LLIFS: Online Zener card testing & community forum

4th April 2020. Reading Time: 9 minutes General. 318 page views. 0 comments.

I am very excited to launch an online Zener card testing platform. This is my inspiration and motivation behind it as well as the grand plans for the large database I hope to build.

I have always had a bit of an affection for Zener cards.  I can't put my finger onto why.  Of course most people recognise the cards from one of the opening scenes in the movie 'Ghostbusters' where Bill Murray's character Peter Venkman who is using the cards with two students hooked up to a machine.  It gives them an electric shock if they are wrong.  It surprised a lot of people to find out that the cards were in fact real cards and his experiment was based on the real Zener card trials (minus the electric shock).  Zener Cards (ESP Cards or Rhine Cards), were developed in in the early 1930’s by Karl Zener. They were used for experiments conducted with Mr Zener’s colleague, parapsychologist J.B Rhine. The deck consists of 5 cards of 5 distinct symbols (making a deck of 25). The symbols themselves are very distinct, so that they could not be confused. The aim of the cards was to test mental telepathy otherwise known as ESP.  There are 5 cards of each symbol. The deck is shuffled. There are 2 people which participate in the experiment and a third who acts as a moderator. The participants are the sender and a receiver. The aim is quite simple. The sender picks a card from the deck. They then try to mentally send the image to the receiver. The receiver then concentrates and says the first image which comes to mind. This continues over a certain amount of time and then an overall success rate is calculated.

I bought my deck of Zener cards from a book store of all places and besides running Zener card tests with my kids at home, I attempted to use them during an experiments night I hosted at Black Rock House.  Sometimes I will try to see if people in another room can identify the card I am holding, and sometimes I will ask 'the spirits' to tell me what card I am holding.  I have even used the cards in psychic projection experiments where I will ask everyone to focus on the image that is on the card I am holding to see if we can project a voice on a digital recorder or even a spirit box etc. 

Any sort of experiment with Zener cards not without it’s flaws, especially when it comes to testing telepathy. As there are 25 cards in the deck with 5 cards of each symbol, there is a 20 percent chance that someone would correctly guess the symbol at random. It was also acknowledged by Rhine that his experiment could not determine if the receiver was guessing randomly, if they were receiving the image telepathically or if they were receiving the image through clairvoyance (such a medium receiving the message). This meant that even if there was a high percentage of the cards being guessed correctly, there was no way to prove it was through ESP.

Bringing Zener card testing into the digital space

You could say this all started with what I call 'Zener card Sunday'.  Every Sunday, I would post a picture of a Zener card on the blog's Facebook page, and ask followers to concentrate and tell me what image they thought was on the card.  24 hours later I would reveal the results.  It was a bit of fun of course and this was highlighted by the fact that pretty much every week someone would comment 'A couple of wavy lines' as their response.  This was a line from the movie Ghostbusters from the scene mentioned above.  You could argue a lot of problems with this method, but in reality, it was more a bit of fun than anything else.  I found depending on the lighting, sometimes you could see through the card and it would always result in a higher rate of people correctly 'guessing' what the image was.  There is also no way of knowing if a person was using remote viewing, telepathy, skills of being a psychic medium or just randomly guessing correctly.  That is something that would be difficult if not impossible to determine.  What I did notice however was people would participate every week would 'improve'.  Their correct guesses grew over time.  While of course it could be a coincidence, it had me wondering if practice makes perfect so to speak.  I had seen online tarot and even some online zener card games on other websites, but I thought 'What if I created my own?'.  So that is what I did.  (When I say I, it is really my husband because he coded the entire thing from scratch being the amazing web developer that he is.)

It makes sense that of a lot of different experiments have been adapted and deployed in the digital space.  In a lot of ways, you can implement controls using code that you could not implement in a physical environment.  When you look at Zener cards for example, one of the biggest flaws was the fact that you can actually see through the cards when you have the right lighting.  I know I have noticed this myself with my own cards.  Telephone telepathy experiments have been adapted into a receiver predicting who an email is from.  Psychokinesis experiments have evolved from J B Rhine initially throwing dice into random number generators.  It is the way of the future when it comes to experiments.  The best part is that you can expand your test group to people all over the world who can participate from the comfort of their own home.

