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Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center (http://Rhine.org)

James H. Hyslop

James H. Hyslop

Over a hundred years ago James H. Hyslop (1906) published a book entitled  Borderland of Psychical Research. This was a reference to conventional psychological explanations of unusual phenomena including the workings of hallucinations, memory, motor automatisms, and particularly the dramatic and creative manifestations of secondary personalities.

Hyslop Borderland

Years later Charles Richet devoted a section at the beginning of his influential Traité de métapsychique (1922) to discuss what he referred to as the “talents of the unconscious,” or the creative capabilities of the subconscious mind to form personalities that simulated spirit-produced mediumistic phenomena. Unfortunately, the “borderland” seems to be neglected by many parapsychologists.

Theodore Flournoy

Theodore Flournoy

Knowledge about hyperesthesia and unconscious perceptions should be useful to evaluate some ESP claims. Similarly, there have been ideas related to hypnosis and mediumship postulating the possibility of individuals learning to produce artifactual phenomena following on the expectation of clinician, researchers, and sitters. Another area is that of the action of the creative subconscious. In his classic work with Hélène Smith (pseudonym of Catherine Élise Müller) Flournoy (1900) explored the medium’s communications about a previous existence in India and life on planet Mars. This work was very influential in the development of the concept of mediumistic romances, and more generally, of the creative capabilities of the subconscious mind. Frederic W.H. Myers was also important for the development of these ideas, as seen in many parts of his Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (1903), and in earlier papers.

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

René Sudre

René Sudre

The concept of the creative subconscious included ideas of personation. René Sudre (1926) proposed the term “prosopopesis” to refer to “brusk, spontaneous or provoked changes of psychological personality” (p. 85) created by the subconscious during hypnosis, or in cases of possession, multiple personality, and mediumship. This concept preceeded Sudre, as seen in the work of Flournoy, Janet, and Myers, and continues to be relevant to evaluate current claims about the “channeling” of communications and literary productions.

The “borderland” could also play a function beyond providing conventional explanations for the phenomena of parapsychology. Myers (1903) did not limit his work to this, but he developed a theoretical model to integrate these “borderland” phenomena into a holistic view of consciousness. In this view these phenomena provided useful pointers about the nature of the mind, a nature intimately related to what we refer today as parapsychological phenomena.

Myers Human Personality 2

Our current textbooks and journals generally do not include the “borderland” as an area of concern for parapsychologists. One explanation for this is that these issues are not considered to be topics that belong properly to parapsychology, but instead are the province of diverse specialties of psychology. Furthermore, the field is much different today from the old days of  Flournoy, Hyslop, Myers and Richet in that a good proportion of the work done today by parapsychologists consists of experimental work operationalized and conducted in such a way as to lead us to ignore a variety of phenomena and theoretical issues that are more relevant when other approaches and phenomena such as mediumship are studied.

However, I would argue that the field would be in a better position if things were different. I am not saying that the “borderland” should be defined as part of parapsychology in the sense of including it in the field’s subject matter. But parapsychologists could be better informed about it for its theoretical and practical reasons. People continue to have spontaneous experiences and experiences with mediums that require explanations. Some of the phenomena border or are directly related to synesthesia, imagery, hypnosis, and dissociation in general. Our search to understand these phenomena needs some basic knowledge about the “borderland.”

Our neglect of these issues (and this has not been the case with everyone in parapsychology) has left these areas in the hands of outsiders (Neher, 1980; Zusne & Jones, 1989), and in the field of anomalistic psychology. But they could be better incorporated into parapsychology.

Zusne Jones Anomalistic Psychology

One hopes that those planning to come into parapsychology will become familiar not only with the psi literature, but also with that related to the “borderland.”

References

Flournoy, T. (1900). From India to the planet Mars: A study of a case of somnabulism. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Hyslop, J.H. (1906). Borderland of psychical research. Boston: Herbert B. Turner.

Myers, F. W. H. (1903). Human personality and its survival of bodily death (2 vols.). London: Longmans, Green.

Neher, A. (1980). The psychology of transcendence. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.

Richet, C. (1922). Traité de métapsychique. Paris: Félix Alcan.

Sudre, R. (1926).  Introduction à la métapsychique humaine. Paris: Payot.

Zusne, L., & Jones, W.H. (1989). Anomalistic psychology: A study of magical thinking (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: L. Erlbaum.

This was published before as: The importance of “borderland” phenomena for parapsychology. PA eNewsletter, Fall 2006, unpaginated.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Here is a new sociological study of psychic experiences: Madeleine Castro, Roger Burrows and Robin Wooffitt, “The Paranormal is (Still) Normal: The Sociological Implications of a Survey of Paranormal Experiences in Great Britain” (Sociological Research Online, 2014, 19, DOI: 10.5153/sro.3355).

Here is the abstract:

Historically, there has been limited sociological interest in the paranormal and no systematic study of reported paranormal experiences. There are also few medium-to-large-scale survey results with nationally representative populations focusing on paranormal experiences. This paper provides details of an exploratory survey conducted in 2009 with a nationally representative survey of 4,096 adults aged 16 years and over across Great Britain . Our findings show that 37% of British adults report at least one paranormal experience and that women, those who are middle-aged or individuals resident in the South West are more likely to report such experiences. These results establish incidence levels of reported paranormal experiences in contemporary Britain. We argue also that they merit a more sustained sociological consideration of the paranormal. In this respect we renew and update the robust justification and call for serious research positioning the paranormal as a social phenomenon, originally proposed well over thirty years ago by Greeley (1975).

The authors state in their conclusion:

“We began this paper with reference to the work of Andrew Greeley . . . more specifically his suggestion that the paranormal is ‘normal’. In light of the results presented here, we would certainly argue that this is the case for several reasons. Firstly, we revealed that a significant minority of the British population reports paranormal experience and that there are some sociological variables that appear to facilitate these experiences (region, age, gender). Secondly, however, there is no evidence of social marginality; that is people who report paranormal experiences are ‘normal’ (in that there is very limited socio-structural variation between those who do and those who do not report paranormal experience). However, we have not been able to get a sense of how is the paranormal perceived by British culture at large and whether there has been a normalising of the paranormal to the British public. It is likely that the paranormal is more acceptable to certain groups and individuals within contemporary society. Other research suggests for instance, that there are those for whom these experiences are more commonplace and ‘everyday’ . . . As for Greeley’s suggestion that individuals who report these kinds of experiences may be have greater mental wellbeing, this is not something our research addressed. Getting a sense of how ‘normal’ the paranormal is for individuals and exploring more qualitatively their subjective assessments of wellbeing is certainly one possible route.”

