Hasted, John B(arrett) (1921– )
British physicist who conducted important research in parapsychology
and paraphysics. Hasted began his professional
training as a chemist, then worked in the field of physics at the
Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, England, during World War II.
He was responsible for important developments in the microwave
region of the electromagnetic spectrum in communications
and was a reader in physics at the University College of
London. His published works include Physics of Atomic Collisions
(1964) and Aqueous Diaelectrics (1973). He was also a professor
of experimental physics at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Hasted conducted experiments on psychokinesis with the
psychic Uri Geller. These experiments, together with those of
colleagues David Bohm, Edward W. Bastin, and Brendan
O’Regan, took place between February and September 1974 at
Birkbeck College and were designed to investigate Geller’s
abilities in metal bending, deforming crystals, and activating
a Geiger counter without touching it. Witnesses at some of the
sessions included authors Arthur Koestler and Arthur C.
Clarke. The results, which were largely successful, were reported
in the paper ‘‘Experiments on Psychokinetic Phenomena,’’
by Bohm, Bastin, Hasted, and O’Regan (1976). Hasted subsequently
conducted experiments with many children who
claimed to be able to reproduce the Geller effect.
Because there have been frequent criticisms that metalbending
experiments are not properly controlled and that children,
in particular, are given to blatant fraud, Hasted took care
to experiment under conditions in which touching the targets
was ruled out and observers closely watched the experiments,
some of which were videotaped.
Hasted also devoted special attention to what happens to
metal during paranormal bending. The targets are connected
with a strain gauge to register the strength of the deformation.
Hasted suggests that children may have special aptitude in
paranormal bending in the same way that they are often centers
of disturbance in poltergeist phenomena. In contrast to
John Taylor, author of Superminds (1975), who discounted the
possibility of an electromagnetic phenomenon being involved,
Hasted believes there is evidence of an electromagnetic field in
paranormal metal bending.
Sources
Hasted, John B. The Metal-benders. London Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1981.
Hasted, John B., David Bohm, Edward W. Bastin, and Brendan
O’Regan. ‘‘Experiments on Psychokinetic Phenomena.’’ In
The Geller Papers Scientific Observations on the Paranormal Powers
of Uri Geller, edited by Charles Panati. Boston, Mass. Houghton
Mifflin, 1976.
Taylor, John. Science and the Supernatural. New York E. P.
Dutton, 1980.
———. Superminds. London Macmillan, 1975.