In late summer of 1977 a concerned philanthropist determined to use some of his profits to mitigate the suffering he saw all around him in the lives of his friends and employees. He had been an avid student of hypnosis and was convinced that this could be used as a tool for therapy. He contacted the Parapsychology Association of Riverside and gave it over a quarter of a million dollar grant to design and administer a research project based on the hypothesis that the mind is capable of healing the body of illnesses.
Two criteria were established. Every participant had to have a physical symptom, and hypnosis was to be used as the method for achieving results. He also stipulated that the number of sessions were to be held at a minimum. He first requested that they be limited to three or four, but this was challenged by the researchers and in a few cases the number of sessions reached 20. The average was about seven weekly sessions.
The Association incorporated in order to qualify for the grant and a permanent committee of three was appointed to design and administer the project. Two years later the committee was increased to five. No advertising was done. The association had a membership of around 400, and announcements were made at meetings. In the first months the project had a waiting list of subjects, but as these were assimilated into the program, the success of participants spread in the community, and volunteers came from all walks of life and of all ages.
A suite of offices was rented, secretaries were hired to keep records, twelve researchers, some part-time, all salaried, completed the staff. Participants were not paid, and many of them made donations to the project to express their gratitude for the help they received.
Case histories were taken on all participants, including, where possible, a medical record. Many of the participants came to the project as a last resort, having suffered over a period of years, and claimed traditional medicine had not helped them. Researchers were required to submit a report after each session, including a check chart of the participant’s progress. These were tabulated on sheets and later transferred to punch cards.
A trial computer run was done on the first 619 participants, which resulted in encouraging findings. Eighty-three percent checked out as having from mild improvement to symptoms gone. There were tabulated over eighty different physical symptoms, the most common being migraine headaches, arthritis, sinus problems, obesity, and digestive complaints. Such serious illnesses as cancer, psoriasis, bone degeneration, diabetes, etc. were represented in substantial numbers.
The project was designed to include a one-year, two-year and five-year follow-up of cases. Due to overload of the staff, the first year follow-up was not as complete as planned. The two-year follow-up was completed in all cases that could be contacted, and the five-year follow-up was completed in 1986. At that time the punch card system was obsolete and it was necessary to transfer all of the statistics to a modern computer system.
A statistical secretary was employed, with an assistant, and all records were reviewed and recorded on spread sheets, which were then transferred to the master computer system at one of the University of California computer centers. This process is almost complete as of this date. A University of California professor of statistics has guided the project from its inception and will analyze the data when it is finally completed.
Each of the researchers was instructed that hypnosis was to be used, but there was no control as to the type of therapy or counseling they could employ. Some were oriented in Gestalt, one in Rolfing, a few in traditional psychotherapy. Past-life regression was included by a number of the researchers. In the trial run with 619 participants, 27% found the cause of their problem in a purported past-life event.
The most significant aspect of the project for the researchers was the large number of dramatic remissions or cures which they witnessed regularly as the project progressed. From the young mother who had scar tissue on her ovaries and was told by her doctor that there was no way she could ever become pregnant, but who delivered a beautiful daughter, to the man whose doctor showed him the X-rays of his hips which were degenerated so badly he would soon be in a wheelchair, and who spent the entire day on a ski slope three months later, they used the power of their own minds to heal their bodies.
Two cases where medical intervention was ineffective illustrate the greater power of the mind. A sheriff who had unusual musical talent was in a motorcycle crash and lay in a coma for three months. His hand suffered 23 broken bones, and the doctors advised amputation. His wife refused permission and the surgeons implanted nine pins in the hand, which was closed when it healed. He was told he could never use it or open it. In addition, he was partially paralyzed on one side and there was a constant ringing in his head. He walked with a cane when he came in for sessions. After three sessions he gave up the cane and the ringing stopped. Three months later he played a 15 minute piano concerto for a live audience and received a standing ovation.
In the second case, a lady had psoriasis over her entire body except for her hands and face. In her case she explored a purported past-life experience which explained the problem, and after about five or six sessions her skin was completely clear. Five years later she had no recurrence of the problem.
The results should give some information on the characteristics and personality traits of individuals who are the most successful in influencing the physical conditions of their bodies. It may reveal the most effective methods for assisting persons to restore their own physical health. If there is a difference in the success rate of participants when sex and age are computed, this will be indicated by the results. Many other questions regarding the use of mind to control the body will be submitted to the computer.
No specific information will be released regarding the project until it has been completed, at which time it will be reported in full.