Mediumship in Brazil

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Mediumship is widely practiced in Brazil. Aspects of the topic are reviewed in a recently published article by Everton de Oliveira Maraldi, who I first met in Brazil and who has distinguished himself with various publications. He is about to finish his PhD in psychology at the University of Sao Paulo.

Everton de Oliveira Maraldi

Everton de Oliveira Maraldi

Here is the reference to the article:

“Medium or Author? A Preliminary Model Relating Dissociation, Paranormal Belief Systems and Self-Esteem” (Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 2014, 78, 1-24).

The article is based on the author’s master’s thesis (2009-2011) at the Institute of Psychology of the University of Sao Paulo. Everton wrote to me that he conducted field observations and interviews “with 11 mediums in order to understand the role of Kardecist beliefs and practices in shaping the identity and personality of the participants.” 

In his view “the experience of mediumship depends on a wide variety of individual and contextual factors, resulting in a psychosocial construction in which the phenomenon of dissociation may play an important role. In dissociative experiences, the individual believes that something or someone is acting through him, controlling his movements, when in fact he is the agent itself. It is also suggested that mediumistic writing functions as a psychological elaboration of diffuse or impulsive emotions. This phenomenon seems to depend not only on suggestions and on group expectations, but also reflects low self-esteem or an impaired self-concept, which tends to increase in unfavorable socioeconomic conditions and in people with a history of childhood trauma, repressive education or lack of affection.”

From the paper: “There is reason to believe that many of the shortcomings and difficulties in learning and adaptation reported by mediums have found a place for recovery and improvement in the spiritist centro, almost as if the institution has acted, at such times, as a second school, filling some of the gaps in the educational process, a process interrupted or impaired in childhood or adolescence. There, mediums can serve as intermediaries for several painters and writers from beyond, and if they do not see themselves as having any valuable talent, they can, at least, offer their minds and bodies to these higher spiritual forces. The process of mediation between the living and the dead is thus more than a religious practice: it seems to allow certain contact with previously unknown talents or facets of an individual.”

 

“Due to a lack of stimulation and encouragement to develop their individual capacities, these individuals had felt disconnected from their own potentials and creativity, which could have fostered the eruption of latent potentials in the form of automatisms and dissociative phenomena attributed to spiritual entities. The attribution of authorship of these productions to external sources will depend primarily on the automatic and involuntary aspect of the phenomenon, as well as the content of such productions, which would differ from the person’s conscious ideas or behavioural repertoire (the criterion would therefore be incompatibility with self-concept). As the psychological contents frequently emerge in a dissociated manner (lack of control of the hand or little awareness of the content produced), the self tends to perceive them as incompatible with certain voluntary aims or with self-concept. The intelligent (or at least intentional) aspect of such productions (even when they are relatively inferior to those the individual is able to produce in his or her normal condition) seems to serve as another element that could help sustain a spiritualist interpretation. Experiences of low self-esteem in childhood could enhance feelings of passive influence and the avoidance of personal responsibility for success, thereby reinforcing paranormal or spiritual assertions involving external (or invisible) agencies.”

 

Maraldi is the first one to recognize the limitations of the study, including the small number of mediums studied and that his participants did not present all the range of phenomena of artistic mediumship. Nonetheless, he believes, and I agree with him, that the model he presents using the variables of dissociation, impulsive tendencies, self-esteem and paranormal belief should be considered in future research.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center  

Dr. Emily Kelly

Dr. Emily Kelly

This is the first of a new series of interviews of authors of books on various topics related to parapsychology. I am happy to start with a long-time friend and colleague Dr. Emily W. Kelly, whom I met in 1982. Emily is an Assistant Professor of Research at the Division of Perceptual Studies, which in turn is part of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia.

 

Kelly Science the self Stevenson

Dr. Ian Stevenson

Dr. Ian Stevenson

This Division was founded by Dr. Ian Stevenson, well-known for his interest and research on the issue of survival of death, and the study of cases of children claiming to remember previous lives, as well as other phenomena. The book discussed here, Science, the Self, and Survival After Death: Selected Writings of Ian Stevenson (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013; see the table of contents here; to order click here), is a compilation of many of Stevenson’s writings. But what makes the book particularly valuable, and what helps us understand Stevenson better, are the essays Emily writes. Her essays provide a context in which she offers information on and discussions of Stevenson’s life and the principles that guided his interests and research.

In addition to this book being a fine introduction to many aspects of Ian Stevenson’s work, the book is also an excellent tribute, a well-deserved honor for a man who gave us so much. It is the type of book that I would like to see for other important figures in parapsychology.

Interview

Can you give us a brief summary of the book? 

The book is an introduction to the work of Ian Stevenson (1918–2007).  Many people know Dr. Stevenson primarily as the person who originated, and then carried out the vast majority of research on cases of young children who seem to remember a previous life.  In fact, this research was only part — albeit a major part — of a career in which Dr. Stevenson tackled large questions about human personality with numerous lines of research.  This volume is intended to give readers a sense of the purpose and scope of his work.

The book begins with a biographical essay by me, followed by an autobiographical essay by Dr. Stevenson.  It is then divided into 5 sections, which include papers or excerpts of papers by Dr. Stevenson, with brief introductory remarks by me.  The first section, “New Ideas in Science,” includes 2 papers on the basic nature of science and the difficulties of getting a fair hearing for new ideas in science.  Section 2, “The Nature of Human Personality,” turns to Dr. Stevenson’s dissatisfaction, stemming from his earliest days in medicine, with views of human personality as being produced solely by the brain and body.  Papers in Section 3, “Psychical Research: Principles and Methods,” deal primarily with the theoretical importance of studying psi in its natural setting, that is, as spontaneous experiences.  Section 4, “Research on the Question of Survival after Death,” is the largest section and includes reviews and reports of cases investigated by Dr. Stevenson, including apparitions, deathbed visions, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, mediumship, cases of the reincarnation type, maternal impressions, possession, and xenoglossy.  Finally, the volume closes with some reflections by Dr. Stevenson on some implications of his research, a concluding review by me, and a bibliography of Dr. Stevenson’s published work.

