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Thursday, January 28, 2021

January 28, 2021
The reports of the Russian ESP experiments sound like a storyline from the cult TV series The Prisoner. Photograph: Everett Collection Inc/Alamy via TheGuardian

(TheGuardian) - Declassified memo details two Russian scientists’ 1980s research, claiming one ‘perfected his method’ of extra-sensory perception.

In a recently declassified memo, CIA agents in 1991 described two Russian scientists who were conducting experiments on extrasensory perception, known as ESP, which is the ability to gain information, or influence physical objects, using only the mind.

The memo said one of the Russian scientists had “perfected” his methods.

A short document was published on Monday on the Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents typically obtained through public records requests filed by the site’s founder, John Greenewald.

It is unclear what purpose the declassified document served, but it details the bizarre research of two Soviet scientists who performed ESP experiments in the 1980s.

One, Konstantin Buteyko, was described as having “perfected his method” of ESP by conducting experiments in which he would put a volunteer in the middle of a room that had two concave mirrors on opposite sides. The document noted that researchers believed “the mirrors focused psychic energy”.

A medical specialist would “concentrate on transmitting psychic energy to the patient as well as empathetically experiencing the patient’s discomfort” in an attempt to “transmit bioenergy” to the patient and help them control or cure various diseases ranging from asthma to heart disease.

The CIA noted that the research institute where Buteyko worked received 450,000 roubles to research the effect of Agent Orange, a herbicide used in chemical warfare, on the human immune system. In 1987 and 1988, about 3,000 patients underwent “nontraditional medical treatment” at the institute, including “the use of psychic methods”.

A second scientist, Vlail Kaznacheev, was described as a “well-known authority on ESP” and had helped to conduct experiments in which volunteers “attempted to relay to one another images of geometric shapes such as squares or circles”.

Greenewald on his website said the document was released to him in November 2020 after he filed a records request to the Defense Intelligence Agency for documents related to ESP.

Initially, the agency said that it had found CIA records that were classified, but after Greenewald filed an appeal the agency declassified one of the documents and made it available for the public. In a letter to Greenewald, the CIA said that one document on ESP must remain classified.

ESP has been a subject of fascination and legitimate research in Russia and the US, though whether it is a true phenomenon is a subject of strong debate in scientific circles.


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