Twitter asks users: ‘Are you psychic?’

London, UK – Social messaging service Twitter is to conduct an experiment into remote viewing – the psychic ability to see distant locations.

Members of the UK public will be asked to tweet their impressions of a randomly chosen spot in the UK visited by a Twitter researcher. Then they will vote on which of five photographs on a website shows the spot. The test will be repeated four times with different locations. If three of the five targets are successfully identified, the researchers believe the study will give credibility to remote viewing.

The study will be conducted by psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, who specialises in investigating psychic phenomena. He said: “Personally, I’m sceptical, but three hits would be against odds of one in 125, which would be quite impressive.”

The team hopes that about 10,000 people will take part in the test, which is being conducted in collaboration with New Scientist magazine.

Professor Wiseman will travel to each target location and send a message to thousands of participants to tweet their thoughts about his surroundings.

Twenty minutes after sending this message, he will transmit another containing a website address on which participants can view photographs of the actual location and four decoys. They will then cast their votes.

Professor Wiseman has conducted a number of experiments testing psychic powers. “I have staged several mass participation studies over the years, but this is the first to use Twitter,” he said. “The instant nature of Tweets allows thousands of people to take part in real time, making it perfect for an extra-sensory perception experiment. If the effect does exist then having so many people participate will help detect it.”

Back in the 1970s, the CIA spent $20 million investigating remote viewing. “The Russians were doing the same thing, and there was evidence from laboratory studies that suggested there might be something going on,” said Prof Wiseman.