What is your background in parapsychology, and with the topic of the book specifically?

I have been working in the field since 1978, when I first went to work at the University of Virginia’s Division of Parapsychology (as it was then called), and, except for my years as a post-grad at the University of Edinburgh, I have been there ever since.  My interest has always been in survival research and the spontaneous experiences that people have related to that, and so my research has focused on near-death experiences, cases of the reincarnation type, mediumship, and deathbed visions.  In my graduate work at Edinburgh, however, I concentrated on historical studies, primarily of F. W. H. Myers and his contributions to psychology, because I wanted to broaden my understanding of the larger issues behind survival research, especially about how best to translate the philosophical problem of the mind-brain relationship into empirical research relevant to questions such as survival.  In more recent years therefore I have focused more on writing about what I see as the role psychical research can and should play in the larger arena of research on the nature of consciousness.

Can you tell us about your contact and work with Ian Stevenson?

My contact with Dr. Stevenson began when I went to work as his research assistant at the University of Virginia in 1978.  At first my work consisted primarily of editorial work on his papers and books — but, with the superb nature of his writing, that meant little more than correcting missing or misplaced commas!  Fortunately, in those days before the Internet, I was kept busy for long hours in libraries searching for books and articles related to the research.  As I learned more about the field, Dr. Stevenson entrusted me with data analysis and, most interesting to me, investigating cases on my own, including cases of the reincarnation type in Lebanon and near-death experiences in the USA.  Always thinking about the future of the field and the need for new blood, he encouraged me, as he did so many others, to balance my unorthodox interests with orthodox professional qualifications.  Throughout my graduate school years, and thereafter until he died, we continued to work together on research and writing projects.  Everyone should be as lucky as I to have had such a constant source of knowledge and inspiration. 

What motivated you to write this book?

My motivation to produce this volume stemmed primarily from my belief that most people’s perceptions of psychical research in general, and of Dr. Stevenson in particular, are much too narrow.  The field of psychical research is often perceived as the study of strange anomalies that don’t fit into an otherwise pretty orderly scientific picture.  In my view, nothing could be further from the truth.  The phenomena associated with our field provide just one indication that contemporary science is not yet accommodating consciousness very well.  Similarly, many people associate Ian Stevenson primarily with reincarnation research only, without necessarily understanding the larger context out of which that body of research grew.  This volume is an attempt to provide that larger context.

Would you care to speculate about Ian Stevenson’s contributions and influence on parapsychology and the study of consciousness in general?

One could readily point to the vast amount of empirical data that Dr. Stevenson has left for future researchers and theoreticians to work with and build on; or the meticulous standards he set for investigating and reporting cases; or his insistence that any field that ignores its “ethology,” or naturally occurring phenomena, and relies primarily or exclusively on the artificially produced phenomena of the experimental lab is doomed to failure.  But I think one of his most important contributions may well turn out to be his lifelong determination to steer a middle course between often rigidly polarized positions, challenging entrenched assumptions on both sides in an effort to dig deeper into the underlying issues and questions.  He told the funny story on himself that, after he published in 1957 a paper challenging the premise of psychoanalysis — then dominant in psychiatry — that human personality is formed primarily in infancy and early childhood, a colleague asked him if he was able to walk the streets unarmed.  More generally, his work challenged the increasing polarization we find ourselves in today, between physicalist scientism and religious fundamentalism — both of which, in fact, are built on assumptions that their adherents rarely, if ever, question.  Dr. Stevenson’s work shows the possibility of bridging the gap between these positions, in that he applied the empirical methods of science to the essentially religious questions about the origin, nature, and destiny of human personality.

Why do you think your book is important and what do you hope to accomplish with it?

I hope that what I have already said about Dr. Stevenson and his work explains why I think this volume is important.  My main goal was to present his work in the context of the large theoretical questions that guided him throughout his career in medicine, psychiatry, and psychical research.  I hope the book might help refocus current workers in the field on those large issues, and also provide a launching point for newcomers to the field wanting a broad understanding of the importance of this research.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Dr. Larry Dossey

Dr. Larry Dossey

Dr. Larry Dossey is a physician specializing in internal medicine who is well known for his writings and lectures about the important influence of spirituality and consciousness studies on health. He has written extensively on the value of alternative medicine and on the concept of a nonlocal mind and its implications for our understanding of consciousness, the subject of his 12th and most recent book One Mind:  How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters (Carlsbad, CA:  Hay House. 2013).

 

Dossey One Mind

Larry, whom I met sometime in the 1980s in a conference, is the Executive Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Explore: The Journal of Science and HealingHis accomplishments, as seen in the selected bibliography after the interview, are many. He was granted a Visionary Award in 2013, in honor of his positive influence on medical practice and the medical profession in general.

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

LeShan Medium, Mystic, Physicist 2I read Lawrence LeShan’s The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist on my honeymoon in 1972, which was a quite interesting experience. My intellectual curiosity about the field continued growing when I entered the practice of internal medicine in the 1970s. Early key books included John White’s Future Science, Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ’s Mind-Reach, Sir John Eccles’s The Wonder of Being Human, Henry Margenau’s The Miracle of Existence, Ken Wilber’s Quantum Questions, Jeffrey Mishlove’s The Roots of Consciousness, and Nick Herbert’s Quantum Reality.

Intrigued, I attended the Physics and Consciousness seminars at the Esalen Institute in the 1970s, where a passionate band of young physicists was grappling with the intersection of quantum physics and consciousness — Jack Sarfatti, Nick Herbert, Saul-Paul Sirag, Fred Alan Wolf, George Weissman, and others. Some of them were fascinated with parapsychology. Physicist Nick Herbert, an expert on nonlocality, took me under his wing and mentored me for several years.

During my first year of internal medicine practice I had several precognitive dreams that proved eerily accurate. This profoundly shifted my interest in psi events from the intellectual to the personal, and how they can be important in health and healing.

I began to realize that medicine, my profession, rested on a view of the world that has been transcended by the quantum-relativistic worldview and which prohibited psi phenomena. My first book, in 1982, Space, Time & Medicine, explored the questions: What would medicine look like if the new worldview were taken seriously? What changes would be necessary in our fundamental assumptions about birth, life, health, therapy, disease, and death, and what possibilities for psi were enfolded in the new views? These considerations led to a full-on confrontation with the literature of parapsychology.

