeniable PK. He could no longer make excuses to himself about inattention or possible fraud and he discovered, as many others had before, that no amount of statistical evidence has the impact of a first-hand observation.
MS. PARISE DEVELOPS AND EXTENDS HER PK ABILITIES
Honorton encouraged Felicia to develop her ability and expand it to deflecting compasses as well.
She learned to deflect a compass occasionally to a full 360 degrees. Ever wary, Honorton would unexpectedly grab her hands passing them over the compass to insure that she was not concealing metallic shavings under her fingernails. He also made sure her head was not too near it in case she should be accused of concealing magnets in her hair or mouth.
Dr. Ullman also tested her, using his own expensive compass and taking many of the same precautions.
Felicia became involved in experiments with other researchers. In one series she was able to cause anesthetized mice to wake more quickly than control groups.
In one lab experiment in Durham, NC, under strictly controlled conditions she deflected a compass 15 degrees just by staring at it and when she stopped concentrating on it, the needle remained at 15 degrees of north. When it was moved to another part of the room it pointed north again, but when returned to the area where she had concentrated on it, it resumed the 15 degree deflection in what is called a “linger effect.”
Without her knowledge unexposed film packs had been place around the room. The pack that had been placed under the compass was found to be almost totally exposed. Others placed at various distances from the “area of concentration” were partially exposed.
EVEN IN THE LAB, PK CAN EXACT A SEVERE PHYSICAL TOLL
Felicia’s vital signs were being monitored during the experiment and as the compass needle moved her blood pressure and heart rate rose. She was a basically shy young woman and said it was really hard for her:
“Chuck [Honorton] was there, and he always used to chew on his pipe. He was watching all of this and it took a long time because I had all these strange people around me. Except for Chuck. . . .[T]hey put Chuck right in front of me. I don’t know if that helped, but, finally, I got the compass needle to deflect about 15 degrees.”
She said that when the compass deflected, “Chuck, again, got pale—he said he had an ‘Out of Pipe Experience.’ His pipe went flying.”
Felicia cooperated heroically. As in Kulagina’s case, the work was debilitating. She would tremble, perspire profusely, develop a runny nose and eyes, and have great difficulty responding coherently for several minutes following a session.
FELICIA RETIRES FROM PK EXPERIMENTATION
The excessive strain took its toll. In addition, this unassuming young woman who was uncomfortable being in a spotlight, who lent herself unstintingly to science and was never financially compensated for it, was troubled by the inevitable doubting, questioning and baseless accusations of those who could not accept the evidence.
Felicia gave up the experiments, and who can blame her! She was doing important work in leukemia research and wanted to give that her full attention, so she put compasses behind her and retired the little plastic pill bottle.
Read the full transcript: Parise/Pilkington Interview (2015)
Read about other “outside the séance” people:
Felicia Parise • Gilbert Roller • Kenneth Batcheldor • Nina Kulagina • Sir William Crookes
Ted Serios • The Philip Experiment • Uri Geller
Reference: Ullman, M., Krippner, S., & Vaughan, A. (1973). Dream Telepathy: Experiments in Nocturnal ESP