Prizewinning Author's New Book Cites Scientific Proof Thought Can Change Reality

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In his new book on the Salem witch hysteria, “A Witch in the Family,” Stephen Hawley Martin presents the findings of a little-known quantum physics experiment that prove claims by many scientists that thought remains in the brain and can have no effect outside an individual’s body are in error.

It’s perhaps even more spectacular

For years scientists have maintained that awareness and thought are the results of electrons jumping across synapses in the brain and that thought remains at all times inside the skull. But according to Stephen Hawley Martin, prizewinning author of the new book, “A Witch in the Family,” this basic tenet of modern science doesn't line up with the facts.

Martin said, “Quantum physicists know that the observer of an experiment can affect the outcome. A specific example was reported on about ten years ago. In an experiment suggested by John Archibald Wheeler, the eminent physicist who helped develop the atom bomb, particles of light seemed to ‘know’ what experimenters had in store during a ‘double slit’ experiment. In other words, the thoughts of the researchers affected what happened. Versions of this experiment were carried out at the University of Munich and at the University of Maryland.”

Double slit experiments have been around a long time. In 1803, Thomas Young demonstrated that light is waves by means of a simple experiment in which he placed a screen with two parallel slits between a source of light –– sunlight coming through a hole in a screen –– and a wall. Each slit could be covered with a piece of material. These slits were razor thin, not as wide as the wavelength of the light. When waves of any kind pass through an opening that is not as wide as they are, the waves diffract. This was the case with one slit open. A fuzzy circle of light appeared on the wall.

When both slits were uncovered, alternating bands of light and darkness appeared, the center band being the brightest. This pattern of light and dark resulted from what is known in wave mechanics as interference. Waves overlap and reinforce each other in some places, and in others, they cancel each other out. The bands of light on the wall were where one wave crest overlaps another crest. The dark areas were where a crest and a trough meet and cancel out each other.

In 1905, Albert Einstein published a paper that proved light also behaves like particles, and he did so by using the photoelectric effect. When light hits the surface of a metal, it jars electrons loose from the atoms in the metal and sends them flying off as though they had been struck by tiny billiard balls. This proved light is both a wave and particles, which is a paradox that cannot be explained by Newtonian physics.

“Nowadays it’s possible to fire one photon at a time through the slits,” Martin said. “Obviously, there can be no interference if only one is shot at a time. But the researchers found that whether or not a zebra pattern occurs –– when both slits are open –– depends on whether researchers know which slit each photon passed through. In other words, what the person conducting the experiment knows or doesn't know –– what he thinks –– changes the outcome. The implication of this is tremendous because it indicates paranormal and other psychic phenomena are possible –– even though most scientists long have argued, and continue to maintain they are not.”

In the experiment Martin referred to, scientists used a photon gun that fires one photon at a time. Both slits were open and a detector determined which slit a photon passed through. A record was made of where each photon hit. With one photon shot at a time, there could be no interference, and as one would suppose, the photons did not make the zebra pattern. But when the detector was turned off, and it was not known which slit each photon passed through, the zebra pattern reappeared.

Noble-winning physicist Richard Feynman called this the "central mystery" of quantum mechanics, that something as intangible as knowledge -- in this case, which slit a photon went through -- changes something as concrete as a pattern on a screen.

“It’s perhaps even more spectacular,” Martin said, “that a basic tenet of modern science has been proven wrong by this experiment. Yet, no one in science or elsewhere seems to have focused on this. Thought that remains inside a person's head would be incapable of having an effect on this experiment. Yet thought in the form of knowledge about which slit a proton passed through had a profound effect.”

Martin when on to say that he believes thought, or belief, played a role in the Salem witch hysteria, and he points to findings of this experiment to support his theory. He thinks the people who accused others of witchcraft truly believed they had been bewitched. So did everyone else involved. Even the people who were accused of being witches thought so –– although, if they were innocent, they may have thought someone else besides them was responsible.

Martin also pointed out that some may think it was the photon detector that was responsible for altering the outcome of the slit experiments, but this could not be so. The zebra pattern is determined by the photons’ behavior at the double-slit screen. The experiment was carried out with the detector placed before the screen as well as after the screen. It was also done by placing detector before the screen but having the data erased after the photons had passed through. In each case the results were the same. Whether the researches knew or didn’t know which slit each photon had passed through made the difference.

Martin has won several national awards and prizes for his novels. The full title of his new book, which was published by The Oaklea Press, is “A Witch in the Family: An Award-Winning Author Investigates His Ancestor’s Trial and Execution.” It presents a shocking but plausible new theory, based on this quantum mechanics experiment, of what was behind the witch hysteria in Massachusetts. The book can be purchased at the publisher’s web site,, or at Search ISBN 189253844X.

To learn more about Stephen Hawley Martin, visit

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