Changing what already happened

Lynne McTaggart

One of the most basic assumptions about intention is that it operates according to a generally accepted sense of cause and effect: the cause must always precede the effect. If A causes B, then A must have happened first. This assumption reflects one of our deepest beliefs, that time is a one-way, forward-moving progression.

However, a sizeable body of the scientific evidence about intention violates these basic assumptions.

The late Robert Jahn, dean of engineering and his associate Brenda Dunne at the PEAR center at Princeton University discovered this phenomenon when they investigated time displacement in their random-event generator (REG) trials.

In some 87,000 of these experiments, volunteers were asked to attempt to mentally influence the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ random output of REGs in a specific direction anywhere from three days to two weeks after the machines had run.

Once they looked at the data, what they found was incredible. In every regard, this data was identical to the more conventional data they’d generated when their experimenters were attempting their influence at the time the machine was being run. There was just one important difference. In the ‘time-displaced’ experiments, the volunteers were getting bigger effects than in the standard.

Jahn and Dunne had deemed these differences non-significant, only because the number of trials carried out in this manner was tiny compared with the rest of their monumental body of evidence.

Nevertheless, the very idea that intention could work equally well whether ‘backward’, ‘forward’ or in sequence, made Jahn realize that all of our conventional notions of time needed to be discarded.

The fact that effects were even larger during the time-displaced studies suggested that thoughts have even greater power when their transmission transcends ordinary time and space.

Retro-causation has been explored in great detail by Dutch physicist Dick Bierman and his colleague Joop Houtkooper of the University of Amsterdam and later Helmut Schmidt, a physicist at Lockheed Martin who created an elegant variation on time-displaced REG remote influence.

He rewired his REG to connect it to an audio device so that it would randomly set off a click that would be audiotaped and heard through a set of headphones by either the left or right ear. He then turned on the machine and tape recorded their output, ensuring that no one, even himself, was listening.

After making copies of this master tape, he locked the master tape away, to eliminate the possibility of fraud, and gave medical students the copies a day later.

The volunteers were asked to listen to the tape and send an intention to have more clicks in their left ears.

Schmidt also created control tapes by running the audio device but not asking anyone to attempt to influence the left–right clicks. As expected, the right and left clicks of the controls were distributed more or less evenly.

Once the participants had finished their attempts to influence the tapes, Schmidt had his computer analyse both the student tapes and the master tapes that had been hidden away to see if there was any deviation from the typical random pattern.

In more than 20,000 trials, Schmidt discovered a significant result: on both the copies and the masters, 55 per cent had more left-hand than right-hand clicks. And both sets of tapes matched perfectly.

Schmidt believed he understood the mechanism for his improbable results. It wasn’t that his participants had changed a tape after it had been created; their influence had reached ‘back in time’ and influenced the machine’s output at the moment that it was first recorded.

They had changed the output of the machine in the same way they might have if they had been present at the time it was being recorded. They did not change the past from what it was; they influenced the past when it was unfolding as the present so that it became what it was.

Schmidt continually refined the design of his retro-intention studies over 20 years, eventually involving martial arts students, who are trained in mind-control.

In one study, he used a radioactive-decay counter to generate a visual display of random numbers. The students sat in front of this visual display and attempted mentally to influence the numbers in a particular statistical distribution.

Once again, he achieved a highly significant result, with odds against it being a chance occurrence of 1000 to 1. Somehow, the intention of the students had reached ‘back in time’ to affect what occurred in the first place.

German parapsychologist Elmar Gruber, of the Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Freiburg, also carried out a series of ingenious experiments, this time examining whether the movement of animals and humans can be influenced after the fact.

One series of tests concerned gerbils running in activity wheels and moving about within a large cage. A special counter kept track of the number of revolutions in the activity wheel. A beam of light in the cage also had a recording device to note whenever the gerbil made contact with it.

Similarly, he asked a group of human volunteers to walk around an area across which he had placed a photobeam, which was also attached to a recorder to note every instance that the volunteers ran into it.

Gruber then converted each revolution of the wheel or contact with the photobeam into a clicking sound. Tapes were made of the clicks, which were copied and stored, again to eliminate fraud.

Between one and six days later, volunteers were asked to listen to the tapes and attempt to mentally influence the gerbils to run faster than normal, or the people to run into the beam more often than usual. Success would be measured by a greater number of clicks than usual.

Gruber carried out each type of trial 20 times, and in each instance, compared the volunteers’ tapes with tapes made during sessions when the animals and humans were not subjected to the remote influence. Four of the six batches of trials achieved significant results, and in three of these, the effect size was larger than 0.44.

An effect size is a statistical figure used in scientific research to demonstrate the size of change or outcome.

Aspirin, considered one of the most successful heart attack preventives of modern times, has an effect size of just 0.032, more than 10 times smaller than Gruber’s overall effect size.

In the case of the activity-wheel gerbil trial, the effect size was a huge 0.7.

If his results had concerned a drug, Gruber would have discovered one of the greatest lifesavers of all time.

These studies offer up the most challenging idea of all: that thoughts can affect other things no matter when the thought is made.

Newtonian ideas of an absolute time and space or even Einstein’s view of a relative space-time need to be replaced by a truer picture – that the universe exists in some vast ‘now’ where now represents all points of space and time at a single instant.

‘Take time out of it,’ Robert Jahn was fond of saying, ‘and it all makes sense.’

But that hints at the most unsettling idea of all. Once constructed, a thought is lit forever.


When people are not achieving their intentions they are usually being sabotaged by events in the past, but the lingering effect of these past hurts can be overcome with special intention techniques, no matter how long ago or deeply embedded.

Lynne has lately developed a method of using intention to ‘time travel,’ a new technique that not only heals issues in the present but also those of the past. Joined by her husband Bryan Hubbard, originator of the revolutionary ‘Time-light’ method of healing the past, Lynne is offering a Heal Your Past retreat at Broughton Hall in Yorkshire September 5-9, 2022. Find out more or book your place.

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Lynne McTaggart

Lynne McTaggart is an award-winning journalist and the author of seven books, including the worldwide international bestsellers The Power of Eight, The Field, The Intention Experiment and The Bond, all considered seminal books of the New Science and now translated into some 30 languages.

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6 comments on “Changing what already happened”

  1. Well, you said that if I couldn't attend at the time I needn't worry because I would be able to watch the video afterwards. Where is the link? Thanking you already, Claudia

  2. I hope this will be offered online! What a tremendous advantage it would be to those of us who have taken the intention workshops( and are in Power of 8 group)s to become even more powerful agents of healing intentions.

  3. Dear Lynne, I am the facilitator of our Power of 8 group in Johannesburg, South Africa.
    We wish to do an intention for a person who suffers from a chronic 'Frozen Shoulder' incurred in a motor accident that occurred 15 years ago.
    How could we phrase an intention of this type. your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much for your informative emails

    Yours Sincerely,

    Duane Rogers

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