There are a lot of different tests and apps available online that allow a person to 'test their telepathy', however they are more of a gimmick and you play and move on.  I wanted what I created to be a little bit different.  One of the challenges of course when it comes to code, is to make sure that people cannot find an algorithm to be able to predict what card is pulled next.  That was a challenge but something we managed to do so that each time the card will be drawn randomly.  I also wanted to be able to create a database of the results because I love data.  I wanted to be able to see how people were performing.  Do different age groups perform better?  Do females score higher than males?  I also wanted to be able to link this data base up with things like moon cycles and weather events.  Investigators will often argue that paranormal activity is heightened at certain times during a moon cycle so I wanted to see if there would be a spike in correct answers during this time as well.  People would also be able to use it as a tool to develop their abilities if they wish and eventually even create an account so they can see their individual progress.  I also wanted to make the results available in readable graphs real time to anyone who wanted to view it and even encourage them to use it for their own research.

It is a marathon, not a race and to be able to realise the full dream, it is going to take time so it can be done right.  I'm excited to tell you though that phase 1 is now ready!  It is pretty simple.  Right now, you can do a 25 card spread and get your result.  The statistics are not yet available for viewing as we need to iron out any bugs in the code and make sure people who are a bit smart with code cannot manipulate results.  We will also be adding sounds, visual effects, cardback artwork and eventually creating a section where you can log in and see your own progress as well as the general database.  Of course that final dream is to be able to sync up all that data with the moon cycles and weather events.

The great part is that it is ready for you to play right now!  Head over and have a go and see what your score is!  Why not try it daily and see if your results start improving?  The best part is, it is all FREE! 

Head to https://llifs.com.au/games/zener/zener-card-game/ and start playing!  There are bound to be teething problems, it is true with any technology, so if you notice any bugs etc, please contact me sarah@llifs.com.au and let me know!  When Phase 2 is ready, I will let you all know!

Creating an online community - a place to be your spooky self

While my website is predominately filled with articles about the paranormal (close to 400 to be exact), I also want it to be a place where people can turn to.  Having an interest in the paranormal can at times be isolating.  Some of our friends and family don't necessarily understand why we are so into the things that go bump at night that they may be scared of.  Sometimes they just think we are plain weird.  Social media is a great place to connect and discuss things with people, the problem is that it is not entirely private.  If you share your thoughts on a public page, chances are people you are friends with will be shown this on their own timelines.  I am constantly receiving emails or messages from people too scared to comment publicly because they are not comfortable.  While people have suggested having a closed Facebook group, they tend to turn into places where people just join to promote their own pages or post funny memes.  While I do enjoy a good meme, I want a place where people can talk about anything and feel safe to do so - without being torn down by some of the social media trolls.  I decided to bring back the idea of a Forum.  As someone that works in the IT industry, we don't use social media, we use forums to communicate, problem solve, brain storm and seek help.  I wanted to create the same with a paranormal twist!  Anyone can join the forum and you can create an identity.  You don't have to use your real name.  You are free to be the person you truely are without judgement.  Free to express your thoughts and share your ideas.  There are 3 moderators that are there to make sure that things don't get nasty because we want it to be a safe space.  Because you have to go through the sign up process, the people that are a part of the forum are those truely interested in the paranormal.  Of course things are just getting started and it is a community that is slowly building but please check it out, make an account and start a discussion!  Check the forum every day, every second day, every week - whatever suits you!  It is a place to be your spooky self!  Join us today over at https://forums.llifs.com.au/

I really love running Living Life In Full Spectrum and spend literally hours every day working on it.  I don't make any money from what I do, everything is ad free with no paywall and FREE for everyone to access.  It is truely a project of passion.  All I ask in return is an open mind and an open heart.  Thankyou so much for your ongoing support.

Sarah Chumacero

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