View Full Version : Grateful Dead ESP "Outbounder RV" Experiment

Dick Allgire
2008-Nov-08 Sat, 21:20
Saturday, September 8. 2007
Revisiting a Dream ESP Experiment with "The Grateful Dead"

Revisiting a Dream ESP Experiment with “The Grateful Dead”

The band “The Grateful Dead” has become well-known throughout the decades for its classic rock sound and concerts at Winterland, with its status and recognition becoming even more elevated with the passing of band member Jerry Garcia. Probably less known about The Grateful Dead is that the band had once participated in a dream ESP experiment in the early 1970s.

If we look at the ESP experiences of people in everyday life, we might notice that a great deal of ESP information seems to come in the form of dreams, sometimes manifesting as detailed, realistic representation of distant events that appear as part of our dream images (Irwin, 1994, p. 19; Targ, Schlitz, & Irwin, 2000, pp. 223 – 224). In particular, precognitive dreams (dreams of the future) seem to be most common (Rhine, 1954). Early on, this prominence of ESP in dreams led parapsychologists to try and study ESP in the laboratory by having people try and dream about a distant event while being monitored in a sleep lab. The most extensive and well known series of dream ESP experiments to date was carried out by Montague Ullman, Stanley Krippner, and Charles Honorton at the Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, from the mid-1960s to early 1970s (Ullman, Krippner, & Vaughan, 1973).

The basic procedure for these experiments, most of which had tested for telepathy (mind-to-mind communication), was as follows: As one person (the receiver) slept in one room, another person (the sender) in a separate room concentrated on a visual target (like an art print), and attempted to mentally “send” details about it to the receiver in the hopes that doing so would influence the images that the receiver would see in his or her dream. The receiver was awakened soon after and asked to describe the dream they were having. The description of the dream provided by the receiver was then compared to the target (along with three or four decoys) to see if they matched to a notable degree. If the receiver’s description seemed to match the target the closest (as opposed to the decoys), then the experiment was considered a success (a “hit”). Years after the Maimonides dream ESP experiments, psychologist Irvin Child (1985) of Yale University statistically analyzed the experimental series database, finding that on the whole the entire series of experiments was successful to a degree far beyond that expected by mere chance alone (odds of* more than 500,000 to 1 against chance!*).

The dream ESP experiment with The Grateful Dead was among those contained in the database that Child looked at. The purpose of that particular experiment was to look at how the dream ESP experience of the receiver was affected if the number of senders was multiplied by about 2,000. In other words, would dream ESP improve if more than one sender was used; in this case, nearly 2,000 senders? The band members of The Grateful Dead, having visited the Maimonides sleep lab and learned about the dream ESP research going on there, agreed to try a dream ESP experiment with their audience during a series of six concerts they were giving in early 1971 (Krippner, Honorton, & Ullman, 1973).

The concerts were being held at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, NY, about 45 miles away from the Maimonides Hospital. The experiment was focused on dream telepathy, with the senders being the audience of “Deadheads” and the receiver being English psychic subject Malcolm Bessent, who had scored well in previous ESP experiments, particularly in those testing for precognition. Each night in the sleep lab at Maimonides, Bessent would go to bed early so that he would be asleep by 11:30 PM, when the experiment would begin. At that same time, the audience in attendance at The Grateful Dead concert would be shown a series of six slides that were being projected onto a large screen above the stage. The first five slides shown to the audience read:

You are about to participate in an ESP experiment.
In a few seconds you will see a picture.
Try using your ESP to “send” this picture to Malcolm Bessent.
He will try to dream about the picture. Try to “send” it to him.
Malcolm Bessent is now at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn.
The audience would then be shown the sixth slide, containing a randomly selected art print or a photograph, for 15 minutes while The Grateful Dead continued to perform on stage. Observers at the concert noticed that the majority of the people in the audience were already in an altered state of consciousness by the time of the experiment, having been brought about by the rock music, by the contact between people in the crowd, and, of course, by people “tripping” on LSD and other psychedelic drugs during the concert.

Unbeknownst to the audience, there was also a second receiver involved in the experiment in addition to Bessent. This second receiver was Felicia Parise, a medical technician at Maimonides who also had been successful in previous dream ESP experiments. She spent the night in her apartment and was called every 90 minutes during the experiment and asked about any dreams she was having. Since the focus of the audience was on Bessent, the researchers thought it would be interesting to see whether a “control” receiver whose name the audience did not know could pick up on ESP information being “sent” by 2,000 senders, or whether the information would be limited only to Bessent, a finding that might tell us something about the interpersonal nature of ESP.

