Sean Harribance Shares His Psychic Gifts With The Public
Sean Harribance is a Trinidadian psychic of Indian descent, who participated in ESP and PK experiments with American researchers from the 1970s. Sean Harribance Shares His Psychic Gifts With The Public
Sean Lalsingh Harribance was born in Trinidad in November 1939, of Indian parents, and raised in the Hindu tradition. During his late childhood he discovered he could ‘learn’ the contents of books by touching them. Later, he gave readings by holding a photograph of the person, and by the end of the 1960s had gained a local reputation for predictions and psychic readings.
This led to a collaboration with psychologist Hamlyn Dukhan, who conducted successful tests under close supervision.1 Dukhan then contacted Joseph Banks Rhine at the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), now the Rhine Research Centre; Harribance was invited for testing in January 1969.
Further testing was carried out the following month at the Psychical Research Foundation (PRF). Most of the research with Harribance was conducted in the early 1970s at these institutions and is the focus of this article.
In early tests with Dukhan, Harribance guessed the sequence of pre-shuffled packs of 25 Zener cards (star, square, cross, wavy lines and circle).
There were 112 hits from 450 trials, where 90 hits (5 possible targets) would be expected by chance.3 This result has associated odds against chance of 1 in a 100, or a p-value (probability) of 0.01.
The early testing at FRNM was not significant. In later experiments there, Harribance was tested with unbalanced packs of cards – for example 7 squares or 3 circles instead of the usual 5 – to see if his guesses would be affected; effectively, a double-test of ESP.
In 9,000 trials (360 runs of 25) Harribance scored 1,902 hits giving a p-value of 0.007 (about 1 in 140 against chance). Harribance called out the more numerous symbols more than the less numerous to a significant degree (p-value 0.003), although he had no way of knowing how the targets had been distributed.4
Psychic Shuffling Tests
Harribance continued at FRNM, using the psychic shuffle protocol established by Rhine. In this test, Harribance recorded his prediction for a set of 50 ESP Zener cards, which were then continually shuffled by the experimenter until Harribance intuited that the sequence of cards closely matched the prediction, at which point he called out to stop the shuffling. The card sequence was then recorded and compared with the guesses.
Chance dictates a 10% hit rate. In 7 experiments and 28,500 trials, Harribance obtained a hit rate of 12.02%, apparently small but astronomically significant, with odds against chance of 1028 to 1 (a 10 followed by 28 zeros).
Care was taken to ensure that the experimenter did not know the sequence of guesses until the shuffling had ended; to guard against the possibility of sensory leakage they were in separate rooms.
The protocols varied as the methodology was refined, but the scoring rates remained comfortably significant.5
Similar experiments were carried out at the Psychical Research Foundation with aim of better understanding the effect. Klein and Morris found a strong positive relationship between the number of times the cards were shuffled and improving psi score.
They speculated that psychokinesis rather than precognition might be involved, with an influence on the shuffling occurring in order to match the prediction
Psychical Research Foundation (PRF)
Five experiments were performed. In the first, Harribance guessed the sequence of cards that had been thoroughly randomized by means of random number tables rather shuffling. In a total of 25,000 guesses, Harribance’s ESP performance was associated with odds of a trillion to one against chance as an explanation (p-value 1012 to 1).6
The score in second test, in which two symbols rather than five were used, was marginally significantly (p-value 0.05); the third gave chance results.
Tests 4 and 5 tested precognition rather than clairvoyance, offering the advantage of ruling out sensory leakage as an explanation (targets are chosen after the guesses have been made). In the fourth test scoring was marginally significant and at chance level in the fifth.7
Durkhan designed a test of Harribance’s apparent ability to pick up information from his proximity to people, in which he tried to guess the sex of individuals pictured in concealed photographs. In each run, pictures of six males and six females were laid out in randomized order and covered with an opaque cloth.
Over 480 trials Harribance obtained 285 hits, a success rate of 59.38%, with associated odds against chance of 100,000 to 1.8 The FRNM team replicated the experiment several times when Harribance visited the US: in a total of 1,239 trials he scored at 59.64%, with associated odds against chance of a trillion to one.
At the Psychical Research Foundation (PRF) in Georgia, Harribance participated in 10 gender guessing experiments under stricter controls. In six of these he achieved hit rates of around 60%, with odds around 108 to 1 per experiment. Over the ten studies the hit rate reached odds of 1050 to 1 against chance.9
Harribance was also tested using ‘free response’ methods, in which information about a person was derived by holding a thick opaque envelope containing a lock of hair and a written statement (such personal effects were considered important in building a connection between Harribance and the person being read; in that respect, the experiments resembled real life readings).
