The Phillip Lee Report
IIG Member David Glasgal has produced long- and short-format videos of the Phillip Lee Test.
Running Time: 1hr 7min
Running Time: 7min 23sec
Lead Investigator: Wendy Hughes
Article by Wendy Hughes and Jim Underdown
Special Thanks to Dave Richards
Photography courtesy Susan Gerbic
Members of The Independent Investigations Group (IIG) form committees to conduct investigations and plan preliminary tests for applicants for our $50,000 Paranormal Challenge.
The First Responders intercept, read, discuss and respond to all email correspondence with people who write to IIG with inquiries about past investigations that are summarized on our website, and applications to be tested for the challenge. The First Responders includes the IIG Steering Committee.
The Clairaudient Claimant first emailed on July 16, 2011, then again on July 18, and finally, phoned the Hollywood offices of CFI-LA on July 20th.
His Paranormal Challenge took place August 21, 2011, just over a month between the first email and the live streamed Preliminary Demonstration.
An excerpt from his claim, in brief: “… I literally have the ability to hear through walls and long distances physically impossible to hear with the normal human ear. I have tried this with my friends and I can hear conversations pertaining to my appearance, clothes I'm wearing, the t.v. shows I like to watch, the sports I like to play, and etc. I can even hear my friend when he was at my neighbors (sic) house and I was residing at my house. In conclusion I honestly believe I am the most powerful clairaudient in the world.”
We said his claim was testable, and asked him questions about his claim to design with him a protocol to test the Claimant if he followed through by submitting the Paranormal Challenge application.
We wanted to make sure this was not just a case of great hearing. The test involved placing the Claimant in the Steve Allen Theater at CFI Los Angeles in Hollywood, California; assigning IIG Volunteers in another room to speak in a normal voice a selection of words and phrases submitted by the Claimant, and then compare the list of words spoken against a list of words that the Claimant had heard for hits and misses.
Hearing and Sound
Prior to conducting the experiment/demonstration, an attempt was made to determine the sound leakage between the rooms where the phrases were read, and where the applicant was attempting to hear them.
An air horn was sounded in the 'reading' area, and measured at 110 deciBels (dB) next to the horn. The air horn was sounded again and the level attempted to be measured in the 'hearing' (theater) area, but its level was below the detectable level of the Sound Pressure Level meter being used.
The ambient sound level in the theater was measured at ~65 dB with the air conditioning turned on, and ~50dB with it off (this level is due to fan noise from equipment). When the air horn was blown it didn't measurably increase the dB level in the theater above 50dB with the air conditioning off. The demonstration was conducted with the air conditioning on, which we believe effectively masked any potential sound leakage through the floor and walls of the building.
If we could not hear the air horn, and the measurement on a professional grade sound pressure level meter confirmed this observation, the spoken words would not be heard at a probability that was adequate for the preliminary demonstration.
A "fort" was built out of upended furniture, tables, foam rubber, beach blankets, duvateen, carpeting and other sound dampening substances in which the volunteer readers and a card flipper would be seated.
The Claimant was to be in the theater, about 75 feet away, and downstairs from the "fort." There are two sets of doors between the lobby and the theater.
The cards had been labeled with 50 of the 100 words and phrases the Claimant was asked to submit for his test. After the Claimant inspected all 50 cards, 25 were selected for the test, to be randomized by shuffling and being placed in a punch bowl in the readers' area upstairs.
Walkie Talkie volunteers in the theater and in the "fort" would communicate when the readers were ready to speak the words and when the Claimant answered. A "card flipper" would pick out a card, draw a number on the back to indicate the sequence, and show it to the camera, number side and word side, and then show it to the readers. First one reader would read the word or phrase on a signal from the walkie talkie volunteer; and then the second reader would read the same word.
On the stage of the Steve Allen Theater, pre-test and post test interviews were conducted by IIG Steering Member Mark Edward, and IIG member Dr. John Suarez. During the pretest interview, the Claimant stated had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and drugs to treat that condition had been prescribed, but he was no longer using the prescriptions. He was not questioned about this during our correspondence.
Our tests of claimants for the $50,000 Paranormal Challenge try to prove that what the applicant is claiming can be explained by means other than paranormal ability, and also, maybe someday, to find someone whose claim we can't explain by normal laws of physics. Our goal is to devise a test that eliminates ordinary means by which the results the applicant claims he or she can achieve, leaving either trickery or actual paranormal ability as the explanation. We also are not, with the exception of John Suarez at this time, doctors or clinicians who can diagnose the mental processes of the claimants, especially over email correspondence. Further, in a preliminary demonstration about a year ago, an applicant showed up for his test more than a little under the influence of spirits (the liquid kind). The determination at the time was that since we have no way of knowing if psychic ability is impacted by alcohol, the IIG should go ahead with the test.
It wasn't within IIG's purview to diagnose, or even ask if a diagnosis of mental illness was ever made; it is not known if a diagnosis of mental illness would impact a claimed paranormal ability. The claim was clairaudience, and we planned a test to see if that's what the Claimant could do.
The Test Began
The Claimant arrived, was greeted, was shown both the upstairs fort, and the stage, and was then searched for electronic devices. After all the preparations were in place, and the pre-test interview was over, we commenced with the test. The walkie talkie volunteers began exchanging time cues, announcing that the readers had read the words. The Claimant could not even make a guess of the first, second or third words. At this time, he asked if the readers could speak into the walkie talkie. Then he asked if the readers could come down to the theater so he could talk with them face to face.
The Claimant asked if they could go just out into the lobby to test whether proximity would make a difference. He could not perceive psychically nor even physically, what the readers were saying just in the next room. The Claimant was asked if he wanted to call the test before the fourth round, and that was the end. Over 20 IIG members participated in the Preliminary Test.
The Claimant left after his post-test interview; John Suarez and Mark Edward addressed IIG members about the test. When asked if all people who claim to have supernatural power were suffering from mental illness, John answered. There are two types of people who make such claims; one type is the sociopath who feeds off others by fooling them into thinking they have supernatural powers of communication or prediction. Another type is merely mistaking cause and effect relationships, such as the owner of Sparky the Wonder Dog, who thought his dog could count by barking the same number of times as the man said to bark. What the owner didn't realize was that the dog was reacting to his unconscious hand signals. When IIG members put a barrier between the dog and the owner, obscuring the dog's view of the owner's hands, the dog didn't bark.
John Suarez commented a few days after the demonstration, "… someone suggested… we should be more thorough in screening to exclude the more obviously psychotic. That may not always be easy. But in addition, the more we screen, the fewer candidates (much fewer than now) we would have. I favor the current level of selection, with the acceptance that we shall continue to encounter just below the surface mostly disturbed individuals. We need to test people regularly, both to hone our skills and to show the world that despite any and all claims paranormal activities are just that. We should do our best to do no harm, and to make sure that we remain as narrowly defined investigators, and not mental health professionals."
So far, nobody has ever been found by the IIG to have supernatural ability; no Claimant has passed the Preliminary Test.