The ideomotor phenomena

When using items such as a ouija board, automatic writing, dowsing rods and pendulums, you need to be aware of what is called the ideomotor phenomena.
Sarah Chumacero
24th February 2019.
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General, Stuff paranormal investigators need to know, Paranormal Equipment.
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We are aware of what our conscious actions are. If we want to pick something up, we think about it and we find ourselves doing it. This process it what is known as volition – which means the power of using a person’s own will. There are however a lot of actions that our bodies carry out without us having to think about it which are thought to be unconscious instinctive acts.

The first section is what is called excitomotor actions. These are things like breathing, swallowing and basically just living. We don’t have to consciously make an effect to breathe 24 hours a day. It would be impossible. You then have the second section which is what is called sensorimotor actions. They are our reflexes. Say we pull our hand away from hot water before we feel the pain of it burning us. You are acting on your instinct. The third sections is what is known as the ideomotor actions.

What are ideomotor actions?

This term was originally coined by William B. Carpenter in 1852. He used this as an explanation for the movement of dowsing rods, pendulums, sticks or even a planchette on a Ouija board. He wasn’t at all claiming that people were being deliberately deceptive but were completely unaware that their slight muscle movements were causing these items to move. One of the examples he commonly used was that of dowsing rods. Using dowsing rods to track water, if you were to tell someone who hasn’t used the rods before that there is water at a certain point in the ground, when they reach it, their rods will cross. They aren’t doing this deliberately. It is because subconsciously they know where the water is so their subconscious is controlling the muscle movement.

In order to ‘prove the point’ people usually get their subjects to wear a blindfold so that the person using the items cannot see. Suddenly you see that the planchette doesn’t meet the letters on a Ouija board or a pendulum is not spinning like it should be. Another way it was demonstrated was with Chevreul’s pendulum.

Chevreul’s Pendulum

This is a test that was named after Michael Eugene Chevreul. He used a makeshift pendulum to demonstrate the power of an idea to inspire an action. In essence, it is how the power of suggestion can make you think you are communicating with spirit. Interestingly, it is also used by those who create a hypothesis when under hypnosis to access areas of their subconscious.

To test this for yourself, you need to either draw a diagram similar to below or just use this one. Get a piece of string and tie a small weight to the end of it, like a ring or a button. Hold the end of the string with your arm out in front of you so that the string is hanging down with the weight at the bottom. Try your hardest to hold the string completely still. After a certain period of time, the ring or button will start to swing in a certain direction. It is important that you don’t consciously make this movement yourself. It will eventually happen.

You then ask a direction for yes, a direction for no, a direction for i dont know, and a direction for i don't I want to answer. You are tapped into your subconscious at this point. Ask a question and the makeshift pendulum will swing in the direction assigned to yes or no or I don't know.

The information coming through from the ideomotor effect is stemming from your subconscious. Sometimes the answers that some people receive can be confusing as it is information, they feel they couldn’t possibly know. There are a few theories regarding this, and it is important to understand what our subconscious does. Check out this article I have written on this subject: What is our subconsious and what information does it hold? Some people even use this technique to do what is called 'zeroing out' and it allows them to find lost items or perhaps things that may be subconsciously holding you back from something.

Whether you feel you are receiving a message from spirit or not, the ideomotor is a very real phenomena that happens to everyone. As a participant or an observer it is important to be aware of these actions. Just even being aware of them, can significantly change your sessions. If in doubt, try a blind fold and see what happens to your results!

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