The transcripts from 20 readings were rated blindly by the participants resulting in 6 matches, with odds against chance of 50 to 1.10
Harribance participated in psychokinesis investigations, to a somewhat lesser degree.
In the early 1970s, Harribance was tested for his ability to affect the fall of dice in a series of four experiments conducted at the Psychical Research Foundation (PRF) in Georgia. A cylindrical tumbler was used to toss the dice to eliminate handling biases.
Additional controls included blind recording, so that the experimenter was unaware what die face Harribance was aiming for.
Also, the die faces were called an equal number of times to ensure any physical biases cancelled out. Harribance scored significantly in the first two experiments: around 20% where 16.7% is expected by chance.
The scores in the last two experiments were at chance, indicating the decline effect commonly seen in psi studies. Despite the fall off, the composite result across four studies averaged 19.24% (2,701 hits from 14,040 trials) with odds against chance of 1015 to 1.11
Random Number Generators
Harribance was a prominent subject in early PK studies carried out at FRNM by Helmut Schmidt, using random number generators. These experiments tested for retro-PK, in which Harribance was instructed to influence random processes that occurred in the past (see Psychokinesis for background.)
The use of pre-recorded targets offers the advantage of eliminating subject fraud as a possible explanation for positive results (Schmidt’s later experiments with external observers eliminated the possibility of experimenter fraud also).
In the Harribance experiments, 236 out of 425 blocks of data conformed to his intention – a hit rate of 55.5% where 50% is expected, yielding odds just over 100 to 1 against chance.
In a second experiment he was less successful, achieving odds of 12 to 1. The combined hit rate was 54.6% over 832 data blocks, with odds of over 300 to 1 against chance.12
Harribance was unsuccessful in FRNM experiments aimed at influencing the performance of a person engaged in a computerized ESP test.13 However, he succeeded in experiments, designed by Anita and Graham Watkins at the FRNM, to wake anaesthetized mice.
Here, Harribance focused on one mouse of a pair, randomly-chosen, influencing it wake before the other control mouse.
In three experiments involving several psychics the results supported the PK hypothesis, with odds of 500 million to 1 against chance.14 In the Harribance trials the success rate was 10,000 to 1 against chance.
In a close replication by Wells and Klein, the combined results were only marginally significant across eight experiments, although Harribance performed significantly in conjunction with another psychic claimant.15
A finding from several research groups is a marked correlation between alpha waves in the EEG (8-12 Hertz), which are associated with a relaxed state, and superior psi scoring. In early brain studies of Harribance, alpha wave expression during high scoring runs in gender-guessing experiments was frequently found to be twice the rate than when he was scoring at chance level.16
Later work by Cheryl Alexander with Harribance at the Rhine Research Centre in 1997 confirmed the importance of alpha waves during ESP tasks. Using the latest quantitative EEG system, Alexander found concentrations of alpha activity in the occipital and parietal cortex.
Such activity was not present when Harribance was relaxed during rest periods, an indication that his psi ability is related both to a relaxed state (high alpha activity) and to specialized brain regions.17
Further confirmation of the importance of alpha expression in ESP functioning came with experiments carried out in the late 1990s by Michael Persinger at Laurentian University.
Here, Harribance handled sealed envelopes of photographed individuals while giving readings that were recorded and later transcribed.
Persinger found that accurate descriptions were correlated with high alpha expression in the occipital region (located at the rear of the brain), while inaccurate readings were associated with the lowest alpha activities.18
Comparison of Harribance’s EEG spectra to those of the general population revealed decreased functioning across most of the brain regions, in particular the frontal and temporal lobes.
This was confirmed by Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT), which provides higher resolution of brain activity.19
Sean Harribance: A Special Blog Entry for His 80th Birthday
The Psychical Research Foundation has had the opportunity to test the reported abilities of a number of psychics and mediums over the years, and one of the most notable of them – whose performance has stood out in a number of parapsychological studies – is Sean Lalsingh Harribance, who celebrates his 80th birthday today.
To observe this special occasion, the PRF would like to take a moment to acknowledge and reflect upon Sean’s valuable contributions as a participant in its research programs. Born on the West Indies island of Trinidad, Sean initially became widely known and recognized in the late 1960s for the psychic readings he would give to various individuals from the local populace.
Even though he’d never previously met these individuals before, Sean was reportedly able to tell them a number of accurate details about themselves.
This eventually brought Sean to the attention of Mausica College psychologist Hamlyn Dukhan, who carried out some preliminary tests with him .
