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Uncover Truths about ESP - A Cool Science Experiment!

Aug 17, 2007
There are two opinions regarding esp. Those who believe in it, and those who do not. Many believe that there are some people, often called psychics who can receive the thoughts of others, or make determinations beyond the normal senses (smell, touch, taste, hear, see).

ESP generally falls into four categories:

Telepathy - a person's awareness of another's thoughts, without any communication through normal sensory channels.
Clairvoyance - acquiring knowledge of an event or an object without the use of the senses.
Precognition - knowledge of a future event or future thoughts.
Psychokinesis - a person's ability to influence a physical object or an event merely by thinking about it. (Did you see the movie Carrie?)

ESP is often called the sixth sense. It is sensory information that an individual receives beyond the five senses. The term was first used by Sir Richard Burton in 1870 and was later used to describe the ability of a person who was hypnotized to sense things without using their ordinary senses.

Some say that ESP was indicated in biblical times. Dr. Rhine at Duke University is one of the modern proponents of ESP and conducted experiments for many years to demonstrate that certain people had the ability to outguess matters of chance to a marked degree.

OK, let us find out for ourselves whether ESP is for real. Get a deck of regular playing cars and some coins.

We will begin the first experiment with an ordinary deck of cards, and a group of your friends or family. The more people, the more valid the results. Keep accurate notes on everything that happens.

If some one had to guess the color of the cards while looking at the back side of the cards, they would be likely to get half right and half wrong. Even if they guessed that every card was black, they would get 50% of the answers right and 50% wrong. Someone who gets slightly more than 50% correct guesses once in a while would not be considered to have ESP. It would be just a matter of statistical chance. However, someone who consistently scored much higher marks of guessing red or black, test after test, over and over, certainly might be considered to have some extra sensory perceptive abilities

Sit your subject down. Make certain the cards are mixed very well. Don't let them see you mix the cards. Place the entire deck face down, and ask the subject to concentrate on whether the card is red or black. Do not let them see the cards after they guess. Write down every answer, whether right or wrong. Continue to do this with all of the subjects in your experiment. Make each person do the experiment four times. Make a table with your results. The table might list the total number of cards the subject guessed, how many were correct and how many were incorrect. To calculate the percentage correct, divide the number correct by the total and multiply by 100.

Now start all over with your cards, and this time make them concentrate and guess which suit each card is. Hearts, spades, diamonds or clubs. This time the average hit rate should be one out of four, compared to the red/black test where the average hit rate was one out of two.

Keep good records. Mix cards thoroughly. Never let the subject see the front face of the cards. Tell them to concentrate and really try to guess what you ask them to do.

There are many other tests that you can devise to determine whether any of your subjects has ESP. You can toss a coin and ask them whether it will come down heads or tails. The hit rate should be 50% on average, but anyone who consistently guesses better might have ESP. Or do they? In this test, you must find a method of getting the coin to spin so that the subject cannot get into the rhythm of your toss and thereby get an advantage.

What will you learn? Will anyone of the people tested show signs of ESP? Find out in this revealing fun science fair project!
About the Author
Mort Barish is co-founder of Terimore Institute, Inc. Terimore provides hundreds of science fair projects with step-by-step guides for children in grades K-12 to help them successfully compete in science fairs. Find fun, easy and award-winning science fair projects at www.terimore.com!
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