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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 12:47 GMT
ESP laboratory closes its doors
The lab's research drew ridicule from the scientific community
A US laboratory set up to study ESP and telekinesis is to close at the end of the month, ending a strained 30-year relationship with the scientific world.

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab (PEAR) was set up in 1979 to examine human consciousness and its affects on computers and machines.

Founder Robert Jahn, 76, said the lab, with its ageing equipment and dwindling finances, has done what it needed to.

Many scientists have been dismissive of the Princeton University-based unit.

A typical PEAR experiment had a person sitting in front of an electric box which flashed numbers just above or below 100.

The participant would be told to "think high" or "think low" as they watched the display.

Researchers concluded that people could alter the results in such machines about two or three times out of 10,000.

PEAR says such effects could be "functionally devastating" for people working in aircraft cockpits, surgical facilities and even ICBM missile silos.

'Embarrassment to science'

"Venues that appear to be particularly conducive to such field anomalies include small intimate groups, group rituals, sacred sites, musical and theatrical performances, and other charismatic events," it adds.

Mr Jahn, former dean of Princeton's engineering school and an emeritus professor, told the New York Times: "For 28 year, we've done what we wanted to do, and there's no reason to stay and generate more of the same data.

"If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, then they never will."

Funded by private donations rather than grants obtained via peer-reviewed research, the lab had an awkward relationship with the scientific community.

"It's been an embarrassment to science, and I think an embarrassment for Princeton," Robert Park, a University of Maryland physicist, told the NYT.

"Science has a substantial amount of credibility, but this is the kind of thing that squanders it."

A statement on the PEAR website said the lab was to transfer to a nearby non-profit group, the International Consciousness Research Laboratories.

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