A few days ago I watched a TV program. On this program the host performs experiments to show the power of the human mind and to demonstrate its immense powers in what we call ESP. In this latest show he explored the field of telepathy, among other things.

In one of his experiments in this program, he has invited a group of regular students to a meeting. He then showed them an electronic machine, which when connected to them, will enhance their psychic abilities, especially the telepathy. He then connected the students to the machine and performed several experiments.

For example, he got a pack of cards where he has previously flipped one card. He then asked the students to guess which card it was. There was also some protocol to this. One guessed the color, the other guessed the type of the card, the third guessed if it was a high or a low card. Then another guessed which card it was. They were shocked to see that it was indeed the same card that they’ve guessed. He also performed a test with Zener cards.

In another experiment, he asked one of the students to guess birthday of another. For this, this second student started to tell the number: 1,2,3 etc, while the guesser should have stopped him when she thought it was the correct day of his birth. Then the same procedure took place with month numbers. So it happened that she "guessed" the birthday correctly.

After all the experiments he has opened the ‘machine’ and showed to them that it was all empty. There was no telepathy enhancing machine, yet the students were able to use telepathy effectively.

This raises the question: are the blocks on our ESP abilities in our conscious thinking? Is this because we are so accustomed to believe that it’s not possible that only this trick of machine or another succeeds to unblock it?

I’ve heard that there was this ‘filter theory‘ where it is proposed that our ESP abilities are blocked in our mind. Here’s what Arthur Koestler writes in his article about filter theory:

The "filter theory", as one might call it, actually goes back to Henri Bergson, and has been taken up by various writers on extra-sensory perception. It is in fact simply an extrapolation from what we know about ordinary sensory perception.
Our main sense organs are like narrow slits which admit only a very narrow frequency range of electro-magnetic and sound waves. But even the amount that does get in through these narrow slits is too much. Life would be impossible if we were to pay attention to the millions of stimuli bombarding our senses – what William James called "the blooming, buzzing multitude of sensations".
Thus the nervous system, and above all the brain, functions as a hierarchy of filtering and classifying devices which eliminate a large proportion of the sensory input as irrelevant "noise", and process the relevant information into manageable shape before it is presented to consciousness.
An oft-quoted example of this filtering process is the "cocktail party phenomenon" which enables us to isolate a single voice in the general buzz.

Many parapsychologists use the ‘filter theory’ to explain why some people are more sensitive are some are less. Essentially, it also means that we can perceive more by lessening our filters of extra sensory information.

As I see it, the trick of the ‘telepathy’ machine lowered the filters of the students and allowed them to become more telepathic than they would believe they are.