Mikhailova, Nelya

Mikhailova, Nelya (b. 1927)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Nelya Mikhailova—a pseudonym of Madame Ninel Sergeyevna Kulagina—first came to the attention of the western world through the book Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain (1970). A Leningrad housewife who was married to an engineer, Mikhailova was tested by forty top scientists, including two Nobel Prize winners, and found to have exceptional powers of psychokinesis (PK), the ability to move objects without physically touching them. She stopped and started a pendulum on a wall clock and moved an assortment of dishes, a pitcher of water weighing a pound, various cups, glasses, and boxes all with the power of her mind alone.

Experiments were conducted with objects enclosed in a clear plastic box, so that they could be observed but could not be physically touched. Movie film was taken of Mikhailova concentrating on this box and of the contents—several cigarettes—rolling about inside it. Other film showed her concentrating on a compass attached to a wristband and causing the needle to spin rapidly. First the needle spun counterclockwise, and then the whole wristband began to spin. She also tilted a pair of scales that had been equally balanced with weights of 30 grams and held down one side of the scales, with her mind, even when 10 extra grams were added to the other side.

Mikhailova was tested by physicists from the Soviet Union’s Joint Nuclear Research Institute at Dubna, from the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and from the Mendeleyev Institute of Metrology. The Mendeleyev Institute of Metrology reported to Pravda that the housewife moved aluminum pipes and matches under the strictest test conditions, including observation by closed circuit television cameras. Ostrander and Schroeder said, “Not since the end of the nineteenth century in England and France had so many outstanding scientists looked into a subject as seemingly far out as psychokinesis.” Mikhailova lost weight during the process of doing PK, sometimes as much as three pounds at one sitting. The experiments always left her completely exhausted, sometimes taking several days to fully recover.

Born in 1927, Nelya Mikhailova served as a radio operator in the Red Army’s Tank Regiment in Tank T-34, fighting the Germans in World War II when she was only 14 years old. She became a senior sergeant of the 226th Tank Regiment. Recovering from injuries in a hospital at the end of the war, she discovered that she had developed psychokinetic powers. She was able to make objects move without physically touching them. The first time it happened was when she was angry about something and a small pitcher moved off a shelf and smashed on the floor. She later found that she could control this energy.

A number of scientists at Moscow State University tested Mikhailova’s powers and confirmed them. At the Utomski Institute in Leningrad, Dr. Gerady Sergeyev set up tests and found there was a magnetic field surrounding her body that was only ten times less than that of the earth itself. Mikhailova’s brain waves could generate fifty times more voltage from the back of her head than from the front, while the average person generates only four times as much. During PK, her pulse rate climbed to 240 per minute.

An Associated Press release from Moscow stated, “Nelya has astounded Soviet scientists with her ability to move such things as match sticks or wine glasses without touching them.” One of the PK demonstrations Mikhailova was able to do was to separate the yolk from the white of an egg by mind power alone. In the 1960s, she was in a hospital for a period of time and discovered that she could “see” the colors of her embroidery threads through the tips of her fingers. This psychic sight was later tested and confirmed by Dr. Leonid Vasilier, a notable pioneer in Russian psychic research.

Another Russian woman, Alla Vinogradova, exhibited similar ability, moving her hands over a scattered pile of matches and causing them to move about.


Fishley, Margaret: The Supernatural. London: Aldus, 1976
Ostrander, Sheila and Lynn Schroeder: Psychic Discoveries Behind the Iron Curtain. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970
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