Placebo-Controlled Sigil Testing: Results

by Mike Sententia on August 14, 2016

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One month ago, I posted a double-blind placebo-controlled test of ethereal software and sigils.

Over 30 of you participated. Thank you! It feels amazing to have this community to help test these techniques.

(The rest of this post assumes you read the procedure. Summary: Two symbols. One had ethereal software attached, the other was placebo. It involved a coin flip, so I call them “heads” and “tails.”)

sigil experiment resultsToday I have the results. Short answer: The sigil didn’t work. Six of you felt the connection on heads, seven felt it on tails. On average, you felt a connection strength of 2.6/10 on heads, and 3.7/10 on tails. So a very mild preference for tails, both on strength and on popular vote. See the chart to the right, or download the file.

(Update: SVH points out, I failed to tally her clear Tails signal, so it should be 6H, 8T.)

Tails was the active sigil (heads was the placebo), but the results are too close to call it a success.

And yet, I feel good. That’s my first take-away: The point isn’t to get positive results from every test. The point is to become the kind of person who isn’t afraid to test their beliefs. Or who is afraid, but tests anyway. The lightness and liberation I felt immediately after posting the test are still with me.

The second take-away: Placebos are tremendously important. Of the 32 testers, 20 felt at least a 3/10 on one of the sigils. That’s over 60% of respondents. If I’d only posted one sigil and asked if you felt something, it would look like a success. I already knew that placebo controls are important, but seeing it first-hand makes a deeper impact.

I also learned about test design. Less than half of respondents tried both sigils. This is probably because I said to wait until the next day to do the second sigil. If I’d more clearly said to do both sigils, and only asked for a 10-minute break between them, I think we would have gotten a lot more data.

Why didn’t the sigil work? There are several components of this technique:

  • Connecting the ethereal software to you via the sigil. (This includes binding the sigil, and instructions for how to use the sigil.)
  • Asking the ethereal software for an obvious connection.
  • Creating sensations with the obvious connection.
  • Also, testers need to avoid building their own energy. If you build energy yourself, then you might feel that, regardless of what the ethereal software does or doesn’t do.

I can’t say which step(s) didn’t work, but I have plans for improving most of them:

  • I didn’t have any instructions to not build your own energy. I’m going to add that next time, along with an exercise on quieting your energy. This might reduce the sensations from the placebo.
  • I’ve returned to my work on creating sensations, with promising results. It’s such a useful demonstration, plus learning to create sensations can tell us a lot about healing techniques for pain. Once I get a solid technique working in-person, I’m going to program it into the ethereal software and repeat this testing.
  • I’m also thinking about in-person testing for sending instructions to the ethereal software. Maybe I can create a command like, “Create an obvious connection to Mike,” then have a friend use the command. That would let me verify that people new to using this ethereal software can successfully send it instructions.

In all, I feel good, despite the technique not working. Facing these fears and passing through them has been amazing. And it’s nurtured me to share this process, both the testing and today’s post about results and next steps. As a solo practitioner, I’ve never had much community, but this blog is starting to feel like a home. Thank you for being part of that.

If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Yvonne August 14, 2016 at 4:32 PM

Cheers, Mike. Good science! And I wonder about the energy of that “feeling” of lightness and freedom that you experienced. I wonder what it is an expression of, and whether you can generate that as part of this practice. I think that “feelings” akin to emotions, vibrational states, etc. are becoming more and more important for activating these healing and energetic balancing processes.

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Mike Sententia August 14, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Thank you! I think the lightness comes from facing my fears and doing the work anyway. It comes from having the negative outcome I was afraid of, seeing that it isn’t so bad, and looking forward, toward a better technique and the next test. Thanks for being part of the community and cheering me on :)

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Talyaa August 14, 2016 at 4:58 PM

I really enjoyed participating in this experiment. I might have second-guessed my results had I not taken a day between trying each sigil, and the way you structured the experiment allowed me to let go of attempting to create a particular result. I feel some validation now in my connection to what is usually for me a hard-to-validate art. I tend toward the artsy rather than sciencey, so I’m appreciating your scientific approach to magic.

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Mike Sententia August 15, 2016 at 7:59 AM

Thank you! It’s great to have you on board. Thanks for participating in the testing, and for taking the time to write. Science is great for creating validation and confidence, and I’m going to be sharing more experiments in the coming months.

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Meat Popsicle August 15, 2016 at 8:54 AM

Another option would be to try and transmit some sort of informative signal which would have a more specific hit or miss character. This post made me think of the methods outlined by Ingo Swam’s work where the level of semantic layers shared were relevant to a viewing even if the mind projected other interpretations over top. e.g. a partial hit of a swimming pool is still wet, even if it was the ocean.

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Mike Sententia August 15, 2016 at 9:40 AM

That’s an interesting idea. Keep in mind that the point is for the sigil to be meaningless. If we create one sigil that suggests “energy” and another that suggests “calm,” then we’re no longer testing the actual forces and energy and other techniques, we’re just testing our ability to insert messages into images.

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Evan Cross August 15, 2016 at 1:27 PM

i’m so glad you did this test it removed a lot of doubt for me personally because i haven’t had the guts to test anything and i didn’t placebo myself. Scientifically this was a well designed test i’m excited to hear that you already have ideas for another one!

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Mike Sententia August 15, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Thank you! I’m really happy to hear we accomplished some of our goals with this test.

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Julie August 17, 2016 at 8:08 AM

Hi Mike, thank you for doing this experiment (I admire your courage) and posting the results (they are very interesting.) It sounds like you learned a lot which makes it a success. I’m happy to be part of your community and the test gave me something to be excited about. Hope is hard to come by these days. I look forward to the next one. Take your time, your fans will wait! Well done :)

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Christina August 18, 2016 at 6:14 AM

Thanks for allowing us to participate. I’m very curious though: when I tested your first sigil, the response was clear to me, at least the first time. After that, not so much. And this time, I missed the mark. Why could that be?

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Mike Sententia August 22, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Great question. I’m partway through a response, should go up next weekend.

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Mike Sententia September 4, 2016 at 1:49 PM
Ben September 28, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Looking forward to any follow up experiment.

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