I’m so thrilled to announce that after a patient wait of six months, we were able to examine scientifically whether our American Peace Intention Experiment had an effect. It’s important to wait that long because you need to study months of data to see if we actually bucked a longer term trend.
As you may recall, from September 30 through October 5, 2017 I ran a daily American Peace Intention Experiment via a filmed broadcast on Gaia television. I’d decided to choose an area of high violence and settled on a section around the Natural Bridge Avenue in Northern St. Louis, Missouri, designated by the Wall Street Journal as the most dangerous street in America, with murder rates three times that of Chicago and fifteen times that of New York City.
The Bridge traverses the entire city East to West, and one of the worse neighborhoods along that stretch is Fairground, bordered by West Florissant Avenue in the north and East Natural Bridge Road in the south. Fairground consistently achieves a D or F in its report card for violent crime, with one of the highest violent crime rates per capita in the country, and equally poor marks for schools, housing or employment.
According to one real estate rating system, the overall crime rate in Fairground is 321 percent higher than the national average, with one in every nine residents falling victim to personal or property crime. Nearly half of the formerly grand Victorian houses, now mainly converted to apartments for rent, stand vacant year round, their rear walls collapsing, their interiors ripped bare of fixtures.
Fairground’s major claim to fame is a string of negative superlatives: a higher vacancy rate, a higher rate of child poverty, lower car ownership and lower per capita income than 99 percent of the rest of the country. Natural Bridge Avenue, so named for a natural limestone bridge enabling horse-drawn wagons to cross over the now dried up Rock Branch Creek, makes an occasional appearance in rap songs – ‘meet me on the bridge’ connoting an invitation to settle the score with a gun.
It’s the kind of place where 35-year-old father of six Brandon Ellington could head out to the drug store for a minor errand and never come back, shot dead by his own protégé after discovering that Brandon had been carrying a large tax rebate in cash.
Zeroing in on violence
In our Intention Experiment, we decided to focus on violent crime alone – including rape, robbery, aggravated assault and murder – and as with the other Peace Intention Experiments, I quantified our intention, to lower violent crime by at least 10 percent.
Dr. Jessica Utts, the University of California professor of statistics who had analyzed the results of our first Peace Intention Experiment, examined four sets of crime data in St. Louis from September 2014 through to March 2018: monthly violent crimes in Fairground and then St. Louis as a whole and monthly property crimes in Fairground and also property crimes for the whole of the city. She used all the data in the four groups from the months and years preceding our intention to forecast what should happen in the months immediately following our intervention if nothing changed, and then compared them to what actually did happen in the six months after our experiment.
In the six months after our experiment, actual crimes were higher than forecast for property and violent crime in the city as a whole, as was property crime in Fairground. Only Fairground’s violent crime - the target of our intention – had a lower incidence than forecast. Then, when Dr. Utts mapped the general historical trends of crime starting with September 2014, although violent crime in Fairground had been steadily increasing, that general trend reversed immediately after our Intention Experiment.
According to the city’s official police statistics and the US Census bureau, as compiled by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, all crime in Fairground was up by 7.14 percent in the six months from October 2017 to March 2018, compared to October to March of the year before, but the increase in crime was solely due to an increase in property crime, because violent crime – again, the target of our intention – had in fact fallen over the same period by 43 percent. The year before, during the same October-March six-month period the police had recorded 44 violent crimes; that figure had plunged to 25 after our experiment.
Fairground was the only neighborhood along the North Bridge Avenue that enjoyed this large decrease in violent crime.
Did we do this? I continue to have no idea, although with each peace Intention Experiment, the evidence that group consciousness has the power to affect violence gets a bit more compelling. Dr. Roger Nelson examined the REG output for his Global Consciousness Project, for the St. Louis experiment, and discovered that the machines had reacted strongly just during the window of our intention and in just the direction they had in every earlier Peace Intention Experiments, another tiny shift toward a more coherent world consciousness.
The mirror effect
And once more, a survey of my participants showed a profound mirror effect on all who took part.
“I have had an amazing turn around in my relationship with my teenage stepdaughter – . . . like we are both interacting with love as opposed to fear – miraculous! It’s been bad for seven years!!!”
“A true miracle happened. It is healing between all of us, my mother and her daughters and even a smoother energy in the relationships as a whole in the family.”
“My cousin, who had been estranged from my life, contacted me and opened up communication.”
“My father apologized to me for disowning me one and a half years ago.”
“I was having a very difficult time with a new boss. . . . The week after I did the intention experiment, things suddenly smoothed out unexpectedly. It's a night-and-day difference at work now.”
“My husband has transformed! He is kind, considerate, and treats me with respect – what a long-awaited turnaround! Even my friends have noticed he is different!
“My estranged son has suddenly more time for me, calls me and comes to see me. For twenty years we have been practically strangers, but our relationship has drastically improved.”
“A better relationship with my wife who did not participate in the experiment herself. . .. SHE seems to me to be more open and less likely to become defensive.”
Three-quarters reported extraordinary changes: more in love with their lives, more tolerance of people not like them, a greater desire to work for peace.
“I have since participated in Project Uplift, where I went by van to various gathering spots of homeless people to help serve hot meals and hand out toiletries, clothing, blankets, and pet food. I've never done anything like that before.”
“I began a new job with a healing arts clinic. . . I had not up until now started carving out a career in the healing arts arena.”
“It charged my spiritual battery.”
As I hope is becoming clear, the target of our intention is no longer the point. The point is not the action but its reaction – a ripple effect of peace in the hearts of the participants that could eventually extend out to the entire world.
Thanks to all who participated. Stay tuned for more Intention Experiments coming up in the autumn.