The 1997 book "China's Super Psychics" by Paul Dong and Thomas E. Raffill makes some very interesting claims about paranormal events in China. When it uses the acronym EHF, the book is referring to Exceptional Human Function or paranormal abilities. Referring to a Zhang Baosheng, the book states this:
"For China's Ministry of Space Industries (this space exploration agency is China's equivalent to NASA), Baosheng used psychokinesis to move pills out through the mouth of a tightly sealed medicine bottle. The scientists filmed this demonstration using high-speed photography (400 frames per second). One pill showed up halfway through the mouth of the bottle."
On page 14 we read this remarkable claim:
""Since the 1980s, Professor Song Kongzhi has been doing research in human body sciences, including many experiments on people with EHF. He has revealed that Zhang has the power to move shoes, hot-water bottles, keys, and other objects through wooden boards and walls and make large objects move back and forth. On one occasion, before a large number of witnesses, Zhang caused a hundred-pound sack of sugar to move through the walls of a storehouse, ending up in front of them. This was seen by EHF researcher Mr. He Ren of Heilongjiang University and Dr. He Yannian of Beijing's Institute for Research in Chinese Medicine. One source for this story is Assistant Professor Lin Weihuang of the physics department of Beijing Teachers' College."
The next page claims this, "Many people in mainland China with EHF have reported that when they read with the hands or with the ear, guess things, or see through objects, the mind forms something like a screen with an image of the target being sought. " I have read quite a few nineteenth century accounts claiming that under hypnosis some people might experience what was called a "transposition of the senses," such as someone with blindfolded eyes reading a card with his hands, or reading a card that was merely placed in front of his stomach or his ears. The same phenomenon was reported by the very distinguished scientist Cesare Lombroso in a 1909 book in which he reported the following (before discussing numerous similar cases in medical literature):
"While she had lost the power of vision with her eyes, as a compensation she saw with the same degree of acuteness (7 in the scale of Jaeger) at the point of the nose and the left lobe of the ear. In this way she read a letter which had just come to me from the post-office, although I had blindfolded her eyes, and was able to distinguish the figures on a dynamometer."
Something similar is reported on page 23 of the book Supernormal Faculties in Man by Eugene Osty, where we read this:
"M. Boirac had occasion to see in Paris Mme V-----, who claimed, when hypnotized, the faculty of reading by her finger-tips. He verified that when her eyelids were closed by gummed paper and a thick bandage placed over that she could not only read visiting cards and printed papers, but letters written in ink or pencil in characters so small as to be almost imperceptible."
The main difference between such accounts written before 1930 and the EHF accounts from China is that in the accounts from China the "reading by the finger tips" is reported as occurring during normal consciousness, not hypnosis. On page 44 of the "China's Super Psychics" book,we have an account that will seem unbelievable only to those who have not read the many nineteenth century accounts of similar events occurring with hypnotized subjects:
"Zhang Naiming invited Tang Yu to his lodging, giving him a test paper he had already prepared and folded six times. As Zhang and the provincial-party secretary Yang Zhao watched Tang Yu intently, he held the test papers by his ear for a little bit, then said, 'You wrote the four characters an ding tuan jie [stability and unity] in blue ink.' His test result was absolutely right! Of course, they did not test only one time. Each time, they tested with two or three words, or as much as a sentence or two. In one test, they wrote four lines of poetry by the famous classical Chinese poet Li Bo, which Tang Yu also was able to read with his ear."
Pages 45-46 of the book tells us that follow-up on this anomaly was stifled after party officials (with materialist tendencies) and their press subordinates began denouncing the reports, but that tests showed similar abilities in Tang Yu, Wang Qiang and Wang Bin.
On page 47 we have a tale of clairvoyance:
"When Marshal He Long of the Central Military Commission was on a tour of inspection in Guangdong province in 1964, a staff officer in the army told him there was a teenage boy in the local region who could see through walls and other objects. When he first heard this seemingly nonsensical story, his first reaction was disbelief. However, he immediately thought that if it did exist, it would be an excellent tool for the military. For this reason, he decided to see for himself. After the child was summoned, he asked him, 'I've heard you have a great ability to see through walls. Can you see what I have in my pocket?' The boy turned his gaze on He Long's pocket, and after concentrating for some time he said, 'It is a medical certificate!' On hearing this. He Long roared with laughter and said, 'Correct!' "
"Anhui Keji Bao (Anhui Science and Technology News ) was just as strong in reporting on EHF children. In its issues of April 6 and 21 it reported that two schoolgirls in Xuancheng Junior High School, Hu Lian and He Xiaoqin, were able to recognize color and read words with their ears. The story was confirmed by the school."
On the same page we read of a test of a similar ability:
"To start out, Ye had a test paper prepared for Zhang. It had the words three smiles written on it and was folded several times. He gave this piece of paper to Zhang Baosheng. Zhang took it, put it in front of his nose, took a whiff of it, and said, 'You wrote the words "Three smiles." It is written in red ink.' Marshal Ye delightedly said he was right. Then they did several more tests of reading with the nose. These were all successful."
