PSICAN - Paranormal Studies and Inquiry Canada

Created: Tuesday, 26 August 2008 21:28
Written by Susan Demeter-St.Clair

'Thought Form' Experiment - The Darroch-Didier Experiments

Working on a similar concept of the Philip Experiments, I submit a proposal for a relatively easy and painless experiment that may yield some interesting results...

Basically, the idea of "thought form" ghosts or "Tulpas" is not a new one... in fact, one could say it's a quite ancient idea.

The idea is that one (or a group of people) can concentrate on a particular entity or person, even if that person did not exist in conventional terms and actually, via a form of psychokinesis, give the entity of person some substance in the real world. In basic terms, the idea is if you concentrate on "creating" a thing of some sort hard enough or with enough "energy", you will give it "life".

The late George Owen and his wife, Iris Owen, working with the Toronto Society for Psychical Research/New Horizons did the aforementioned Philip Experiments where they literally sat down with the group and "created" a false person. They gave him a name and a history all based on nothing more than their own imaginations. When they had agreed on "Philips" credentials, they sat down and over a series of 'seances', actually conjured this person (Philip) who was able to answer questions with a series of knocks and cause poltergeist-like activity... some of which was captured on videotape and witnessed by many third-parties and is considered one of the milestones within the studies of ghosts and hauntings.

On this question, ("Can people actually imprint a thought or emotion somehow onto an environment?"), the experiment I propose is a simple one and should be quite effective if carried off properly with proper controls.

As a little background to the concept of the actual experiment, we (some of the GHRS team) were discussing how certain places, even though they shouldn't, seem to have a "feeling" about them. Some sort of "vibe", if you will. This does not only mean an old, abandoned home is creepy, but sometimes, rooms and places that are bright, new, and cheery also affect people in certain ways that seem to defy normal reasons.

As well, certain places, where tragedies or issues have taken place with human elements, seem to "hold" the feeling or some people are able to "sense" the past occurrence in the place. Same can also be said for "happier" places and things. All these people can sense this "atmosphere" despite the fact that there doesn't appear to be any physical reason for people to assume these "feelings".

So, the initial questions are, can the human element leave behind some sort of residual "energy"? Can certain people perceive this?

Many people question (and rightfully so) the existence of such "vibes" or "energy" as do we. Unfortunately, in a standard scientific model, we'd work from this "energy" and try to measure it, but since the "energy" or "vibe" is itself, as yet unproven to exist, this experiment may shed some light on it's possible existence.

The Experiment

Equipment/Resources Needed

In a perfect scenario, for the initial experiment we would need an area or site with a room with two connecting rooms that are (as best as possible) soundproofed and outside of eyesight with each other but connected. (For example, three rooms with solid walls and connecting with solid doors allowing the rooms to be segregated.

All these rooms would be as non-descript (without much decoration or visual distractions) as possible.

A team of four researchers would be needed who would be switching tasks regularly.

A cross section of participants would be needed. The perfect number for a good sample would be forty people.

The forty people would be separated into "imprinters" and "receivers". Twenty "imprinters" would be put into one room to wait until called for the experiment and, conversely, the twenty receivers would be put into the other room, away from the "imprinters", to await there part of the experiment. More about these people later.

A list of no less than seven "targets" must be compiled with a points system put in place for answers that are either close or relatively close to the answers that will be given. Other than the researchers, the types and actual "targets" should never be discussed or mentioned to the participants. More on targets below.

Experiment Implementation

Two researcher will act as observers in the "centre" room (the one between the rooms containing the "imprinters" and "receivers". These people will be there to ensure that all notes and observations are taken down and sorted out.

One researcher will remain as a presenter/interviewer to the subject "imprinter".

One researcher will leave the "centre" room to the room with the "imprinters" and wait for a sign from the research staff in the "centre" room.

While this person is outside, the staff in the centre room will randomly select a "target" from their list of seven. When this is selected, one of the "centre" room staff will let the researcher now out with the "imprinters" know that it is time to bring in one of the test subjects.

