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Is telekinesis real? - Emma Bryce


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TEDEd Animation

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Telekinesis, the ability to manipulate matter with the mind alone, is a trait exhibited by some of the most iconic fictional characters, including Neo, Yoda, and, of course, Carrie. But is this mind control actually possible in real life? Emma Bryce subjects telekinesis to the scientific method.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

Telekinesis, which is taken from the Greek words meaning ‘distant movement’, is something that humans have been claiming is real for a long time. If you want to learn more about the history, a good place to start is to read about some of the famous people who have demonstrated their special powers in public before. You could learn about Eusapia Palladino, who said she could make tables levitate, Édouard Isidore Buguet who could apparently make chairs fly, and Uri Geller, who was famous for bending spoons on stage.

You might also want to learn more about the father of parapsychology, J. B. Rhine, who is credited with trying to turn parapsychology into a more structured area of study. But, bear in mind that parapsychology has a lot of critics too. You can learn why at sites like Skepdic, which debunk pseudoscience. And if you want a good definition of what exactly pseudoscience is, give this a read: it might help you understand why telekinesis is different to the mind-controlled robot we talked about in the video, which you can also read about here.

If you want to learn about telekinesis from a magician, the famous trickster James Randi has a website he dedicates to disproving pseudoscience and helping people to think critically. Skeptic is another online source that has a lot of information about things like telekinesis, and helps to explain why lots of it isn’t true. There’s even a video on that website that explains how people really bend spoons—and it doesn’t involve much mind power!

Finally, we have the scientific method, the tool we can use to try and understand some of the problems associated with telekinesis. To learn about this method and what steps are involved, look at this straightforward guide from How Stuff Works.

And finally, if you need a short break from all this reading, check out this fun TED video from Michael Shermer about ‘Why People Believe Weird Things’, and this TED-Ed series that explores what would happen if superpowers were real.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Emma Bryce
  • Animator Delphine Burrus
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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