Telepathy Rock Star does Ireland’s Got Talent

Eddie Dean, “Telepathy Rock Star” was in the news again.  Stripping psychics? That was me. (No need for the plural, Mz. Bruton.) ‘To quote a mystified Jason Byrne, “I was off me banger watching you”.’

Well, that and three Euro will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Look ma’! No physical communication!


Eddie Dean, Telepathy Rock Star: Smells Like Dean Spirit

Cork City Council and Arts Council Ireland are kindly supporting Pitch’d, the First Cork Circus Festival.

The final performance in this festival will be my brand new show:

Eddie Dean, Telepathy Rock Star: Smells Like Dean Spirit

His incredible telepathic demonstrations have made him a rising star. You’ve seen him melting William Shatner’s mind on the Discovery Channel’s Weird or What? And he’s the subject of the upcoming documentary, Project Viola Ten. Meet Edward James Dean – the world’s only Doctor of Telepathy.*

As the mastermind behind Project Viola Ten, he’s passed every test scientists have thrown at him. His research has gotten the attention of the academic and the entertainment worlds, as well as a handful of governments. In spite of all this, or perhaps because of it, Eddie Dean prefers to call himself a motivational speaker, a fitness guru, a communications consultant, or just a Rock Star.**

LIVE at the Circus Factory, Eddie Dean will do what Eddie Dean does best: Reminisce about destroying a laboratory during Project Viola Ten. Recount stories about famous people. Promote his pulp telepathy novel, It’s the Thought that Kills.  And give the most convincing – and dangerous! – demonstrations of telepathy ever brought to the Circus Factory. Or to any other factory. Or circus. Or anywhere. Ever.

Is he telepathic? Or just a damn good cheat? You be the judge.***

*   Not officially a Doctor yet.

**  This show is rated “R” for Rock Star.

*** This show is 100% family friendly.


Project Viola Ten: Round One Testing

NOTE: The names of researcher are being temporarily withheld pending official approval of these posts.

June 27.  After a power packed smoothie, the day kicked off by being stripped and searched (hair, ears, mouth, armpits, private areas) by the delightful Nurse Una Cronin from the UCC School of Nursing.  The search took place under the watchful eyes of Dr. Q and Dr. X.  Once I was given the all clear, I was blindfolded with cotton gauze and a roll of bandage.

In order to conduct document these tests in as bulletproof a way as possible, I developed an original system of hand gestures which I would use concurrently with my verbal call.  Thus, the card and the hand gesture would be recorded simultaneously, in order to prevent audio manipulation in the editing process.

I completed 277 tests before the day was over.  The first 250 tests were conducted with Zener cards.  The next 25 tests were also conducted with Zener cards but at a considerable distance (separate buildings).  My hit rates while at a distance were comparable to my other hit rates (over twice the Mean Chance Expectation).

The final two tests were conducted with playing cards.  The first was a near miss.  The second was a direct hit.  I requested that the tests be stopped at that point.  The two tests with playing cards are not included in the statistical evaluations.

The data is still under review, but the general consensus of the researchers was that the odds of my results occurring by chance were beyond one in a million.

Their conclusion?  A classic one: Further research is needed. 

A second round of testing was scheduled for three months later.  In this coming round of testing, the number of researchers would double.  All subsequent tests would be conducted: at a distance, behind a one-way mirror, in an electromagnetically shielded room, and cameras would be prohibited in the testing areas.

(Spoiler alert: these conditions would not impact my results.)

Project Viola Ten: The Informal Preliminary Test

NOTE: The names of researcher are being temporarily withheld pending official approval of these posts.

Dr. X brought a second researcher to the team, a clinical psychiatrist and psychology lecturer at UCC known at this time as Dr. Q.  Our first informal preliminary testing took place after a long conversation over dinner (hand made tortelli) and drinks (pink wine).

The two researchers moved to the opposite side of a long table, and we set up folders to act as privacy barriers.  Using a pack of vintage Duke University Zener cards, we conducted two runs of 10 cards, alternating our roles as sender and receivers.

In the first run of 10 cards, Dr. Q and Dr. X acted as senders, and I guessed 5 out of 10 cards correctly (30% above Mean Chance Expectation).  In the second run of 10 cards, I acted as sender, and Dr. X and Dr. Q guessed 4 out of 10 correctly (20% above MCE).  The cards and calls were recorded privately and compared at the end of the runs.

Of course, these informal tests meant nothing as the presence of alcohol, the lack of video documentation, and the lack of strict controls were not exactly scientific.  Nevertheless, the results were striking and we agreed to move into the laboratory as soon as possible.

