A phenomenon known as remote viewing, which claims to use psychic powers to 'see' what is invisible to the naked eye, may have an intriguing role to play in healthcare,
Three months ago, Twitter hosted its first scientific experiment and invited users to help demonstrate the existence of psychic powers. Professor Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, recruited 7,000 volunteers via the social messaging service to investigate "remote viewing" (RV). A remote viewer is a gifted individual who claims to be able to "see" events in the past, present and future, and identifying distant locations.
The psychology professor, famed for his mass-participation experiments, which explore the curious science of everyday life, travelled to a mystery site in the UK, whereupon he sent a Tweet. Participants were asked to pinpoint his location by selecting it from a line-up of five photographs. As only 15 per cent of people correctly predicted Prof Wiseman's location – despite a 20 per cent probability – he pronounced RV to be a hoax.
Historically, however, governments have not been not so quick to condemn. During the Cold War, the American military spent $20 million (£12.2 million) on an RV project, conducting "psychic spying" missions against the Soviet Union for two decades. In 2001, the Ministry of Defence also investigated the potential of remote viewing, but the outcome is unknown.