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Vasiliev, Leonid Leonidovich (1891-1966)

Vasiliev, Leonid Leonidovich (1891-1966)

Soviet physiologist and parapsychologist. Born in Russia, he graduated from Petersburg University in 1914. He was a teacher of biological sciences at Ufa, Bashkir (1914-21), head of the Physiology Department, Bekhterev Brain Institute, Leningrad (1921-38), and a professor of physiology at Leningrad University from 1943 onward. Vasiliev pioneered parapsychology in the Soviet Union, and helped to establish the first parapsychology laboratory at Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). His work is both contemporaneous with and of equal quality as that of J. B. Rhine. He began by attempting to replicate some of the experiments of Pierre Janet, the nineteenth-century French psychologist. His spectacular success gave parapsychology some recognition in the highly politicized atmosphere of Stalinist Russia. He first developed a "politically correct" hypothesis of the material basis of telepathy, but his experiments to establish his theory proved quite the opposite. Financial support was withdrawn and Vasiliev's work was not published until the 1960s, after Stalin's death.


Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Ebon, Martin, ed. Psychic Discoveries by the Russians. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 1963; New York: New American Library, 1971.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Vasiliev, Leonid L. Experiments in Distant Influence. London: Wildwood House, 1976; New York: Dutton, 1976.

. Experiments in Mental Suggestion. Church Crookham, Hampshire, U.K.: Study of Mental Images Publications, 1963.

. Mysterious Manifestations of the Human Psyche. 1959. Reprinted as: Mysterious Phenomena of the Human Psyche. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1965.

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