Academician's Experiment on the Third Eye
«Rossiyskaya gazeta» 28.06.2002, no. 115 (2983), Friday
A committee of Russian physiologists came to a sensational conclusion
having examined the graduates of the alternative vision school. Experiments which
were held in the strictest way made the scholars with their materialistic views
to admit that eyes are not necessary for seeing.
It's enough to say that it was Natalia Petrovna Bekhtereva, one
of the world's most competent experts in human brain, who headed this committee.
And these were the students of Viacheslav Mikhailovich Bronnikov who were examined.
Bronnikov's Method of teaching to see without one's eyes has always raised doubts
of all physiologists, physicians and sensible people in general; and it still
does. Only some of the scholars can ignore the possible mockery of their sensible
colleagues and bring themselves to restraining their feelings and admitting what
is obvious though unbelievable.
Yuri Petrovich Pytiyev, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical sciences,
professor of the Moscow State University, is one of these courageous scholars.
A few years ago when Bronnikov had but two students Pytiyev had tested them on
request of Viacheslav Mikhailovich. The results were astonishing. Those young
"phenomenons" could not only read any text with a tight bandage on their
eyes, not only discern clearly the surroundings, but they could also send their
"eyes" through a light-proof obstacle, for instance, a wall separating
two rooms, and see what is happening there. I put the word "eyes" in
quotation marks intentionally, for the boys had a feeling that they can use their
eyes in a "free-flying operation". But in fact their eyes stayed with
them, and this means that visual information was founded on some other physical
phenomenon. Bronnikov was actually asking Pytiyev, a physicist, to try to find
out what this phenomenon is. But Pytiyev did not cope with this task.
"I held the experiments correctly to the maximum", Yuri
Petrovich told me. Any tricks in the manner of David Copperfield or Emil Kio are
out of the question. Facts are established firmly: yes, people have other ways
of receiving visual information in addition to eyes. And teaching to use them
is possible. But what are those ways and on what principles they work… alas, I
failed to clear it out. It requires a big group of professional physicists, physicians,
physiologists. That is why I gave up this work hoping that as time goes by more
knowledge would be gained and other researchers would solve this riddle.
It's not that now we dispose of more knowledge about human brain,
but nevertheless there appeared a group of serious physiologists who got interested
in this phenomenon. And there were some objective reasons for that. The Bronnikov's
school keeps working, more and more people master the alternative vision and graduate
from it, and some of them are blind people who have finally learnt to read and
to see their surroundings. Moreover, the Bronnikov Method of training to see with
one's eyes closed is already put into practice in other cities of Russia. Those
who are engaged in this assure that such ability can be obtained by anybody; he
only should be trained to do this. And if this is really so, the problem is already
outside the scope of medicine, it is gaining social importance. For if there appear
people for whom no walls of concrete, no armored safes, and no cartridge paper
of sealed envelopes can guard the secrecy, this must result in changing the usual
social relations. Especially as the number of such people increases and it is
quite possible that this ability of "seeing without eyes" will be inherited
at the genetic level.
Thus the scholars had reasons to treat this phenomenon seriously.
Physiologists headed by Bekhtereva examined seven teenagers from 10 to 17 years
old who had been trained in the alternative vision. Those teenagers had various
"usual" vision levels, some of them saw everything perfectly well, and
some of them were almost blind.
The examination was held the way to eliminate all doubts. No devilry
like "throwing" the eyes through the wall: after all, the scholars who
assembled for this committee are all serious people. The subjects' faces were
completely covered by a mask made of opaque fabric. Then texts from books, leaflets
and advertisements or letters and figures appearing on a computer's display were
offered for reading. Books were absolutely conventional ones, and subjects were
to read them in the usual way without touching pages as not unknown Rosa Kuleshova
used to read in her times. The observers were sitting within three meters from
teenagers; there could be no contact between them. Briefly speaking, the conditions
of this experiment made any fraud impossible.
Alternative vision does not appear automatically, it must be "turned
on" by a conation, and that is what those subjects were doing at the experimentalists'
signal. In this state they could read easily any text, discern any sign, and orientate
themselves in an unknown room. And scholars registered their brains' electroencephalograms
in a "normal" state and while reading with their eyes closed. It appeared
that with the alternative vision turned on the frequency of our brain's electric
activity became higher, especially in frontal regions of head. This proves active
work. Apparently the brain reforms its "operating regime" and starts
using its supercapacities.
Thus, the authoritative Russian scholars could not but admit that
alternative vision really exists. And this matter involves not a phenomenon, not
unique abilities of some people, but a method, because one can learn how to see
without eyes. In article published in Fiziologiya Cheloveka magazine the scholars
use the term "direct vision", that is, vision which passes over usual
optic canal with no projection of the image on the eye retina. At the same time
the brain cells must be activated directly by environment factors, say, by electromagnetic
waves. But there is another hypothesis set up in this article: "Not insisting
on the verity of the working hypotheses, with minimum transition out of the reality,
it can be suggested preliminarily that alternative vision is realized with the
help of the skin. There is no direct evidence for this, but there are several
Here are some of those indirect evidences. During the embryonic
development skin is formed from the same anlage with the nervous system. Those
who master the alternative vision are trained to compare the skin sensations with
the color and other properties of the object. Besides, in nature there already
exists the phenomenon of vision by the body surface; some marine invertebrates
and butterflies see by their skin. Researchers assume that the learning of alternative
vision involves not only the expression of potential properties of the skin but
also relearning of the brain. This may be an expression of its supercapacities.
However having set up this hypothesis the authors have stressed that it is only
prior and rather shaky.
Bekhtereva told me the same when I telephoned to Saint-Petersburg
to speak with her. Or rather she refused to add anything to what is set in the
article at all:
"Please, try to understand that it is all so uncommon that
we simply have no explanations. We have established the fact and described it.
This is all for now."
"Natalia Petrovna, will you please answer just one question.
Yes, you have described the fact, but at heart you are sure that this is no phenomenon,
no charisma of peculiar people, but a quality of our brain that everybody has,
one of the great supercapacities of which we have not suspected till now, aren't
She kept silent for a moment, and then said abruptly: "Yes."