Dossey Space Time Medicine

What are your main interests in the field and how have you contributed to its development?

In 1987 I introduced the term nonlocal mind into the written English language in my book Recovering the Soul. Since then, nonlocal mind, nonlocal consciousness and nonlocal awareness have been widely employed in the lexicon of consciousness studies and parapsychology. This reflects my main interest: the nonlocal nature of the mind, its relevance to healing, and the spiritual implications of a mind that is nonlocal with respect to space and time. Much of this interest involves boilerplate psi, such as remote, distant, or psychic healing, which is often considered a psychokinetic phenomenon.

In medicine, my field, parapsychology unfortunately remains a largely taboo subject, smothered by a thoroughly materialistic, wholly local ideology that survives only by deliberately excluding contrary evidence. I have spoken widely in favor of a nonlocal view of mind and its relevance to healing in medical schools throughout the US and abroad, always emphasizing empirical, replicated evidence that illuminates the inadequacies of medicine’s narrow materialistic worldview. In twelve books and hundreds of articles, essays, editorials, and lectures, I’ve stressed the scores of studies showing that the compassionate intentions of an individual can alter the physiology of a distant individual or nonhuman biological system. It has made a difference. In 1993, when my book Healing Words was published, only three of the 125 US medical schools had any type of course work exploring this kind of evidence; now roughly two-thirds of US medical schools have a place in their curricula where the evidence for remote healing is discussed.

Dossey Healing Words

I have served for ten years as the executive editor of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, which is one of the few peer-reviewed, widely listed journals cordial to publishing psi-oriented material. A special issue of Explore on the subject of nonlocal mind is in press, guided by Explore’s coeditor-in-chief and psi researcher Dean Radin.

OC.indd

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

Parapsychology is incalculably important to human welfare. It is a corrective to the morbid detour in human thought in the West that has masqueraded as scientific truth for three centuries. The greatest contribution of parapsychology, in my view, is its demonstration that some aspect of consciousness is nonlocal or unconfined to specific places in space, such as brains and bodies, and unconfined to specific locations in time, such as the present. A consciousness that is nonlocal with respect to space is omnipresent; a consciousness that is nonlocal with respect to time is temporally infinite, therefore in some sense immortal and eternal. While no one knows for certain what these generalizations ultimately entail, they can nonetheless relieve humans of the expectation of the total annihilation of consciousness with physical death, a fear that has caused more suffering throughout human history than all the physical diseases combined.

Parapsychology, in other words, reveals that there are no firm spatiotemporal boundaries to the mind. If minds are fundamentally boundary-less, in some sense they must be unitary — the theme of my recent book One Mind.

Psi is also important because it confers a survival advantage for embodied creatures, as in countless instances in which danger is anticipated, illness is portended, and accidents thwarted — all of which exist because of the temporally nonlocal aspect of human consciousness.

Psi may also account for great leaps in creativity and discovery, as in the case of Thomas Edison, who claimed that he “never created anything” but got his ideas “from the Universe at large…from outside.”

Carpenter First SightAll told, psi may be so crucial to human function as to justify its elevation from “second sight” to “first sight,” as psi researcher James Carpenter suggests in his seminal book First Sight.

In your view, what are the main problems in parapsychology today as a scientific field?

Many problems are painfully obvious: underfunding, understaffing, and undervaluation within the scientific community. It is also claimed that a major problem is lack of supportive data. But as Radin, Tressoldi, Utts, Mossbridge and others have recently argued, the extant data supporting several areas of parapsychological research is astronomically colossal. Of course we should always welcome additional evidence. But what is also crucial is an awakening within science to the nonlocal operations of consciousness that have already been amply demonstrated.

In any case, we need to do a better job in showing why psi is juicily important to people’s lives, and how the revelations of psi research can supply hope and meaning in a troubled age. By emphasizing how psi is important to the public at large, we can help create a cultural womb in which the paranormal can gestate and be midwifed without appearing foreign or threatening.

We should be talking not only about problems but promises as well. Along with others, I believe important changes are taking place in key areas of science, such as biological entanglement, that bode well for the eventual acceptance of parapsychology.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

I have recently published a twelfth book, as mentioned, which is aimed at a lay audience: One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters. It affirms all the main categories of psi research, and the premise that beyond our personal mental experiences there is a domain of nonlocal, infinite consciousness that includes all individual minds. It’s an ancient theme, but it has gained enormous traction because of various lines of modern evidence.

My main “project,” however, is simply to continue serving as an ambassador (or gadfly) for nonlocal mind — writing, editing, and lecturing about how the nonlocal operations of consciousness are relevant to the physical and spiritual well-being of us struggling humans.

I should confess, however, that I am not, strictly speaking, a psi researcher. But one of the greatest joys of my life has been the generous support and inclusion I have received from the psi research family, to whom I extend warmest nonlocal gratitude.

Selected Publications

Books

One Mind:  How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters.  (Carlsbad, CA:  Hay House. 2013)

The Power of Premonitions:  How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives.  (New York:  Dutton/Penguin,  2009)

The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things (New York:  Harmony/Random House, 2006). 

Healing Beyond the Body (Boston: Shambhala, 2001)

Reinventing Medicine (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999)

Be Careful What You Pray For (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997)

Prayer Is Good Medicine (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996)

Healing Words: The Power of Prayer in the Practice of Medicine (San Francisco:  HarperSanFrancisco, 1993)

Meaning & Medicine (New York: Bantam, 1991)

Recovering the Soul (New York: Bantam, 1989)

Beyond Illness (Boston: New Science Library, 1984)

Space,Time & Medicine (Boston: New Science Library, 1982)

Articles

Dossey L.  Spirituality and Nonlocal Mind:  A Necessary Dyad.  Spirituality in Clinical Practice. 2014; 1(1): 29-42.

Schwartz SA, Dossey L.  Nonlocality, intention, and observer effects in healing studies:  laying a foundation for the future.  Explore (NY).  2010; 6(5): 295-307.

“Healing Research: What We Know and Don’t Know.” EXPLORE:  The Journal of Science and Healing.  2008; 4(5): 341-352.

“Premonitions.” EXPLORE:  The Journal of Science and Healing.  2008; 4(2): 83-90.

