Book Review

  • Issue 102 / November - December 2014

    Revisiting Psychokinesis: Time, Ether, and Kozyrev

    Abdullah Aymaz

    For many of us ordinary people, time is nothing more than how long we spend at work, at the gym, or the hour at which we come home to meet our families. But time is also a phenomenon; many scientists and philosophers strain their brains trying to understand its nature. Dr. Nikolai Kozyrev (1908-1983), the famous Russian astronomer, was one of those scientists who proposed some interesting theories on time. Almost half a century passed since he developed his theories, and yet it is not easy to reconcile his findings with the present scientific paradigms. However, I believe Kozyrev does not deserve to be put aside completely nor do his findings, for they might have a connection to ether matter, rather than time. A recent, coincidental encounter with Professor Fedor Kozyrev, Dr. Kozyrev's younger son, re-sparked my curiosity about his interesting research and a possible connection to the mysterious ether matter.

    I first came across his ideas in the 70s, through a book, Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1970), by two American authors, Sheila Ostrander and Lynn Schroeder.

    Reflecting somewhat the counterculture of the 60s and 70s, the authors were exploring psychic matters and occultism, and for that purpose they visited Soviet Russia, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia in the summer of 1968. As described in the back cover, "they reveal astonishing breakthroughs and key personalities spearheading exploration of man's unknown powers" in laboratories from Prague to Moscow.

    One place they stopped was the Pulkovo Observatory near St. Petersburg (then Leningrad), "the principal observatory of the USSR Academy of Sciences and the timekeeping Greenwich of Russia" (today The Central Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences) to meet Dr. Kozyrev. They were going there to discuss "an amazing theory of time" developed by Kozyrev, whom the authors described as "one of the Soviet Union's most renowned astrophysicists" (p. 157).

    Kozyrev does deserve this praise, as he was only 17 when he published his first scientific paper. When he graduated in physics and mathematics from the University of Leningrad, he was only twenty. And by the age of twenty-eight, he had already won distinction as an astronomer and had taught at several colleges (p. 158).

    He was brimming with new ideas and life was as good as he could possibly have wished it to be. Then the ax fell. In 1936 he was arrested in the Stalinists repressions and in 1937 he began eleven crushing years in a prison camp. ... When he was at last rehabilitated and could return to astronomy, Kozyrev made a series of brilliant predictions about the Moon, Venus, and Mars. Much later, Soviet space probes proved him right. (p. 158)

    Like many other geniuses throughout world history, his announcements were received with skepticism in the beginning. In 1958, for instance, he announced volcanic activity on the moon, which meant that there were vast natural resources to exploit. Scientists "classified him as an eccentric hunting for gas on the moon. They knew this was not possible." But he was proven right when Dr. Harold Urey, a U.S. Nobel Prize winner, talked with him and NASA started the enormous "Moon Blink" project. Eventually, gas emissions were found on the moon.

    Kozyrev was proposing a new theory when he said, "Time is a form of energy. It is to time's properties that we should look in order to find the source that maintains the phenomenon of life in the world." With all credit to his other findings, this theory on time may sound completely irrelevant and without basis to scientists today; but as mentioned in the beginning, the purpose of this review is not to confirm his theory, but to open up a long forgotten gateway for researchers studying time and ether.

    Although approached with suspicion today, parapsychology studies peaked in the eastern bloc in the 1960s, which was the main reason the two American authors felt the need to travel overseas and spend three years researching their 450-page book. "Parapsychology, nonexistent just a decade before, was suddenly flourishing all over the USSR," they wrote. When the authors looked beyond Iron Curtain politics, "behind the lace curtains of everyday Russia," they began to come across "some very unusual material about life."

    "Soviet scientists were asking publicly, 'What is man?' Do we have unused, undreamed of potentials? Can parapsychology melt the barriers and create the supernormal human being? These were heady questions to read in Soviet publications."

