Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Learning ESP" Season 1 Episode 13

The episode "Learning ESP" first aired on May 28, 1977 . It was written by Howard Liptsone and Robert L. Long and produced by Deborah Blum.

Ok, so this is genius. They start off by talking about men on the moon. Do I have the right epsiode? Then Nimoy explains that some of the men who went to the moon experineced some sort of extra sensory perception. Apparently Edgar Mitchell tried a secret experiment when he went to the moon in 1971 and tried to send telepathic images to colleagues on Earth. Scientists looked at the results of the experiments and concluded the odds against duplicating the results by chance alone were 3000 to 1. Creepy!

A softer side of Nimoy? We now see him conducting some type of experiment with school children. Nimoy claims that the experiment Mitchell conducted has been repeated an dindicates that most people have some level of ESP. Nimoy seems to believe it is real and can be taught to almost anyone. Nimoy and some children now discuss ESP. How cute!

Nimoy the teacher- they talk about the senses and what ESP might be. Maybe he is doing this with children because adults are cut off to the idea? They are in fourth grade from a Los Angeles area school. Dr. Joseph Rhine from Duke University invented the test they will be using. Nimoy tells us 2 students performed better than chance alone would suggest. Nimoy explains the testing in an attempt to see if the kids improve. One kid appears ot be trying to peek at Nimoy's card to me, but I'm not cure he can see it. I'm also not convinced this proves anything. "Just relax now, this is not hard work. This is not hard work... except for me."

(Dr. Rhine's cards from the experiment)

One boy is Nimoy's experiment guesses correctly 5 times in a row. Nimoy implies that "JJ" is reading his mind. But is this really evidence of ESP? I don' t buy it.

Nimoy compares music ability to ESP ability. Its an interesting idea. With hard work and practice, almost anyone can do it, but not everyone does. Again, I'm not convinced. We are now introduced to Dr. Lawrence Kennedy who is supposedly able to bend a spoon using his mind. Many skeptics have dismissed "spoon bending" as stage magic now. Sad to see Nimoy duped.

Robert Monroe and Nancy Honeycutt are trying to teach people ESP and have set up a laboratory for this purpose. Nancy explains what they are doing and how they are doing it. They measure brain waves and GSR on people who are trying to learn the skill. We meet a man names Alex Tanos at the Institute for Psychical Research in New York. They shows us a test of his ESP abilities. This segment was a little creepy, the way they were all talking an such.

Now across country we go to UC- Davis. They are studying ESP here. Dr. Charles Tart explains their work. He does a nice job pointing out that ESP is really the study of why things happen outside of chance, rather than a belief in mind reading.

He wants to find some college students who seem to have some ESP ability and attempt to train them to improve the ability. Some research shows he was not very successful, and even ridiculed at times over the years for his theories and his work. Ho hum...

But Nimoy seems to shake me awake! We are now in a village in Bolivia looking at strange stone figures. Back to Atlantis? No, there is a psychic here named Karen. She traveled here from the US to try and figure out the mystery of the stone figures. This village of Tiwanaku supposedly had many inhabitants with advanced psychic abilities. Karen feels some "energy" but provides no answers. Its all kind of creepy, but not all that believable. She concludes that they turned their abilities against one another.

"Hopefully, we will not be so foolish." This episode ends rather abruptly.

It was ok, another one that was just ok. There were some creepy moments, but not much was believable. The beginning was intriguing, but they never went back to it. What exactly did the astronauts think they experienced? Hard science is severely lacking here, and not much of the evidence felt very solid. I so badly want Nimoy to rekindle the magic from the Bigfoot and Bermuda Triangle episodes!!

You can watch this episode "Learning ESP" below.

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