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In their work Occult Chemistry, the well-known Theosophists Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater claimed to have acquired a form of ESP that is one of the siddhis, or paranormal abilities, of yoga. Supposedly, it enabled them to describe the atoms of all the elements known to science at the time (mainly between 1895 and 1908), as well as some elements still undiscovered then and what turned out to be various isotopes, five years before scientists conceived of them.

This presentation will examine their claim by comparing their psychic observations with salient facts and ideas of nuclear and particle physics. Reasons will be given why it can now be concluded that they were mistaken in believing that they had been observing atoms in their natural, undisturbed state. However, this does not mean that they either fabricated their descriptions or experienced hallucinations. A theory will be proposed that explains both qualitatively and quantitatively what they had described, as well as resolving obvious contradictions with atomic theory and nuclear physics, such as their claim that four elements exist for which the modern Periodic Table in chemistry has no room. The stunning implications are that Besant’s & Leadbeater’s clairvoyance revealed the existence of quarks and superstrings (the latter still hotly disputed among physicists) more than 70 years before they became theorized. Furthermore, their work predicts the existence of a particle that is more fundamental than the quark — one that is a specific type of superstring.

Besant & Leadbeater also detected the isotopes of some elements five or six years before scientists even suspected that some elements might exist with more than one type of atom. For example, they noticed two varieties of neon four years before J.J. Thomson (the discoverer of the electron) first separated their ionised atoms with his mass spectroscope. Their paranormal description of the forces binding basic particles together in what they assumed were atoms will be shown to match the features of the so-called “string model,” which has been used in particle physics to study the strong forces between quarks. Their account of the finer structure of what they claimed were the basic constituents of atoms also precisely matches features of the higher, six-dimensional space predicted by superstring theory.

For these and other reasons that will be discussed, there is only one plausible explanation of these detailed correlations (both statistical and qualitative) with scientific facts and concepts of nuclear and particle physics, which were never known to Besant & Leadbeater because they were established many decades after the two pioneers finished their work. It is that they possessed the genuine, paranormal ability to “observe” subatomic particles in real time. However. their experience of the microscopic world in a way that is analogous to a computer-generated virtual reality has to be carefully understood with regard to the quantum-mechanical laws that govern it. Their unique observations did not defy these laws. On the contrary, they were the consequence of their operation.

Dr Stephen Phillips studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University (BA, MA). After working for a year in the civil service in Rhodesia, he studied high-energy physics at the University of Cape Town (MSc), becoming an assistant lecturer in physics. He won a university scholarship to pursue a PhD in theoretical physics at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he taught mathematics and physics. Upon returning to the UK, he worked for British Telecom for several years.

Stephen is the author of three books that examine the clairvoyant investigations of atoms by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, as well as many articles on the topic published in newspapers, magazines and peer-reviewed research journals. He also has lectured widely on the topic, including a seminar presented to physicists in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. His book The Mathematical Connection between Religion and Science (Antony Rowe Publishing, 2009) showed how their paranormal observations of subatomic particles relate to both contemporary scientific ideas, such as superstring theory, and the analogous, mathematical patterns to be found in the mystical traditions of some ancient religions. His latest book The Gate of the Sun at Tiwanaku — its sublime meaning revealed (to be published) widens this connection by deciphering the friezes carved on the world-famous, monolithic gateway in Tiwanaku, Bolivia.