The researcher with the "imprinters" will randomly select one participant and bring them into the centre room and then, without being told what the target is, this researcher will now move into the "receivers" room.

In the "centre" room, the room should be closed off from the other two rooms and the subject made comfortable. An interview/presentation should then ensue where the text subject ("imprinter") will be asked a series of questions and be asked to talk about aspects of the selected target. The conversation should be between the one "interviewer" and the subject only with the other two simply acting as observers.

The subject should be asked to describe/define the "target" and think hard about the single "target" and, if possible, have time to create a mental image of the "target". This session should go on for a reasonably selected period of time (pre-determined by the researchers).

When this session is over, the researcher who is the interviewer will lead out the "imprinter" passed the room containing the other "imprinters" and outside the area where the experiments are being held without speaking to the other participants in the "imprinters" room. The researcher should stay outside the "centre" room until the next session begins. This researcher must not discuss the experiment at all with the other "imprinters" still waiting.

One of the observers in the centre room will, after the "imprinter" and the researcher responsible for doing the interview/presentation have left and are securely outside the room, bring in the researcher who was outside with the "receivers" and this person should come in to the centre room with one randomly selected "receiver".

Once the room is secure, the researcher who just came in will take on the roll of interviewer. The "receiver" will be asked vague questions about what has come into their mind since entering the room. (Are they thinking of any person, place, thing, emotion?) Questions should continue to be about specific ideas such as emotions and any random thoughts or memories from the "receiver". At this point, the interviewer should have no idea what the selected target was and shouldn't be leading the receiver towards any one answer.

The observers, at this point, should be noting whether or not there is any correlation between the "imprinters" selected "target".

When this is completed, the "receiver" should be excused and asked to leave the rooms (all of them) without speaking to the other participants through the "receivers" room.

After compiling the data, the current interviewer should switch tasks with one of the observers and start the process again... selecting a new and different "target", bringing in an "imprinter", discussing/interviewing/presenting the target to the "imprinter", bringing in a "receiver", interviewing the "receiver", and repeating again until the experiment ends.


This experiment lends itself to many variables that may be important to the research. It is essential, however, that findings initially be based on a "random" sampling of "imprinters" and "receivers".

As a "control" for time spent with the subjects, we would recommend between ten and fifteen minutes spent with the "imprinter" in the centre room and five to ten minutes with the receiver.

The researchers, before the experiments begin, must look around the test area (all rooms) and note any visible/audible issues which may skew the participants in their interviews. Things like magazines, artwork, window views, colours of rooms, colours of furniture, colours of drapery (if any exist) must be noted so that observers can watch for physical possibilities of the data being skewed. As an example, if the "receiver" room has a large painting of a farm in it, targets should not contain any "farm" or "agricultural" themes. If during the interview, a subject in this situation is fixating on "farm" items or thoughts, this should not be corrected, but noted.

Once a minimum of ten sets (ideally, a minimum of twenty sets) of experiments have been carried out using the control times and random participants, and the data noted, the next step could be to introduce variables.

For example, again, for a minimum of ten "sets" of interviews...

  • Try to ask participants who report or feel that they are "psychically gifted" to act as "imprinters" so that, effectively, psychics or the self-assumed 'psychically gifted' are the subjects are used for this purpose. See what, if any, variance there is in your findings.
  • Try to ask participants who report or feel that they are "psychically gifted" to act as "receivers" so that, effectively, psychics or the self-assumed 'psychically gifted' are the subjects are used for this purpose. See what, if any, variance there is in your findings.
  • Use nothing but people the report to be "psychically gifted" as both participants and, again, see what variances there are in the data.


When selecting targets, one should use common items that transcend cultural and personal barriers and should be easily "imagined" or explained.

Targets such as "Train", "Shovel", "Car/Automobile", "Balloon" are good examples of "things".

