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What Is Telekinesis?

December 30th, 2014

From the Greek words tele (distance) and kinesis (movement), we have the word telekinesis (TK) which means being able to move objects at a distance. This phenomenon is supposed to be caused by the powers of the mind, which is why it is also known as psychokinesis (PK).

Telekinesis is one of the phenomena known as paranormal activities, and they include precognition (foretelling human events), telepathy (mind reading or describing events happen from far away), and pyrokinesis (creating fire with your mind).

History of Telekinesis

These kinds of powers have been attributed to magicians for hundreds and perhaps even thousands of years. Modern interest in TK started in the late 1800s with the rise of Spiritualism. Mediums and psychics claimed to be able to contact with the spirits of dead people in séances, and sometimes objects in the room would move without apparent cause.

While the movement gained a lot of popularity and even managed to convince notable figures such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Holmes), eventually it was revealed that most of it was trickery. Ironically, the magician Harry Houdini was among those who exposed many of the shenanigans in his book “Miracle Mongers and Their Methods.”

In the 1970s, interest in TK was rekindled due to the publicity generated by Uri Geller, who made millions going around the world by demonstrating that he could bend spoons and do other telekinetic feats. But scientists were not convinced, especially when other magicians could duplicate the feats by using trickery.

Meanwhile, in mainstream media it is a staple of science fiction. It’s a power demonstrated by mutants in the X-Men comics, and in the movie Star Wars it is an ability wielded by Jedi masters.

But is it really science fiction? Or is there some truth to it?

Scientific Investigations

Science has a lot of mysteries. The placebo effect is very well-documented, and so is the whole issue of hysterical strength when people could perform superhuman strengths during high pressure situations. It’s not that far of a leap for people to wonder whether such stories were not at least partially helped by some mental effort.

In mainstream science, the first serious investigation was started in Duke University in 1930, and in 1935 the Duke Parapsychology Labs were set up. J.B Rhine headed the department in studying parapsychology. In 1965, Rhine retired and established the research center now known as the Rhine Education Center.

In Princeton, Dr. Jahn, one of the world’s foremost experts on jet propulsion, also started a department that studied extrasensory perception and telekinesis in 1979. But it eventually closed down in 2007 due to mainstream science’s general unwillingness to even look at its data without prejudice.


Perhaps the only definitive conclusion regarding the factual existence of telekinesis is that there is no definitive proof yet. Most mainstream scientists don’t believe in it, but there is also no proof that it doesn’t exist.

So right now, you may or may not believe that telekinesis may or may not be possible. Given the general prejudice against the whole subject of paranormal phenomena in mainstream science, it will probably be a long while before a truly open-minded discussion of the topic can occur. And that needs to happen before proper research on telekinesis can continue.

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