Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Controversial Psychic Images On Display

Often known by the Japanese word Nensha (念写), "thoughtography" is a psychographic technique to impart mental images onto certain surfaces, often film.

Early experiments were conducted in Tokyo around 1910 by Tomokichi Fukurai using a psychic medium named Lkuko Nagao. Further experimentation with other psychics led to the publication of his book Toshi to Nensa. None of his work gained any acceptance, but he persisted until his death in 1952. Along the way, he founded the Fukurai Institute of Psychology.

Ted Serios used Polaroid instant film in the 1960s to produce Nensha images under the auspices of a Denver psychiatrist, Jule Eisenbud. Their work together was chronicled in The World of Ted Serios: "Thoughtographic" studies of an extraoridnary mind." Whether Serios was truly gifted in this respect, we may never know; however, his psychopathic and sociopathic behavior makes him a difficult candidate for the veracity award. 

Uri Geller, the famed psychic, was another who claimed to possess this talent. 

However, these men have their critics. Those in witness of Serios' sessions noted that the "gizmo" the psychic required to make his images was, in fact, a miniaturized daguerreotype machine. Renown skeptic James Randi stated: "If Mr. Serios did not use a trick method, all the rules of physics, particularly of optics, everything developed by science over the past several centuries, must be rewritten to accommodate Eisenbud's opinion. No such revisions have been found necessary."

I would agree. For instance, in Serios' images, focus and other optical distortions created only by the unique element of a camera lens can be found in his mental images. Why would this be the case, if the psychic projection presumably doesn't use a lens?

You can examine Serios' work and learn about his bizarre history in an exhibition/lecture going on now. The University of Maryland, Baltimore County's Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery is currently running Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions: Paranormal Photographs from the Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios from January 26 through March 27, 2011. Visit the exhibition website here.

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