A Ganzfeld experiment (from the German for “entire field”) is a technique used in parapsychology to attempt to test individuals for extrasensory perception (ESP). The Ganzfeld experiments are typically used in parapsychology for testing telepathy.
It could be argued that the concept of the Ganzfeld effect has been around since Pythagoras who was rumored to have lived in pitch black caves to receive wisdom through visions. We also have information that coal miners who were trapped in mines have reported seeing hallucinations, visions, and ghosts when they were in the pitch dark for days. However, the Ganzfeld experiment was formally introduced by the German psychologist Wolfgang Metzger. In the 1930’s, Metzger established that when people gazed into a “featureless field of vision” they frequently hallucinated and their electroencephalograms changed. The name given to this occurrence was called the Ganzfeld effect. In the early 1970s, Charles Honorton was researching ESP, and began using the Ganzfeld technique. Honorton’s idea was that most people have lost whatever psi abilities they have as a result of distractions from every day life. He believed that if people did receive a psychic impression, they would never recognize it. He believed that by placing subjects in a Ganzfeld state, they would be more likely to recognize a psychic transmission.The first full Ganzfeld experiment was published by Honorton and Sharon Harper in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in 1974.
During a formal scientific Ganzfeld experiment, the subject is placed in an isolation tank floating in a dense saline solution. The temperature is a constant, comfortable ambient temperature and it’s completely dark and quiet. The point is for the subject to see, hear, and feel nothing. It is known that sensory deprivation allows the imagination to seem surprisingly real since there is no outside distractions (stimuli). The Ganzfeld state is different from sensory deprivation in that the idea is not just to remove all stimuli: audio, visual, thermal, and tactile. The idea is to provide targeted homogenous stimuli.
Due to the lack of accessibility of isolation tanks and controlled laboratory environments, a present day Ganzfeld experiment usually involves placing a “receiver” in a room relaxing in a comfortable chair with their eyes covered and a red light shining on them. The receiver should also wear a set of headphones playing white or pink noise (static). Eliminating cues for depth, shape, or distance is believed to keep the brain alert and looking for information. When no information is present, the brain starts amplifying the senses until the neural noise is confused as real sensory information.
During the Ganzfeld experiment, a “sender” observes a randomly chosen target and tries to mentally send this information to the receiver. The receiver speaks out loud during the experiment, describing what he or she can see. This should be video and/or audio recorded by the experimenter (who is blind to the target). After approximately thirty minutes, the receiver is taken out of the Ganzfeld state and given a set of four possible targets and asked to select the one that most resembled the images they witnessed. It is known that chance predicts an approximate 25% hit rate. However, during the Ganzfeld experiments, the parapsychology community found that it is common to have a 35% hit rate.
The Ganzfeld Experiment is highly controversial and has not been scientifically proven but it’s an interesting experiment to try if you are of healthy mind and body. The assumption that any results that deviate from chance is evidence for telepathy, is controversial. A deviation from chance only proves that the occurrence was statistically unlikely to happen. Until parapsychologists are able to prove the existence of psi or paranormal, it could be argued that the results are likely to be a result of Murphy’s Law.
I have participated in the Ganzfeld experiment at several haunted locations. Two of the most notable locations, The Sallie House and Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, are reportedly plagued with negative and dangerous paranormal activity. The Sallie House experiment was combined with a God’s Helmet session, Ouija, and Black Scrying Mirror.
There is nothing that could prepare me for what I was able to “see” during that session. You will be able to read my blog about that experience very soon.
Some have even labeled the paranormal activity at these locations as “demonic.”
By using the experiment during my paranormal research, I had hoped it would assist me to capture paranormal activity. I was unable to determine whether or not the experiments actually increased paranormal activity during my paranormal research but they sure made for a more interesting experience.
Perhaps the creepiest part about the information obtained from these sessions is that I was able to confirm some of the information I received as facts.
Some of the sessions were broadcast via livestream by another paranormal investigator who has since removed the videos.