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"Let me say out the outset that I regard Matthew Manning as a most exciting person. If he can continue to combine the exercise of his powers with the same spirit of enquiry that he has already shown, it is likely that his work may lead to a new and profound scientific insight into these matter."
Professor George Owen,
writing in my book 'The Link' in 1974.
In 1974 I was in Toronto, Canada, for 10 days participating in numerous experiments. One of the most interesting was devised by psychiatrist Dr Joel Whitton. He wanted to find out what, if anything, was happening in my brain while I was engaged in what he referred to as 'paranormal activity'.
The measuring device used was an electro-encephalograph (EEG), which was attached to my scalp by means of electrodes. Our brain wave patterns, which are made by the various levels of electrical activity in the brain, alter depending on what we are doing.
My brain waves were measured while I was in various states: resting with eyes open; resting with eyes closed; making head, neck and eye movements; talking; and attempting to paranormally influence an object. The experiment was conducted on several separate occasions, each time in the presence of different scientists.
According to the report published later, my EEG spectrum was 'characterised by a large concentration of energy in the theta waveband and beta ranges'.
"The striking and unexpected nature of this result is best conveyed by noting that spectra of this kind ... are only very rarely encountered in the waking state; instead they are characteristic of sleep in stage 3 or 4."
Yet I was wide awake!
Further tests revealed the source of the electrical brain energy as the limbic system, which lies beneath the cerebral cortex and is described as the old animal brain we relied on before the development of our intellectual brain.
Joel Whitton concluded that whatever I was doing was "not a random gift, but an innate function and ability in the brain of Homo sapiens, a function probably lost or defunct in most people for thousands of years."
He described the old brain as being able to "think, feel and constantly does so, but not in a way it can put into words."
What I use is probably something all of us called on at some point in our evolution, perhaps to enable us to find food, shelter, water or direction. For want of a better word, I call it something which derives from our old brain - 'intuition'. We have now largely lost it because to all intents and purposes we have no need of it - technological progress has seen to that.
It may be that every advance we've made technologically has added another layer to our intellectual brain, so that the gift residing in our limbic system is further removed from us. As we progress in one direction, we seem to regress in another.
PS: That's an original photo from 1974!
In the early 1980s, I took part in a number of tests at Birkbeck College, University of London. The late Professor John Hasted arranged one simple experiment in which I tried to influence the growth rate of mould samples grown in nutrient jelly in plastic Petri dishes.
Mould specimens called 'mucor' were grown in a laboratory for 24 hours, after which their diameters were measured. Batches of eight were then made up and of these, four were randomly selected by blind choice by a technician. They were kept well out of my presence as control samples.
The other four Petri dishes were given to me and it was my job to heal them for just five minutes in the hope that my interaction would retard the growth rate of the mould samples.
Immediately after exposure to me, the four mould samples were placed with the control samples and left to develop. All the dishes were coded with only the laboratory technician knowing which were which.
Over a period of time, we repeated this test 18 times.
Subsequent mathematical evaluation, after new measurements of all the mould samples had been taken, showed that those that I had healed were significantly smaller than the control samples that had been nowhere near me. Statistically, the results of this occurring beat chance by odds of hundreds to one. Interestingly, the first trial produced an "exceptional exposure after which an extremely unlikely retardation of growth rate occurred."
It was a neat experiment that in terms of healing can't be accounted for in terms of faith, psychological factors or placebo!
HEALING CANCER CELLS
In one of the most fascinating tests I underwent, I was asked to heal what are known as Hela cancer cells. They are used extensively in cancer research around the world.
The cells are grown in culture flasks (plastic containers that look similar to the cases of audio cassette tapes) in a liquid protein feed. The cancer cells attach themselves to the inside of the plastic flask by means of an electrostatic charge. If a cell is injured, or if it dies, the electrostatic charge on its surface is broken and it then floats free in the liquid protein.
Some amount of cell death normally occurs in the tissue culture, so before each trial the researchers used a machine called a spectrophotometer to count the number of dead cells to give them a control line of the cultures.
It was then my job for the next 20 minutes to heal the cells. Somebody who was not a healer was also given a flask of cells and had the task of mimicking every movement I made. A third container was left in another part of the building and received no attention.
I tried to envisage the cancer cells surrounded by white light as I placed my hands near the flask.
After each trial, the scientists would put the samples back in the spectrophotometer and re-count the dead cells. In each of the 30 trials there was never any change in the number of dead cells in the flask that had been left in another part of the building. Neither was there any change in the number of dead cells in the container which the other person tried to influence in imitation of me.
