Princeton ESP lab to close after 28 years


Feb 12, 2007

PRINCETON, New Jersey (AP) -- The extrasensory perception lab at Princeton University will be shuttered at the end of the month. Maybe you already knew that.

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research laboratory will close after 28 years of studying ESP and telekinesis, research that embarrassed university officials and outraged the scientific community.

PEAR's founder, Robert G. Jahn, said the lab, with its aging equipment and dwindling finances, has done what it needed to do.

"If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, then they never will," Jahn, 76, former dean of Princeton's engineering school and an emeritus professor, told The New York Times for Saturday editions.

Princeton made no official comment on the lab's closure.

One of the world's top experts on jet propulsion, Jahn was able to buck a research system based on university and government money that uses strenuous peer review. Instead, Jahn estimates he was able to raise more than $10 million in private donations over the years.

A standard experiment at PEAR would have a participant sitting in front of an electric box flashing numbers just above or below 100. Staff would tell the person to either "think high" or "think low" as they watched the display.

PEAR researchers concluded that people could alter the results in such machines about two or three times out of 100,000. Jahn claimed if the human mind could slightly alter a machine, it might be able to be used in other areas of human life, such as healing disease.