The Riddle Inside an Enigma that was Nina Kulagina

Nina Kulagina psychokinesis

In the annals of psychic research, no one rates as a bigger mystery than Nina Kulagina. What makes her story so controversial and enigmatic is that she appeared to accomplish extraordinary things, but was never researched or monitored in anything resembling a true controlled environment (at least so far as we know). Therefore accusations of trickery or fakery are impossible to prove or disprove.

The name Nina Kulagina may not be familiar to you, but it’s likely you’ve seen her in action. During the 60s and 70s grainy film footage emerged from the Soviet Union that showed a seated woman staring at or waving her hands over small objects, often kept protected under Plexiglas, and apparently making those objects move with the power of her mind.


Nina Kulagina was that woman, and her extraordinary psychokinetic powers have become the stuff of legend. Nevertheless a shroud of “too good to be true” skepticism has always hung over the story of her accomplishments, based in part on cynicism about psychic phenomena and in part on distrust of Soviet “news” sources which during the Cold War era were always dismissed as organs of propaganda.

While Nina Kulagina’s story became rather well-known in the West she never left the Soviet Union and was never tested under controlled conditions by scientists or psychic researchers from the other side of the Iron Curtain. There were claims of controlled studies by Soviet scientists but no results from such testing were ever published anywhere in any reputable journal.

This lack of real proof has fueled suspicions that the whole Nina Kulagina story was concocted by Soviet intelligence agencies as a part of a disinformation campaign designed to make us think the Soviets were close to achieving breakthroughs in the study – and possible use of – psychic powers.


Trick or Treat? We’ll Never Know for Sure

Skeptics say the existing films of Nina Kulagina only show sleight-of-hand or feats of prestidigitation that could easily be duplicated by a half-competent magician. But there is no evidence to suggest Nina Kulagina ever received training in the magical arts. She was a housewife and mother from an ordinary background.

And if it was all just fakery and propaganda, we are left to wonder why the Soviets only created one Nina Kulagina and not a full army of them, to really shake us up and make us think they were getting close to harnessing psychokinetic powers that would allow them to do God-knows-what.

Nina Kulagina might have been the greatest practitioner of psychokinesis that ever lived or she might have been a complete fraud. She died in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Soviet empire and the opening of Russia’s border, denying western researchers the opportunity to finally contact her and study her. Unfortunately truth about who she was remains hidden and is destined to remain that way forever.    

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