“Nonlocal Knowing: The Emerging View of Who We Are.” EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing.  2008; 4(1): 1-9.

“Distant Nonlocal Awareness: A Different Kind of DNA.” Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.  2000;6(6): 10-14, 102-110.

“Distance Healing: Evidence.” In: Schoch RM, Yonavjak L (eds.) The Parapsychology Revolution: A Concise Anthology of Paranormal and Psychical Research. New York, NY:  Tarcher/Penguin; 2008: 216-231.

“Nonlocal Mind: Why It Matters.” In: Vision and Values: Essays in Honor of Dr. D.S. Kothari on His Birth Centenary. L. K. Kothari and R. K. Arora, eds. New Delhi: Paragon International Publishers; 2006.

Dosssey L, Hufford DJ. Are prayer experiments legitimate? Twenty criticisms. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.  2005;1(2): 109-117.

“Nonlocal Consciousness and the Revolution in Medicine.” In Dawson Church and Geralyn Gendreau (eds.) Healing Our Planet, Healing Our Selves. Santa Rosa, CA:  Elite Books; 2005: 149-158.

“Prayer and Healing.”  In New Frontiers of Human Science  (V. Gowri Rammohan, ed.)  Jefferson, NC:  McFarland & Company, Inc.; 2002:30-45.

“Scientific Research Confirms the Value of Prayer in Healing.” In:Healing Through Prayer.  Toronto, Canada:  Anglican Book Centre; 1999:28-42.

“Prayer, medicine, and science:  the new dialogue.” Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy. 1998; 7(1&2):7-37.

“Distance, time, and nonlocal mind:  dare we speak of the implications?” Journal of Scientific Exploration 1996;10:3, 401-410

“Distant intentionality: an idea whose time has come.”  Advances in Mind-Body Medicine. 1996;12(3):9-13

“Healing, energy, and consciousness:  into the future or a retreat into the past?” Subtle Energies.  1994;5(1):1994, 1-33.

“But is it energy?  reflections on consciousness, healing, and the new paradigm.” Subtle Energies 1992;3(3): 69-82.

“Nonlocal Mind and Health.” In Scott Miners, ed., Give Yourself  Health  Seattle, WA: Turning Point Press, 1990: 75-93.

 

 

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Over the years there have been several experiments that have tested the effect of intentions on biological matter, such as seeds, plants, bacteria, and organic matter. It does not seem to be general knowledge that there were attempts of this sort reported in the mesmeric literature.

Mesmerism 6

 

Ricard TraiteAn example came from J.J.A. Ricard, a French magnetizer who gave many demostrations of the effects of animal magnetism. He wrote in his book Traité Théorique et Pratique du Magnétisme Animal ou Méthode Facile Pour Apprendre a Magnetiser (Theoretical and Practical Treatise of Animal Magnetism or an Easy Method to Learn to Magnetize. Paris: Germer Baillière, 1841)

“Plants like animals may feel, from man’s magnetism, dire or advantageous influences, according to the intention of the acting will. I have not been able to do with plants as many tests as I have done on animals; nevertheless I have magnetised several shrubs . . . and I have succeeded completely . . .  a weak shrub, in an extreme state of deterioration, magnetized each day, morning and evening, became a remarkable beauty with a remarkable strength in less than one month, while on the contrary another shrub of the same family, an admirable plant, placed under the same conditions as the first . . . and magnetized the same period of time with contrary intentions, lost its leafs gradually, lost its greenery, and became completely worn out. I repeated these tests rather often to appreciate the good and the bad influence which one can exert, through magnetism, on plants” (pp. 334-335).

The mesmeric literature offers many other examples of such effects, such as the one authored by Dr. Picard, a physician from Saint-Quentin (“Application du Magnétisme aux Végétaux” [Application of magnetism on plants]. Journal du Magnétisme, 1845, 1, 477-480). Out of six roses planted on April 5, Picard magnetized only one in the morning and in the evening for around five minutes. On the tenth, the one that was magnetized, already had two shoots about one inch in length, and on the 20th the other five had barely started to grow. On May 10, the magnetized one had two shoots “40 centimeters high, with ten buttons on top, while the others had 5 to 10 centimeters, and the buttons were far from appearing. Finally, the first bloomed on May 20, and gave successively ten beautiful roses! … Its leaves were about double in length than those of other roses.” (p. 78).

Journal du Magnetisme 1845

These old reports may not offer much methodological rigor when looked from the point of view of modern research techniques, but they are of historical interest to modern researchers interested in mental influence on biological systems.

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

I just published an article about Frederic W.H. Myers entitled “Vignettes on Frederic W.H. Myers” (Paranormal Review, 2014, No. 70, 3-13). As said in the first paragraph:

“Frederic W.H. Myers, a researcher of great importance for the history of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), and for the history of parapsychology in general, was one of the most interesting and complex figures of nineteenth-century psychical research. His work has been discussed in recent times by several authors [such as Emily Kelly and Trevor Hamilton] . . . In contrast to these works, in this paper I do not attempt to present a cohesive picture or study of Myers. Instead I present several somewhat disconnected notes about Myers’ life and work, some of which have been compiled from little known sources, that I hope will interest those readers of the Review who are fascinated with his work and with the period in which he worked.”

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

I included sections in the paper entitled: Impressions and Behaviors, Travels, Discussing Myers in America, Discussions of Myers in France, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death in the United States and in France, and Elected SPR President.

Charles Richet

Charles Richet

In France Charles Richet wrote about Myers in his book The Natural History of a Savant (1927):

“What I admired most in Myers was his scrupulous scientific probity. Although he had an excellent memory, he would take exact notes of all the circumstances of any experiment. His courtesy, his charm, his learning, were set off by a delicate sense of humor, which made his conversation delightful. He was a man of the world, in his manners far removed from those savants who wrap themselves in their specialty like bears in their fur . . . .”

First International Psychology Congress, 1889

First International Psychology Congress, 1889

It is interesting to know about Myers’ activities in countries such as France and the United States. “Some of Myers’s travels to France were in connection to the international psychology congresses. The first one, held at Paris in 1889, included psychical research in its programme . . .  In this congress we find Myers participating in discussions about hallucinations and hypnotism with other attending the congress . . . In the 1900 congress, also held in France, Myers . . .  presented a paper about the mediumship of Mrs Rosalie Thompson . . .”

