1 Jun 2009
Where's Wiseman: an experiment into the paranormal using Twitter
Volunteers will test the theory of 'remote viewing' on the instant messaging service by trying to locate a roving psychologist
Thousands of hopeful mystics will attempt to use psychic powers to locate an itinerant psychologist this week in a mass experiment into the paranormal.
The volunteers will use Twitter, the instant messaging service, to try to pinpoint the whereabouts of Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, in a supernatural version of the children's game Where's Wally?
The experiment will test what believers in the paranormal call "remote viewing", the ability to describe what is happening at a distant location they have never been to.
In the 1970s, the CIA began a dedicated research programme into remote viewing in the hope that it would help to gather intelligence about foreign nations and their military aspirations. The $20m (£12m) project was shut down 25 years later after government officials concluded it did not work.
"The people on the project claimed their viewers could zoom in to locations, like Russian submarine bases, and tell you what was going on there," Wiseman told the Guardian. "I am sceptical that they could."
Wiseman plans to travel to a different location each day between Tuesday and Friday, and will invite people to describe where they think he is by sending "tweets" over the internet. Wiseman will then post five photos of places on a website and ask people to decide which one he is at.
"The instant nature of tweets allows thousands of people to take part in real time, making it perfect for an extra-sensory perception experiment," said Wiseman.
To pass the test, Wiseman says the psychic participants must get his location right on three of the four days. The results of the experiment, which is being run with New Scientist magazine, will be announced daily.
To take part in the experiment, visit https://twitter.com/RichardWiseman.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009