An error in translation may have led to reports of "telepathic attacks" playing a role in the deaths of four engineers in Turkey. Ollie Tree

The Inspection Board of the Prime Ministry in Turkey has released a report on the 2006 suicides of four engineers that suggests telepathy could have played a role in the deaths. But that sensational detail could be due to a mistranslation of an account that said "telepathic agents sent psychic attacks" forcing the engineers to commit suicide.

Hüseyin Başbilen, Halim Ünsem Ünal, Evrim Yançeken and Burhaneddin Volkan were working for ASELSAN, a major defense industry contractor in Turkey that supplies electronic systems to the Turkish military, prior to their deaths, reports Today’s Zaman. The four engineers' deaths, between 2006 and 2007, were listed as suicides, but their families were skeptical and others believed there may have been some foul play.

The report states the engineers were not working on any classified, critical or special project for ASELSAN prior to their deaths, countering theories they were working on something the government wanted to keep private, reports Today’s Zaman. The most curious aspect of the findings involves the discussion of telepathy being used as a weapon to force the engineers to commit suicide. It used the phrase “telepathic attack,” which, it turns out, may be a mistranslation of a story that seems to have originated with Hurriyet Daily News. HDN quoted the research of “neuropsychology expert” Nevzat Tarhan, whose testimony was included in the report. (The field of neuropsychology focuses on changes in behavior and cognitive function as a result of disease or injury to the brain.) "Tarhan’s study," said the HDN story, "asked the prosecution not to disregard the possibility of telekinesis as a possible cause of the suicides,” but a commenter points out a possible error in translation.

Previous research by Tarhan, a member of the American Psychiatry Association and a board member of the EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society, has focused on behavior and mood. According to commenter Turk Uzan, the original translation cites the possibility of an “electromagnetic attack” that could have triggered headaches and psychological distress that could cause an individual to commit suicide. Electromagnetic waves have been the focus of much research regarding their effect on human behavior, and Tarhan's comment may refer to unsafe work conditions vs. any sort of telepathic element.

A report by the World Health Organization on exposure to low-frequency electric fields says there is no evidence of health consequences due to exposure. Transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses electromagnetic stimulation to targeted areas of the brain, is a new form of depression therapy that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

While the telekinesis/telepathy angle is getting the most attention, the report does not conclusively rule out murder in regards to the four deaths. According to Today’s Zaman, the engineers underwent psychological treatment prior to their death: Başbilen was being treated prior to his suicide in August 2006 and the other three went to treatment after his suicide. The report found no link between the suicides but did note Başbilen’s suicide was the most suspicious. Of the eight members involved in the investigation, five believed it was a suicide and three believed it was murder. The members investigated the personal history, treatment logs and other documents pertaining to the deaths of the four engineers. The report was given to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor's Office, which will continue the investigation.