However, in 27 out of the 30 trials there was a change in the number of dead cells in the flask I was healing - ranging in magnitude from 200% to 1,200%. If at the beginning of the trial there was 1 dead cell per millilitre of liquid, after my intervention there were anything from 2 to 12 dead cells.
Dr William Braud, one of the researchers, described the results as 'impressive' and concluded: "What Matthew has demonstrated is that he can influence cancer cells. There may be factors involved that could be used to heal others."
DEFLECTING A COMPASS NEEDLE
Nobel Prize winner, Professor Brian Josephson, once tested my ability to deflect a compass needle. Before the experiment began I was searched for metal objects. I was then asked to pass my hand over the compass at a distance of about six inches.
When I did this, the needle moved. But the instant I removed my hand the needle stopped dead "in spite of the fact that it was very weakly damped so that it would have been expected to continue swinging for some time."
Josephson later described to Peter Lewis of the Daily Mail his experience while watching the compass needle during the experiment. He had "felt a curious sensation in the eyes. It was as though I was seeing it through a heat haze, such as you get from a rising bonfire. When Matthew stopped, my visual image suddenly became clearer."
He went on to say: "I think we are on the verge of discoveries which may be extremely important for physics. We are dealing with a new kind of energy. This force must be subject to laws. I believe ordinary methods of scientific investigation will tell us a lot about psychic phenomena. They are mysterious but they are no more mysterious than a lot of things in physics already."
HEALING BLOOD CELLS
If human blood is mixed with water, the red blood cells rapidly become stressed so that their surface membranes become permeable, allowing an escape of haemoglobin into the surrounding solution. This process is known as haemolysis. Visually it's like over-inflating a ballon until it bursts.
However, when the red blood cells are placed in saline solution they will survive for longer periods of time. Haemolysis can be monitored by measuring the amount of light transmitted through the blood-water solution. As haemolysis occurs, the solution's appearance changes from cloudy to clear with a resulting increase in light transmittance.
In this test I was to try to prevent the blood cells from breaking down when they were placed in a slight saline solution.
There was a sequence of five trials during which I had to exert a healing influence and five trials, during which for control purposes, I removed my influence.
The scientists then measured the extent to which the blood cells had broken down by placing the samples in a machine called a spectrophotometer which measured the amount of light being transmitted through the solution. The more light that passed through, the more cells had broken up and the less light that passed through, the less the cells had been injured.
"By concentrating his mind on the test tube of blood, Matthew was able to slow down the death of the cells," said Dr William Braud, an experimental psychologist and former professor of psychology at the University of Houston. "Normally the blood cells would break down and die within a maximum of five minutes. But Matthew was able to slow down the destruction so that the blood cells were still intact 20 minutes later."
HOW MY DINNER AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE LED TO THE FIRST HOSPITAL TRIALS OF HEALING
I found in my archives this car pass and seating plan for a dinner at Buckingham Palace to which I was invited in 1979 by Prince Philip. Other guests included (as you can see) my friends Lyall Watson, Brian Inglis and Dr Kit Pedlar.
I sat next to Earl Mountbatten who spent much of the evening talking to me about his interest in reincarnation. He was, to my disbelief, killed six weeks later by an IRA bomb.
Promoted by Prince Philip, a research project emerged from the dinner - 'Project Aesculapius' - which was a chance to move my scientific testing away from a laboratory setting to the Royal Free Hospital in London.
The plan was for me to treat, in a double-blind experiment, patients suffering from leukaemia. This disease was chosen because I'd had success in treating both cancer cells and blood cells in earlier laboratory tests.
Unfortunately, that was as far as we got because the Medical Defence Union, who act as the medical profession's insurance company, raised objections that the subject was "too emotive". We never discovered how they found out about the proposed experiment but suspected that an unsympathetic doctor tipped them off.
Instead, I worked at the hospital's Pain Clinic between April and September 1980 with a group of patients suffering from intractable pain. They were told that they had a 50-50 chance of receiving healing from me. I was the only person who knew which patients I was actually healing and which I was giving a sham treatment.
The preliminary results showed that those people who genuinely received healing from me experienced less pain and/or were able to reduce their intake of drugs. At the time the results were explained in terms of 'cognitive dissonance theory'. This broadly means that if patients felt involved in their treatment, they were more inclined to believe it was working, therefore the more likely it was to work!
Although it was a long time ago, it's fascinating to see the response of the medical profession to both trials - even with the backing and support of Prince Philip and his influential circle of contacts. Who would have known of his personal interest and the time he committed in an effort to get healing more widely accepted?
The night I was invited for dinner at Buckingham Palace