The Toronto Experiment


The Phillips Experiment is one of the most impressing and most successful paranormal experiments of the 20th century. It was carried out in the years 1972 to 1974 in Toronto, Canada. The research group of Prof. Dr. G. Owen aimed at inventing a "ghost". For this purpose the personality of the ghost was constructed by the group with a lot of imagination and dedication. In the first step, a personality from past centuries was created during discussions within the research group. The life story of this fictional personality should be dramatic and moving, so as to stir the emotions of the participants. They invented a love story with an unhappy ending. In addition, they created names and places for the history.

They looked up in historical texts, if there was a chance that this person could have existed in reality. It was of greatest importance to the group that this was not the case, in order to prevent "real ghosts" from answering. The results were very satisfactory. Neither the place nor the persons had existed before.

In the course of Philip’s creation, a portrait of him was drawn so as to stir the imagination also visually and to hold a common ground within the group as much as possible.

In the following they visited museums to bring into mind the clothing of the 16th century, and literature about customs of that time were read aloud within the group.

As soon as the above mentioned preparations were done, the group came together and tried to call the "ghost" Philip with the help of an ouija board (also known as spirit board, talking board).

Firstly the contact was not successful. They found out that this was the case because the participants were concentrating on Philip too hard, they tensed up while doing this and thus were overly intellectual. Only when they turned to conduct the séances in a more relaxed atmosphere, joking and laughing, first successes were reached. From that point on, the contact continued to be successful.

The German homepage "Obskuristan" (not longer available) describes how the psychogon was causing temperatures to fall or light to flicker. Sometimes the desk lifted and moved around in the room, very similar to seánces with "real" ghosts. However, all the answers that Philip gave to the questions asked to him kept exactly to the story that the group had created. Thus, the experiment was successful – they proved the possibility to create a pseudo-life through collective thought work and connection (Obskuristan, last access in 2009).

Recommended link for further information: Altereddimensions - The Phillips Experiment

Recommended literature:

M. Owen and M. Sparrow: Conjuring Up Philip – An Adventure In Psychokinesis. Harper & Row, 1st U.S. edition, 1976


© Alfred Ballabene (Vienna) translated by Corra