The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
– Sun Tzu
In the face of mutual assured destruction, pursuing other avenues of engagement through research is logical. Except the explored fields may not be considered logical at all. For example, MKULTRA’s mind control research, experimentation with psychedelics, and the Stargate Project’s own brand of maverick science.
While these programs were running at full tilt, the Soviets were hard at work exploring the field of psychotronics. A short (23 pages) overview of Unconventional Research in the USSR and Russia1 by Serge Kernbach has popped up on arxiv, covering Russia’s tumultuous relationship with anomalistic research between the late 19th and 21st century.
There are many examples in Serge’s paper making for engrossing reading. For starters, there’s Soviet research into the effect of magnetic fields on biological objects. They range from electromagnetic frequencies causing auditory hallucinations, altering the brain’s functions, and this disturbing, non-lethal weapon.
[A]ccording to calculations made in 1974, the generator ‘Radioson’ can effectively ‘treat’ the city of about a hundred of square kilometers, plunging its inhabitants into a deep sleep – and at a distance of up to 55 kilometers away from the transmitter.
All of these programs were state-sponsored, with many documents pertaining to their studies remaining classified. Whether it’s out of embarassment for pouring more than a billion dollars into those programs, or if the Kremlin has a few trump cards up its collectivist sleeves, there’s plenty of room for speculation. The Soviets were concerned with the same fields as their western counterparts: mind control, remote viewing, and anomalous physics with a special focus on the contentious theory of torsion fields.
What are torsion fields? Spin a particle faster than the speed of light, it will supposedly generate a field capable of transmitting information a billion times faster than the speed of light. Torsion fields do exist, but the controversial properties of the special torsion fields described by Akimov and Shipov could herald a sea change in contemporary physics much like quantum mechanics. The absence of peer-reviewed material supporting the Soviet findings relegates this branch of physics to the scrap heap of woo. After all, Wikipedia’s entry on the topic2 is peppered with unsourced claims of homeopathy, levitation, and ESP, despite available scientific research suggesting the theory’s basis in variant solutions to Maxwell’s equations and Einstein-Cartan theory. It’s beyond the scope of this article, and author, to further present the technical aspects behind the concept.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
– Marcello Truzzi
Results of experiments with torsion fields and their alleged high-penetrating emissions may have similar properties to orgone, the putative life energy described by Wilhelm Reich. Early experiments focused on high-penetrating emissions generated by living subjects under controlled settings. In the sixties, Robert Pavlita invented devices with the capability of producing the same energies.
Experiments of Czechoslovak researchers R.Pavlita and D.Krmesski prove the possibility of remote impact to light moving objects. To enhance the impact, R. Pavlita offered a special device – an ’accumulator’ of energy. These ’accumulators’ are made of different materials and have different shapes … R. Pavlita found a number of other interesting properties of the investigated energy. Empirically, it is found that seeds of beans irradiated by this kind of energy germinated earlier than usual, the plant itself has evolved significantly faster than the control specimens … R.Pavlita also discovered the accelerated deposition of aqueous suspensions under the influence of bio-energy. For example, if a water contaminated with industrial waste was filled into a container with metal shavings, irradiated by such energy, then 12 hours later the water becomes crystal clear. Furthermore, the chemical analysis shows that this is achieved with a very high degree of water purification. If the same water was ’in contact’ with non-irradiated metal shavings, then the effect was not observed … It is also necessary to point out the findings of the Estonian physicist T.Neeme. He experimentally confirmed an accelerated deposition of colloidal solutions under the impact of human bioenergy’
That’s some wild stuff right there. Of special interest is the possible connection with the Beer-Lambert Principle, predicting what happens when matter absorbs electromagnetic energy. Similar phenomenon was observed by the BLT Research Team3 in their crop circle studies. Going a step further, there’s a curious resonance between torsion fields, the Aharonov-Bohm effect with non-local signal transmission, and quantum mechanics. The former two aren’t pseudoscience, but the latter is widely abused among woo-peddlers as a catch-all of unexplainable scientific wonderment. Again, without supporting, peer-reviewed research, Pavlita and company might’ve been talking out their ass to avoid going to a gulag for wasting rubles on what could be perceived as ‘creative busywork’. Current research into torsion fields is headed by UVITOR in Bangkok, Thailand4.
With the collapse of the USSR, the Academy of Science ceased supporting research into torsion fields amidst accusations of embezzling government money. Yet the Ministry of Science, then Defense, continued to fund this line of research until 1997. If this is woo, not maverick science, and dismissed by the Academy of Science then the question remains, “Why hide it?”