Yes, soon. (in Russian)
by Sergei Speransky
Lee West, Novosibirsk, 2003, 296p.
Review by Savely Savva
Doctor of Biological Science, Sergei Vladimirovich Speransky, is the Head of Hygienic Toxicology Laboratory of the Novosibirsk Institute if Hygiene. However, his deepest interest and his outstanding scientific contributions lie in the field of parapsychology. His book is a brilliant popular, and at the same time, professional presentation of his almost 40-year-long experience of using laboratory animals, mostly mice, to register effects of human intent or just experimenter’s expectation on physiology and behavior of animals.
When almost 30 years ago we first met in Leningrad he shared with me results of his observation of psi communication between mice bound by belonging to a common “social group.” We both were excited because, if confirmed, it would open a way for further study of the physical nature of this communication. This is what he did. Two equally selected groups of mice, twenty in each, were kept together for a week to 10 days to establish social order and presumably bonds among mice within a group. The hypothesis was that after being separated, the mice would maintain this bond and communicate among themselves. So, halves of these two groups were placed in a common tray and fed unlimitedly while one of the other halves was fed and the other one was starved. If the communication exists, those “friends of the hungry” would eat more and gain more weight than the “friends” of the well fed. The experiment was repeated many times, and indeed, the friends of the hungry gained much more weight. During three weeks the difference in weight between ten friends of hungry and ten friends of the fed rose up to 18 grams. Later three different laboratories repeated the experiment with the same result. We talked about varying the distance between the separated halves, electromagnetic screening of them, possible imposing external magnetic and electromagnetic fields, etc.
Then, I fled the Soviet Union and, as Dr. Speransky writes in his book, a biophysicist from Moscow advised to run the experiment in a “blind” way, i.e., the experimenter wouldn’t know which of the removed halves is fed and which is kept hungry. In other words, he wouldn’t know what to expect. The experiment was run and fell through: no difference in weight gain. This led Speransky to recognize that there was no communication between mice but they behaved as the experimenter subconsciously expected them to. This was an unexpected and a very important discovery relevant to the methodology of any experimental research involving living organisms as well as to the practice of medicine in general. It explains, for instance, why some medicines worked for ten years and then stopped working and even had been later empirically proven to be inefficient (I remember the wide-spread use of ‘red streptocide’ in the USSR of my young years). Even now the standard methodology of working with living organisms does not require that tests should be “blinded” to experimenters. Even now the standard methodology of working with living organisms does not require that tests should be “blinded” to experimenters. Even though some major journals prefer publishing blinded experiments, they do this on the assumption that experimenters may subconsciously misinterpret results rather than affect the animals reaction. Later in my articles I called this effect of experimenter’s attitude “Speranski’s Effect.” The mechanism of this effect may be akin to that of placebo but either is unexplainable by current biophysics.
In addition to the standard methodology of using mice for toxicological purposes that he substantially improved by lowering the level of noise associated with “social instability’ (my term – S. S.) in groups of mice being tested, Dr. Speransky developed, applied and described in his book new methodological tools such as muscle strength measurement; rate of catabolism – loss of body mass after 18-hour-long food deprivation; appetite – weight gain after forced starvation; accumulative threshold – tolerance to electric impulses applied to front and rear legs with increasing voltage; motion activity, memory, time of falling asleep after injection of a narcotic, and other. Just as an example, to measure muscle strength a string of 3g weights was connected to a metallic wire screen, which the animal instinctively grabs with all four legs. Then, holding the mouse by the tail, one slow and uniformly raises it together with the screen and the weight string. When the mouse can no longer hold the increasing total weight it loses it.
Using these measurements (sometime a few of them) and standard statistical treatment of results Dr. Speransky discovered that mice are sensitive to human’s conscious intent, as well as to experimenter’s subconscious expectation. He developed a scale for comparative evaluation of human’s “energy healing” efficacy and tested 95 professional healers. He observed a distinctive nervous system reaction of mice to emotional excitement of humans – mice were located near patients undergoing dental treatment without anesthesia (common in the USSR of that time) and students passing exams; observed extension of bull’s spermatozoids life by human intent directly and through impression of the intent on a neutral object; observed physiological and behavioral effects of water charged by humans’ intent. These and many other similar observations showed probability of null hypothesis p<0.02. Particularly valuable are preliminary observations that suggest directions for further experimental studies, using author’s methodology, of what we call the biofield.
The reader is captivated not only by the scientific contribution of the author but also by many observations and self-reflections, by his scientific curiosity and philosophical generalizations. I would’ve recommended this book to everyone if it were in English. So, I do recommend translating and publishing the book in English.