The Effects of Traditional Zulu Healing upon a Random Event Generator

Researchers from Three Circles Research (UK) and the University of Zululand (South Africa) presented the results of a field study in a recent issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. The study investigated how directed mental healing by indigenous healers in South Africa impacted upon the functioning of an Orion random event generator (REG), as the healers attempted to influence the REG’s in customary healing environments.

Twenty izangoma (South African indigenous healers who use divination, mediumship, and psychic healing to assist their clients) in good local standing were recruited by an intermediary of the University of Zululand and paid for their participation. In the healing/intention condition, the izangoma were instructed to hold the REG in their hand, focus their intention directly onto the device, and to concentrate on the transference of “intentional healing” onto the REG as they would do with actual clients for five minutes. In the non-intention condition, each participant simply held the device, but did not consciously attend to it for the same amount of time. Each izangoma completed four trials of each condition, which were presented in a randomized order.

A variety of control measures were incorporated. The REG system was sampled in a secluded environment for a number of trials equal to those that the izangoma had completed. Also, to determine potential experimenter effects, those researchers who were involved in hands-on data collection completed a sample of REG trials under the same protocol as the izangoma.

The only condition in which the REG produced a significant anomaly was the izangomas’ healing/intention condition, thus confirming the experimental hypothesis. These results suggest that traditional Zulu healing may incorporate some level of psi functioning. The authors recommend that similar research be carried out with other indigenous groups from altogether different cultures.

Lumsden-Cook, J.J., Thwala, J. & Edwards, S.D. (2006) The effects of traditional Zulu healing upon a Random Event Generator. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 70(3), 129-137

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