By: Ed Hawkins | Mind control, levitation and no pain: the race to find a superman in sport | Neuroscience | The Guardian
The US and Soviet Union both believed people could develop superpowers. And, reveals The Men on Magic Carpets, their psychic experiments played out in the sporting arena
Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1964. The wind is whipping off the Bay on a typically cold night at the ballpark. Mike Murphy takes his seat in Section 17. A jazz band pipes up and the vendors shout their wares: Hamm’s or Falstaff beers, Oscar Mayer hot dogs with Gulden’s mustard. Murphy is close enough to talk to the San Francisco Giants players – but he’s not interested in hero worship. He wants to put a voodoo curse on the opposition, the LA Dodgers.
He tells two friends it’s called a “whammy” or “occult backlash”. He’s been practising for years, perfecting the very particular cries and exact hand gestures to transmit negative energy to players. He reckons he’s a baseball witch doctor, sending psychic waves to scramble minds and zap energy from muscles.
Hunter S Thompson was Esalen’s first security guard; Aldous Huxley, then often high on mescaline, helped establish it
In one creepy experiment, scientists implanted electrodes in a mother rabbit’s brain, took her young litter off to a submarine and killed them one by one
When Boris Yeltsin visited a Houston grocery store, he sobered up quickly. He was shocked by the bountiful aisles – with no queues – and felt sick with despair