Giving PK Parties
by: Lynn Barnes
The belief systems we hold create a lens through which we filter
the world. This lens often limits the possibilities of our experiences
and renders us powerless to achieve different outcomes. In the
realm of healing, acceptance of a disease or symptom can lead
us to expect suffering and nothing else. However, we can alter
our beliefs about ourselves and about our ability to enhance wellness.
My interest in psychokinesis (PK) stems from the perspective that
the power of the mind is important to the healing process. What
we think can create balance or imbalance in our physical functioning.
But what if we dont believe that we have that power? It
often takes personal experience to move us beyond theory and into
acceptance. The purposes of this paper are to document the experiences
of those who tapped into that experience and to discover what
new thoughts arose as a result.
At the Tai Sophia Institute Fall Symposium in September 2002,
I was fortunate to hear Jack Houck, a researcher of PK, talk about
the connection between PK and healing. He has developed an event
called the "PK Party" where people learn and perform
exercises in PK (Houck, 1988). These events seemed to be the perfect
way to assist people in shifting their beliefs regarding their
power to heal. PK parties are a way to open peoples minds
to their inherent abilities and to suggest applications for those
abilities that can improve quality of life.
PK, according to Dale and White, is "the influence of mind
on external objects or processes, without the mediation of known
physical energies or forces" (1986). Such phenomena have
been documented for centuries and their manifestation takes many
forms. PK theories are used to explain paranormal events including
miracles performed by mystics, spontaneous healing, the appearance
of stigmata, apparitions or other materializations, levitations,
and even the placebo effect (Talbot, 1991). Scientists have investigated
countless PK events, recording both anecdotal and experimental
evidence (Heath, 2003). Believers and skeptics alike continue
to debate the validity of PK research. However, Braude (1991)
suggests that the intention of the experimenter may induce PK
in the most meticulously designed laboratory research, thereby
unwittingly contaminating results. Regardless of the debate, PK
phenomena continue to fascinate and confound people all over the
PK parties were conducted over a six-month period. The parties
varied in size and composition. One to three facilitators with
previous PK party experience assisted me. The intended ratio was
one assistant for every 20 participants.
The procedure for the parties closely followed guidelines established
by Jack Houck (Houck, March 1982) and began with a history of
PK parties. Since my personal interest is in the applications
of PK to healing, participants were then guided through an imagery
exercise to illustrate the mind-body connection. The exercise
required participants to imagine that they were biting into a
lemon and to notice what sensations arose, if any. Common responses
included tightening of the jaws, spontaneous salivation, and grimacing.
This opened up a conversation about the minds ability to
create physiological changes in the body.
Next, participants received an introduction to dowsing using a
pendulum and a two-finger technique. Participants practiced dowsing
and then used the techniques to select flatware for kindergarten
bending. Instructions for the two-finger technique are as follows:
Extend the index and third fingers on one hand and move one finger
up as you move the other finger down. Allow the fingers to gently
touch as they move. Ask the fingers to show you yes
and no. Notice what feels different as the fingers
Participants were then given instructions on kindergarten bending.
Bending at this level consisted of using PK to soften the metal
of a spoon or fork and then manually bending the object. Houck
calls this process "warm-forming" (1988). After participants
bent two or three pieces at that level, they were encouraged to
perform PK at the high school level (using two hands to bend objects
that cannot be bent by normal human strength). This included manual
bending of rods and buckling of silver-plated spoons. Participants
were also given the opportunity to use PK to sprout seeds in their
hands. The party concluded with all participants receiving and
following instructions on graduate level bending. At this level,
forks bent spontaneously without manual intervention. Each PK
party ended with participants sharing their experiences with the
group and offering ways they would use what they learned.
Instructions for performing PK included three steps: connect,
command, and release. The connection step was a guided imagery
exercise. Participants were instructed to concentrate on an imaginary
point high above their heads. They were then to connect that point
with a point in the middle of their brain and to allow that connection
to intensify. Next they were to imagine that the connection was
spreading down through the neck, shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers
and into the flatware.