    In 1966, the authors noted, the influential journal Science and Religion put out a special issue, No. 3, on current Russian telepathy research. Outstanding Soviets, including such notables as Dr. Nikolai Semyonov, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry and Vice President of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, called for further scientific investigations of telepathy. It was in this time and context when Kozyrev's research intensified and his speculative theory came into a form.

    The authors noted that, according to some Soviet scientists (p. 159), ESP (extrasensory perception) "may involve an unknown form of energy," which Kozyrev called "time," in the telepathic transfer of "thought" instantly from one person to another.

    "Time is the most important and most enigmatic property of nature. Time is not propagated like light waves; it appears immediately everywhere. The altered properties of a certain second of time will appear instantly everywhere at once, just as time is everywhere. Time links us all and all things in the universe," Dr. Kozyrev told the authors in his high-ceilinged office at Pulkovo. The authors noted the following from their interview with Kozyrev:

    Kozyrev's "time" has a number of properties which he says can be studied in the scientist's lab. He has found, for instance, that this "X" energy, or "time," is denser near the receiver of an action and thinner near the sender. He showed us some of the instruments he has devised to chart this unusual effect. The basic equipment includes precision gyroscopes, asymmetrical pendulums, and torsion balances. The instruments, when set up in a complex arrangement, react showing a change in time density near a mechanical action (like stretching elastic) or a chemical action (like burning sugar).

    This is the gist of what happens in one of the more simple experiments: a long elastic is stretched by a machine. You can think of this elastic as having two poles. The "pull" or cause end and the "stretch" or effect end. When the elastic is stretched, the registering equipment, consisting mainly of an asymmetrical pendulum made with a gyroscope, arcs toward the effect pole of the elastic. This deflection is imperceptible to the eye, but easily registered on the sensitive instruments. It is a highly important effect. It shows there has been an increase in the intensity of time, according to Dr. Kozyrev. "This has nothing to do with force fields. We shielded and calculated out any possible influence of electrostatic or any other force." Considering Kozyrev's rarified caliber as a scientist, he probably knows what he is talking about.

    Kozyrev's instruments also showed a thinning of time near the "cause" end of the elastic, and this was possible even when the "cause-effect" equipment was shielded by a wall one yard thick: "It reacts even through iron tubes." Chemical cause-effect, like burning sugar, also showed the change in time density. "We postulate," Dr. Kozyrev said, "that time is thin around the cause and dense around the effect."

    According to the authors, "what Dr. Kozyrev has found in these tests can be called PK (psychokinesis)," for the chemical events acted on the gyroscope pendulum at a distance and without the use of any known force. Dr. Kozyrev would say that "time density" brought on this startling action at a distance. PK is usually considered not as matter affecting matter from a distance, but as a mind affecting matter. The authors asked Kozyrev whether thought might have any effect on this time density. "Yes," Dr. Kozyrev replied. "Thought definitely affects the reaction. When I purposefully think of poetry or something emotional during the test, the equipment registers more of a change than when I think of mathematical calculations. Our thoughts may change the density of time."

    "Would the density of time, then, have something to do with telepathy?" asked the authors.

    "Telepathy always depends on the density of time. Time would be thin near the sender of the thought and denser around the receiver. We've already done tests in our lab to try to artificially change the density of time. When we can make time dense at will, we can make telepathy happen when we want it," Dr. Kozyrev feels.

    What else affects the density of time? Thunderstorms, the weather, the change of season, the activity of growing things, gravity, and density of matter have an effect on time density, which lingers longer in some substances than in others. "It remains twice as long in aluminum as in lead and five times longer in wood than in lead" (p. 162).

    Another characteristic of the energy Kozyrev called "time" is that it has a flow pattern, according to his findings:

    Dr. Kozyrev thought about all living organisms-animals, plants, people. Our right and left sides are not mirror images. More of the heart is on the left than the right side. Microbes produce colonies of a spiral structure. Protoplasm, the basic building block of life, is not symmetrical either. Asymmetry is a basic property of life. This can't be a chance thing, Dr. Kozyrev thought. ... Perhaps the energy of "time" flows in this pattern. If so, Dr. Kozyrev figured, he could see it and measure it in a rotating body like a gyroscope. Altering the time pattern in a rotating system should add or subtract energy.

