Lynne McTaggart’s Intention Experiments (Part1)

Intention Experiments and the "Power of 8"

Lynne McTaggart, an investigative reporter, may have stumbled onto something, that even she finds hard to believe: “You can have a thought and send it to someone else and make them better,” she said in an interview with Sue Lundquist, host of The Gratitude Café.”1 Continuing she said, “That in itself undermines everything we think about how the world works. So I wanted to find out how far can we take this?”

Bryan Hubbard and Lynne McTaggart relaunching
“What Doctors Don’t Tell You” in its new international print format.

For McTaggart, this began when she fell ill decades ago and started looking at alternative medicine. As she studied, she wrote about what works and what doesn’t in alternative and conventional medicine. Eventually, her research and writing became a newsletter called What Doctors Don’t Tell You. Today this magazine is an international publication that she and her husband, Bryan Hubbard, publish.

In the interview mentioned above, McTaggart explained how in the course of her work she kept coming across studies of spiritual healing, which interested her. “I started doing a lot of investigating and talked to a lot of scientists. I found that many of them are really on the verge of a completely new understanding of how the world works and how we work.” As she collected information she wrote The Field, as a “scientific detective story presenting a stunning picture of an interconnected universe and a new scientific theory that makes sense of supernatural phenomena.”2

“In the course of trying to find a scientific explanation for homeopathy and spiritual healing, I had inadvertently uncovered the makings of a new science.”3 The science of intention can be defined as “a purposeful plan to perform an action, which will lead to a desired outcome.”4

In the last decade, intention has become a buzzword of sorts and may not mean what you think. An intention, as she describes it, uses the power of human thought to change things in our physical world. For some, this might be a prayer, meditation, or it could be just sending out specific desires to the universe. For McTaggart, “To think is to affect,” may be a way to sum up her use of the word.

In describing this she explained that we as observers have “an effect on reality. And there is evidence that our thoughts have the capacity to change physical matter. … [But] there was one thing nagging at me, which is this whole idea that thoughts are an actual something with the capacity to change physical matter.” So she decided to “put this to the ultimate test” and invited her readers worldwide to participate in large group “intention experiments.”5

During her various experiments, she stated that essentially she created, “the largest global laboratory in the world. “We’ve run 30 of these things so far.” she said. “And 26 have shown measurable, positive, significant effects. There’s no drug out there that’s got that kind of track record and we’re talking about everything from very subtle influences on certain processes of a leaf to making plants grow faster, to purifying water, changing the ph of water, seeking peace for violence in war-torn areas, and to even healing someone of PTSD.” 6

The Plant Leaf Experiments

As described in our post, The Intention Experiment and the “Power of 8”, McTaggart and her colleague Dr. Gary Schwartz from the University of Arizona, conducted experiments initially with leaves and later seeds to see if intention could be proven.

In their first experiment,  Mark Boccuzzi, Schwartz’s lab assistant, used a 50-step protocol to painstakingly select two geranium leaves identical in terms of size and number of light (biophoton) emissions. “Both [leaves] would be subjected to the same conditions, but only one would be sent intention. Although the participants would know our target, the scientists would not be told until they’d calculated the results,”7 she explained in her report.

The leaves were punctured sixteen times in an identical pattern. Then a special CCD camera system was used to photograph light emissions from living things recorded the results of both the target and the control leaf. Images of both were projected to the audience by webcam.

