MYSTERY WIRE — With much of the nation’s attention on NASA with the new rover landing on Mars, this month also marks another milestone. It was 50 years ago this month that NASA launched and returned the three man crew on board Apollo 14.

The Apollo 14 Saturn V lifted off at 4:03 p.m. EST on January 31, 1971. (Photo by Heritage Space/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

Astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell became the 5th and 6th humans to walk on the moon. Astronaut Stuart Roosa was the Command Module Pilot and stayed in orbit around the moon while Mitchell and Shepard explored the moon’s surface.

But Mitchell did more than just explore the moon’s surface, he used his return flight home to conduct a secret experiment into psychic phenomena.

Edgar Mitchell had originally been slated to be on the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission to the moon but the crews were switched.

After Apollo 14 landed safely on the moon, he and Alan Shepard spent nine hours outside of the Lunar Exploration Module (LEM) exploring the lunar surface.

Mitchell was a brilliant scientist and a daring test pilot. He was born near Roswell, New Mexico, a town famous for an alleged UFO crash, a topic which became a central interest for Mitchell later in life.

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch.”

Edgar Mitchell on seeing the Earth from the Moon

He also studied psychic phenomena and conducted a psychic experiment during the return flight from the moon to earth.

In an interview with George Knapp, Mitchell said the evidence for psychic abilities is solid and scientific. “The psychic experience religion has said Western religion I’m referring to here, of course, has said it’s real, but it’s either satanic or divine, it’s supernatural. And scientists said it doesn’t exist. The reality is it does exist and it is natural.”

According to a 1971 New York Times article, Mitchell had recruited four people who were on earth during his flight. During the return flight, Mitchell used 25 numbered cards in the experiment, in which he attempted to send a thought message to the four persons as to what the symbol on each card was. He said two of the four got 51 of the 200 correct, and the other two were less successful.

He explained his experiment this way in 2001 during an interview, My experiment involved four transmission sessions during rest periods programmed into the flight. The well-known experiment in the laboratory was to use cards with the five Zener symbols, but the actual cards aren’t important. It was easier for me to use random number tables than carry the physical cards. Instead, all I did was to generate four tables of 25 random numbers just using the numbers 1 to 5. Then I randomly assigned a Zener symbol to each number. For each transmission, I would then check the particular table of random numbers and think about the corresponding symbol for 15 seconds. Each transmission took about 6 minutes. I did this when I was ready to go to sleep at night. We had sleeping bag hammocks that we would put underneath the couches. Two of us would go to sleep in a hammock while the other one would be on watch. I would do the experiment before going into my sleeping bag.

NASA did confirm that Mitchell carried out the experiments during the flight, but pointed out it was during his rest periods and that NASA had not sanctioned them.

After NASA, Dr. Mitchell created the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) to study psychic abilities. He also joined the board of Robert Bigelow’s National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) in Las Vegas, which investigated UFOs.

Mitchell described his ride through space as an epiphany, a sudden vision about the nature and wonder of the universe. devoted to bridging the gap between science and religion. “The psychic experience religion has said Western religion I’m referring to here, of course, has said it’s real, but it’s either satanic or divine, it’s supernatural. And scientists said it doesn’t exist. The reality is it does exist and it is natural.”

“But then there was Mitchell. After returning to Earth, he left NASA, grew a beard and divorced his wife. He founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which advocated exploring the universe by means of inquiry that lay outside of science and religion. He sought out South American shamans and Haitian Voodoo priests, promoted the benefits of Tibetan Buddhist lucid dreaming, visited the homes of people who claimed their children could bend spoons with their minds. He went on Jack Paar’s talk show with the self-proclaimed psychic Uri Geller. Two more marriages came and went. He got deep, very deep, into theories about extraterrestrials. He had a posthumous cameo in the cache of John Podesta’s hacked emails that WikiLeaks published this year, which included messages Mitchell sent to Podesta (a U.F.O. buff) asking him to discuss the possibility of disclosing the federal government’s records of alien contact. He signed the emails ‘6th man to walk on the Moon.’

New York Times – Dec. 21, 2016