    After years of careful experiments, Dr. Kozyrev and his colleagues found that in a left-hand rotating system the time flow is positive-it adds energy. In a right-hand system the time flow is negative. ... In Dr. Kozyrev's view our world is a left-hand system and it has a positive time flow that adds energy to our universe.

    Time not only has a pattern of flow, says Dr. Kozyrev, but also a rate of flow. He calls "the rate of flow" the difference between cause and effect. "As the rate of the time flow through a substance changes, weight is lost," Dr. Kozyrev told us. "It means that 'levitation' is a perfectly practical possibility." (p. 163)

    Time or ether?

    Time is not matter. According to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, "time is like an aspect or a 'ribbon' of motion" (The Thirty-First Word, p. 591). That is, time is not possible without motion. I argue that what Kozyrev thought he discovered was not time, but perhaps had to with what is called ether, an element which is assumed by some cosmologists to be the essence of all existence, but which is also disregarded by many scientists today. Bediuzzaman is one of those scholars who referenced ether in his work. In his partial Qur'anic exegesis, The Sign of Miraculousness (Isharat al-I'jaz first published in 1914), Bediuzzaman explained the verse (Hud 11:7) as follows:

    ... the verse "the heavens and the earth were at first one piece, and then We parted them as separate entities"(21:30) indicates that the earth and the solar system were a sort of dough kneaded by the hand of power out of a simple substance; I mean ether, which compared with beings is a fluid substance that passes through and among them. The verse "His Supreme Throne was upon the water"(11:7) alludes to this matter, which resembles water. After its creation, the ether received the Maker's first manifestation giving existence; that is, He created the ether, then He made it into the subatomic particles (jawâhir farda) ... (Isharat al-I'jaz, pp. 254)

    For Bediuzzaman, ether was something like an interface upon which all acts of God were displayed:

    ... being an extremely subtle, fine, obedient and subjugated page for the All-Majestic Maker's acts, being a means for the transmission of His commands, being an extremely delicate veil for the execution of His decrees, being refined ink for His writing, being a finest raiment to clothe His acts of creation, being a fundamental component in His artifacts and a field in which to sow His seeds, ether acts as a mirror for the manifestations of the Lordship of God. (The Thirtieth Gleam, p. 477)

    Bediuzzaman also referred to "ether" when he said "refined matter" in the following quote: "Such subtle and refined matters as light, electricity, and heat point to the existence of a more subtle and refined matter that fills space" (The ThirtyFirst Word, p. 589).

    The observations and findings of Kozyrev, though in desperate need of endorsement by objective scientific criteria, sound, from how the American authors revealed in their interview, as if referring to this mysterious subtle matter called "ether" rather than "time."


    The authors of this once popular book wrote in the Prologue that they "would have to be megalomaniacs to think that scores of highly reputable scientists from centers across the Soviet Union and the satellite countries all conspired to publish data for a decade and to bluff through interviews" to impress them when they happened to meet them. The authors further noted that "whether communist observations and theories about psychic happenings are right or not, can only be determined by further investigations East and West."

    Let us conclude with the following quote from the Prologue: "As Vladimir Mutshall wrote of current Soviet telepathy research in the American Foreign Science bulletin, Vol. 4, No. 8, 'If the Russian reports are even partly true, and if mind-to-mind thought transference can be used for such things as interplanetary communications or the guiding of interplanetary spacecraft, the reports will obviously have overwhelming significance.'"

    The main reason I have extensively quoted from this book is not to confirm any of the findings, but to encourage scientists to conduct further research into the essence of matter without completely disregarding phenomena like ether.


    comments powered by Disqus