Here’s an illustrative example of one of the six dream ESP concert sessions with The Dead, held on the night of February 19, 1971. The sixth slide that was shown to the audience that night was M. K. Scralian’s painting The Seven Spinal Chakras, which shows a man practicing yogic meditation while sitting in the lotus position. The seven Hindu “charkas” of the body are vividly colored on his body, and a bright yellow circle of energy surrounds his head. Back at Maimonides, Bessent had the following dream:

I was very interested in…using natural energy…I was talking to this guy who said he’d invented a way of using solar energy and he showed me this box…to catch the light from the sun which was all we needed to generate and store the energy…I was discussing with this other guy a number of other areas of communication and we were exchanging ideas on the whole thing…He was suspended in mid-air or something…I was thinking about rocket ships…I’m remembering a dream I had…about an energy box and…a spinal column (Ullman et al., 1973, p. 172).

There seems to be some degree of correspondence between Bessent’s dream and the painting, particularly in the way of “energy.” On a scale from 1 to 100 in terms of similarity (1 being not similar at all, 100 being very similar), Bessent’s dream was given a similarity rating of 83. In contrast, control receiver Parise had the following dream:

I had a big, fat, yellowish, green parakeet with a head like an owl. Something happened to the cage and it broke…I also had another dream with a yellow canary…The cage was hanging very high outside of the garage door…I said, `I wonder how that parakeet lives? I never feed it. God must raise his temperature so he doesn’t freeze’ (Ullman et al., 1973, p. 172).

There is less apparent correspondence in Parise’s dream, suggesting on the surface that she missed the target. On the similarity scale, her dream was only given a similarity rating of 28. However, a few nights later on February 21, she had this dream:

It was something bright, like a crystal with many facets of colors…There is some sort of light or sun or a bright light. It’s maybe a man, short like a Buddha…like something Aztec, a Mexican totem pole (Ullman et al., 1973, p. 172).

There seems to be more of a suggestive correspondence here with the painting (when rated for similarity after the fact, Parise’s dream from this night was given a similarity rating of 96), suggesting that she may have dreamed about a past event (a form of ESP called retrocognition).

In all, Bessent was able to successfully dream about the picture the concert audience was sending a total of 4 times (out of 6 concert nights), a result that is greater than chance alone by statistical standards. On the other hand, Parise was only to successfully dream about the picture once out of six times. This suggests that the ESP information was mostly limited to Bessent in real-time, and that some kind of focusing by the senders toward the receiver may play a role in the manifestation of telepathy. However, when looking closely at Parise’s data, there is some indication that her ESP was displaced in time. As the example above shows, it seems that Parise was able to dream about the concert picture a few nights after it was shown, and in some cases, she apparently was able to dream about it before it was shown (in other words, she was dreaming about a picture that would be shown The Dead concert a few nights into the future, suggesting precognition). In general, it seems that this dream experiment with The Grateful Dead was successful for the most part, giving us a hint about how using multiple senders may influence the telepathic experience of the receiver.

- Bryan


Child, I. L. (1985). Psychology and anomalous observations: The question of ESP in dreams. American Psychologist 40(11), November. pp. 1219 – 1230.

Irwin, H. J. (1994). The phenomenology of parapsychological experiences. In S. Krippner (Ed.) Advances in Parapsychological Research 7 (pp. 10 – 76). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Krippner, S., Honorton, C., & Ullman, M. (1973). An experiment in dream telepathy with “The Grateful Dead.” Journal of the American Society of Psychosomatic Dentistry and Medicine 20(1), pp. 9 – 17.

Rhine, L. E. (1954). Frequency of types of experience in spontaneous precognition. Journal of Parapsychology 18(2), June. pp. 93 – 123.

Targ, E., Schlitz, M., & Irwin, H. J. (2000). Psi-related experiences. In E. Cardena, S. J. Lynn, & S. Krippner (Eds.) Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence (pp. 219 – 252). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, Inc.

Ullman, M., Krippner, S., & Vaughan, A. (1973). Dream Telepathy: Experiments in Nocturnal ESP. New York: Macmillian Publishing.

Jimmy Williams
2008-Nov-21 Fri, 16:40
Hi folks,
I was just wondering what activity if any was going on at HRVG. It isn't like the old days with tons of sessions posted and controversies flying. How many HRVGers are on board right now?

Dick Allgire
2008-Nov-21 Fri, 22:55

Good to hear from you. We've got a couple of projects simmering. I did an entrainment/masking project that is under analysis, and another target is active that we can't discuss right now.

We're chugging along.

