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Sticky Topic Cleve Backster, CIA Polygraphs, and Psychic Plants (Read 40413 times)
George W. Maschke
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Cleve Backster, CIA Polygraphs, and Psychic Plants
Feb 10th, 2002 at 12:08am
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Grover Cleveland Backster, Jr.


Cleve Backster, who instituted the Central Intelligence Agency's polygraph program in 1948, also has some curious ideas about plants (in particular, that they can perceive human thoughts and intentions), as the following article on Skepdic.com explains:

http://skepdic.com/plants.html

Backster seems to believe that there is a conspiracy in the scientific community to discredit his revolutionary discovery that plants can read human thought. But scientists have been unable to reproduce his results under controlled conditions.

Backster also originated the numerical scoring of polygraph charts, devised the widely used polygraph Zone Comparison "Test," and founded the Backster School of Lie Detection in San Diego, possibly the oldest private polygraph school still in operation. But as it turns out, lie detection has little more scientific basis than do Backster's cockamamie notions about plant perception. (For a thorough debunking of the lie detector, see AntiPolygraph.org's free e-book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector (1 mb PDF).
« Last Edit: Nov 19th, 2008 at 9:42am by George W. Maschke »  

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George W. Maschke
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Cleve Backster Interviews
Reply #1 - Nov 26th, 2006 at 9:53pm
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The News for the Soul radio program, which currently offers for sale via its website a "Spoonbending Kit," also makes available at no cost some interviews with Cleve Backster, the father of the CIA polygraph program, which Agency he only mentions in passing, preferring to speak instead on the mind-reading abilities of plants and other organisms. The following streaming broadcasts are in RealPlayer format:

http://www.newsforthesoul.com/ram/show52.ram

http://www.newsforthesoul.com/ram/cleve2.ram

http://www.newsforthesoul.com/ram/cleve-april2006.ram

http://www.newsforthesoul.com/ram/cleve-sept2007.ram

« Last Edit: Mar 11th, 2008 at 6:21pm by George W. Maschke »  

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des fitzgerald
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Re: Cleve Backster, CIA Polygraphs, and Psychic Plants
Reply #2 - Sep 25th, 2011 at 7:30pm
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The ouijha board is supposed to tell the truth from your subconscious mind - also the penfulum - but is it possible to quiz one's own subconscious USING A LIE DETECTOR??? Surely you would get the truth????? Hope you don't consider this a silly question.
YOURS FAITHFULLY, DES, DUBLIN, SUN.SEPT.25, 2011.
EMAIL: des48fitz@gmail.com
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Ben
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Re: Cleve Backster, CIA Polygraphs, and Psychic Plants
Reply #3 - Feb 1st, 2012 at 8:26pm
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While some had difficulty replicating Backster's experiments, it's probably for the wrong reasons. I have been able to replicate them, finding plants respond to human emotion, as part of an honors thesis I did at UC Berkeley. The investigators that are cited on skepdic actually didn't follow Backster's protocols, and thus introduced other confounds that they didn't consider. So their bad science makes it look like Backster's findings were invalid.

I've had to take a bit of a hiatus on this line of research while working on my PhD, but I'm planning to collect more data in order to publish.

Not that it influences the truth of anything, but Backster is a kind, well-meaning fellow. Obviously here you're invested in disproving the validity of polygraph use, which I don't have enough background in to dispute. I also believe one reason why he doesn't talk about his work with the CIA is he's not supposed to.

That notwithstanding, the plant research is indeed valid, and hopefully there will be some more data coming out in the next year or two.
  
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George W. Maschke
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Cleve Backster, R.I.P.
Reply #4 - Jul 8th, 2013 at 9:22am
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On Monday, 1 July 2013, Cleve Backster died at the age of 89 following a long illness:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/2013/07/08/cleve-backster-r-i-p/
  

George W. Maschke
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Re: Cleve Backster, CIA Polygraphs, and Psychic Plants
Reply #5 - Jul 8th, 2013 at 7:21pm
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He was quite a guy. RIP Cleve.
  
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