The facilitator then counted to three and all participants shouted
the command, "Bend! Bend! Bend!" Finally, participants
were instructed to release the intention and to go about interacting
with others at the party. The procedure for sprouting seeds was
similar except the command was "Sprout! Sprout! Sprout!"
Party #1: April 13, 2003
The first PK party consisted of 65 participants who were graduate
students, faculty and staff from Tai Sophia Institute and community
members of various ages and backgrounds. Three of the participants
were known to have attended a PK party before. Three facilitators
conducted the event.
Results: All but 8 participants were able to perform kindergarten
bending (Photos 1, 2, and 3). During this stage, one young girls
spoon bent spontaneously in her lap. At the high school level,
one participant made a small bend in a rod; two others created
heat and had the sensation of the rod softening. There were no
reports of seed sprouting. Seven people noticed changes in their
graduate forks˜one 13-year old boy and two younger children had
noticeable bends in theirs.
Notes: The room for this event was quite large and the group was
spread out in a circle. I observed that some of the attendees
who were unsuccessful in bending were reluctant to mingle. Soybean
seeds, recommended by Jack Houck (Houck, May 1988) were unavailable,
so Blue Lake bean seeds were used. The lack of seed sprouting
success raises the question of PK on different types of seeds.
1. Kindergarten bending at PK Party #1
Photo 2. Kindergarten bending by 13-year old
Photo 3. Various bent spoons and forks at PK Party #1
PK Party #2: July 12, 2003
The composition of the second PK party included a diverse group
of 29 participants recruited from the community. Three facilitators
led the PK party. Only one participant had attended a PK party
Results: Twenty-six participants bent flatware at the kindergarten
level. No one bent at the high school level, although four participants
sprouted soybean seeds. Five were able to bend forks at the graduate
level to some extent.
Notes: Two people mentioned that they successfully bent at the
kindergarten level once they isolated themselves from the group.
PK Party #3: August 21, 2003
The third PK party had 20 participants and was comprised mostly
of community college students, faculty, and staff. Two facilitators
conducted the party. One participant had attended a previous PK
party. Due to the unavailability of soybean seeds, sprouting was
not included in this PK party.
Results: Eighteen of the 20 participants successfully bent at
the kindergarten level (Photo 4). No bending occurred at the high
school level. Six participants reported fork bending at the graduate
Notes: During the dowsing instructions, it appeared that people
became very relaxed and it was hard to bring up the energy in
4. Kindergarten bending at PK Party #3
PK Party #4: October 2, 2003
The last PK party discussed in this paper consisted of 45 participants,
mostly community college students and a small number of faculty
and staff. Three facilitators led the PK party. One participant
had attended the party in August.
Results: Forty participants bent flatware at the kindergarten
level. Six participants sprouted soybean seeds. Two participants
reported heat while applying PK to metal rods. Although only eight
participants demonstrated graduate level bending, one participant
had dramatic results (Photo 5).
Notes: This group was not entirely self-selected. The majority
of participants were required to attend as part of a student development
course. Many of the participants were in their late teens and
did not seem to be serious about the activity.
Photo 5. Graduate level bending at PK Party #4
Summary of Results
Regardless of the number of participants at the PK parties, roughly
89% were able to bend at the kindergarten level (Table 1). This
is in line with the success rates of 85% reported by Jack Houck
(March 1982). High school level results were inconsistent. This
is not surprising given that the success at this level was mostly
due to seed sprouting which was not offered at all parties. No
one was able to buckle a silver-plated spoon. Between 11 and 30
percent of participants reported PK effects at the graduate level.
Interestingly, graduate level bending occurred more often at the
party with the fewest participants.
Table 1. Comparisons of outcomes among four PK parties.
Participants were asked to write about their PK experiences, how
these experiences shifted their beliefs, and how they continued
to apply the principles of PK, if at all. The excerpts that follow
are in their own words:
I was excited about going to my first PK Party, but had been
thinking, "Great, I'll be the only one in the room who doesn't
bend their spoon or fork." At first nothing happened,
but I continued to walk around the room, talking with others there,
while trying to bend my fork. All of a sudden, my fork bent!
