Letter about Test For ESP

© January 1998 Paul Cooijmans

To the Editor:

I would like to respond to D.M.'s letter about my Test For ESP, which (the letter) is probably in this same issue of OATH.

About the three categories: telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition are only seemingly distinguishable. It is essentially impossible to even IMAGINE an experiment that could isolate one from the other two abilities. A distinction that cannot be verified is meaningless, so the only true thing to do is to just speak of "ESP" and not nuance further. This is why me test is just called "Test For ESP".

The test is not multiple-choice because I feel multiple-choice tests for ESP are a mere play with chance and easily polluted by external factors. They do not measure anything. They are good at detecting effects that are not there. The "power" approach is the only one that might produce convincing evidence. Results from Zener card and similar tests were once considered "proof" of ESP, but do not convince anyone any more.

The number of items in my test is sufficient to make scores possible that rule out chance beyond doubt. The test does not aim for fine discrimination, but for the ultimate rock-hard proof that ESP exists. There will certainly be a norming report of some sort. In principal early 1999, after withdrawal of the test. On face value I would consider scores of 3 and higher significant. And "significant", in my book, means "having a chance lower than one in about six billion". Because that would be a literally "superhuman" result.

The test may not discriminate properly for people of average ability, who appear to exhibit psi abilities at a level that would not be registered on such a difficult test, you say? How does one exhibit such average psi abilities then?

Legality? I have indeed not studied parapsychology and do not hold a degree in it, but when I see what parapsychology has achieved since its beginning I can't say I regret this. My main credentials are that I lack the credulity and personal involvement that have spoiled parapsychological research in the past.

A high-psi society? I hadn't thought of that yet, thanks for the idea. If an observant and law-fearing citizen would turn me in for "unlicensed practice of parapsychology" however, I would have to bow my head and lay down my work.

A few weeks ago I saw Uri Geller on TV, interviewed by Catrina Skepper on NBC. He performed EXACTLY THE SAME tricks as he did in the seventies. Hadn't even bothered to learn new ones. I put a spoon on my TV... nothing happened - just as 25 years ago. The only reason he gets away with this is that he is rich enough to sue everyone who says he's a fraud. I have in fact been thinking that my test would be THE opportunity for him to prove his abilities. I guess if he offered me a million I would be tempted to give him a perfect score report. I could finally buy a computer then to type my letters on.

Note as of 2006: This letter was actually one of the first typed on an old computer I had obtained late 1997, and this was visible because this journal was published by photocopying the submitted copy. I don't know if the joke was understood though.