Apart from the uncontrolled eruptions of psychokinetic power examined in the cases of poltergeist hauntings described in chapter ten, there are individuals who have demonstrated the ability to discipline psychokinesis (PK). Professional gamblers have long alleged that they can "make the dice obey" or make the little white ball in the roulette wheel stop wherever they wish.
Parapsychologist Dr. J. B. Rhine began his experimental lab work in PK in 1934. Using dice-throwing experiments and utilizing several volunteers who claimed to have been able to use "mind over matter" to bring in tangible rewards at the gaming tables, Rhine and his associates conducted tests and accumulated data until 1943 before they made any announcement of their results. In his The Reach of the Mind (1947), Rhine set forth an analysis of this data and concluded that psychokinesis had been established beyond all question.
In 1964, when Loyola University professor James Hurley was contemplating writing a book on ESP, he contacted Rhine, the dean of academic parapsychologists, and was told about the remarkable psychic-sensitive Olof Jonsson (1918–1998), who had the ability to produce psychokinetic effects, as well as demonstrate clairvoyance and telepathy. One night in the summer of 1964, Hurley and Jonsson were finishing dinner in a Chicago restaurant when Jonsson demonstrated PK by causing an individual globe to move in a chandelier located across the dining room.
Two Swedish doctors, Anders Perntz and Sven Erik Larsson, conducted numerous psychokinetic experiments that they conducted with Jonsson under full control. In one test, Jonsson turned a pewter candlestick weighing 1.25 kilograms 180 degrees while standing three yards away. In another experiment, Jonsson stood in front of a table and caused a piece of wood sculpture to slide at an even speed across the table top before it fell down to the floor.
The Danish psychical researcher and photographer Sven Turck conducted repeated tests of Jonsson's psychokinetic powers, guarding against any possible trickery by creating strong controls in his laboratory. In Turck's laboratory in Copenhagen, the researcher photographed Jonsson, together with a select group of psychic-sensitives, performing feats of psychokinesis. Turck set up three cameras at different angles, so that one always showed the action from behind, one from underneath, and one from above. After a series of sittings with the sensitives, chairs and objects began to move. A large worktable rose up on one leg and began to whirl around its own base, pirouetting faster and faster. Turck's greatest wish was that they might get the table to soar freely in the air so that he might photograph the phenomenon of levitation. A few evenings later, the photographer was able to capture the fulfillment of his wish on the film of three cameras.
These phenomena were repeated often during the course of several months' of sittings in Turck's laboratory and were always dutifully recorded by the trio of cameras that had been loaded with infrared film. On one occasion, a large commode, of such a weight that two men could not lift it without great effort, was moved soundlessly out into the middle of the laboratory floor.
Author Stig Arne Kjellen said that Turck had never been able to believe in such dramatic displays of psychokinetic force until he had become a participant in the sessions held in his own laboratory. In principle, the psychokinetic moving of a candlestick is just as remarkable as the moving of a heavy table. Both feats are quite impossible in the view of orthodox science. The series of photographs taken during Turck's experiments in Copenhagen were carefully examined by five of Denmark's foremost photographic technicians, among them the director of the Danish photographic professional school, Theodore Andresen, who had full access to the photographic negatives. Each of the photographers agreed that no manipulations whatsoever had been worked upon the negatives.
Kjellen recorded 140 carefully controlled experiments in psychokinesis before Jonsson left Sweden in 1953 at the invitation of Rhine, who asked him to come to Duke University for a series of parapsychological tests. Kjellen tells of how without any previous preparations whatsoever, accompanied by people he had never met before and in places so distracting and mundane as restaurants and hotel vestibules, Jonsson got bottles, flowers, jars, ashtrays, toothpick holders, and candlesticks into motion, while talking to others with an altogether untroubled smile. Frequently such demonstrations took place with Jonsson situated a great distance away, and yet he was able to exert such force that, on some occasions, objects were moved several yards in one direction or another, sometimes directly up into the air.
In Rhine's view, clairvoyance and telepathy are sensory types of phenomena, matter affecting mind; PK is a motor-type phenomenon, mind affecting matter. In his opinion, the existence of one implies the existence of the other and he maintained that they are closely related phenomena.
In his series of tests, Rhine noted that dice-throwers with marked control over the dies were much more successful at the beginning of a run. The same sort of "decline" effect that has been noted by agents testing telepathic percipients in card-guessing tests was in evidence in testing for PK.
Other similarities existed between ESP and PK tests as observed in the Duke University parapsychology laboratories where Rhine and his colleagues conducted the tests. For example, mechanical devices made no difference in the effectiveness of PK, and neither did distance. Once again, as in ESP testing, a relaxed, informal atmosphere produced the best PK results. Another important similarity between the two paranormal abilities is the fact that the person who expects success and "believes" in his or her ability to produce the desired result will always score much higher than the individual who is indifferent to ESP or PK.
It appears that psychokinesis as well as extrasensory perception is a talent that can be developed and encouraged and is an ability present, to a certain degree, in all people.