A great way to turn 40… just after my birthday on 15th January this year, I was recruited by a team within the Exceptional Experiences and Consciousness Studies (EECS) department at University of Northampton to oversee an exciting project involving floatation and psi phenomena. (In case you are wondering why… I have prior experience in Ganzfeld technique – a sensory restricted method of testing for ESP – and ‘remote staring detection’ research) I am a life-long scholar of the scientific study of psi, exceptional human experiences, most recently also transpersonal psychology – and of course… my own experiences and mystery school teaching too.
So.. what’s the project? Floatation is where a person enters a dark and silent chamber where they can rest on the surface of buoyant warm water; here they experience deep relaxation with all external sensory input restricted. The team includes Dr. Glenn Hitchman, Dr. Cal Cooper, Prof. Chris Roe and myself and we are investigating floatation for its ability to induce altered states of consciousness – states where psi phenomena are considered more likely to occur.
In essence, we are asking: can floatation assist ESP?
Furthermore, I aim to examine any correlations with sensory processing sensitivity (aka Highly Sensitive Persons trait), transliminality (defined as a hypersensitivity to psychological material originating in the unconscious, and/or the external environment) and creativity. As an experiencer as well as researcher, my intuition tells me that a key underlying process can be understood here. Watch this space!
Over the spring semester, we installed our flotation tank. It took a lot of effort to get the structure up and in place, all the technical aspects connected, working as intended and of course… to achieve the perfect ratio of water and magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt) to make anybody… float.
We had the curiosity of many staff and students as manifested it into existence and then swirled the ice-cold water with our feet for hours, taking it in turns to go numb from the knee down. We were blessed to have the enthusiastic help of our visiting guest from Strasbourg, Dr. Renaud Evrard and his interest has ensured our activity is clear and present on the European research radar.
Once the heating apparatus had brought the solution up to blood temperature, the system was ready for a willing body (Dr. Cal Cooper) to defy the norms of water – and float on its surface in perfect buoyancy.
We have piloted the technical setup and have created what may be the first ‘wet ganzfeld’ experience, and are now ready for Phase 1 of our parapsychology study and welcome the interest of anyone over 18 years of age with an openness to a very novel experience. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest in volunteering.
I will create a video outlining the research soon… 🙂