Project Viola Ten: Human Experiments at the Accademia dell’Arte

After a number of setbacks and delays caused by television auditions in London (mine) and a detached retina (Dr. X’s), the date for the first official round of Project Viola Ten testing was finally set for June 27th.  In order to prepare for these tests, I needed to conduct preliminary experiments with human subjects.  Ideally, I wanted to work with students trained in physical theatre with experience in ensemble work.  The nature of ensemble-based physical theatre requires an extreme psycho-physical presence, body awareness, and non-verbal communication bordering on inter-kinesthesia.

The roadblock I encountered was that the students at UCC who possessed this training were my own students, and there are obvious conflicts of interest and ethical concerns when conducting human experiments on one’s own students.  I considered working with athletic teams or string quartets, but ultimately contacted my Alma-mater in Tuscany, the Accademia dell’Arte, (a music and physical theatre conservatory) and explained my circumstances.

The ADA informed me that I was welcome to conduct and video document my workshops, tests, and experiments.  In the following weeks, I worked with many students and even trained several high performing subjects to employ my own Viola Ten techniques.  Sometimes I paired the students with each other and at other times worked along side them myself, in roles of both sender and receiver.  The results were nothing less than stunning.  These sessions will be shown in the documentary Eddie Dean: Project Viola Ten which is currently in production.


Project Viola Ten: The Little Green Man Smoothie

A full day of being tested in a laboratory calls for a sensible breakfast.  In other words… it’s smoothie time.

The Piddingtons – the original telepathy superstars on BBC radio in 1950 – have been a huge inspiration for me.  They were once accused during a broadcast of having a “little green man” who flew between them whispering information.

In their honor, I call this the Little Green Man smoothie. It’s a pear, a banana, some spinach, some yogurt, some chopped ginger, half a lime (squeezed), and some orange juice.

Give it a try some time… It may not make you telepathic, but it sure can’t hurt!

Project Viola Ten: Dr. X

NOTE: The names of researchers are being temporarily withheld pending official approval of these posts.

With the termination of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge for proof of psychic or paranormal ability, I needed a new way to sharpen and disseminate my PhD research on the psycho-physical replication of telepathy (non auditory/non-visual  communication techniques at a distance).  Accordingly, I approached Dr. X, a psychologist and lecturer in the School of Applied Psychology at UCC.

Dr. X is noted for his background as an amateur conjurer, has spoken for the Cork Skeptics on the topic of neuroscience and free will, and posseses a strong interest in evolutionary psychology and philosophy of mind.  It seemed that if anybody would be able to test my claims thoroughly and have the credibility to validate my communication techniques as legitimately being independent of the classical senses, it would be Dr. X.

Over a year of meetings took place before formal Project Viola Ten testing began.  During that time, Dr. X joined my PhD supervisory team, first in the role of Pastoral advisor, and ultimately as full Supervisor.  He has given me the lovely (if back-handed) compliment that, ‘You are not just a bullshit artist.  Or, if you are, you are approaching the boundaries of bullshit in a unique and interesting way.’  Why, thank you, Dr. X.  I’ll take it!

Ultimately, Dr. X agreed to provide the facilities and a team in order to offer a controlled test of my claims.  I agreed to a post-testing debriefing period in which I would disclose all techniques and processes which I consciously employed during the tests.  He is fond of quoting physicist and Nobel laureate Dr. Richard Feynman who famously warned, ‘The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.’

Dr. X began the testing with the attitude that telepathy does not exist, and even if I were to “demonstrate” telepathy in a controlled environment it would not constitute “proof” of telepathy.  Rather, it would only prove that I had “fooled” him, he had “fooled” himself, we had “fooled” ourselves, or that some sensory leakage was taking place of which we were not consciously aware.

Beginning the testing with such a forgone conclusion was an annoyance to say the least.  But what else could I do?  It was also an understandable position.  Dr. X observed that all of the findings of science cannot be overturned by a single set of experiments, in a single place, by a single team of researchers.  Such findings would need to be replicated many times, in many places, by many teams, in order for anything to be “proven.”

Fair enough.  So, when do we start?

Project Viola Ten: The Million Dollar Challenge

In August of 2015, as part of my PhD research on the performativity and psychology of telepathy, I began a residency at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts in Seattle.  The purpose of the residency was to develop genuine psycho-physical techniques which could replicate “telepathic” communication.  In other words, could I learn to communicate without the use of sight, sound, or touch?My intention was also to assert telepathy as an act of contemporary circus; an entertaining (and sometimes dangerous) display of psycho-physical skill.  The techniques which I developed during this residency used nothing other than the human bodies involved and replicated telepathy so closely (even when working at a distance) that the difference between these techniques and “genuine” telepathy – if such a thing can be said to exist – became somewhat blurred.

