THOUGHTOGRAPHY is a Form of paranormal photography when images are projected by psi onto photographic film.

The term ‘thoughtography’ was coined by Tomokichi Fukurai, President of the Psychical Institute of Japan, who conducted the first study of it in the early 1900s. Fukurai stumbled on the phenomenon accidentally while testing the clairvoyance of a medium called Mrs Nagao. He asked her if she could discern three characters he had photographed on an undeveloped film plate. To his surprise Fukurai discovered that the entire surface of the plate had been exposed, not just the characters, and came to the conclusion that the exposure was caused by Nagao’s psychic energy. In later experiments Fukurai obtained actual images of film that he called ‘thoughtographs’.

In the 1960s research into thoughtography was done under the direction of psychiatrist Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia and Denver psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud. The research team attracted national attention for its work with psychic Ted Serios, who seemed to be able to create images on film simply by staring at a polaroid camera. In 1967 Eisenbud published the results of his work with Serios in his book The World of Ted Serios. In it he concluded that the only possible explanation for Serios’s thoughtography was psychokinesis.

Even though Stevenson and Eisenbud had taken great care to guard against fraud, and Serios never admitted to cheating, they were nevertheless charged with fraud. The charges were never proved and Stevenson and Eisenbud countered by arguing that many of Serios’s images were distortions that could not be explained or duplicated with trick camera or other methods of transferring images. For example, on one of Serios’s thoughtographs, which has been identified as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Air Hangar in Ontario, the word ‘Canadian’ is mysteriously misspelled ‘Cainadain’.


The Element Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Hauntings: The Complete A–Z for the Entire Magical World: The Ultimate A-Z of Spirits, Mysteries and the Paranormal by Theresa Cheung

To read another article about this subject click on the next page