Subtle Energy Perception: Pilot Study With A Buddha Relic

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Garret Yount1, Helané Wahbeh1, Arnaud Delorme1, Loren Carpenter1,  Dean Radin1 
1Institute of Noetic Sciences, CA, USA 

Introduction: One manifestation of clairvoyance is the ability to gain information about an object through extrasensory perception. Our research institute had the privilege of caring for a Buddha relic from a recently deceased Buddhist Lama. Buddha relics are crystal-like objects that are purportedly found among the cremated ashes of Buddhist spiritual masters. Because these objects are believed to emanate subtle energy, we were interested to test the ability of professional clairvoyants to detect the presence of the Buddha relic without visual cues. 

Methods: A perception test was conducted with seven subjects, one at a time: four self-identified clairvoyants who provide related professional services in the community (referred to as Seers), and three laboratory staff who do not consider themselves to possess clairvoyant skills (as control subjects). Strict blinding procedures were used to ensure that staff could not convey cues related to the test. Prior to the start of each test, a Research Assistant (RA) placed the relic in an opaque container in the center of a table inside an electromagnetically shielded room. Ten identical, empty containers were lined up behind the first container and labeled numerically. After the RA was out of the room and out of sight, the Principal Investigator (PI) escorted the subject into the room to sense any energetic characteristics perceptible from the relic inside the first container, without opening the lid or touching the container (Figure 1). After 5 minutes of the subject becoming familiar with the sensations associated with relic inside the first container, the PI escorted the subject out of the building while the RA returned to the room and moved the relic into one of the numbered containers (chosen according to the output of a random number generator). The RA also lifted the lid of each of the other nine containers so as to equalize the amount of physical manipulation of the containers. After the RA was out of the room and out of sight again, the PI escorted the subject into the room and monitored while the subject tried to detect which container held the relic without opening or touching any of the containers. Once the choice was recorded, the PI escorted the subject out of the room so that the test could be repeated for a total of 10 trials. The number of trials was chosen to allow for sufficient statistical power when making a choice of one out of ten, based on previously reported methods (Yount et al., 2004).  

Results: During the period when the subjects were becoming familiar with the sensations associated with relic inside the first container, all of the Seers reported discernable energetic perceptions that were distinct from the empty containers. None of the control subjects reported discernable energetic perceptions. The results of the ten test trials were at the level expected by chance for all subjects (see Table A). 

Table A. Average Percentage of Correct Choices 

 Control Group Seer Group 
Average % Correct Choices 13.3 +/- 3.3 7.5 +/- 2.5 

Discussion: While preliminary and inconclusive, we found no evidence that clairvoyant seers were able to detect the presence of the Buddha relic without visual cues. The lack of discernment may be an indication that the subtle energy associated with the relic emanates in space too far to be distinguished from an empty container near the relic (within 2 feet), or that it leaves traces in the containers that linger and confound subsequent trials. The fact that the seers reported discernable energetic perceptions that were distinct from the empty containers highlights the need to maximize the signal to noise ratio for measures tests of subtle energy perception. Other interpretations of the data will be discussed.   

Figure 1. Before the perception testing began, subjects were given to opportunity sense any energetic characteristics perceptible from the relic inside of the container. 

Yount G., Smith S, Avanozian V, West J, Moore D, & Freinkel A. (2004) Biofield perception: a series of pilot studies with cultured human cells. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(3) 463-467. 


Garret Yount
Garret Yount

Garret Yount obtained his BS from the Dept. of Molecular & Cell Biology at Penn State, and his PhD from the Dept. of Neurobiology & Behavior at SUNY, Stony Brook. He was then awarded two postdoctoral scholarships, one in the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the second in UCSF’s Brain Tumor Research Center. Dr. Yount has devoted his career to developing methods for bridging molecular neurobiology with aspects of human consciousness.

Subtle Energy Perception: Pilot Study With A Buddha Relic


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