The reality of telepathic hypnosis was proved in the 1920s by Professor Leonid L. Vasiliev, the Director of the Department of Physiology at the University of Leningrad. Like the quantum physics experiments that would follow later in the century, the experiments also demonstrated the subconscious mind's transcendence over physical space, as hypnotists were able to influence subjects just as effectively separated by a distance of over 1,000 miles.
The Materialist Religion
Subjective evidence of telepathy and many other paranormal and occult phenomena have always been widespread, and in the early 20th century "parapsychologists" in both the West and behind the Iron Curtain became interested in studying occult phenomena in a scientific fashion. Under communism, dogmatic materialistic science was a state-mandated religion and occultists or spiritual believers of virtually any sort were liable to be harshly persecuted by the state. In the West the situation was less extreme, but the religion of materialistic science was still the prevailing dogma and researchers with alternative theories were likely to risk losing their careers if they questioned any of its faith-based assumptions. Consequently, most ESP researchers on both sides of the Iron Curtain operated from the assumption that their findings would yield materialistic explanations for everything from hypnosis to telepathy. Ironically, while the intentions of the researchers was often to "demystify" these things, controlled studies over several generations had the reverse effect and instead yielded bewildering demonstrations of the phenomenal occult powers of the subconscious mind— findings that would later be reinforced by quantum physicists.
Soviet Experiments in Telepathic Hypnosis and ESP
In the USSR during the 1920s, state-funded researchers began studying telepathy in controlled experiments, speculating that telepathy might work through the agency of some form of measurable electromagnetic radiation. The renowned Russian neurologist Vladimir M. Bekhterev was one of the key figures leading these scientific inquiries into paranormal powers. Bekhterev's name is little known in the West, but he was tremendously influential in the development of neurology (in particular related to his research of the hippocampus), and his psychological ideas became the foundation of "Behaviorism." Bekhterev also trained KGB officers in the use of hypnosis, and reputedly coined the term "invasion of the psyche" in reference to the potential to use telepathic hypnosis invasively.
Bekhterev's student Leonid L. Vasiliev appears to have broken the most ground in the controlled study of telepathic hypnosis, and he later became one of the most prestigious parapsychologists in the USSR. Vasiliev began conducting his initial experiments at the same time as Bekhterev, focusing on whether the hypnotic trance state itself could be induced by telepathy. The experimental subjects were separated from the hypnotists — with whom they never came into physical contact — by two walls. Recording equipment was placed in between them to measure rhythmic contractions caused by the subject squeezing an inflated ball, which was attached to a pressure-sensitive recording device. When the subjects were put into a hypnotic trance these measurable contractions would cease. The length of time for each attempt was randomized by the use of a roulette wheel. Their findings were the same as Bekhterev's, confirming the ability to consistently use telepathic suggestion to put subjects into a hypnotic trance, and to bring them back out again. Physical separation of the subject and hypnotist did not diminish the results, and Vasiliev would later go on to produce the same results when the subject and hypnotist were separated by a distance of over 1,000 miles.
An unintended problem arose in later experimentation when the familiar surroundings in the test room served as an autohypnotic re-induction trigger to put the subjects back into trance spontaneously. However, this also yielded an interesting finding, because when the subjects were allowed to slide into the autohypnotic state at the beginning of the experiment, the telepathic suggestions transmitted by the hypnotist would take the subjects into a deep trance state two to three times faster than before. The deeper trance states induced in this manner made it more difficult for the hypnotist to bring the subject back out of trance— telepathic suggestion still had the effect of emerging them, but only temporarily before they slid back down into trance again.
Vasiliev Overturns the Electromagnetic Theory
One of Bekhterev's key theories during the early years of research as that telepathy worked through electromagnetism. He tested this in experiments in which hypnotized subjects were placed inside electromagnetically screened chambers (Faraday cages), while a hypnotist in another room transmitted telepathic commands for the subject to perform certain actions. This was done with a control so that neither the subject nor the hypnotist knew when the door to the electromagnetically screened chamber was open or closed, in order to avoid issues with the power of suggestion. The results of these experiments were decisive: whenever the door to the cages were open the subjects would respond to the telepathically transmitted suggestions with significant accuracy, whereas when the doors were closed there would be no response whatsoever.
At the time this seemed to validate Bekhterev's theory— but surprisingly this finding would later be overturned by Vasiliev several decades later. In Vasiliev's experiments, subjects were placed in chambers that were heavily sealed from electromagnetic radiation and found that the subjects responded exactly the same way as they had with no electromagnetic shielding. The ability for the subconscious mind to transcend space and operate unaffected by electromagnetic shielding was rediscovered later in the century by the Stanford laboratory experiments in remote viewing conducted by Russell Targ and Harold Puthoff.
The Paranormal Power of the Subconscious Mind
While one can only speculate in search of an explanation for Bekhterev's earlier contradictory findings, one likely cause was: the mind itself. Quantum physicists found that when the electron is observed it behaves like a particle, but when it is not observed it behaves like a wave. This discovery gave rise to the infamous uncertainty principle, which states that events exist in potential rather than actually having a fixed objective reality.
An interesting example of the way in which a human mind can sometimes become a participant in this process also occurred in the course of Targ and Puthoff's experiments. While trying to avoid subjective interference (known as "frontloading") in remote viewing, team leaders ended up encrypting map coordinates by assigning them to random numbers. These encrypted numbers were then given to the remote viewers instead of the actual coordinates they represented. Bizarrely, this gave better results than when the remote viewers had any kind of knowledge about the target, including the simple map coordinates.
What had been privately conceived inside the mind of only the team leader impacted "the matrix" (the remote viewing term for the well of universally available information accessable through the subconscious), was translated by the random number, and led the remote viewers to the same location whose map coordinates were known only to the team leader.It is possible that something similar happened in the case of the early Soviet experiments, in which Bekhterev's mentally equating telepathy with electromagnetism created a thought-form that influenced the outcome of his otherwise well-controlled experiments. As in the remote viewing case, what had been strongly conceived of inside the mind of only one individual was capable of manifesting in the collective unconscious and becoming accurately translated by the individual subconscious minds of completely different individuals.