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Hodson, Clairvoyant Research Of

This article covers the clairvoyant investigations by Geoffrey Hodson with David Lyness and their research into Micro-Psychokinesis.

Introduction. David Lyness joined the New Zealand Theosophical Society (TS) in 1950 and met Geoffrey Hodson in 1955. When Hodson was fully satisfied that Lyness was genuinely interested in developing a deeper understanding of Theosophy and in particular an understanding of clairvoyance he invited Lyness to work with him in December 1956. This undertaking had the encouragement and assistance of Sandra Chase, then General Secretary of the New Zealand TS.

Medicine. The first Hodson-Lyness clairvoyant investigation at Whangarei involved the examination of tissue slides prepared for microscopic study. This involved examination of 16 numbered slides which were 8 duplicates but presented in no particular order as a group for study. The objective was to separate them into normal or abnormal, the second group being due to possible malignancy. Hodson spent around one hour before being able to detect any criterion for sorting the slides into two groups.

The distinguishing criterion which presented itself from amongst the variety of radiations that appeared to detailed “etheric vision” (Hodson’s term) was an impression of disorderliness in the sub-atomic radiations of seven slides. The tracks of the radiated particles were tangled and curved back on themselves instead of radiating freely in a more or less straight line from the atoms. From a lack of other criteria and because of a subjective impression of greed and rapaciousness about this appearance Hodson thought that slides exhibiting these characteristics were likely to be of cancerous origin. Lyness (1957) reports that all seven slides that Hodson thought were cancerous were so. Of the nine slides he thought were not cancerous, one was, a result exceeding chance expectation (18,000 to 1). The slides had been prepared from tissues fixed in formalin, then frozen, defatted, embedded in wax, stained with dyes and mounted in Canada balsam.

Lyness (1957) describes physical carcinogens such as tar, X-rays, and tobacco smoke as playing a part in the causation of cancer but that unless there is a deficiency in the egoic life-force as well cancer will not occur. Hodson and Lyness refer to Annie BESANT’s book A Study in Consciousness and suggest that the anus (ultimate physical atoms) change when they are a part of the living body: “We open up the spirallae and therefore, since it is the activity of the spirallae which determines the radiation of light quanta or electro-magnetic energy from the ANU, the life in using an anu and therefore a physical atom leaves a perceptible trace on that atom.” It is this proposed trace which Hodson believed he could recognize.

Physiology. Charles W. Leadbeater in Man, Visible and Invisible describes nervous tissue as prominent to etheric sight and that it is in virtue of the etheric double and a free supply of prana that the nervous system functions. Lyness (1957) wished to attempt to correlate orthodox and clairvoyant work in this area. Lyness (1957) points out that investigation by physiologists has shown that nerve impulses are associated with minute electric currents: the passage of a nerve impulse is accompanied by a change of electric potential at the surface of the nerve fiber.

A series of exploratory experiments were performed as follows: Hodson was asked to study the flow of PRANA and/or other forces in a digital nerve (that of Lyness) at rest. Lyness then stimulated his finger by light touch, then pressure amounting to pain, electric shocks of graded intensity and finally injection of local anaesthetic to block the nerve. Lyness summarizes the results of Hodson’s observations as follows:

1. Although the nerves provide the main channel for the distribution of prana, this also flows outside the nerves through the surrounding tissues.

2. There is another force distinct from prana (possibly electro-magnetic) flowing in both directions along the nerves whether substantially at rest or under stimulation.

3. Stimulus of touch, pain or electric shock causes an increase in this second force or energy but does not appear to effect the flow of prana.

4. The injection of local anaesthetic reduced and nearly stopped pranic activity. The appearance of the second force is apparently unchanged. The white dead appearance of the etheric double started to clear long before the anaesthetic wore off. Medical physiology (1957) asserts that local anaesthesia abolishes the conduction of current in a nerve.

Chemistry and Physics. Subsequent clairvoyant investigations were concerned with occult chemistry or more aptly occult physics. An important motivation for these investigations was an interest in studying biochemical processes in living cells and in particular the cell nucleus itself in which is located the physical basis of heredity. The main motivation for investigating matter clairvoyantly was a desire to re-examine the findings of Besant and Leadbeater published in Occult Chemistry (1951) with the object of correlating these findings with recent advances in scientific knowledge. Some comment needs to be made concerning the difficulty experienced by the clairvoyant investigator.

