The publication of Lynn Schroeder and Sheila Ostrander's book Psychic Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain in 1971 created both a major sensation among the public and sent shock wakes rippling through western governments. Although US intelligence agencies had attempted to penetrate the vale of secrecy surrounding Soviet research into parapsychology during the 1960's, it wasn't until Schroeder and Ostrander exposed the astonishing degree to which the Soviets had succeeded in harnessing psychic forces - both for healing and killing in 'psychic warfare' applications-  that western governments finally began to take notice. A response that probably triggered America's  instigation of it's own covert programs to develop psychic abilities for espionage leading inevitably to a super power escalation of what later came to be called the race for 'inner space'. 




Historically Russia's long involvement with the paranormal has engendered what Schroeder describes as " a huge breeding ground for the development of psychic phenomenon." Up to the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 Shamanism and witchcraft were widely practiced in rural areas, while the Russian Orthodox Church often endorsed miraculous cures and other supernatural activity. Russia's most infamous practitioner of the paranormal, the 'mad monk' Rasputin, held enormous influence over the Tsar's family and therefore the whole of Russia because of his apparent ability to heal Tsar Alexander's hemophilic son. 



After the implementation of Communism and it's official endorsement of atheism, interest in the paranormal became a taboo subject, however during the 1960's this restriction thawed and the governments of many eastern block countries began to allocate huge resources devoted to a detailed investigation of Psi phenomenon including: telepathy, prophecy, psychic healing and psychokinisis (PK) - the ability of mind to remotely influence matter.  When Ostrander and Schroeder first visited the Soviet Union in 1968 they discovered some twenty centers for the study of the paranormal and an estimated annual budget of up to 20 million rubles. (aprox $21 million).  Initially much of this budget was allocated for benevolent research into how psychic forces could be utilized to heal or help mankind. Later under orders from Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB from 1967 to 1982 ( and later Premier of the USSR), the budget mushroomed to 500 million rubles as the Soviet's aim of developing weapons of psychic warfare to tip the balance of power in the Cold War went into high gear.



"Unlike the skeptical and conservative attitude which still pervades western scientific circles, " states Ostrander, "Soviet Psi research has long attracted some of the country's top thinkers. These scientists are not restricted to conducting experiments that aim solely to establish the reality of psychic abilities, as has occurred in the west. For the Soviets, Psi functioning is a scientific fact, their main concern is how and why it works." 

One of the pioneers of Soviet parapsychology, Edward Naumov, invited Ostrander and Schroeder to the first International Conference on ESP held in 1968 in Moscow. At this conference the authors were introduced to many of the countries leading Psi experts who often risked jail or worse by divulging how far Soviet research had come.  





Ostrander and Schroeder also gained access to information on many of the USSR's most famous paranormal practitioners two of whom included: Nelya Mikhailova, whose talent for moving objects by psychokinesis was the most widely tested in the world. (SEE THE AFTERLIFE INVESTIGATIONS)





And Rosa Kuleshova, who repeatedly demonstrated the ability to describe colors or the content of photographs by touch alone.  Although Psychic Discoveries behind the Iron Curtain is packed with a wealth of amazing information, perhaps one of the most exciting finds made by the authors and one unknown in the west, was the revolutionary invention of Kirlian Photography, a process that enables the invisible bio-energetic pattern, or aura, of all living things to be recorded on film. 



Kirlian photography was discovered accidentally in 1939 by Semyon Kirlian yet it took decades for the Soviet authorities to recognize it's revolutionary potential. The process works by passing a very high frequency electric field (75-200,00 Hz) through living tissue which is usually placed between two metal plates or electrodes. This allows the invisible energetic pattern unique to that tissue to be recorded on a photographic plate. Researchers discovered that when a human hand was photographed the outline of the physical flesh was surrounded by a glowing corona. It was later discovered that as the emotional state of the person changed so did the color, pattern and activity of this discharge. 