Proceedings of the 1900 International Psychology Congress, Paris

Proceedings of the 1900 International Psychology Congress, Paris

Myers' Paper About Mrs. Thompson in the Proceedings of the 1900 Psychology Congress

Myers’ Paper About Mrs. Thompson in the Proceedings of the 1900 Psychology Congress

I also presented in the article seldom discussed aspects of Myers’ visit to the United States and how his work was received there. “In the United States Myers participated in a psychic congress held in Chicago. A report published in The Dial read: ‘ ‘Psychical Science’ was the subject of a Congress some of whose sessions must have made the judicious grieve. It was given dignity by the presence and frequent participation of Mr. Frederic W.H. Myers, and, we need hardly add, proved the popular success of the week’ . . . During this congress, held during August of 1893, Myers presented papers about ‘The Subliminal Self,’ and ‘The Evidence for Man’s Survival after Death’ . . . While he was in the States Myers said that he had seances with Mrs. Piper . . .”

Boris Sidis

Boris Sidis

Many authors in the United States commented about Myers, among them Clark Bell, Hereward Carrington, William James, Joseph Jastrow, Rufus Osgood Mason, Morton Prince, and Boris Sidis. Some comments referred to Myers’ Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (HP, 1903), such as the following positive and negative views:

“Physician Rufus Osgood Mason (1903) wrote a two part review of HP in the New York Times. The systematic approach of Myers, Mason believed, made the work an ‘epoch-making book’ . . . The review ended arguing that pioneers in science—such as Galileo, Newton, Franklin, Morse, and Darwin—were rejected at first, and so we should expect the same in the case of Myers . . . A different perspective was presented by skeptical philosopher I. Woodbridge Riley (1905). Placing  HP  in the context of the ‘new thought’ literature, he stated that the future would tell if ‘this pioneer of the subliminal was not a mere squatter, whose holdings are bound to grow narrower with the advance of the legitimate psychologist and physiologist’ . . . He clearly believed there were normal explanations for many of the phenomena described by Myers  . . .”

Myers Human Personality 4

Pierre Janet

Pierre Janet

There were also mixed reactions from France. “Pierre Janet . . . regarded Human Personality as a work presenting ‘exaggerated generalizations and adventurous hypotheses,’ but also ‘remarkable descriptions and useful indications’ . . . Another French writer, philosopher Émile Boutroux (1908), believed Myers contributed precise observations to the study of the subliminal mind. But he was skeptical of Myers’ use of gradations and similarities between phenomena to make his points.”

Émile Boutroux

Émile Boutroux

I ended the article—by no means an exhaustive review of Myers—citing Richet, “who considered Myers the harbinger of a new science. Richet believed that Myers’s ‘name will not perish, his work is indestructible’ and ‘will be placed at the top of this future psychology which perhaps will eclipse all other human knowledge.’ ”

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Alvarado, C.S., & Zingrone, N.L. (2007-08). Interrelationships of parapsychological experiences, dream recall, and lucid dreams in a survey with predominantly Spanish participants. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 27, 63-69.

Previous questionnaire studies of parapsychological experiences have found significant interrelations between the experiences in question and dream experiences. In this study we present a replication of these relationships using a nationality of participants neglected in previous studies, a predominantly Spanish sample. A questionnaire was published in a Spanish New Age magazine. Four hundred and ninety-two questionnaires were received. Most of the parapsychological experiences correlated significantly and positively with each other and with dream recall and lucid dream frequency (Bonferroni-corrected). The results are consistent with the idea discussed in terms of boundary thinness, dissociation, and fantasy proneness that there is a disposition, or openness in some individuals to have or to believe they have had seemingly parapsychological experiences.

Gow, K.M., Hutchinson, L., & Chant, D. (2009). Correlations between fantasy proneness, dissociation, personality factors and paranormal beliefs in experiencers of paranormal and anomalous phenomena. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 37, 169–191.

This study examined various psychological correlates of belief in, and experience of, anomalous phenomena. Anomalous experiences are those that, although they may be experienced by a considerable number of individuals—such as experiences considered to be telepathic—are thought to diverge from ordinary experiences or from established accounts of reality. One hundred and seventy-three participants (114 females and 59 males) were classified as anomalous experiencers (n = 125), anomalous believers (n =39) and non-believers (n = 9), according to their responses on a Measure of Anomalous Experiences and Beliefs. Focusing on the Experiencer group, correlational analyses were conducted with fantasy proneness, dissociation, paranormal beliefs, and the personality correlates of “intuition” and “feeling.” Analyses revealed significant correlations between fantasy proneness and five of the seven subscales of paranormal belief and significant moderate (to low) correlations with both the “intuition” and “feeling” dimensions of the MBTI. Dissociation was also related to global paranormal belief and to the subscales of psi, superstition, and extraordinary life forms.

Hideyuki Kokubo

Hideyuki Kokubo

Kokubo, H. (2014). A questionnaire survey for the digital native generation on their anomalous experiences and trust for other persons.  Journal of International Society of Life Information Science, 32, 217-227.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, questionnaire surveys were done in Japan for university students and medical staff members on anomalous (paranormal) experiences. Since then a new generation has appeared, the so-called “Digital Native Generation” that was born during the development of many forms of information technology. Also they are often called the “Yutori” generation in Japan if they were born from 1987 to 1997 and were educated by “Yutori” curriculum. The present study gives the results of a questionnaire survey for Japanese university students (133 males, 152 females) of Digital Native on anomalous experiences and trust for other persons. It was found that the frequencies of anomalous experiences were similar to those of previous surveys, and that supported the hypothesis that anomalous experiences are experience-based, not culture-based. The tendency of trust was larger for the Digital Native generation than the previous generations. It was suggested that the belief for 6th sense correlated to other factors such as trust for other persons, rather than ESP experiences.

Parra, A. (2012). Relación entre las experiencias paranormales y esquizotipia positiva/negativa [Relationship between paranormal experiences and positive/negative schizotypy]. Acta Psiquiátrica y Psicológica de América Latina, 58, 246-255.