Lyness (1957) notes: “Smith and Slater in their booklet ‘The Field of Occult Chemistry’ ask the important and apparently simple question ‘What is the relative size of the anu compared say, to the carbon atom?’ Is it roughly a thousandth — or a millionth — or even a billionth? Although the clairvoyant can ‘see’ an anu or the series of disturbances in etheric matter in carbonaceous material, both the anu and the occult chemistry atom (OCA) cannot be observed at the same time. The description given is that of the clairvoyant ‘scanning the object’ with the etheric tube in order to deduce its shape. Great care is taken to avoid fitting what is actually observed into a pre-conceived thought image. For instance once Hodson had deduced from the portions of the carbon atom in his field of view that the atom was shaped like a cube, he tended to see cubes, though he was never entirely satisfied with this description because he kept finding the ‘corner cut off.’”

When the 1951 edition of Occult Chemistry was consulted and it was found that Besant and Leadbeater had observed an octahedral shape for carbon, Hodson decided to re-examine the carbonaceous material the following morning. He therefore examined the arrangement of the funnels in the diamond and was eventually able to see the opening (or mouth) of the funnel at the surfaces of square pyramids, two such pyramids forming the octahedron.

This describes a little of the difficulties encountered. So one must consider the results: how can one rely on even the most careful observations? Self-testing was conducted as follows: two white powders were placed before Hodson and he was asked if he could distinguish between them. In summary he was able to describe the difference between sodium sulphate and magnesium sulphate correctly according to Occult Chemistry, i.e., a dumbbell shaped atom (sodium) was present in the right hand powder which was not found in the left hand powder. The left hand powder contained an atom with triangles pointing to a common apex (magnesium).

After these sessions with Hodson, Lyness recorded that “after having spent many hours at this work with Hodson I am certain of his ability, given satisfactory conditions, to see substantially correctly though not of course entirely without error. The inferences to be drawn from his recorded observations are another matter. The whole subject is so tremendously complex and the facts available are so fragmentary that the utmost caution is necessary in arriving at any hard and fast conclusion.”

Results recorded in the JRT Lecture are summarized as follows:

1. Lyness describes the work of Besant and Leadbeater as being confirmed in a general way: “There are shapes in etheric matter which are associated with particular chemical atoms. The oxygen atom is associated with a spiral etheric shape. The carbon atom with an octahedron and so on.”

2. Hodson described his own perception as only partial — there is more to the atom than that perceived by the occultist. It appears to the occultist that all etheric matter, when sufficiently magnified, is reducible to anus (i.e., ultimate physical atoms: UPA) which emit an etheric analogue of light. It is suggested that the anu is 1/1,000,000 the size of a carbon atom. Also the so-called light emitted by the anu and perceived by the micro-psi observer may not be electromagnetic radiation in the physical sense. There may also be subatomic particles which do not emit “etheric light.”

3. In 1957 the carbon OCA could not be regarded as corresponding with the carbon atom as known to physical science. Hodson describes the heart of the atom: “Something changes this free substance into a controlled condition and it is highly compressed, terrifically compressed. It is the heart of the atom I am looking at, in the sense of its generating station.” The so-called generating station was regarded as possibly corresponding with the nucleus of the physical science atom.

The series of tape recorded sessions from 1957 to 1959 are as follows: Clairvoyant investigation of carbonaceous material in the form of diamond (March 13, 1957). Examination of diamond, lead pencil (graphite), D-glucose (March 14, 1957). Examination of a block of ice (April 6, 1957 a.m.) and without Hodson’s prior knowledge of contents, examination of two identical bottles, one containing glacial acetic acid and the other dilute acetic acid (April 6, 1957 p.m.). Examination of arrangement of carbon atoms in diamond (April 7, 1957) and detailed study of emanations within the diamond and detailed structure of the atom itself (April 8, 1957). A study of levels of magnification and etheric (E) levels given as E1, E2, E3 and E4 using diamond as the material of examination (May 25, 1957). Examination of sodium chloride (May 26, 1957). Examination of carbonaceous material in the form of graphite (April 27, 1958). Study of electric current in a graphite conductor using alternating current or direct current (February 10, 1959 and February 11, 1959). Study of electric current in a single strand of copper wire (February 12, 1959).

