Akademgorodok (Science City, Siberia)
The late Los Angeles-based spiritual master, George Falcon, once made a passing mention of Russian work done a long time ago on psychic phenomenon like telepathy and parapsychology. I finally gave in to the temptation to do a little research on this topic.
It turns out that there is a long history here, beginning in pre-revolutionary Russia and continuing into the 1930s at places like Bekhterev Brain Institute in Moscow and the Institute for Brain Research in Leningrad. This kind of research was shut down for a period under Stalin but sprang back up during the 1960s in a remote region of western Siberia, near the pioneer town of Novosibirsk, in a massive research facility named Akademgorodok, ‘Science City’ (pictured, above left). Built after World War II, Science City was composed of around 40 scientific centres, housed tens of thousands of scientists and their families, and included the mysterious Special Department 8 where sixty or so scientists investigated telepathy and telekinesis or distant influence, otherwise called ‘biocommunication’.
For biocommunication to be possible, thought the Soviet scientists, there had to be a transfer of energy taking place that could be measured. To run these experiments, apparently the KGB screened more than a million people to find those with the greatest amount of psychic power. Not surprisingly, the people that demonstrated the most remarkable psychic abilities ended being people like Tibetan monks and Siberian shamans. They also conducted experiments at microscopic levels that demonstrated that living cells can ‘communicate’ with each other over distances, and in a non-chemical way.
There is an entertaining story here about the perceived "psi warfare gap" perceived by the Soviets which led them to spend huge amounts of money try to catch the Americans who supposedly had the lead here. And the 1970 book on Soviet psychic research called Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain is pictured to the left.
More recently, scientists at serious academic and health institutions around the world have been exploring phenomena such as mirror-touch synesthesia, where individuals experience the same sensation that another person feels, or entrainment, where through an emotional, physical or musical connection, people’s breathing, brain-waves, heart-rate, pupil dilation, or blood pressure become synchronized. Perhaps these could be categorized as psychic phenomena too?
I think the reason George mentions it is simply to make the point that even though many people consider this sort of thing a pseudo-science, there has been serious scientific investigation into these psychic phenomena that has provided some validation of it power and that these investigations continue.