Vol 1 October 2000


    by Thomas E. Rafill

    co-author with Paul Dong of
    China's Super Psychics

    In The Four Major Mysteries of Mainland China (Prentice-Hall, 1984, now out of print) and China's Super Psychics (Marlowe, 1997), Paul Dong examined China's activities in the field of psychic children during the 1980s. This year, China Books has published his China's Major Mysteries, an updated look at the same field as The Four Major Mysteries of Mainland China. In this article I briefly review a few of the new developments in China in psychic research.

"Seeing" Without Eyes

Research continued throughout the period in the field of training psychic abilities in children. In March, 1992, seven Hangzhou University researchers did a six-month experimental study of training schoolchildren to ''read with the ear'' (develop visual perception through body parts other than the eye). This project, led by Tian Weishun and Zhu Huizhong, involved 1222 students from elementary through high school, of which 623 were boys and 599 were girls. The training method involved introducing the concept of reading with the ear and instructing them to clear their heads and concentrate. They then checked the children's abilities in tests proctored by their schoolteachers. Their results were that 12.35 percent of children aged seven to thirteen had the power, but only one female aged 17 had the power among the students from ages 14 to 18. The best age for training the ability was found to be nine, at which age the success rate was around 20 percent.

We cite the Chinese source My Research on EHF by Prof. Tang Jianmin. He also mentions a similar experimental study by Xu Baoyi of China's Bangbu Medical Institute. This study worked with 1388 teenagers and found that 180 of them were able to see without their eyes. The largest number of successful subjects was found at age 12, while the fewest were over 16.

A report by Shao Laisheng and the well-known Zhu Yiyi (editor for China's Nature Magazine) described work in training young adults aged 18 to 20. They found it was still possible to train them, but they had greater success with less educated working people than with university students. They hypothesize that the university students are busier and less able to achieve the relaxation and concentration required for successful psychic training.

One group that has continued working on research in training psychic children is the ''Human Body Informatics'' group in the electrical engineering department of Shanghai's Fudan University. In experiments from 1986 to 1993, they trained 46 children (18 male, 28 female). They reported that almost all of the children developed both extrasensory perception and psychokinetic abilities. However, the subjects suffered from dizziness, head throbbing and fatigue when exercising these abilities.

X-Ray Vision Studies

A popular research target in the 1990s has been see-through vision. This has a good application as a tool for medical diagnosis. Xinjiang People's Liberation Army Hospital did 117 tests of children's abilities to perform such medical diagnoses. In 22 cases of examining for diseases in the head, the children were correct 17 times, partly correct four times and wrong one time. In 53 cases examining the liver, the results were: 43 correct, 5 partly correct, four wrong, and one couldn't see clearly. In 19 trials of viewing fetal position, they were correct 16 times and wrong 3 times. These results were reported in ''Preliminary Investigation of Modern Medical Verification of EHF'' by Yang Junpeng, assistant director of the hospital.

Professor Tang Jianmin published an interesting study of the factors contributing to see-through vision. He reviews the known results that the power is prevalent more in females than in males, more in youths than adults, more in rural areas than in cities, more among American children than Chinese children, and more among Chinese adults than American adults. He hypothesizes that the development of see-through vision is affected by the same factors that affect ordinary vision: relaxation, and spending less time on activities that focus the vision strongly like reading, watching television, driving, and doing stressful work. This theory could explain some of the differences observed. For example, children in China spend more time reading and studying than children in America, so this could affect both their vision and their see-through vision.

Chinese Government Shifts Stance

As the 1990s drew to a close, psychic research became a center of controversy, as many masters of chi gong meditation promoted their practices as a path to mysterious spiritual powers. The Chinese government took a negative view of some of these activities, especially those that rejected the use of conventional medicine. In 1999, the Chinese government banned one of these chi gong practices, Falun Gong, and issued an arrest warrant for its leader, Li Hongzhi, who has been living in New York. Many newspaper and magazine articles in China attacked their mysterious beliefs as superstition. However, psychic research in a scientific framework has continued to receive the support of the Chinese government. Paul Dong discusses this issue in our forthcoming book The Allure of Falun Gong (Welcome Rain Publishers). It is noteworthy that in the 1980s, many high-ranking Chinese government officials supported psychic research, but today most of these have been replaced by a new generation of leaders who have shown that either they aren't familiar with the research or they don't believe in it. Thus, the future of psychic research in China is uncertain, although the work continues today in many institutes in the country.


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