While observing crystals of NaCl Hodson described the pattern and particles he visualized. The following is an extract: “It has moving what I presume are anu or particles in it, which are arranged in a pattern, but it is all moving so rapidly that I can’t discern the pattern at present — there is a continual flow of these — we’ll call them anu — flowing up into the central funnel and probably supplying it with its power.” Lyness questioned Hodson — “So the Hindu description of making yourself small is what it is like.” Hodson replied: “It is the experience I have.” This reply reminds one of the Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra, Book III sutra 26 rendered into English by Taimni: “knowledge of the small, the hidden or the distant by directing the light of superphysical faculty.” Jinarajadasa translates sutra 26 as “making oneself infinitesimally small or as large as the earth” (Smith 1982). The object is not magnified but the observer is diminished.

In Occult Chemistry, Besant and Leadbeater do not describe any particle or entity that could be regarded as an electron. When Hodson examined DC current in copper wire (February 12, 1959) streams of lighted points were seen to “move in a spiral fashion from disc to disc or crest to crest of pulsed wave.” When observing electric conduction in a graphite rod Hodson noticed a rushing stream of pointed lights which were much smaller than anu “I don’t say it’s an anu, but it looks, — it’s got a double spiral movement in it. It’s got a — I can’t give you any relative sizes. It gives the impression of rigidity. I’ve got one. Well, it is shaped like an anu.” In late 1959 it was considered by Lyness and Hodson that a cathode ray tube (CRT) would provide a likely abundant source of electrons for observation. Hodson observed what are believed to be electrons in a CRT using micro-psi. “I got one up by accident — they’re spinning. It’s a spinning particle. There is a circular motion along the little bit of beam which is within my sight — the pencil of beam continued its steady condition but there is associated with it a distinct thickening and thinning going on and it’s a wavelike condition.”

In Chapter 6 of his monograph Extra-Sensory Perception of Quarks (1980) Stephen Phillips points out that “the Dirac theory of a free electron implies that, superimposed on the observable linear motion of an electron, there is a circular motion about the direction of its spin with a radius equal to its (reduced) Compton wavelength.” Hodson’s observations appear to be in alignment with this implication of circular motion superimposed on linear motion. Phillips employs the term “micro-psi atom” (MPA) when discussing clairvoyant investigations. The perturbative interaction between the clairvoyant observer and the atom or molecule under study is believed to require a precise use of what parapsychologists call psychokinesis (paranormal output). Phillips discusses some of Hodson’s February 10, 1959 micro-psi observations of the anu (UPA) “Yes, it’s the anu. I’ve got onto one anu. The anu is definitely lighted and I can discern degrees of luminosity according to the spirallae of which it is composed and the — I don’t see much color except perhaps yellow. It is pulsing in — like heart beat but vertically as well — what’s the word, generally. It expands and contracts, that’s one pulse and of course at the same tempo it slightly stretches itself up and down so that there is a change in shape which rather confused me because I happened first of all to get it in an elongated phase of pulse. It looked more like — what — I must be careful — like a carrot.”

Phillips remarks in Extra-Sensory Perception of Quarks (Ch. 6) — “The use of this vivid simile here is remarkable, for the same one was used, eleven years later, by another micro-psi observer who had no knowledge of the earlier observer’s work and who never communicated with him.” Hodson observes the effect of a magnet on the motion of the anu: “The vertical spinning phenomenon remains. Oh, those are — that’s very peculiar, the axes are rocking. It’s like a top which is wobbling.” After the magnet was moved away — “There they are — they — no, they are steady in their spin.” Phillips comments on these observations “Spin precession of a UPA about the direction of an external magnetic field was witnessed” — this observation being interpreted as indicating that the UPA has a magnetic dipole moment, as implied by its identification as an omegon according to Phillip’s hypothesis 1 given in Ch.4 of Extra-Sensory Perception of Quarks.