Clairvoyants have always maintained they can see a radiant luminous field of energy that surrounds the human body and depictions of this can be seen throughout religious art in most countries. Eastern traditions teach that humans posses a subtle energy body that interpenetrates the gross body and extends out beyond the physical envelope; often referred to as the double or astral body. In other traditions the life force energy that comprises this invisible envelope is called Prana or Chi and it is the flow of this energy that eastern healing practices like acupuncture attempt to balance. So are the energetic patters recorded in Kirlian photographs the life force energy described in esoteric traditions? Many Russian researchers believe this to be the case. The so called 'phantom leaf', experiment, first conducted by Victor Adamenco, provides some of the most persuasive evidence for this position.  Here a Kirlian image is made of a complete and fresh leaf. It is then cut in half and another exposure made. Instead of seeing the energetic pattern immediately shrink to the size of half the leaf an image of the entire leaf remains intact. This provides clear evidence that some kind of self-organizing bio-electric field persists despite the absence of the physical. The process is analogous to a hologram. If part of a hologram is removed the complete image can still be reproduced.





Numerous experiments were carried out with Kirlian photography at the Kirov State University of Kazakhstan where the scientists concluded that all living things had a ' counter part body of energy' accompanying the physical which they called " The Biological Plasma Body." What stunned these researchers was the finding that the bioluminescence visible in Kirlian pictures was caused solely by this bioplasma and not by any electrical activity in the body. Remarkably they discovered it was ' a whole unified organism in itself' and could thus be seen as the invisible matrix underlying the organization of all living things.





Kirlian photography was used extensively to test for and monitor psychic healers. Dr. Victor Inyushin, originator of the bio-plasma theory, had possible healers hold sheaves of live wheat which were then photographed. If the photographs revealed an increase in the vital activity of the wheat they signified someone who had potential as a healer. In other tests a transfer of bio-plasmic energy could be seen moving from the hands of the healer into the field of the sick person.



Dr. Mikhail Gaikin used Kirlian photography to confirm the findings of the ancient Chinese art of acupuncture. Conducting full body images he discovered that light flared most brilliantly on Kirlian images at positions corresponding exactly to the chief acupuncture points. Throughout the USSR, Kirlian photographs were used as a powerful diagnostic tool. By looking at the condition of the 'bio-plasmic' field it was possible to predict ahead of time if a person would fall ill and what the nature of the illness would be. A  similar process is used in agriculture to analyse the condition of crops. The Kirlian images provide experts with early warnings of which crops are likely to fail long before the actual disease is present physically in the plant's tissue.




Today the use of Kirlian photographic equipment throughout the Russian medical establishment is second only to X-ray machines. 



If Kirlian photography could record on film some kind of psychic energy found in all living things then the psychotronic generators developed by Czech inventor Robert Pavlita appear to be able to store, amplify and project it. Ostrander and Schroeder managed to visit Pavlita and test a number of his devices. They witnessed the generators being charged and then attracting various materials like glass, bread and matches, none of which would be affected by magnetic forces. Similar attractions occurred under water which eliminated the possibility the forces were electrostatic. Other demonstrations included the devices killing insects by directing psychic charges at them. 



In controlled experiments conducted in laboratories psychotronic generators beamed their mysterious energy at dye-filled polluted water in sealed jars. Later the water became completely clear and scientists concluding this could not have occurred by any chemical process. Astonishingly analysis of the water revealed molecular changes with the hydrogen atoms having been spread further apart. A similar result was found when healers concentrated positive emotional energy into jars of water in their hands. It was found that water that had been positively 'charged' enhanced the growth of plants while water that was charged with negative emotions caused plant growth to be stunted.

Czech researchers believe that the bio energy accumulated by psychotronic generators comes from a person's entire bio-plasmic energy field and it is this energy that is behind PK and may be the basis of dowsing and other psychic phenomena. Pavlita revealed that the secret of the generators is in their form. " It is the shape that lets you accumulate this energy and turn it to whatever purpose you want." He stated. H e explained that devices could be constructed which could accumulate not only bio-plasmic energy from living organisms but also 'cosmic energy' from the environment. The shape of the great pyramid which has been shown to affect plant growth, desiccate living tissue and of course sharpen razor blades, was, he believed,  a good example of a generator that worked on cosmic energy.



