The Montague and Veronica Keen Foundation
Dedicated to love, truth and simplicity

Letter to The Skeptic written in 2002

It was generous of Chris to allow me the last word in our extended dispute over the strength of evidence for psi.

It remains true that strict replication isn't possible with psi tests, although lab-type repetitive experiments engender fewer of the variables which can vitiate other ESP tests.

I don't argue that sceptics' negative results arise solely from the supposed experimenter effect: i.e. that negative vibes produce negative results. There's some evidence of this, certainly, but more important is that many of the tests are designed on false assumptions. E.g., if I'm trying to discover whether some aspect of psi exists and in what conditions it best operates, then I shouldn't test a bunch of average students, but go for someone who claims psychic powers. Then I make sure I thoroughly understand the conditions in which that person works, and design an experiment which fairly tests him. The implicit assumption that psi is a universally distributed, uniform faculty is absurd.

All too often this is not done, and with serious consequences. For instance, it is now apparent from overwhelming evidence from several sources that Chris Robinson in double-blind tests is able to dream where he will be and what he will see on a subsequent day; and it is now confirmed that he has been of considerable service to the police and defence authorities in the USA and here. But if he is tested in a laboratory where he is given tests appropriate to some other faculty, like psychometry, he is likely to do badly. That's what happened in 1994.

Chris exaggerates the amount of study and classical scholarship required for an impartial assessment of the Dorr-Lethe case, but I won’t press the point, because all he has to do is to explain a much simpler and up to date case which I have just been investigating with Guy Playfair: a young Irishwomen is badgered by the voices of a recently murdered woman she’s never heard of. She provides the police with 125 specific statements about the deceased, the murder scene, and the personality, appearance, route taken, method of entry and name of the murderer. Apart from a few unverifiable statements, all but one prove correct.

We have examined all the original documentary evidence. Apart from a very few statements, all must have had a paranormal origin. The only issue is where the information came from - the dead woman or the minds of the policeman who discovered the body, the murderer himself and the woman's family. The dead woman was Jacqui Poole, and the murderer, Pokie Ruark, was given a life sentence at the Old Bailey in August 2001. An excellent summary by the investigating detective appeared in the Police Review in December, 2002.

Any non-paranormal offers of explanation?

A Response to Chris French by Montague Keen
© The Montague Keen Foundation 2011
All rights reserved
No part of this website may be reproduced without permission