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    What Now For ESP? The Princeton PEAR Lab Shuts Down
    By News Staff | February 10th 2007 03:00 AM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    It's a bad day for ghost research, though you can be sure Discovery or History Channel will fill in the gap when they run out of Shroud of Turin articles.

    The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program at Princeton University, which attempted to discover if there was any way the mind could influence physical reality, closing its physical facilities at the end of February.   Well, they can just ESP the research, they don't need physical facilities.

    The purpose of the program, established in 1979 by Robert G. Jahn, then Dean of the university’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, was "to study the potential vulnerability of engineering devices and information processing systems to the anomalous influence of the consciousness of their human operators." The research was funded by gifts from Princeton alumni James S. McDonnell, patriarch of the McDonnell Douglas Aerospace empire, Laurance Rockefeller, Donald C. Webster, and by numerous other philanthropic benefactors.


    And it wasn't a bad idea at the time.  The 1970s were quirky in lots of ways - pet rocks, disco and David Bowie come to mind - so a real study of ESP and telekinesis could put an end to speculation and people exploiting the gullible for profit.

    Jahn and Brenda Dunne, a developmental psychologist from the University of Chicago who has served throughout as PEAR's laboratory manager, together with other members of their interdisciplinary research staff, focused on two major areas of study: anomalous human/machine interactions, which addresses the effects of consciousness on random physical systems and processes; and remote perception, wherein people attempt to acquire information about distant locations and events.    


    Did it work?   No, but they still believe and say they have 'clear evidence' that human thought and emotion can produce measurable influences on physical reality but they mostly developed theoretical (read: hypothetical) models that attempted to accommodate the empirical results, because cannot be explained by any currently recognized scientific model.  If science does not confirm what you want, invent new science.

    Jahn and Dunne currently serve as advisers to Psyleron, www.Psyleron.com, a Princeton, NJ-based enterprise that produces a line of state-of-the-art technology to enable public exploration of human/machine anomalies.    But that isn't the extent of their work.   They recently prepared a 150-page anthology of PEAR publications pertinent to complementary and alternative medicine.