Major General Oleg Kalugin head of the former KGB's foreign counter intelligence admitted that the Soviets had managed to duplicate much of Pavlita's work and take it to far more sophisticated and deadly level. He stated they had ' transformed human psychic power into a practical, controllable resource,' indicating they could do things like trigger devices like a terrorist bomb solely by the power of mind.




Edward Naumov warned the authors " A psychotronic generator can influence an  individual or whole crowd. It can affect people mentally or emotionally causing changes  in their memory and attention span."  He further explained it could cause fatigue, disorientation or arouse fear, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Just how far the Soviets were prepared  to go in perverting the manipulation of psychic forces was exposed by Dr. Nilolai Khokhlov, a former KGB agent who defected and was hired by the CIA to investigate secret Psi research in the USSR. He revealed that hundreds of top scientists were working in well funded heavily guarded labs on a multitude of negative psychic experiments.  Some of these horrors included the ability to stop a lab animal's heart. An experiment aimed at using PK to kill people remotely. Baby rabbits were separated from their mother and electrocuted to gauge the mother's telepathic response. (An effect called Bio-rapport). Death row prisoners were used as unwitting test subjects in experiments that used PK to paralyze sections of their spines. Reluctant army draftees fighting in the Afghan war were treated with devices that used specific frequencies to affect the brain and stimulate feelings of extreme courage in an attempt to eradicate fear. 

Naumov revealed that the KGB and other Soviet organisations spent half a billion rubles developing a vast array of psychotronic equipment and his critical views on Russia's brutal mind control experiments cost him a year in a labor camp.  In 1974 when scientists at the Popov Lab complained about the depraved nature of the Psi experiments they were fired, the facility closed and a new lab set up with more cooperative scientists.

An indication of how some of this psychic weaponry was utilized in the field was exposed by General Kalugin shortly after the collapse of the Soviet regime. Kalugin was informed by a source in a military lab in the Ukraine that psychotronic weapons were being used against the new president Boris Yeltsin in an attempt to destroy his already shaky health and slowly kill him. Coincidentally Yeltsin did in fact suffer a heart attack shortly  after the coup and he must have taken the threat of psychotronic weapons seriously since it was  known that he surrounded himself with psychics and healers who attempted to shield and protect him.



Psychotronic warfare was definitely waged on the occupants of the US embassy in Moscow.  Dr. Robert Becker who investigated the affects on embassy staff reported many had unusual mental and physical symptoms. US Ambassador Walter Stoessel suffered from headaches,bleeding eyes and poor concentration he was later shown to have contracted a disease similar to Leukemia. Two other Ambassadors returned to the US sick and shortly afterwards died of cancer. Although it was thought these effects were caused by bombardment from microwaves, Ostrander believes the Soviets probably used a variety of psychotronic devices including Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation which acted as carriers of information aimed at inducing depression, illness and remote manipulation of behavior.





Ostander and Schroeder's research has exposed the incredible potential inherent in the use of psychic forces. A potential that the west is still largely ignorant of. Although the Soviet regime devoted huge resources into developing a new arsenal of psychic weapons, perverting psychic abilities for destructive and coercive use, Soviet research has also established scientifically how those same forces can be harnessed for medical diagnosis and healing . As Ostrander concludes " Psychic power is a natural human ability, inherent in 

all of us. It is a tool and therefore neutral. What matters is intention. Whether we use it for good or evil - that is of course our choice." 



