The factual statements come from Bill's papers and talks. The speculation based on them is mine and is put forth for consideration and debate.
Bill Bengston has shown the ability in experiments to heal mice of cancer from up to 1000 miles away. He also says that he has cured mice of whose existence he was not aware, when it was the unstated intention of his research partners to include those mice in the experiment.
When Bill published his first mouse paper in 2000 he was very enthusiastic about having proven that skeptical volunteers could be taught the method. But by the time he published his "Resonance" paper in 2007, along with the companion "Methods" paper, outlining the technique through which he taught the skeptical volunteers, he was more restrained. Then followed "Can healing be taught?" in which he stated that he had in fact not proven to his own satisfaction that he had taught his skeptical volunteers how to heal.
The fly in the ointment (and also the great marvel of it all) is "resonance". In the original experiments it was found that not only did the treated group get better, but so did mice in the control group if someone involved in the healing part of the experiment so much as looked at them. The pattern was that when reports came in of a mouse in the control group having died, someone would look in on them to see what the surviving ones looked like. After that visit the control mice all began to exhibit the same symptoms as the treated mice and then proceeded to remit to full cure. In later experiments every single mouse was cured, except for the ones that were sent to a distant lab whose location was unknown to Bill.
In the minds of orthodox researchers this means that "nothing happened". The whole point of experimental design is to have a group that receives treatment and a control group that doesn't. What proves that the treatment works is that the first group gets better and the second one doesn't. If both groups get better, the experiment is considered a failure. In this case, however, that would lead to a false result because in fact all the mice should have died.
Bill addresses the problem in his "Resonance" paper, published in the spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. As I understand it, what happens is that all the treatment subjects get bonded, whichever group they happen to be in, so when one group gets treated, so does the other, by proxy. Every time a mouse gets treated, so do all the others, unless they get somehow pulled out of resonance by, say, being shipped out of town, or by being treated by a self-conscious biologist.
"Resonance" not only complicates experimental design, it also muddles the issue of teachability. Not only do the mice bond, so do the healers. The way Bill puts the difficulty is to say that so long as even one person learns the method, all the mice could still be healed, and it would be unclear which particular skeptical volunteer was responsible for doing the actual healing. But I would say that "resonance" taken to its logical conclusion means that it is unnecessary for any of the volunteers to learn anything at all. If Bill can heal mice from 1000 miles away, and heal nearby mice of whose existence he doesn't know, would it not be a piece of cake for him, quite unintentionally, to heal mice being treated by his students, just by desiring to see the experiment succeed? Just a question. And here is another: what kind of experimental design would you need to rule these factors out? How do you rule out the experimenter's mind as a factor, when that mind is known to have a range of 1000 miles?
(BTW those of us who took workshops with Bill would say we definitely learned something.)
"Resonance" in workshops and other interesting places
We have all experienced "resonance" at places like big family gatherings, historic events like the recent U.S. election, or football or hockey games where the home town team is winning big. We suddenly become bonded into a group whole where the group becomes more important than the "I". We feel as one. We shout as one. We do the wave. We leave the confines of this little shell that is our ego and become part of a much larger whole, and it feels damn good. It lasts for a little while, and then it's over. We go back to being our normal little selves and forget about the feeling, though I suspect some part of us continues to hanker for it.
When you go to an event such as a healing workshop or a mass-market self-help event like a Tony Robbins or a Journey seminar, chances are you will also find "resonance" at work. Many of these people are masters at preparing the field for it energetically. Some do it ahead of time, others unabashedly do it right on the spot. Recently I attended a Matrix Energetics evening with Richard Bartlett. Richard danced in, in a Hawaiian shirt and a fedora, to the tune of Elton John's "Benny and the Jets". When he reached the podium he sat down on a massage table and continued swaying and dancing as he charged the room. And you could feel it. It felt absolutely marvelous, an energy that made you want to sing and dance, going straight to your heart. Non-commercial folk like the monks of the Dalai Lama do it too, in a more sacred way. The last time I saw His Holiness, they turned Toronto's 50,000 seat Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome) into what definitely felt like a small, quiet temple (but you had to get there early).
Bill is more discrete than Richard Bartlett. He doesn't dance in (although he might in some of his American venues -- you never know). He would probably be more partial to Bob Dylan than Elton John. But he does create resonance -- and likely he does it while teaching people his mental imaging technique. It's as if having everyone in the room concentrating on the same task gives him the switch he needs. It took me a while to catch on to what was happening. I, like everyone else, was so focused on the technique that nothing else entered my mind. But after a couple of workshops I had the luxury of just watching and feeling, and I began to notice what was going on around me. It is particularly noticeable on the second day, in the form of a wonderful sense of common purpose and camaraderie. By the time the day comes to an end, we are all reluctant to leave.
And now here come the questions. What part does Bill's mental imaging technique play in the creation of resonance? Which is more important to the teaching of healing, the technique or the resonance? Are they equally important? Could Bill teach people to heal through resonance just by having them do, say, vocal exercises in unison?
Next question: which is more important to the production of a healing effect: being able to reproduce the technique or being able to get into resonance? Are they both necessary? Does one aid in the creation of the other? (I do know of someone who rates themselves quite proficient at the technique but gives a very low rating to its healing effectiveness. That would suggest an inability to get into a resonant healing state, while still doing the technique as instructed, though perhaps not well enough.)
And another one: Is the mental imaging technique the thing that allows one to become "resonant" when one is doing healing all by one's little lonesome, without the benefit of others resonating along? (As I wrote this down I had an image of one resonating all by one's little lonesome as a bell that somehow starts reverberating by itself from the inside out.)
At any rate I suspect that anything you hear or read about "resonance" is pretty much the tip of the iceberg. We ain't heard or seen nothing yet, and we definitely don't have all the answers. And that "we" I suspect includes Bill himself.
My theory is that Bill, his friend Ben, Richard Bartlett, Erik Perl et al. are all "gateways". Something has come through to them; and through them, whatever it is, it can come through to the rest of us. IMHO what we are looking at is nothing less than the next stage of the evolution of the human mind. The trick is for all these gentlemen to remember that being a gateway is a gift rather than a personal achievement, and that one does not own the passage or the energy that comes through it. And that then to go on to market one's gift like a set of Ginsu knives is to invite a proverbial karmic kick in the shin. And likewise for the rest of us the trick is to remember, when we are in the presence of the gateway, to be grateful to the source where the energy comes from, whatever that Source may be.