Without the knowledge of the two scientists in the Arizona lab, McTaggart directed her London audience to focus intention on the test leaf that had just been selected by a toss of a coin. After she engaged the audience in a “Powering Up” exercise, she told them, “to attempt to increase the light emissions by using their thoughts to make the leaf ‘glow and glow.’”8

For ten minutes, each attendee focused on the target leaf. Then both leaves were photographed for two hours with this result according to the scientist in Arizona, “You won’t believe it,” he said. “The leaf sent intention was glowing so much compared with the other leaf that it seems like the other leaf had a ‘neglect effect.’”8

The SeedGermination Intention Experiments

One month later, in April 2007, they began a series of seed experiments, but these did not reach statistical significance as there were too few seeds in the tests. They were undeterred and pushed forward inspired by the works of Bernard Grad, Serena Roney-Dougal and Jerry Solfvina. These British and Canadian researchers tested the germination power of water held by a healer or where intention was directed by a “healer” at seeds “to affect the health and growth of lettuce plants on a commercial organic farm.’”9

For their new tests, McTaggart, Dr. Schwartz, and Mark Boccozzi chose barley seeds, food of choice for both livestock and humans in many countries.

McTaggart rallied her followers in locations worldwide to test their findings. She wrote, “In each of these experiments, we asked the audience to choose one of four sets of [barley] seeds (30 seeds per set) and then sent an intention for the seeds to grow ‘at least 3 cm by the fourth day of growing.’”10  Participants in the study were in her live audiences (or contributed over the Internet) from areas like Sydney, Australia (600 participants); Hilton Head, North Carolina (500 healing practitioners ); Palm Springs, California (130); Rheinbeck, New York (100);  and Austin, Texas (120). In all, there were twelve growth experiments, six controls and six with intention given, all were “carried out under rigorous scientific conditions, with painstaking protocol followed.”11

Studies were conducted with controls in a lab by scientist, Dr. Schwartz and his lab technician Mark Boccozzi (who was kept blind to the seed set selected). They planted 120 seeds under standardized conditions, which after five days, “were harvested and their lengths measured showing that the intention had a robust effect.”12  In a total of six separate experiments, 1440 seeds were tested.

An intention, as she describes it, uses the power of human thought to change things in our physical world. For some, this might be a prayer expressed in behalf of the seeds, meditation toward seed growth, or it could be just sending out good thoughts for the seeds’ welfare. But whenever human action exercised “focus intention” toward growth, in each test case, there was a 30 percent increase of height in sprouts where an intention was employed compared to a control group where none was used.

According to her report, McTaggart wrote, “The only important factor appears to be experience. The audience in Hilton Head, South Carolina, which included 500 long-time practitioners of Healing Touch, produced the most profound effect. These were people who were practiced in the use of intention.

The intention from Hamburg Germany was directed at a jar like this in the Arizona lab.

“This suggests that with intention, practice and experience count.”13 They further tested that idea in June and July , 2008, “but this time we would send the ‘grow’ instructions to the water, not directly to the seeds themselves.”14

Using a group of experienced healers in Hamburg, Germany, she showed the audience four bottles of water in the Arizona lab. At random they selected one and directed intention directed to the water so that all seeds given it would sprout at least three inches by the fourth day of growth.

Thirty barley seeds were added to each jar of water in the lab without technicians there knowing which jar had received the intention to soak. The seeds were removed, planted and soaked with the same water.

While the seeds watered with the intention jar were .11 cm higher, all the seeds from that jar sprouted. In the other jars, only 90 percent had sprouted, but the study was too small, making the results once again statistically insignificant.

From these experiments, McTaggart started her water experiments.

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1 Lynne McTaggart, Harnessing the Miraculous Energies,  The Gratitude Cafe Podcast, October 21, 2017
2 Lynne McTaggart, jacket description to The Field, at Amazon
3 Lynne McTaggart,  The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World, Atria Books. Kindle Edition.
4 B. F. Malle et al., Intentions and Intentionality: Foundations of Social Cognition, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001
5  The Gratitude Cafe Podcast
6  Ibid.
7 Lynne McTaggart, The Leaf Intention Experiment, downloadable PDF
8  Ibid.
9 Lynne McTaggart, The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World, Atria Books, Kindle Edition, Prologue
10 The Germination Intention Experiments
11Lynne McTaggart, The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World, Atria Books, Kindle Edition, Prologue
12 Ibid. Germination
13 Ibid. Germination
14 The Water Germination Experiments

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