One of the many discoveries the KGB took from Soviet scientists and developed into a new weapon, was the ability to transmit disease at a distance. As far back as the 1930's Dr. Alexander Gurvitch discovered that living cells produce invisible emissions, which he called ' mitogenic radiation'. In the 1970's Dr. Vlail Kaznacheyev took photomultipliers, (the technology used in night vision equipment which amplifies light ) to capture the tiny emissions of mitogenic radiation and decode the signals they contained. In thousands of experiments Dr. Kaznacheynev showed that these tiny luminescent radiations transmit information from one group of cells to another. Cells infected with a virus and completely sealed into a quartz container were able to affect healthy cells in an adjacent container, by transmitting disease remotely through 'mitogenic radiation'.  When Kaznacheynev reversed these frequencies he discovered that tissues would heal. On hearing of this discovery the KGB set up secret lab to build a weapon that used carrier waves in which were embedded frequencies taken from diseased tissues. This was then projected at human targets in order to induce sickness.






Rosa Kuleshova was Russia's most famous exponent of 'Dermal vision' the remarkable ability to describe colours and even 'read' print purely through the sense of touch alone. Her abilities were extensively tested and confirmed by numerous Soviet scientists. In experiments Kuleshova was able to discern the color and hight of liquids in 

a glass tube. She could 'read' arithmetic problems off a TV screen and describe the face of individuals just by touching their photograph. To eliminate the possibility that this information was conveyed by minute variations in the color's temperature all heat was drained from a rainbow projected onto her hand. She was still able to describe the order of the colored spectrum. Kuleshova was also able to determine the correct color even when a sheet of glass was placed between her fingers and the object she sensed.  Scientists were able to train first sighted students and then a selection of the blind to see colors by touch. Students of dermal vision stated that they could distinguish different colors because they caused different sensations which they described as ranging from smooth, sticky to rough.







Ostander and Schroeder were shown films of one of the Soviet Union's greatest psychic stars- Nelya Mikhaliova (Later Nelya Kulagina) whose psychokenitic abilities were extensively tested by scientists for over thirty years. In the filmed demonstrations Mikhaliova holds her hands flat over a compass and with massive concentration is able to start spinning the needle. In other displays she is able to move non magnetic objects like scattered matches  across a table. To help eliminate fraud Mikhailova demonstrated her PK abilities by moving objects inside a Plexiglas cube. Mikhailova claims her abilities appeared spontaneously when objects in her apartment started to move. Edward Naumov who participated in a number of tests, stated that her PK demonstrations caused massive strain on her heart and body and that she would shed pounds of wieght in a short period of time. A phenomenon also reported by western practitioners of PK. Dr. Genady Sergeyev of the A.A Uktomskii Physiological Institute developed a special detector capable of measuring electrostatic and magnetic fields near the body. This was used to test Mikhailova and powerful fluctuating fields were detected. Dr.Sergeyev concluded that the pulsation of these fields was some how involved with creating PK.






One of the few paranormal practitioners still able to operate publicly during Stalin's repressive era was Wolf Messing. A celebrated and internationally known psychic who had been examined by people like Einstein, Freud and Gandhi. Messing earned his freedom to perform in the USSR after Stalin challenged him to pull off a psychic bank robbery. He was ordered to steal 100,000 rubles by psychic means from the Moscow Gosbank.  Messing duly complied. He succeeded in hypnotizing a cashier to hand over the money merely by handing the unfortunate man a blank piece of paper. In another test Messing succeeded in penetrating Stalin's heavily guarded dacha by 'mentally suggesting' to the guards he was Lavrenti Beria, Stalin's feared head of Secret Police, leaving him free to walk unimpeded into Stalin's private office.



Tim Coleman has been working as a professional journalist for over thirty years. He has been published in a huge range of magazines and newspapers around the world including: The Guardian, The Independent, FHM Magazine, The Face, Focus, Sky, Skin and Ink, Wienner, Tatowier (Germany) Enigmas (Spain), UFO Magazine (UK and US) X-Factor, Encounters, Kindred Spirit and many more.
"As well as earning a living from being a freelance journalist, I have always found journalism to be the perfect medium to explore subjects that I'm passionate about. This not only allows me to enter deeply into the subject through the research, but it also provides me the honor of meeting key players in that field ."
Tim Coleman
Here is a small selection of my work.