Review by Justin C. Maaia, 2002
Schwarz, Berthold E. “K: A Presumed Case of Telekinesis.” International Journal of Psychosomatics 32/1 (1985): 3-21.
This article presents the observations made by a psychiatrist of a patient, K, who presumably possesses telekinetic abilities. The subject was observed for 11-½ days by the psychiatrist as well as various other people. The biographical information provided shows that family and friends of the subject believed him to have some “psychic aptitudes.” During the course of the observation, the subject was unsuccessful in many attempts at various telekinetic feats. However, he was also successful in certain instances at certain times.
There are a few portions of this article that render it suspect. First, it begins by the author relating how he had received a call from the noted magician Uri Geller right before K arrived at his office. Geller stated that his phonebook had fallen open to the letter S and so he thought it was a sign to call the author, whose last name is Schwarz. This seems like an odd piece of information with which to preface a scholarly article. Also, nine of the 11-½ days of observation took place while the subject stayed with the author and his wife at their house. A house seems like a suitable enough place to test telekinetic ability, but the fact that a stranger was given board at a psychiatrist’s house seems a little odd. However, I am unaware of whether or not this is common practice.
Despite these types of issues, the fact remains that K did perform a handful of presumably telekinetic actions that were observed by anywhere from one to three people and that were also videotaped and photographed. Some of the feats were quite remarkable while others could quite easily be attributed to other factors. Some of the remarkable feats include bending keys, bending the second-hand of a clock, burning the ends of matches, and recharging a battery, all of which were performed at a distance. Another action, that making a broom stand on its bristle-end without touching it, was “disproved” when the author stood the broom on its end and it remained that way on its own.
The ratio of successes to failures is of little consequence. It can be argued that even one telekinetic phenomenon, if verified, presents science with a phenomenon that cannot be explained by current scientific laws and theories. However, whether any of the phenomena in this study can be accepted as true examples of telekinesis is arguable. Where the skepticism will end–regarding both the phenomena itself and scientific studies of it such as this one–is also an issue that needs to be explored. It seems as if any study that verifies a case of telekinesis is seen as suspect. I have my reasons for questioning the article at hand, but I am not sure whether I would accept any study wholeheartedly. Perhaps the nature of this subject is such that one can never defend its truth, much like it has been argued that no argument against the existence of God will ever convince a believer.