The present study investigated how subjective paranormal experience relates to positive and negative schizotypy. It was hypothesized that paranormal experiences would correlate with schizotypy proneness, schizotypy sub-factor Unusual experiences, and positive schizotypy than non-experients. Undergraduate students, and family members and friends, 57% females and 42.2% males (Mean age = 33 years old), filled two questionnaires. The Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences, which assesses schizotypy in four dimensions and the Paranormal Experiences Questionnaire-which collects information on spontaneous paranormal experiences, were analized. Participants with experiences were less cognitively disorganized and reported subjectively more pleasant paranormal experiences, were less impulsive. more social, and showed less eccentric forms of behaviour, often suggesting a lack of self-control. The majority of the paranormal experiences were related to positive schizotypy scores. It is noteworthy that, in an inverse direction, some paranormal experiences are also related to negative schizotypy. In conclusion, the present study implies an interaction between schizotypal personality factors that could predict the subjective quality of odd experiences. Consistent with previous research, results indicate a potentially adaptive, and indeed protective role for paranormal beliefs and magical thinking.

Dr. Alejandro Parra

Dr. Alejandro Parra

Parra, A., & Corbetta, J.M. (2014).  Changes resulting from paranormal/spiritual experiences and their effects on people’s wellbeing: An exploratory examination. Journal for the Study of Spirituality, 4, 73-82.

The aims of this study were to evaluate the effects of paranormal and mystical/spiritual experiences on people’s lives and to evaluate changes resulting from such experiences. Twenty-four participants attended workshops about paranormal/spiritual experiences. The Index of Changes Resulting From Experiences and a checklist of possible effects of paranormal or transcendent experiences were used. All of the respondents reported at least one paranormal experience, and 83% reported at least one transcendent experience. The high percentage of paranormal experiences reported may reflect the fact that respondents were recruited based on interest in parapsychology and the paranormal. Seventy per cent now have a purpose in life as a result of their paranormal or transcendent experience; 62% have had paranormal and/or transcendent experiences since childhood; 54% said they became significantly more spiritual or religious as a result of their experiences; and 54% were helped to understand and accept death. The fact that anomalous experiences apparently induce positive reactions in some people provides a strong impetus for further research. This line of research also has significant implications for understanding better not only those people who volunteer to participate in parapsychological experiments but also the results of those experiments.

Rattet, S.L., & Bursik, K. (2001). Investigating the personality correlates of paranormal belief and precognitive experience. Personality and Individual Differences, 31, 433-444.

Do individuals who endorse paranormal beliefs differ from those reporting actual precognitive experiences? This study examined the personality correlates of these variables in a sample of college students, 61% of whom described some type of precognitive experience. Extraversion and intuition were associated with precognitive experience, but not with paranormal belief; dissociative tendencies were related to paranormal belief, but not precognitive experience. The importance of conceptualizing and assessing paranormal belief and precognitive experience as separate constructs is discussed.

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

This is one of the latest of a series of videos prepared by NUPES, the Nucleo de Pesquisa em Espiritualidade e Saude  (Group of Research in Spirituality and Health), which is part of the Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (Federal University of Juiz de Fora) in Brazil.

Alexandre Sech Junior

Alexandre Sech Junior

It is a short presentation by Alexandre Sech Junior, entitled “History and Philosophy of Scientific Research on Spirituality.” Alexandre, who I met in Brazil and with whom I have occasional correspondence, has an M.A. In Philosophy and is pursuing a doctoral degree at the Health Sciences Department of the Federal University of Juiz de For a, Brazil (UFJF). In addition, he is a researcher at NUPES. I discussed an article he published about William James in a previous blog.

The video focuses on the following questions: “Why study historical and philosophical aspects of spirituality? To what fields of knowledge does this type of research belong? How to investigate the History and Philosophy of Scientific Research on Spirituality? What can you tell us about spiritual experiences in history?”

Nancy Zingrone logged this into two new Playlists on our YouTube Channel, Parapsychology Online, one that will provide links to the English-language NUPES videos, and another one that will provide links to resources on history and philosophy of science videos that are relevant to the scientific study of psychic phenomena. “Alexander’s video is extremely good in this regard because it provides a clear definition not only of the interdisciplinary research being done at his university, but also because it provides definitions and a glimpse into the academic study of spirituality.”

For our YouTube channel, Parapsychology Online, click here.

For the NUPES Channel on YouTube, click here.

 

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Here is the first of a series of posts about fairly recent articles about out-of-body experiences. I will be including articles from different perspectives, among them neurological, parapsychological, and psychological. This will include reviews, conceptual, and research papers.

* * * *

Alvarado, C.S. (2009). The spirit in out-of-body experiences: Historical and conceptual notes. In B. Batey (Ed.), Spirituality, Science and the Paranormal (pp. 3-19). Bloomfield, CT: Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies.

This paper focuses on selected aspects of the history of out-of-body experiences (OBEs), namely case work and discussions published between 1860 and 1956 in which its authors defended concepts such as the spirit and subtle bodies capable of going out of the physical body. The discussion centers on the writings of Scottish social reformer Robert Dale Owen’s (1801-1877), English reverend and medium’s William Stainton Moses (1839-1892), English journalist William H. Harrison, English classical scholar and psychical researcher Frederic W.H. Myers (1843-1901), French engineer Gabriel Delanne (1857-1926), Italian psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano (1862-1943), and American sociologist Hornell Hart (1888-1967). All the discussions included veridical phenomena such as obtaining information about events taking place at a distance from the physical body, and being seen as an apparition in the location where the OBErs felt they were visiting while having the OBE. Some of these writings are evidentially problematic and suffer from lack of precise definition of the nature of the principle believed to be behind the phenomena. But regardless of conceptual problems the above mentioned OBE-related phenomena need to be considered by those who adhere to purely hallucinatory explanations of the phenomenon.

Dr. Jason Braithwaite

Dr. Jason Braithwaite

Braithwaite, J.J., Broglia, E., Bagshaw, A.P. and Wilkins, A.J. (2012). Evidence for elevated cortical hyperexcitability and its association with out-of-body experiences in the non-clinical population: New findings from a pattern-glare task. Cortex, 30, 1-13.

