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Foundation for Mind Research

Foundation for Mind Research

Organization formed by the husband and wife team Robert E. L. Masters and Jean Houston in New York to conduct experiments on the border between mental and physical experience. Houston is a professor of psychology, and Masters is a poet and sexologist and the author of many books. Both have experimented with clinically controlled hallucinogenic drugs.

Masters and Houston also developed the ASCID (Altered States of Consciousness Induction Device), better known as "the witches' cradle." It was suggested by historical accounts of witches being suspended from tree branches in swinging bags. Masters and Houston developed a metal swing in which the subject is secured blindfolded with ear baffles and swings in various directions. In this situation of sensory deprivation and confusing movement, the subject experiences enhanced fantasies and alteration in consciousness. A more primitive and dangerous form of this activity has long been called "dervish dangling" and has been reported to result in paranormal perception.


Houston, Jean. Lifeforce: The Psycho-historical Recovery of the Self. New York: Delacorte Press, 1989.

Masters, Robert E. L., and Jean Houston. Mind Games. New York: Viking Press, 1972.

. The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966.

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