Psychokinesis. A number of authors have published evidence of extrasensory communication (Irwin 1979, Bem and Honorton 1994) and psychokinetic phenomena (Wadhams and Farelly 1968, Schmidt 1971, Schmidt 1973, Lyness 1979 and Silberman 1995). Bem and Honorton (1944) point out that “any model of reality compatible with quantum mechanisms must be non-local.”

In 1976 Lyness had a Schmidt apparatus constructed at the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education (Queensland, Australia) based on the circuit diagram of Beloff (1974). A binary event generator produces square waves representing +1 and 0 at a frequency of a million per second. This series of binary events is sampled by a rate oscillator at intervals determined by signals arriving from a Geiger-Muller (GM) tube activated by electrons emitted by Strontium 90.

Thus a random series of 1s and 0s is produced. For a run of N events the mean chance expectation (MCE) of 1 or 0 in the series will be N/2. The difference in any run between the totals of 1 and 0 in the series is recorded and displayed which thus records 2d, d being the difference from MCE. The randomicity of the apparatus is repeatedly checked and control runs are performed throughout the experimental procedure. The test subject’s psi-field has to make electrons arrive in a temporal pattern at the GM tube in order to alter the chance of 1 and 0 in the series from N/2 and therefore affected.

In practice, the subject is asked to try to influence a target display by mental concentration i.e., a biofeedback apparatus. This display can be auditory (clicks in left and right speakers) or visual, such as an LED display or galvanometer needle (attempt to move needle to right or left). In the case of animals a biologically appropriate target such as production of warmth from a heater can be connected to the apparatus. The effect of the psi-field is thus recorded as a deviation from MCE. As SD = (N.p.q)½ and p = 0.5 = q, the critical ratio (CR) = d/SD = 2d(N)½.

Beloff and Evans (1961) using 30 students reported only chance results using alpha particles. Chauvin and Genton (1965) reported results at p = 3e-10 and p = 3e-11 with two 13-year-old boys using uranium nitrate and a Geiger counter. Wadhams and Farrelly (1968) obtained non-significant results with beta particles. Schmidt (1971) reported positive results with two preselected adults at the 10e-7 level with a cat (1970) at p = 0.017 and cockroaches at p = 0.007. Using a high speed electronic noise random event generator and four preselected adults Schmidt (1973) obtained positive results at levels of p = 10e-9 and p = 3x10e-5 for slow and fast runs respectively. Randall (1974) detected 16 out of 169 schoolboys with possible ESP at p = 0.05 and 6 with possible ESP at p = 0.01. Honorton (1979) reports 60 experiments in 8 laboratories, with 65% significant at p = 0.05, 35% significant at p = 0.01 and 2% significant at p = 0.001. Lyness (1979) using a Schmidt apparatus and himself as a test subject conducted 18 consecutive trials each of 10 x 100 and obtained p = 0.0418. Anne Lyness in 30 consecutive trials over 8 days and with total N = 48.000 recorded results at p = 4e-6.

Lyness (1979) regards the evidence that mind can influence the patterns of electrons as clearly established although repetition by other workers is advocated. The question of how the apparently unlikely process of psychokinesis (PK) works is wide open to investigation. Lyness points out that an understanding of the implications of quantum field theory is essential for a scientific (rather than a religious) approach to a dualistic mind-body hypothesis. Newtonian concepts such as mass, position and momentum are inevitably associated with the word “particle.” We no longer think of atomic or sub-atomic particles as little red billiard balls. However, the semantic relations of the word “particle” persist and bias our thinking in favor of concepts applicable to the “real” world of our everyday experience. Capra (1975) describes Weyl (1949) discussing the illusion of a material substance created by a moving particle in terms of quantum field theory — “A material particle such as an electron is merely a small domain of the electric field within which the field strength assumes a very high value indicating that a high field energy is concentrated in a very small space. Such an energy knot which is not clearly delineated against the remaining field propagates through empty space like a water wave across the surface of a lake: the electron does not consist of one and the same substance at all times.” A proton (hydrogen ion) is simply the most probable state of a quantity of energy which “incessantly emits and reabsorbs virtual particles.” Even without collisions the proton is emitting and reabsorbing virtual particles. In quantum field theory this field is seen as the basis of all particles and of their mutual interactions “being and fading of particles are merely forms of motion of the field” (Ford 1963).