I was really excited. I realized I had relaxed and just
let it happen. I proceeded to bend a spoon, in no time at
have been to my second PK Party, and enjoyed it just as much as
the first one. And, I bent another fork and spoon!
thing I noticed was that the children were some of the first who
were able to bend their forks and spoons. I believe
that is because they are a lot less inhibited than adults
I have discovered through your PK workshops (and other experiences)
that we haven't yet begun to understand what the mind, spirit
and body, together in harmony, are capable of doing. This experience
has inspired me to investigate further how the mind can be utilized
to a far greater good than I first thought possible. - RM
I think the PK experience occurred at the perfect time for
me. It helped me to know how powerful my intentions are, and,
when I'm aware of my connection to the universe, I am empowered
to do things that might seem impossible. I believe this realization
helped prepare me for my vision quest last summer. I thought,
"If I can bend a spoon with my mind, I can
do a vision quest" - and I did! I've learned through
these experiences that there is nothing to fear in life. There
is an inexhaustible source of energy available to me to use to
heal and strengthen myself and others. I'm doing my second independent
study in medical QiGong, and I realize that the energy that I
bring through my body to cleanse and heal it when I practice
QiGong is the same energy I used to bend spoons! Learning PK
opened up exciting new possibilities for me. Thank you! - BB
What I thought was even more incredible than realizing the power
of thought and recognizing that I can alter my physical experience
was learning what it feels like to literally let go. We
use that concept so often and yet realizing what it feels like
to let go was really powerful. When my first fork would
not bend and I could not figure out how to let go (I think
my exact words were..."I am here to bend forks, how do I
just forget about it !?") you told me that perhaps I needed
a different fork. As soon as I went to put it down, the
metal got warm and I was able to bend it. The fork allowed
me to identify the moment where the letting go took place. Now
I know and can identify the physical sensation of 'letting go'.
The PK experience was a confirmation of the energy within to transform
without. It also spoke to me about allowing the Source to move
the intention and when it is from love and partnership it is profoundly
healing. I have since accessed this energy frequently, especially
in fear. - LG
The most important thing I learned was that matter and life circumstances
are not as solid and intractable as I had assumed before I bent
my first fork and spoon. While I have not yet progressed to the
bar, I have enjoyed staying present to phenomena with more patience
while doing my hands-on bodywork and acupuncture, with better
more immediate results for my clients. I now have a commitment
to maintaining the connection between my hands and taking advantage
of the windows of change as soon as they arise. - LM
I will tell you that my older daughter wrote a paper about the
bent spoons and forks that sit on top of my dresser. It was a
powerful experience that rippled out to serve the children and
the 7 generations. Thank you so much. - DF
I felt that the PK experience heightened my awareness that intention
along with energetics can create change. It often was a concept
used in acupuncture school and obviously being an acupuncturist
I believe in energetics and changing energetics. What was new
was seeing how intending and voicing this intention then allowed
the group to bend the spoons. This was an invaluable practical
way to see something that seems so vague to be more tangible.
Implications from a Five-Element Perspective
Five-Element Theory is an ancient Chinese way of looking at phenomena
in the world. It has its roots in the observation of nature and
its cycles. Each of the elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, water)
has associations and gifts that can be used as metaphors for understanding
any aspect of life (Connelly, 1994). The following paragraphs
reflect questions based on each of the elements as a way to integrate
this study of PK.
Wood -What new possibilities exist?
At the beginning of each PK party I asked the following questions:
1) Who thinks that it is possible to use PK to bend spoons and
forks, and 2) Who here thinks they can do it? Almost all participants
reported they believe in the power of PK. The percentage that
thought that they could perform PK, however, was consistently
25 percent or less. Since the success rate at kindergarten level
is over 85%, the shift in beliefs was remarkable!
