Thoughts Photographed and Displayed at the University of Maryland

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When you carefully dissect an organ you can find out all its secrets. The heart proves to be a pump, a kidney appears as a filter, while our eyes seem to be a camera. Things are not that easy when it comes to the brain, our most important and most complicated organ. No one has managed so far to find the Robert Fludd’s Ñoculus imaginationist that was believed to be a sort of a projector of our thoughts transformed into images. These images are called “phantasmata” and appear on a screen inside our head. But how would such an image look like? It might sound strange, but several photos of thoughts are exhibited at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore County .

The images are part of an experiment conducted by American psychiatrist Dr. Jule Eisenbud and a man who thought he could photograph his thoughts, who’s name was Ted Serios. The so-called “thoughtographs” have been recently digitized, so anyone can see them on the Internet.

Dr. Eisenbud was part of several associations and was also a passionate promoter of psychic telepathy and other paranormal activities. He is mostly known as the author of a study about what he believed to be a “great mind”, able to visualize thoughts. Actually the study is the result of a three-year work with his subject, Ted Serios.

Gerald R. Brimacombe, Time Life Pictures, Getty Images Ted Serios mentally projects an image during an experiment in "mind photography."
Gerald R. Brimacombe, Time Life Pictures, Getty Images
Ted Serios mentally projects an image during an experiment in “mind photography.”
Eisenbud describes with great wealth of detail his experiments conducted on Ted, who could obtain photos of his thoughts using various cameras, and sometimes in strictly controlled situations. The truth is that some of these photos were dark black, as if they hadn’t been exposed ti light, others were white, as if they were overexposed. In other cases, the images showed some weird spectral forms, surrounded by haloes. When Ted was asked to produce an image of a building or a memorial, the picture was clear but had also something strange in it. Some photos appeared to contain a mixture of imposed images and unclear forms and structures that seemed to be projected by Ted’s subconscious. Others were simply amazing, as they pictured Voyager 2 spacecraft, Jupiter’s satellites, the British Parliament building seen from above and also a hotel in Denver, Colorado. Sometimes these visual elements related to the imagination of those who witnessed the experiment, reinforcing the belief that they were in the presence of a telepathic phenomena.

An image from the exhibit "Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions: Paranormal Photographs from the Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios," on display at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. (Handout photo)
An image from the exhibit “Psychic Projections/Photographic Impressions: Paranormal Photographs from the Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios,” on display at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. (Handout photo)

According to Dr. Eisenbud, the images were absolutely brilliant when his subject was drunk. It was like alcohol could open a door to psychic perception. He described Ted as “a man who exhibits a behavior pathology with many character disorders. He does not abide by the laws and customs of our society. He ignores social amenities and has been arrested many times. His psychopathic and sociopathic personality manifests itself in many other ways. He does not exhibit self-control and will blubber, wail and bang his head on the floor when things are not going his way”.

Thoughtography

Eisenbud and Serios worked together for three years. All their experiments are documented in the book “The World of Ted Serios: “Thoughtographic” Studies of an Extraordinary Mind”, written by Eisenbud in 1967. The psychiatrist believed with all his heart that Ted was the real deal.

There were many skeptic people who said the “thoughtographs” were fake and that the study was just a trick. However, nobody knows for sure how Ted managed to catch his thoughts on camera.

Click here to view more images from the digitized Jule Eisenbud Collection on Ted Serios and Thoughtographic Photography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

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