The project's lead researcher, Helane Wahbeh, speaking at a recent conference, notes that preliminary studies into certain aspects of the phenomena have already been undertaken by IONS senior scientist Dr. Dean Radin.
Wahbeh, a Naturopathic physician, spoke about the project in depth, and offered a brief definition of channeling:
"It is an umbrella term for the communication of information to or through a live human, from a source other than the physical as we know it.
It's an ability that has a long history and appears to have manifested in the Delphic Oracle in Greece, as well as with Moses, the Virgin Mary and Muhammad. In fact, many of our world religions were founded on channeled prophecy or messages."
More modern channellers include Edgar Cayce, known as the sleeping prophet, Jane Roberts who channeled "Seth" and Helen Schucman, a professor of psychology who channeled the book "A Course in Miracles." Schucman's identity was hidden at her own insistence and wasn't revealed until after her death in 1981.
"Our research will use rigorous and systematic methods to study channeling, without preconceived notions about what may or may not be real. We may come to learn that the process is complete 'hocus-pocus' and that all mediums are frauds. And then again, we might not.
A true scientist is open to either outcome. Through well-designed, blinded, unbiased studies, we will discover which outcome is correct."
IONS is in a unique position with the launch of the project and the rigorous study of the phenomena. Wahbeh and Radin intended to ensure that the study is conducted carefully.
"The biggest question is, perhaps, even with rigorous science, would the world--would you--be willing to accept findings that indicate channeling is a real experience? Is the world ready to accept indications that consciousness exists beyond the human body?"