Recognizing that Sean was used to applying his ability toward gathering personal details about the clients who came to him for a reading, Dukhan developed a simple procedure which adapted one aspect of Sean’s “responding to people” to a test situation by concealing small portrait photographs of both male and female individuals (placed in random order) underneath a folded tablecloth.
Sean would then be brought into the test room and, one at a time, would attempt to guess the gender (male or female) of each individual shown in the row of hidden portrait photos, with a 50% probability of him being correct in each instance.
Sean achieved an accuracy rate of 59.4% in the test, which is associated with an odds ratio of more than 20,000 to one against chance (z = 4.11, p = .00004, two-tailed). In light of these promising results, Dukhan informed other parapsychologists about Sean, which led to him being invited to the United States for additional testing at research centers in North Carolina (including the PRF).
In continuing this work, the PRF conducted a lengthy series of tests in the 1970s which took steps toward further refining Dukhan’s procedure in ways that would help further guard against ordinary modes of sensory cuing.
One of those steps – first implemented during Series 8 & 9  – involved isolating Sean in a closed room separate from the one where the photo portraits located, so that they would be completely out of his line of view.
In her role as the testing experimenter, PRF research associate Judith Klein arranged the photo portraits for each test trial in the adjacent room, shuffling the photos multiple times to thoroughly randomize their order before laying them out face-up in a row on a folded blanket (to minimize auditory cues).
She then knocked once on the wall between the rooms (which, having a thickness of six inches, also helped muffle any extraneous noises) as a neutral starting signal for Sean to begin making his guesses.
Sean then conveyed the same signal back after making his last guess, at which time Judith gathered up the portraits and repeated the process over again for the next test trial. As a means of further reducing sensory cues in Series 9, Judith kept the portraits face-down so that she would remain unaware of their gender order while Sean was making his guesses.
The graph shown below in Figure 1 offers a visual summary of Sean’s results in these two series of tests. As can be seen, out of the 1,000 individual guesses he made in each of the series, Sean achieved accuracy rates of 62.2% (Series 8) and 67.7% (Series 9):
While these accuracy rates respectively amount to differences of only 12.2% and 17.7% from the expected chance value of 50%, they turn out to be extremely significant differences by statistical standards, with each being associated with an odds ratio of more than a million to one (z = 7.72 & 11.19, respectively; binomial p < .000001).
One might wonder: Could Sean have achieved these notable results simply by sneaking out of the room he was in and looking into the adjacent one? This doesn’t seem too reasonable of an explanation, considering the two possible hypothetical scenarios by which he might have attempted this:
1.) Looking into the adjacent room from the hallway – Considering the noise it made, Sean likely couldn’t have opened the door and put his head through the opening without being heard or noticed by Judith.
He also couldn’t have simply peeked into the room through the door’s keyhole because it was completely filled in. Moreover, even if he’d managed to look into the room by these means, Sean’s view of the portraits would’ve been blocked by a large refrigerator standing between the door and the test area.
He also wouldn’t have been able to see the portraits in Series 9, since Judith placed them face-down, as mentioned. One must also keep in mind that Sean would’ve had to successfully pull such an act off (without ever being noticed) not just once – but multiple times – in order to achieve the results he did. 2.) Looking through the outer window of the adjacent room – Considering the rapid pace at which he regularly completed his sequence of guesses (only about 10 seconds total), it doesn’t seem likely that Sean would’ve been capable of: slipping out of his room, running around the outer perimeter of the PRF building (a distance of roughly 26 feet), looking at the portraits through the window, running all the way back to his room again, and signaling Judith – all within this short of a timeframe.
Again, one must keep in mind that it would’ve been necessary for Sean to have successfully done this multiple times, without ever being noticed. This entire process also would’ve done him no good in Series 9, since the portraits were face-down. Thus, it doesn’t seem that Sean’s results can be easily explained by resorting to simple cheating.
If, on the basis of these results, one considers the possibility that Sean does genuinely possess some form of ESP ability, then they might be naturally led to wonder: How might his ability work? What is going on inside his brain when he engages his ability?
As a preliminary means of exploring these questions, the PRF subsequently took steps in Series 10 to monitor Sean’s brain wave activity using electroencephalography (EEG) while he was actively participating in the photo portrait test .
As seen in Figure 1 above, Sean again produced a significant accuracy rate of 63.6% during this this test series (z = 8.83, binomial p < .000001), and as shown along the left side of Figure 2 below, an intriguing pattern appeared on his EEG:
During test trials in which he scored above chance, alpha wave activity (often associated with a state of passive relaxation) was present 24.8% of the time.
