Center for Tactical Magic


San Francisco Bay Area, California USA
  • copyright: Center for Tactical Magic
  • copyright: Center for Tactical Magic

The Center for Tactical Magic's Vital Psigns is a social experiment that explores the power of human thought and the potential for human/plant communication. One of the most available tools that individuals have to attempt to create positive change is to think and project positive thoughts.


Each of the three plants pictured (positive, negative, and control) received equal soil, water, and light. Visitors were invited to take a few moments to relax in the presence of the plants and attempt to affect their growth using their mental energies. Thoughts were only to be focused on the "positive" and "negative" plants accordingly. Visitors were cautioned not to be disappointed if they didn't see immediate results; and, they were informed that their participation was part of a collective effort intended to cultivate a successful outcome.


Within less than a day, the "negative" plant (pictured on the left side) was already looking significantly wilted. By the end of the exhibition, it was nearly dead, and perished shortly thereafter. Few changes in overall growth were detected between the "control" and the "positive" plant. Both continue to live; however, only the "positive" plant has borne fruit.


In recent years, there has been increased public interest in ESP in general, and the behavior and psychic aspects of plant life in particular. Although people have been communicating with plants as far back as Moses, the scientific study of psi (the "neutral" term used by researchers to cover all manner of parapsychology topics) took root in the 1960's. In 1966, Cleve Backster, a former interrogator for the CIA and a leading authority on lie detection, conducted experiments in plant ESP, using polygraph techniques. His experiments supported the idea that plants are sensitive to human thought. These conclusions, linked with growing interest in cybernetics, and well-established evidence regarding plant sensitivity to environmental changes, spurred additional research interests. In 1970, defense engineer L. George Lawrence remarked, "…a few stunning discoveries of excellent promise [have] prompted those most active in this field to predict that, in time, parapsychological methods might well rival the orthodox communications arts and sciences currently in use." (Electronics World, April, 1970).


Today, most plant research is focused on genetic modification, pharmaceuticals, and industrial applications. However, Vital Psigns continues to examine the nature of consciousness and the consciousness of nature. The experiment we conducted in Vital Psigns is, of course, only a shadow of rigorous science. But as with any good experiment, one should approach it with a sense of open-minded objectivity and without expectation of desired results.




In addition to the social experiment, Vital Psigns has expanded to include a performance/lecture/demonstration and a seed distribution project.

The performance explores the magic and mystery of human/plant communication. Ranging from Moses' consultation with a burning bush to the Pentagon's recent development of "sentinel plants," the lecture provides a brief history of plants as purveyors of knowledge. Audience members also participate in a live demonstration of extra-sensory perception mediated through the cooperation of living plants.

The Vital Psigns Seed Project consists of packets containing organic peacevine cherry tomato seeds and instructions on how to set up a DIY (do-it-yourself) experiment in psychobotany in your own home, school, or workplace.