I was encouraged to apply for the James Randi Educational Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge for proof of psychic or paranormal phenomena.  According to the JREF, ‘if you can prove your psychic ability in a fair controlled test, we’ve got a million dollar check with your name on it.’  While I was not claiming to be psychic or telepathic, per se, my claimed ability to communicate without the use of the known senses did constitute a paranormal claim.

I was informed that in order to pass the preliminary test I would need to overcome odds of 1 in 100,000 against chance.  To pass the Million Dollar Challenge, I would then need to overcome odds of 1 in 1,000,000.  I was further informed that the testing process would most likely include a strip search, distance, blindfolds, sound proofing, and electromagnetic shielding.  Of those conditions, only the distance was slightly intimidating, but I had succeeded at a distance before, so I was willing to proceed.  Regarding the odds, I consulted my friend, mathematician and well known ghost hunter, Philemon Vanderbeck.  In light of my results with Zener cards, (in which I was achieving, on average, double the mean chance expectation), Mr. Vanderbeck replied in part:

‘Use a combinatorics formula. P(X=10) =  (25 C 10) * (1/5)^10 *(4/5)^(25-10).  25 is the number of cards in the deck. 10 is the number that you get right.  1/5 is the odds of getting a card right. The (25 C 10) is “25 choose 10” which involves factorials. 25!/(10!15!).  You can also write that as the Combination function C(25,10).  The odds of getting 10 out of 25 correct is about 1.18% per trial.  So, it’s just a little more than 1 out of a 100. If you got these results in two trials it would get you to 1 in 100,000.  And in three trials, it would get you your 1 in a 1,000,000 odds.’

Three trials of 25 Zener cards could be completed in less than two hours!  I wrote another email, accompanied with extensive video documentation, detailing the conditions under which I was prepared to demonstrate this non-sensory communication, as well as the anticipated results of the tests, and stated that I was ‘quite certain that I will be out of your hair before lunchtime.’  I was informed that I was very unlikely to succeed under the conditions imposed by the JREF, and that the attempt would most likely not be a wise investment or career move.

In another email, I stated that while I appreciated the concern, ‘concern doth butter no bread.  Consequently, I would still very much like an opportunity to “prove it and win.”!  I am quite happy to proceed at my own expense.’  Weeks passed.  On the 1st of September, I was informed that the JREF was no longer accepting applications from private parties.

According to the JREF:

We plan on continuing the Million Dollar Challenge as a means for educating the public about paranormal claims, but the process for consideration of claims has been changed effective September 1, 2015 and no application submitted under the previous procedures or relying in whole or in part on the previously published terms of the Challenge will be considered.

‘Effective immediately, JREF will no longer accept applications directly from people claiming to have a psychic or paranormal power. Previously available Application Forms shall not be used and will be rejected without any review of the contents. We anticipate providing minimum required protocols for the preliminary test early next year. No one should make any effort to pursue the Challenge until those minimum required protocols are issued.’

And with that my dreams of winning a million dollars evaporated, and Project Viola Ten was born.  Two years later, I am still waiting for the issuance of the minimum required protocols…

The Poison Test

Dr. Caroline Watt

This is Dr. Caroline Watt, the chair of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh, confirming that the stacks of cotton gauze are entirely opaque before blindfolding me and pouring three glasses of pink lemonade and one glass of drain cleaner. (Cue the danger music.)

Poison Glasses

The glasses were then freely rearranged by the adjudicators of the evening including, Dr. Richard Wiseman, and the Worshipful the Mayor and the Mayoress of the London Borough of Barnet.  (Pictured below.)

Dr. Watt, Dr. Wiseman, Mayor and Mayoress

Our poison test is particularly convincing — because we use real poison!  There’s no cheating when Professor Watt’s on duty!

Poison Test

The Flying Spumonis

In my mid twenties, I was studying and teaching at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA) in Seattle and I began developing a doubles trapeze act. Creating an original partner act on the trapeze is difficult to begin with, but it was uniquely difficult for me because I didn’t have a partner.  I began training with a Cabbage Patch Doll, in the process creating an original act which blended trapeze technique with clown and object manipulation.

I have performed this act around the world, including in Cairo with the Egyptian National Circus, where the Egyptian Star (the Egypt Affiliate of the International Herald Tribune) described the act as, “An epic one-man collision of funniness and foolishness, of tragedy and triumph.”

Here is a video of the act from when we were young! (2007)