Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Abraham Kovoor’s Case Diary: Submarine Telepathy

Abraham Kovoor

On September 17th 1963, the 'DAILY SKETCH' (London) carried an article by one Leslie Mallory, headed 'NEW SCIENCE BACKS THE MIND-READER', dealing mainly with the claims of the Russian Professor Leonid Vasiliev, who regularly put men and women to sleep by telepathy and awakened them at set intervals". But the professor, we are told, "links these with the ones carried out in the US nuclear submarine NAUTILUS". A similar article appeared in the 'PSYCHOLOGY' magazine (London).

The description about the submarine E.S.P. test went on thus:

USS Nautilus SSN571

It was on July 25th, 1959, that a mysterious passenger boarded the atomic pow­ered submarine Nautilus, which immediately put to sea and cruised for 16 days in the 'depths of the Atlantic ocean'. Once aboard, the passenger shut himself up in a cabin, and only the sailor who brought him his food and Captain Anderson "had ever seen his face". Twice a day the passenger handed a slip of paper to Captain Anderson, bearing the typical zenor card symbols. Both the passenger and the captain signed each sheet, the captain then placed it in an envelope which was closed and officially sealed with the date and the words: "Top secret, to be destroyed in case of imminent capture". It was then locked up in the safe.

During the 16 days the experiment lasted, closed up in a room which he never left, Smith, a student at Duke University - the university immortalized by the doyen of E.S.P. experiments, Professor Joseph Banks Rhine - would sit twice a day before an automatic c~d-shuft1ing device. In a drum thousands of cards marked with signs of cross, star, circle, square and three wavy lines, were shaken up. Twice a day the appa­ratus, operated by clockwork, would eject a card, completely at random, at one minute intervals. Experimenter Smith fixed his gaze and tried to concentrate intensely on this card.

At precisely the same moment, 1,200 miles away and hundreds of feet under the ocean, the mysterious passenger - Lieutenant Jones - tried to guess which card Smith was looking at. He marked down the result, and had the document countersigned by Captain Anderson.

On Monday, August l0th, 1959, the submarine landed at Croyton, and "Lieutenant Jones entered an official car which, under military escort, let him off at the nearest airport (?) A few hours later his plane landed in a town in Maryland. An automobile was standing by to pick up the passenger. It drove him to a building which bore the inscription – “Westinghouse Special Research Center. No Admittance to un-authorised personnel”.

The passenger asked for Colonel William Bowers, Director of Biological Sci­ence at the U.S.A.F. Research Office.

Colonel Bowers was waiting in his office. "Sit down, Lieutenant Jones", he said. "You have the envelope?" Jones handed over the envelope to the Colonel, who walked to a safe, opened it, and took out the envelope identical except that the seal it bore was not marked "submarine" but "Research Center X, Friendship, Maryland".

Colonel Bowers opened the two envelopes and took out some packets of smaller envelopes which he proceeded to unseal. Silently the two men matched the slips of paper that bore similar dates. Then they compared them. With more than 70 per cent accuracy, the symbols not only corresponded, but were placed in the same order on the two sheets bearing the same date.

"We have reached a turning point in history" said Colonel Bowers. "For the first time ever, under conditions that precluded trickery, and with a precision great enough to open the way to its practical application, human thought has been transmitted through space, without any intermediary, from one brain to another. It has opened a way even for submarine communications".

The study of parapsychology (E.S.P.) had, we are told finally entered a scientific age.

This widely publicized story first appeared in a French best seller, LE MARTIN DES MAGICIENS, by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier and was later summarized in the American magazine THIS WEEK, for September 8th, 1963. Instead, however, of taking the story on its face value, as Mr. Mallory and a number of English journal­ists have done, THIS WEEK did a little private investigation.

When asked for proof of the story for which they had been the 'main source', Messrs Pauwels and Bergier told THIS WEEK "that they had elaborated on reports they had heard but not verified”.

They had for example, given the submarine a name. "It could not be just an atomic submarine", wrote Pauwels in response to THIS WEEK’s ques­tions, "but the NAUTILUS is best known to French people".

THIS WEEK next showed the story to Captain William R. Anderson, first skipper of the Nautilus, and now retired from the U.S. Navy. His comment was thus:

"Although the NAUTILUS engaged in a very wide variety of activities, certainly these did not include experiments in telepathy. The report by Messrs Pauwels and Bergier is completely false ... During that time NAUTILUS was in fact high and dry in dock at Portsmouth, undergoing her first major overhaul".

It is still more interesting to note that during the relevant period the submarine Nautilus was not under the command of Captain Anderson, but Commander Lando W. Zech Jr.

Colonel William Bowers of the U.S. Air Force, whose participation in the ex­periment and whose remarks about "the turning point of history" are mentioned above declared:-

"The experiment in which I was alleged to have participated never took place ... I have never been assigned to the Westinghouse Laboratory. In fact, on Ju1y 25th 1959 I was assigned to duties in the Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, which were i~ no way related to extra-sensory investigations".

In short, as THIS WEEK commendably makes clear, the NAUTILUS E.S.P. story was a big hoax. But that will not prevent it from staying around for quite a time. (Freethinker, Oct 4th, 1963).

(Exposing Paranormal Claims - Abrahama Kovoor, Published by B. Premanand, Indian CSICOP)

(Here is another article on this subject available on the web giving further details: The-Great-Nautilus-Hoax)


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