"Happiness/Joy", "Sadness/Loss", "Anger/Resentment" are good examples of "emotions" for target selections.

As for places, this should be left to the team of researchers as to how specific or general they wish to make this.

During the "receiver" interview, no "clues" must be given out. The "receiver" should not even be aware if they're "guessing" a person, place, thing, or emotion. They should only speak of what is crossing their minds in the "centre" room. They can and should be asked to concentrate on the room itself to try and "guess" the target. They can be told that the targets range from a person, a place, a thing, or an emotion. No more should be divulged.

A "scoring" system must be worked out. We recommend a 0, 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1, method.

For example, if the target was "Train" and the "imprinter" was made to discuss/think about nothing but a train, afterwards...

  • the "receiver" gives the answer "Train". This would be a 1
  • the "receiver" gives the answer "tracks/rails". This would be a 0.75
  • the "receiver" gives the answer "mass transit". This would be a 0.5
  • the "receiver" gives the answer "travel". This would be a 0.25
  • the "receiver" doesn't come close to the target. This is a 0

"Scoring" would be left to the observers to decide after the "receivers" interview based on the conversation/interview with that subject and after the subject has left the room.

Findings - When Compiled

If the observers/researchers-as-a-whole are noticing a string of similar answers that are not at all related to the target(s), another inspection of the test area should be undertaken to see if something was missed in the initial inspection. If not, again, please note all points of the experiment and see if there is any correlation to these answers within the environment.

Once the tests/interviews/experiments are completed, a "percentage" should be able to extracted with ease.

Add all the numerical values of the "scoring" together then divide that number by the number of participants. This will give you a mean or average "score".

This number should be between zero and one.

Change this number into a percentage of a whole. (i.e. - 0.3 would be 30%)

In practical terms, if the participants are unaware of any of the possible targets (and remember, no clue should ever be given) there should be a zero percent average.

On a rough estimate, if over forty separate "sets" of interviews were done, (using data from other similar 'psychic' experiments) a general score of less than 5% would be not considered significant statistically. (This, of course, is with the exception possibly on an "interview by interview" basis... If one receiver/imprinter scores an impressive "1" with the observers, a separate 'psychical' test (such as Zener Cards) might be suggested for that particular couple ("imprinter" and "receiver")... for example, the "imprinter" tells a story about a "train" that he had been on and described it in detail... then the receiver is able to recount the details during their interview.)

On the other hand, again using a minimum of twenty separate interview sets, a score of anything above 15% would show a significant possibility of "thought imprint" and the findings should be noted and collected for further studies and possible more tests with different variables.

A situation of 25% or above should, of course, initially be questioned as to possible skewing or tainting of the experiment. (i.e. - the subjects are somehow finding out the targets before entering the test area.) If the four researchers involved feel that this cannot or is not the case, then this would be extremely significant data.

If you are interested in trying to complete this experiment, here are three forms below for you to look at. They are in "printable" PDF file format.

Conclusion to this document

If we at the Ontario/Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society had the resources to do this (funding and space), we would be happy to complete the tasks. Unfortunately, currently, we do not have these resources at hand so we are offering the concept and idea of the experiment for others to try for themselves. (Hint: If anyone would be willing to fund this or volunteer the resources to our own group in Toronto, we'd be very interested in speaking to you.)

Please, if you do conduct the experiments, we would be very happy if you could share the data or tell us your results... Please, also be kind enough to give "credit where it's due" and let people know that you are working from The Darroch-Didier Experiments.

We feel that the findings could be very important in the field of ghosts and hauntings to answer theories such as...

  • 'Ghosts' can only be seen by those 'psychically tuned in' to them
  • 'Ghosts' are mostly thought-forms left by humans in an environment
  • Humans can "imprint" a thought or feeling on an environment without measurable(?) physical changes in said environment

Of course, if the data shows good "hits" and accuracy, the next question that will need to be asked is "Why?"

What is the mechanism behind this phenomenon?

Good luck and thank you for reading this.