Supernatural powers harnessed by the world’s top athletes are revealed in a new book, including shaman curses and headstands to ‘tip out negative thoughts.’
Throughout history sportsmen, their coaches and even the state’s they represent have sought to gain an advantage through the mystical.
In 1978, two Soviet grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi clashed at a chess match in the Philippines.
Korchnoi, who later defected, was tortured by voices in his head accusing him of being a Soviet traitor – not only that but he knew they were being channelled at him by a suited man in the front row.
Anatoly Karpov (pictured) was convinced a hex was put on him during his match against Viktor Korchnoi in 1978
American heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali, training before his fight with Henry Cooper – he was famed for prophesying which round he would knockout his opponents
Another formidable boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson (pictured) had a morbid nightmare that he would kill Jimmy Doyle the night before their bout in 1947
During the match Korchnoi demanded Dr. Vladimir Zoukhar, the USSR’s well-dressed hypnotist who came as part of Karpov’s team, sit at the back of the hall.
But his only remedy was to stand on his head in between rounds to try and pour the vile forces from his head. While Karpov had brought his hypnotist, Korchnoi had recruited two yogis to neutralise the threat.
After his loss, Korchnoi protested: ‘I expected to play one against one. Instead, the whole Red Army, led by Zoukhar, was against me.’
This breathtaking history is revealed in sports journalist Ed Hawkins’ book, ‘The Men on Magic Carpets: Searching for the Superhuman Sports Star.’
Hawkins met with Mike Murphy, an American who had dedicated his life to accessing superpowers he calls ‘siddhis,’ after learning from an Indian guru.
One of the techniques he learned ‘enabled him to put baseball pitchers on their a**,’ Hawkins writes.
Sitting in the bleachers of the 1964 battle between the San Francisco Giants and the LA dodgers, he recruited hundreds of fans to help him shower the Los Angeles pitcher with negative energy.
Murphy claims his shamanic curse brought Bob Gibson to the ground.
Ed Hawkins – known for his football and cricket writing – has written ‘The Men on Magic Carpets: Searching for the Superhuman Sports Star’
Although the claims might sound outlandish, Hawkins cites the expert opinion of a Princeton University scientist who created a crowd experiment on a pinball-type machine in 1995.
Dean Readin found that at fever pitch the crowd’s chanting could ‘affect the quantum level of reality’ and have the pinballs fall in a consistent pattern out of line with pure chance.
This ‘quantum level of reality’ might perhaps find favour with the heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali who was famed for prophesying the exact round he would down his opponents.
Another formidable boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson had a morbid nightmare that he would kill Jimmy Doyle the night before their bout in 1947.
During the World Welterweight title fight Robinson struck Doyle with a blow that ‘knocked Jimmy rigid,’ Nat Fleischer reported in The Ring magazine.
He never regained consciousness and died in a Cleveland hospital.
Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California – in 1964 Mike Murphy told Hawkins he harnessed siddhi power to put a baseball pitcher on his backside
England’s Joe Root fires a drive at the Rose Bowl against the West Indies – researchers found that an ‘optimal state’ generated by crowd noise can enable a 90mph ball to appear to be travelling at 80mph to a batsman
Other sporting stars have recounted their ability to enter ‘the flow state,’ when time slows down.
Hawkins describes how California’s HeartMath Institute uncovered an ‘optimal state,’ when the thundering cheers of a stadium could induce this slow motion effect in an athlete’s brain.
‘When in that “optimal state” a person’s “reaction time” is 37 milliseconds faster,’ Hawkins writes. It may not sound much but that would make a 90mph cricket ball seem like it was coming down the wicket at 80mph.
Whether you accept the science or not, Hawkins tells us: ‘If there is one thing to take from this book, it is that there are people who believe.’