Glenn has been taking us BEYOND REMOTE VIEWING lately.

Now, those of us who have stuck with it all these years are realizing the RV part was just the warmup. Glenn has spent more than ten years trying to develop ... uh.. not to be too dramatic, but... sort of Jedi Knights.

New project for 2009 will be another attempt at sending a message across time. Putting a message in the past that will show up in our present.

The whole 11 years still boggles my mind.


Jimmy Williams
2008-Nov-22 Sat, 08:20
Hi Dick, It sounds like you folks are getting in to some interesting territory. My opinion is that we are able to operate across space-time. The problem is that our normal conscious state is so heavily influenced by our physicality that we just don't go there. It sounds like you are working yourselves more into RI as opposed to RV. Certainly, one has to come before the other.

Glenn B. Wheaton
2008-Nov-23 Sun, 22:02
Aloha Jimmy,

It is certainly good to hear from you. If no one said it yet, I will, you are missed out here in the islands. The old website is being reconstructed and will be back up with a new look soon. We have tried to keep thinking forward and have continued to develop new ways to investigate remote viewing and other related phenomena. I am fortunate to have surrounded myself with some of the best minds of today. Remote viewing continues to be the largest area of our interest but as Dick said we have pushed out a bit from there. Entrainment and randomness have been very interesting to explore and they seem to go hat in hand with consciousness, whether we recognize it or not. It alludes to a new set of considerations in remote viewing, a set of considerations that give us a bit more of a global perspective of the RV process.

Dick recently completed an excellent project dealing with Masking and Entrainment and the results exceeded expectations. It will certainly make us tighten up on our already rigorous targeteering protocol. I am continuing to explore theoretical models to send a message to the past and that still burns a lot of sugar in my mind. I am convinced it is possible and that we will do it. Paradoxes aside it can happen :).

I am also learning to be a Webmaster (of all things) and have been pretty busy with all the learning curve involved with that. Took a few months to get a grip on being the server admin but I got that down and have been learning PHP and becoming a Dreamweaver commando. So much to do, but hey a conference is coming up in Vegas next March, perhaps we can meet up there.

In the meantime jump in anywhere, it's great to see ya.


Dick Allgire
2008-Nov-23 Sun, 22:35
Jimmy, (and Glenn)
One thing that amazes me is the patience Glenn has exhibited in the more than a decade he has trained the Guild.

About 4 (or was it 5 or 6?) years ago, back in the old classroom he gave a lecture on masking. It was interesting, as always, but to tell you the truth it went over everyone's head. Jimmy you may have been there. He drew an island and set up shacks and trees, and told us what happens there can represent something else entirely in the real world. (I have those notes and will pull them out of my voluminous files.) So where the coconut falls in the mask can represent where the body was buried in the real world. I had quite a limited idea of what this actually meant, and no grasp of how to execute it .

Several years later Glenn set up butcher paper on a table at HRVG HQ and had us create a "place" to entrain to a mask. Again it went over our heads, but he was patient. That mask (although he still has it stashed somewhere) never came to life, but as we learned more and more something sparked and caught in my brain.

It was partly the Affinity and Entrainment we did in Las Vegas a year ago. Man, it took years, but what Glenn was teaching slowly sunk in and I attempted something I never would have accepted even 3 or 4 years ago. I spent several months creating a mask. I went to class and pulled Glenn aside and asked questions. I called him every night on the phone and went over concepts and applications for hours. I published a target and wondered if the viewers would mistrust me forever.

It worked! I can't wait to present the data at a conference. I could honestly stand up and lecture for about 4 hours and not fully explain it. It took me five years to understand! What is really amazing to me is that Glenn planted a little seed a half a decade ago and waited all these years to see it sprout. What remote viewing teacher sets up something in 2002 and waits around for a student to figure it out, apply it, and see the results in 2008?

It took a long time, but I feel like I'm starting to get a grip. Amazing.


Jimmy Williams
2008-Nov-24 Mon, 11:23
Hi Dick,
That sounds very interesting. I would like to hear more about the details. It sounds a lot like the core concept behind targeting. Because the unique target ID means nothing other than what has been associated with it, it is a secondary "mask" if you will of the real target, it can be used to entrain your consciousness through the RV protocols to get to the intended target. Substituting a unique picture for a target ID is completely understandable.
I'm sure there is more two it than what I am guessing.
To make another analogy: Religious artifacts and totems are imbued with significant meaning, many times with a significant emotional charge attached. Over years of repeated use in ceremonies they become a potent target ID that allows people to pick up on the overlaid information. For instance, a tribal "mask" that is used in rituals.