On pages 50-51 we are given the names of 39 boys and girls reported to have one or more of a set of EHF capabilities, a set that includes:
- color perception by ear;
- breaking twigs with mind power;
- moving objects with the mind;
- transporting objects by thought;
- reading by ear and armpit;
- seeing through walls;
- reading with fingertips and scalp;
- setting watches from a distance.
"The eighth test of Zhang Lei's powers involved remote viewing of a piece of writing. The testers wrote on a slip of paper the first line of a famous Chinese classical poem, 'A patch of moonlight before my bed.' They folded it up and put it in a tin box. After nine minutes, she was able to read it correctly."
Pages 59-72 describe a raging literary battle in China between those reporting paranormal phenomena, and those such as the elderly conservative Yu Guangyuan (1915-2013) fiercely opposing it on ideological grounds.
On page 80 we read this account of psychokinesis:
"On another occasion, a team of EHF researchers at Yunnan University performed an interesting test on Shao Hongyan and Sun Liping, young girls from the city of Kunming. They placed them in a room and asked them to use mind power to break marked willow branches three meters away outside the room. The result was that in under a minute, Shao Hongyan said the branch was broken. The experimenters went out to check, and the indicated stick was broken. Not long after that, the stick that had been assigned to Sun Liping also broke. Everyone applauded and exclaimed. The experimenter on the research team then made another request. This time, the target for the experiment was a row of willows six meters away. In about three minutes, the two girls shouted that they were broken. The experimenter went out and saw eight broken pieces. After that, they did another experiment and broke over twenty branches."
On page 142 we are told that transposition of the senses such as reading with the ear was not a rare skill for children:
"Induction of EHF in children in China began with some assistant professors in Beijing University who staked their careers on this research. They started in an elementary school, doing EHF induction and training with boys and girls around ten years old. To everyone's great surprise, 60 percent of them had powers like 'reading with the ear.' Feeling very excited about this, they published these results in Nature Magazine, and there was a huge response to this. After this, under the direction of scientists, tests were done on all elementary-school students in the country. The success rate was in the 30- to 40-percent range. The most exciting result came from Shanghai...The average for the whole city was 60 percent, including 30 percent of the children who developed the abilities after only one session, while the remaining 70 percent would require many sessions to bring out their powers."
On pages 147-148 we have an account of a young Xiao Xiong who was tested for clairvoyance. Her father wrote the words "yellow dog" and put them in a pencil case, asking the child to identify the words. The child correctly named the words. Moreover, there was another copy of the words found in the pencil case, which the father couldn't account for, in the child's handwriting. Doing a similar test with the words "high mountain flowing water," the child gave the correct answer, and there was again found a mysterious second copy of the words. We are told other children were found to have the same strange ability of "psychic writing."
On page 149 we read of a test of this ability for "psychic writing":
"Five people supervised the experiments. The chief researcher, Zhao Yun, placed a blank sheet of paper and a blue inkpen in a folder. The cap of the pen was left on, however. The folder was sealed tight with adhesive tape. Child H was instructed to think of the Chinese characters for precious object. He placed the folder under the left foot, and then looked up and gazed forward. After one minute, H said, 'It is finished,' and Zhao Yun opened the folder. The words 'precious object' were written on the paper in blue ink."
On the same page we have this interesting account:
"EHF researchers at Yunnan Wenshan Teachers' College in Yunnan Province selected five children with EHF for further training. At the start, the only thing these children could do was to read with the ear. But after a week, they had developed to a point where they could read with their fingers, palms, toes, and the soles of their feet, as well as the 'third eye' point on the forehead. Their powers were getting stronger every day, and after a month of this training, they could reset the hands of a watch by mind power."
I will pass over the discussion of EHF children mentally causing flowers to bloom (or mentally causing flowers to be picked) given on pages 150-154. I will also pass over a discussion of the interesting case of Yao Zheng, who could supposedly open flowers or start fires through mind power. This reminds me of a claim made in a report on paranormal phenomena in the Soviet Union, the claim that Nina Kulagina could create burn marks on skin. All I can say is that if someone ever became a psychic arsonist or committed psychokinetic assault, it would be hard to get a conviction from a jury.
That same report describes on page 5 Russian experiments in which certain people could tell what was inside sealed envelopes merely by touching them:
"The investigations reported by Larissa V. Vilenskaya are an example. She has been conducting research with E. K Naumov (who is not currently active) and now appears to be involved with a variety of her own investigations. One aspect is her study of a phenomena initially referred to as 'skin vision' or, more recently, 'dermo-optics.' This relates to an apparent ability of some people to identify colors of concealed 'targets' simply by touching the opaque outer covering."
It is very interesting that such a paranormal ability of "skin vision" or "reading by finger touch" has been reported in three different places and times: (1) abundantly in Western Europe in nineteenth century literature on hypnotism (previously called Mesmerism or animal magnetism); (2) in late twentieth century Russia as shown by the quote above; (3) in China around 1980 or later as mentioned in this post.
I asked only one person born in China whether she had ever heard of anything like children being able to "read with their ears" or "read with their fingers" when blindfolded. She immediately replied that her uncle's daughter had such an ability (an ability to read with her fingers when her eyes were closed), along with a paranormal ability to tell what was secretly hidden in closed boxes; but that such an ability lasted in the child for only a few years.