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?