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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Mitchell, Edgar D. (1930- ) Dr. Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, as part of the Apollo XIV project, in 1971. After he retired from the space program in 1972, he founded the Institute for Noetic Sciences, devoted to the study of parapsychology, and particularly the relationship of humans to purported psi forces.
      While engaged in his visit to the Moon, Mitchell performed an unauthorized experiment in ESP. He used a self-made deck of the 25 Zener cards and attempted to transmit these images to his recipients on Earth at predetermined times. The results of his experiment were reported in an enthusiastic New York Times article as “far exceeding anything expected.” The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research says, however, that  

      the results of the test were ambiguous, success or failure rating depending upon the evaluation techniques used.

      Neither of these versions of the Mitchell experiment are correct, for the following reasons. There were actually four intended recipients on Earth; only the results of one were reported as exciting. The predetermined times for mental transmission were changed, but the recipients were not informed, so that they may have been “receiving” before or after the images were being “sent”; one recipient received more images than were sent. After careful mathematical analysis with the assistance of parapsychologist Dr. Joseph Banks Rhine, the Mitchell results were declared to be three-thousand-to-one against pure chance. They were, but negatively; the results were so negative that the chances of missing to that degree were three-thousand-to-one.
      Dr. Mitchell believes in plant perception——that plants can feel and understand the thoughts of humans——as described by Cleve Backster, though the two gentlemen are almost alone in that belief. Mitchell also was involved in testing the claims of Uri Geller and believes that Mr. Geller has genuine psychic powers.

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