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MOSCOW, November 23 (Itar-Tass) —— The negative attitude of mainstream science in Russia to the phenomenon of psychics does not interfere with attempts to use their ability to solve crimes. Russian law enforcement agencies are increasingly resorting to the help of hypnotists and psychics. Thousands of viewers from season to season watch documentary serials highlighting the activity of people with paranormal abilities.
The Russian TV channel TNT this year launched a new project called Psychics Investigate, featuring the finalists and winners of The Battle of Psychics - a documentary series about the competitions of people with extra-sensorial powers (ESP), which for several seasons collected a large TV audience. Participants in the new show did not compete, but investigated mysterious disappearances of people, major thefts, and kidnappings of children.
During the show the psychics helped solve many complex cases. In particular, they found the wreck of a MI-171 helicopter (January 2010) and the survivors of this tragedy, they found criminals from the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses, who had committed terrible crimes for financial gain; investigated the death of an army serviceman to have ascertained that it was not a suicide, contrary to what the man’s superiors had claimed.
However, such investigations are conducted not only on television. Recently, roundups of crime news often showed reports that in their attempts to clear up the circumstances of this or that case investigators used unconventional methods of enhancing memory resources, such as hypnosis, and even resorted to the services of psychics. Komsomolskaya Pravda daily correspondents visited a department of the Investigative Committee of Russia (ICR), whose officers try these non-traditional forms of investigation in practice.
Taking part in the experiment was psychic Svetlana Proskuryakova, by the way, a pathologist by profession. For twelve years she worked as a forensic medical expert, and now she has a job at an ordinary city hospital.
When shown a photo of a man, she determined that the person had been dead for while. "It was not a natural death,” said Svetlana. “Injuries are very serious, but it was not a murder. Something that involved a very high temperature... I see ... metal, a countryside landscape ..." The psychic hit the nail on the head: the man in the picture had died in a plane crash.
As it turned out, the ICR and law enforcement agencies in general have resorted to psychics’ assistance regularly and for a long time. Svetlana Proskuryakova alone helps with the investigation of two or three cases a week. "Hiring psychics as full-time staff members has never been on the agenda,” says an officer at the chief forensic division of the ICR, Sergei Zerin. “We turn to them not as experts, but as specialists and advisers. They do not get paid for it, their opinion is never presented in court as evidence. But they can sometimes give a very accurate, although probabilistic answer."
After the explosion at Domodedovo airport it was a psychic that was the first to have pointed to a suicide bomber on the video retrieved from surveillance cameras. He looked and said, “Look, this man carries a spot of energy.” Then it was confirmed by experts. But most often psychics are asked to help, if a person has gone missing. For example, in September last year a girl disappeared in the Ryazan Region - one Maria Mishina. Her boyfriend was beside himself with anxiety, he actively participated in the search, he rained the police with questions and requests. A photo of Maria and other data were sent to us. Two psychics said independently of each other that the young woman had been killed. One said that her boyfriend had done that, which was confirmed later.
In the Tambov region the murder of a school teacher was solved. In general, the investigators had no clues at all, but psychics said that the murder was her former pupil. Two weeks later, the suspect was arrested and made a confession.
During investigations a technique called witnesses’ memory activation is used - under hypnosis a person can recall details that remain obscure in the normal state of mind. This is applied psychology.
"In St. Petersburg, there was a series of armed robberies of banks,” says Sergei Zerin. “It remained unsolved until police found a witness who saw the attackers’ car. He could just remember how fast it was leaving the scene. But in the state of deep trance he managed to recall part of the license plate number, which was enough to detain criminals. In another case, a witness under hypnosis could remember a telephone number he had seen casually in the notebook of a friend. "
The August 13, 2007 terrorist attack, which derailed a locomotive and twelve cars of the Nevsky Express train, managed to be solved with the help of the of immersion of a witness in a hypnotic state.
According to the deputy head of the ICR forensic department, Ivan Streltsov, specialists who are able to immerse people in the state of hypnosis and read detailed information about past events are very few. Such people are constantly away from home on business trips – they activate the memory of witnesses and victims in different regions. Some of such experts make more than 30 trips a year.
The permanent expert of the television program Battle of Psychics, forensic psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov, told the online newspaper Pravda.ru the practice of using psychics by law enforcement agencies has existed in Russia since the 1930s. Over the ten seasons the Battle of Psychics has been on the air the expert managed to select six true psychics out of ten of thousand participants. The Vinogradov group has helped with investigations for two years - psychics assist the ICR in practicing new methods of solving particularly serious crimes.
"We have had requests from investigators in various Russian cities - Kazakhstan, the USA, UAE, Canada, all Baltic countries come to us, and Belarus as well," Vinogradov said. In the UAE a tourist went missing a year ago. The police could not find it. His relatives came to Moscow. "Our woman psychic said that he had drowned, and she described the area where he disappeared. Later we received a letter from the relatives with words of thanks and photos of the area, which completely coincided with the descriptions of our psychic."
Errors do happen, of course. In Vinogradov's group the share of failures is about 10-12 percent. Over two years of work 29 cases of the original several hundred were handed over to courts for trial. Many others could not be tried for lack of material evidence.
Vinogradov gets up to 20 letters a day, and each psychic receives six people a day. More is beyond their strength. "It involves major energy consumption, and great emotional strain. And it is a very complex psychological problem for a psychic - to tell the family that this or that person is not alive, that they should understand it, accept it and live with it."
Some experts urge caution in the use of the services of people with paranormal abilities. "Both the seers and the hypnotists should be used with extreme caution,” says lawyer Lyudmila Romanchenko. “If one gets carried away by this trend, there may be a situation where clues and evidence may begin to be adjusted to the assumption expressed by the psychic. This can happen even unconsciously, if the investigator believes too strongly in the paranormal abilities. And what is the guarantee the hypnotist has not introduce into the subconscious of the witness some details that had never existed in reality? And then the person will believe that he or she saw everything in reality. So it's a double-edged weapon."