One of the most powerful benefits many participants gained from
their PK experience was increased self-confidence and self-awareness.
A number of participants suggested the value of hosting PK Parties
for school children. Being able to perform a task that may have
been unthinkable opens up the possibility for students of all
ages. So much of education focuses on linear, predictable thinking
patterns. PK bending could encourage people to think outside of
their usual paradigm.
Fire -What partnerships can evolve?
The premise of the PK Party is to create a Peak Emotional Event
that increases the probability of the mind influencing matter.
The effectiveness of PK to heal the body could therefore be intensified
through the group experience. The synergy of a group has long
been recognized. People often comment that they become inspired
when learning self-healing techniques; however, they often become
fearful or complacent when they return to their lives. By supporting
one another and creating group energy, participants could build
a practice around self-healing. The intention, therefore, is to
establish small community healing groups using PK principles.
Note: The fire element is associated with the emotion joy. Any
strong emotion can be used to produce a Peak Emotional Event.
For the purposes of the PK Party, joy was the emotion that was
created for the Peak Emotional Event.
Earth - How does this serve?
Connection is the first step of this particular PK methodology.
At a time when connection often appears to be lacking, people
often create the illusion of connection through technology such
as email, chat rooms, text messaging, and voicemail. The PK Party
creates genuine connection at many levels. First, it reminds participants
of the connection we have to the universal energy source. For
many people this is interpreted as a spiritual connection. Second,
it allows participants to connect with the material being worked.
As one participant remarked, connecting with the material reinforced
her belief that everything is energy, everything is connected,
and everything comes from oneness. Finally, it creates a connection
among people as they interact and form new relationships. Bonding
occurred among many participants as they experienced success and
encouraged each other. Also, many people reported being pleased
to be among others who did not view PK as "weird". It
serves for people to know that they are not alone.
Metal - What is the lesson of letting go?
Numerous PK Party participants commented that the most challenging
part of PK is the third step, releasing the intention. In a culture
that emphasizes being in control in order achieve, this challenge
is understandable. However, the analytical left side of the brain
often interferes with the psychic right side of the brain. Trust
is required when accessing PK abilities. When we set the intention,
we must allow the intention to be carried out. Attempting to control
all stages of a process may restrict energy flow and impede natural
process. As L.S. noted, "I realized I had relaxed and just
let it happen." How much stress do people experience as a
result of micro-managing their lives? Setting intention, taking
necessary action, and then relaxing may be the best way to create
what we really want.
Water - What new questions arise?
The demonstration of the minds ability to break down physical
structures (as in the case of warm-forming) forwards the question
of the minds ability to strengthen dense physical structures,
as well. As Talbot reported, PK has been successfully used to
heal bone fractures (1991). How effective could PK be in rebuilding
tooth enamel? Given the toxicity of many substances used in dentistry,
this may be an area worthy of study.
Another topic for exploration would be the effect of the Peak
Emotional Event on healing in hospitals. Dr. O. Carl Simonton,
among many others, has discovered the positive influence that
optimism has on healing (Talbot, 1991). However, my limited personal
observation is that hospitals tend to be filled with negative
emotion˜fear, grief, sometimes anger. Although any strong emotion
can be used for PK, do these emotions facilitate or hinder the
healing process? Would the introduction of joy as the prevalent
emotion create more successful outcomes?
Applications for Project of Excellence
One of the most profound discoveries of the PK party observations
is the shift in beliefs that occurs. When asked, most participants
believed that the mind could bend metal; however, only a small
percentage believed that they, themselves, had that ability.
A key component of my Project of Excellence is to help others
to examine their belief systems and how those beliefs facilitate
or create barriers to their healing. Spoon bending can be an embodied
experience of suspending beliefs and letting go.
Bending spoons and forks is more than a parlor game. It is a study
of the minds potential power for healing. As mind-body medicine
takes a more prominent role in healthcare, accessing this power
becomes paramount. There is increased acknowledgement of the effect
of thoughts on wellness. Focused intention, therefore, takes that
effect into a constructive direction.
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