But on trials in which scored near chance, alpha activity was present only 15.5% of the time – a statistically significant difference. A similar kind of difference was also consistently observed in another test series (right side of Figure 2), when Sean’s EEG was again monitored while he was participating in a standard ESP card-guessing test.
A further hint that Sean’s active use of his ESP ability is correlated with a relative abundance of alpha activity was found nearly two decades later, when neuroscientist Cheryl Alexander monitored Sean’s brain waves during ESP tasks using computer-based quantitative EEG .
Her results also indicated that an increased amount of alpha was concentrated around the occipital and parietal lobes, located towards the rear of his brain.
These findings collectively suggest that Sean’s ability is correlated with at least one known aspect of brain functioning, which points toward the likelihood that the processes underlying his ability may not be outside of conventional neuroscience (in other words, they may not be “beyond the brain,” as some staunch skeptics tend to assume).
In the years since he’s worked with the PRF, Sean has continued to give readings for private clients and lend support to the empirical study of psychic abilities through the Sean Harribance Institute for Parapsychology Research (SHIPR), a Texas-based non-profit organization he founded in 1995.
The SHIPR website can be visited by clicking on this link. (There is also this link, which directs to a more graphically-formatted version of the site that has recently come online.)
For more about Sean’s early work with the PRF, one should take a look at the article written by PRF research associate Judith Klein in the archival Spring 1971 issue of Theta, the PRF’s official bulletin/journal (a copy of this archival issue is available to view in Adobe PDF format by clicking here).
Interested readers should also consult the fuller chapter describing the various parapsychological studies conducted with Sean over the years, which appears in the scholarly anthology Evidence for Psi: Thirteen Empirical Research Reports, edited by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2015).
Happy Birthday, Sean!
 Dukhan, H. (1969). Experiments with Lalsingh Harribance: Experiments in Trinidad. Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association No. 6 (pp. 65 – 66). Durham, NC: Parapsychological Association, Inc.
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Klein, J. (1971).Recent research with Lalsingh Harribance: A comparison of clairvoyance and telepathy. In W. G. Roll, R.L. Morris, Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association No. 8, 71-72. Durham, NC: Parapsychological Association.
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Persinger, M. A., Roll, W. G., Tiller, S., Koren, S. A., Cook, C. M. (2002). Remote viewing with the artist Ingo Swann.
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The study clearly demonstrated that energy emitted from Sean Harribance increased tumor cell death in mice, in part by changing the tumor microenvironment through improving antitumor immunity, and decreasing the stemness of tumor cells – an important process that allows the growth and spread of cancer.
This energy has been documented in earlier studies with Dr. Michael Persinger.
For the past 10 years, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has been conducting research with Sean Harribance.
Dr. Peiying Yang and Dr. Lorenzo Cohen found that Sean Harribance had a clear effect on cancer cell function and tumor growth in both in vitro and in vivo models. Importantly, there were no negative effects on healthy cells.
Exposure to Mr. Harribance suppressed tumor growth and this was mediated in part through changes in the tumor microenvironment, immune function, and anti-inflammatory activity in the mouse lung tumor model.
Their most recent research also found that exposure to Mr. Harribance reduced cancer stem cells, cells that even conventional treatments cannot destroy.
While this exciting and relevant study helps further promote the validity and importance of biofield therapy, it is but one piece of Mr. Harribance’s unwavering 60-year contribution to science in an effort to gain a greater understanding of extra sensory perception (ESP) and consciousness.
His lifelong commitment has also included work with such renowned researchers/facilities as Dr. Michael Persinger, Director of Laurentian University’s Consciousness Research Laboratory and recognized for his work in the field of neurotheology; Dr. J.B. Rhine with Duke University and the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man; and Dr. William G. Roll with the Psychical Research Foundation; Mankind Research Unlimited; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Dr. Hamlyn Dukhan, who initially identified Mr. Harribance’s abilities, among others.
Mr. Harribance has also authored a number of writings including two books,“This Man Knows You,” and “Sean Harribance a Psychic Predicts the Future.” Work done with him has also appeared in such journals as NeuroQuantology, the Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, the International Journal of Psychophysiology, the International Journal of Neuroscience, Perceptual and Motor Skills, the Journal of Parapsychology, the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, and the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, among others.
For excellence in his career, Mr. Harribance has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades. He has been featured in multiple editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, and Who’s Who in the World.
Mr. Harribance also holds the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor conferred by Marquis Who’s Who.