Claims of telekinesis have been thrown around the paranormal community for generations, but it wasn’t until the 20th century when the mystery of thoughtography entered the world of psychic phenomena. Thoughtographers are people who can project images onto objects – it’s usually film, but in cases like the Bélmez faces, someone may have projected their thoughts onto a concrete floor. Skeptics and researchers have attempted to disprove psychic photographers, and while there are a few psychic hoaxers in the mix, there are some thoughtographs that are genuinely unexplainable.
It may seem like you have to be born with the power of a second sight in order to place your thoughts on an object with nothing but your mind, but there are groups of people who believe that through meditation and focus you can put an image onto anything that you want. Draw the curtain, harness your energy, and keep reading to learn about famous thoughtographers and how to how to project your thoughts onto every day objects.
Thoughtography, or psychic photography, is the act of projecting an image from your mind onto a piece of film. Multiple psychics throughout the 20th century have claimed to be able to take photos of their thoughts, spirits, and even ectoplasm - but can they really do what they claim? Proving psychic abilities is usually impossible - not just because it requires you to take a leap in logic to believe that someone can bend spoons or make their thoughts appear on film, but these abilities are almost impossible to reproduce in front of an audience.
In the 1960s, former bellhop Ted Serios became the talk of psychic circles when he claimed that he could project an image onto film in a Polaroid camera with just a few simple steps. First, Serios would get incredibly drunk and start screaming at inanimate objects while making faces at the camera. Then he would hold his own personal thoughtography tool that he called his "gizmo" up to the lens of the camera while it was aimed at his forehead and an assistant would snap the photo.
A few things to keep in mind about Serios: The gizmo was a piece of paper that he rolled into a tube at the beginning of every session. He was always belligerently drunk. And he claimed that he didn't actually see the photos in his head when he was taking the pictures, but instead he visualized a portal where the photos presumably came from. Some of the photos would feature objects like a brick wall or a car, while others would simply be solid black or white.
Curator of Exhibitions Emily Hauver noted that even though it was unlikely that Serios was transmitting his thoughts to film, it wasn't impossible. “The case of Ted Serios is unique in that that he used Polaroid cameras to produce his imagery. Polaroid cameras produce original photographs on the spot, eliminating the opportunity for trickery to occur through printing techniques employed in the darkroom.”
It's no secret that Nikola Tesla was incredibly forward thinking in many of his experiments. Some of his work was incredibly far out, but he also created machines that would make most of our modern technology possible. At some point in his career he was toying with the idea of projecting images from a human's eye or brain to a television. He never got around to it, but he did kind of explain what he wanted to do.
"My idea was to employ an artificial retina receiving an object of the image seen, an optic nerve and another retina at the place of reproduction… both being fashioned somewhat like a checker board, with the optic nerve being a part of the earth.”
Carrière was a medium who claimed to be able to produce a variety of paranormal creatures and psychic phenomenon during her sessions. She was so sure in her abilities (or in the gullibility of the public), that she allowed many of her sessions to be photographed. Albert Freiherr von Shrenck-Notzing, a paranormal researcher, attended many of Carrière's sessions and photographed her abilities. The photos that came out of these sessions are some of the strangest visuals ever captured on camera. In the photos, Carrière is usually show her producing ectoplasm from her body, although some photos show her with "ghosts" that are obviously cardboard cut outs.
Carrière supposedly had an assistant/lover named Juliette Bisson who would prove that the medium wasn't hiding "ectoplasm" in her orifices, and then they would have sex after the session. Allegedly, if a member of the seance was interested in sleeping with Carrière, they could join in. Carrière was proven to be a fraud in 1920 when it was revealed that she was using cut outs from magazines in her seances - which somehow makes her more fascinating.