Individuals with no history of neurological or psychiatric illness can report hallucinatory Out-of-Body Experiences (OBEs) and display elevated scores on measures of temporal-lobe dysfunction (Braithwaite et al., 2011). However, all previous investigations of such biases in non-clinical populations are based on indirect questionnaire measures. Here we present the first empirical investigation that a non-clinical OBE group is subject to pattern-glare, possibly as a result of cortical hyperexcitability (Wilkins et al., 1984). Fifty-nine students at the University of Birmingham viewed a series of square-wave gratings with spatial frequencies of approximately .7, 3 and 11 cycles-per-degree, both black/white and of contrasting colours. The illusions and discomfort reported when viewing gratings with mid-range spatial frequency have been hypothesized to reflect cortical hyperexcitability (Wilkins, 1995; Huang et al., 2003). Participants also completed the Cardiff Anomalous Perception Scale (CAPS: Bell et al., 2006) which included experiential measures of disruptions in ‘Temporal-lobe Experience’. Participants who reported OBEs also reported significantly more visual illusions/distortions and significantly greater discomfort as a result of viewing the mid-frequency gratings. There were no such differences with respect to gratings with relatively lower or higher spatial frequency. The OBE group also produced significantly elevated scores on the CAPS measures of Temporal-lobe Experience, relative to controls. Collectively, the results are consistent with there being a neural ‘vulnerability’ in the cortices of individuals pre-disposed to some hallucinations, even in the non-clinical population.

Dr. Etzel Cardeña

Dr. Etzel Cardeña

Cardeña, E. and Alvarado, C.S. (2014) Anomalous self and identity experiences. In Cardeña, E. Lynn, S.J. and & Krippner, S. (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experiences (2nd ed., pp. 175-212. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

This review paper has a section about OBEs covering survey and experimental studies, as well as clinical and theoretical issues. Some parts of the paper are: Prevalence, psychophysiological correlates, individual differences, medical and neurological variables, psychopathology, and parapsychological research.

Dr. J.A. Cheyne

Dr. J.A. Cheyne

Cheyne, J.A., & Girard, T.A.  (2009). The body unbound: Vestibular–motor hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. Cortex, 45, 201-215.

Among the varied hallucinations associated with sleep paralysis (SP), out-of-body experiences (OBEs) and vestibular-motor (V-M) sensations represent a distinct factor. Recent studies of direct stimulation of vestibular cortex report a virtually identical set of bodily-self hallucinations. Both programs of research agree on numerous details of OBEs and V-M experiences and suggest similar hypotheses concerning their association. In the present study, self-report data from two on-line surveys of SP-related experiences were employed to assess hypotheses concerning the causal structure of relations among V-M experiences and OBEs during SP episodes. The results complement neurophysiological evidence and are consistent with the hypothesis that OBEs represent a breakdown in the normal binding of bodily-self sensations and suggest that out-of-body feelings (OBFs) are consequences of anomalous V-M experiences and precursors to a particular form of autoscopic experience, out-of-body autoscopy (OBA). An additional finding was that vestibular and motor experiences make relatively independent contributions to OBE variance. Although OBEs are superficially consistent with universal dualistic and supernatural intuitions about the nature of the soul and its relation to the body, recent research increasingly offers plausible alternative naturalistic explanations of the relevant phenomenology.

Dr. Bruce Greyson

Dr. Bruce Greyson

Greyson, B., Fountain, N.B., Derr, L.L. & Broshek, D.K. (2014) Out-of-body experiences associated with seizures. Frontiers of Human Neuroscience 8:65. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00065

Alterations of consciousness are critical factors in the diagnosis of epileptic seizures. With these alterations in consciousness, some persons report sensations of separating from the physical body, experiences that may in rare cases resemble spontaneous out-of-body experiences. This study was designed to identify and characterize these out-of-body-like subjective experiences associated with seizure activity. Fifty-five percent of the patients in this study recalled some subjective experience in association with their seizures. Among our sample of 100 patients, 7 reported out-of-body experiences associated with their seizures. We found no differentiating traits that were associated with patients’ reports of out-of-body experiences, in terms of either demographics; medical history, including age of onset and duration of seizure disorder, and seizure frequency; seizure characteristics, including localization, lateralization, etiology, and type of seizure, and epilepsy syndrome; or ability to recall any subjective experiences associated with their seizures. Reporting out-of-body experiences in association with seizures did not affect epilepsy-related quality of life. It should be noted that even in those patients who report out-of-body experiences, such sensations are extremely rare events that do not occur routinely with their seizures. Most patients who reported out-of-body experiences described one or two experiences that occurred an indeterminate number of years ago, which precludes the possibility of associating the experience with the particular characteristics of that one seizure or with medications taken or other conditions at the time.

Neppe, V. (2011). Models of the out-of-body experience: Etiological Phenomenological Approach. NeuroQuantology, 9, 72-83.

This paper compares several models of out‐of‐body experience (OBE) leading a new proposed multi‐etiological model. Broadly the unitary hypotheses propose several single broad causes and explanations, though each of these recognizes that any specific explanation may not be all encompassing. These are best divided into four groups: Psychological, Brain, Psychopathology, and Experiential. The psychological models of Blackmore (reality distortion), Palmer (body concept) and Irwin (absorption) are followed by the brain empirical descriptions of Penfield, Blanke, and the cerebral explanations of Persinger (vectorial hemsiphericity), Wettach (midbrain near‐death experiences), and Nelson (REM‐intrusion in near death experiences [NDEs]). Additionally, there is the psychopathological psychiatric perspective, plus the spontaneous and induced OBEs that occur in subjective paranormal experients, which appear phenomenologically quite different. OBE research has generally been based on single questions without detailed qualitative differentiation of the OBE. This creates the erroneous situation of potentially misinterpreting diverse experiences under a single etiological umbrella. Optimally, OBE evaluations require detailed screening for OBEs so that “like” is classified with “like” not “unlike.” The author motivates for a detailed phenomenological analysis model which could accommodate the multiplicity of causes and the different subpopulations. This shifts the model from the unitary etiological hypotheses to Neppe’s Multi‐etiological Phenomenological Approach. Detailed phenomenological analyses may demonstrate separate distinct kinds of out of‐body experience and therefore ensure that OBEs are appropriately phenomenologically classified in the context of the population samples being examined. This approach facilitates analyzing form, content, circumstance, and predisposed populations using a predominantly biopsychofamiliosociocultural approach and differentiating five possible legitimate hypothetical groups: 1. subjective paranormal experience (SPE) out‐of‐body experiences, 2. OBEs in SPE‐ non‐experients who may have psychological experiences, 3. seizure and brain linked OBEs, 4. psychopathology interpreted as OBEs, 5. the non‐OBE population.

 

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