Canada’s residential schools for aboriginal children were places of hunger, isolation and misery. Children as young as 3 were separated from their families and became wards of the state.
In the 1940s, the children were also, as more and more evidence is revealing, the unwitting subjects of bizarre, cruel and unethical experimentation.
A recently uncovered experiment reveals the depths of the access given to so-called researchers seeking to find evidence that aboriginal children, by dint of their race, had extrasensory perception, also known as ESP, or a “sixth sense.”
Fifty children at the Indian Residential School in Brandon, Manitoba, became the subjects of a series of tests that sought to establish a new measure for identifying ESP and also to find evidence of supernatural abilities of “primitive” people.
As was typical for the time, there was no parental consent. But the children, ranging from ages 6 to 20, likely participated “willingly,” as the study claims, eager for candy that might stave off their persistent hunger.
The study was conducted for researchers at what was then known as the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory; the findings were published in the Journal of Parapsychology in 1943.
“The bare fact that American Indians have shown ESP ability is not surprising enough to deserve great emphasis,” the study’s author wrote.
The study was recently uncovered by Maeengan Linklater, an aboriginal community worker, who forwarded it to Ian Mosby, a researcher at McMaster University.