Waking consciousness is normally focused on thinking in terms of three dimensional space and unidirectional time. This is the result of the long evolution of the sensory apparatus and central nervous system necessary to interact with and survive in the macroscopic everyday world. Hodson was acutely aware that his vocabulary was limited when attempting to describe what he observed by micro-psi and also that his observations involved interaction with the particles under investigation. In order to “see” it was necessary to restrict or slow the perceived motion of the “particles” in order to describe them, i.e., to exert a specialized form of psychokinesis. Since rotation of the particle is greatly slowed it is delocalized in accordance with Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. The micro-psi observer, in the act of observation changes the object’s behavior. Hodson’s micro-psi observations were qualitatively similar with the current (1993) picture given by some particle physicists. In this Hodson established a general agreement with the findings of Occult Chemistry at a time when contemporary physical science knowledge could not be reconciled with these findings. Lyness (1979) asserts that by interpreting the micro-psi descriptions in quantum mechanical terms such as “cold quark plasma” quantitative correlations are in sight although serious theoretical difficulties remain.

Summary of findings. During the years 1957 to 1959 Lyness recorded the micro-psi observations of Hodson who used the term “clairvoyance” to describe his ability. By a yoga technique he would put himself into an altered state of consciousness and examine physical specimens.

Hodson’s descriptions were similar to those made by Besant and Leadbeater who recorded their descriptions from 1895 to 1908 in Occult Chemistry. In Extra-Sensory Perception of Quarks, Phillip’s analysis of the data amassed by the three clairvoyants co-relates with certain aspects of quantitative field theory. These clairvoyants described the field, the void, the constant flow of energy, the appearance and disappearance of particles and the appearance of forms apparently related to elements and compounds.

Lyness (1979) states Hodson “has shown no difficulty in reality testing. He has shown no affective disturbance, no thought disorder or bizarre behavior” from the time of first meeting to Hodson’s death in 1983. Lyness uses these words: “it is a matter of direct personal experience (for Hodson) that his mind is quite distinct from his brain. He uses his physical brain as a machine to focus his higher dimensional consciousness into the physical world.”

In the light of the results of micro-psi investigations, quantum field theory and experimental evidence provided by a Schmidt apparatus, the possibility of human consciousness selectively influencing the probability of manifestation of an energy knot so that from a physical science perspective an electron has transferred from one molecule to another is envisaged by Lyness (1979).

Lyness points out that Eccles (1970) believes the brain “in conscious state — has been shown to be in a state of extreme sensitivity as a detector of minute spatio-temporal fields of influence” and is thus responsive to will. Eccles suggested the synaptic knob could be the key structure on which mind might work psychokinetically. Lyness (1979) comments on the fundamental importance of electron and proton transfer in biochemical processes and in particular neurotransmission. Demonstration of psycho-kinesis is believed to be of fundamental importance and is suggested as providing a basis for explaining the action of mind upon brain.


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Chauvin and Genton (1965) Quoted by Randal, J.L. in Parapsychology and the Nature of Life. Abacus/Sphere Books, London.

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Honorton, C. (1979) A Parapsychological Test of Eccles’ “Neurophysiological Hypothesis” of Psychophysical Interaction in Brain/Mind and Parapsychology Parapsychological Foundation Inc., New York, N.Y.

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Lyness, D. D. (1957). Some Recent Clairvoyant Research in New Zealand: the JRT Lecture 1957. New Zealand Theosophical Society.

Lyness, D. D. (1979). Mind Brain Interaction and Psychokinesis. 16th Annual congress of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists at Queenstown, New Zealand, October 1979.

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Randall (1974). Personal communication with David Lyness.

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Smith, L. E. (1982). Occult Chemistry Re-evaluated. Theosophical Publishing House.

Wadhams, P. and Farrelly, B.A. (1968) The Investigation of Psychokinesis using Beta Particles. Journal of Society of Psychical Research. 44:281-288.

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Zilberman, M. S. (1995). On the Training of Precognitive Ability. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 60: 289-292.


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