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Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Over the years there have been many speculations about the nature of precognition. A recently published paper is probably the most scientifically sophisticated attempt to explain this phenomenon to date and a useful contribution to guide future research on the subject.

The paper in question, “Rethinking Extrasensory Perception: Toward a Multiphasic Model of Precognition,” is authored by Dr. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Dr. Edwin C. May (Sage Open, January-March 2015, 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/2158244015576056).

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Sonali Marwaha

Dr. Edward C. May

Dr. Edward C. May

I asked the authors for a statement about the paper and they send me the following:

“In our view, the person-centric experience of precognition is a manifestation of the fundamental problem of information-centric retrocausal signals. Thus, we view the experience of precognition as a process rather than an event.

The MMPC is a signal-based, process-oriented model designed to determine the causal mechanisms leading to the experience of precognition. The MMPC identifies two distinct phases:

Phase I: The Physics Domain (PD), addresses the question of retrocausation and how it is possible for information to traverse from one spacetime point to another. We suggest that the solution might be found within entropic considerations.

Phase II: The Neuroscience Domain (ND), addresses the acquisition and interpretation of retrocausal signals. We propose that this occurs across three stages:

      Stage 1: perception of signals from an information carrier, based on psychophysical variability in a putative signal transducer.

      Stage 2: cortical processing of the signals, mediated by a cortical hyper-associative mechanism; and

      Stage 3: cognition, mediated by normal cognitive processes, leading to a response based on retrocausal information.

Based on research data, the MMPC addresses both the PD and the ND by considering the well-established laws of the physical world and what we currently know—and will know—about brain–behavior relationships. Thus, the MMPC is a coherent assimilation of existing concepts that we believe can lead to understanding the process of retrocausation-precognition—from the point of information origin to cognition.

According to the MMPC, precognition is an inherent, similar to musical ability, arising out of individual differences in brain connectivity. Thus, one cannot train to acquire the ability.

Based on the model, we define precognition as an atypical perceptual ability that allows the acquisition of non-inferential information arising from a space-like separated point in spacetime. The model is comprehensive, brain-based, and provides a new direction for research requiring multidisciplinary expertise.”

See also Dr. May’s presentation.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

I first met Dr. Wellington Zangari in 1993 when he visited the Institute for Parapsychology in Durham, NC. Since then Wellington has become a close friend who I have been able to visit twice in São Paulo, Brazil, where my wife and I stayed in his, and his wife Dr. Fatima R. Machado’s, home. From the beginning of our relationship I had many long and fascinating conversations with Wellington about parapsychology, including aspects of the field in his country, Brazil. I remember his early dreams of bringing parapsychology to a university environment, a dream that has come true.

Dr. Wellington Zangari

Dr. Wellington Zangari

Wellington has a Masters in Sciences of Religion from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (1996), and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of São Paulo (2003). He is currently a Professor in the Department of Social and Occupational Psychology, which is part of the Institute of Psychology of the University of São Paulo, where he teaches and conducts research. He currently supervises the theses of students at the masters and doctoral level. Among other things, Wellington is the Vice-Coordinator of the Laboratorio of Social Psychology of Religion, and the Coordinator of INTER PSI – Laboratory of Anomalistic Psychology and Psychosocial Processes of the university. His main work centers within the areas of social psychology, psychology of religion, anomalistic psychology, hypnosis and altered states of consciousness, and the philosophy of mind.

Institute of Psychology University of São Paulo

Institute of Psychology
University of São Paulo

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology? 

My interest started when I was very young, at 11 years of age. I was interested in fantastic realism, and in science fiction and New Age books. At that time I bought the book Telepsiquia a Distância, by Paul-Clement Jagot. In the book there was a description of a quick way to induce hipnosis. I did this with a friend. When I looked at him he had his eyes closed, with the head leaning to one side. I asked him some simple questions and when he woke up I said to him “3, 2, 1, 0”! He looked at me and asked: “Are you going to hypnotize me?” Then I told him that he had his eyes closed and that he answered some questions. He did not remember. Then I read to him the replies he gave me. While I was telling him what he told me his eyes kept opening more and more until, with a face full of fear, he stood up and ran out! This was an impactful experience in my life. This defined my career and the things I have chosen.

I was lucky that my friend was probably highly susceptible to hypnosis. The experience raised my curiosity about what happened and I started to read everything I could find about hypnosis. But coming back to the book, which was about telepathy (telepsychism at a distance, as Jagot called it), the author proposed the possibility that hypnotic commands could be given mentally, without verbal means. Around that time, I practiced hypnosis with my friends. I always tried to send mental commands to them but only one out of many individuals I hypnotized seemed to have the capacity to respond to mental commands. I imagined his right arm was raised, and it went up. I asked for the name of his maternal grandmother and he answered without any word from me.

This experience led me to search for things to read about parapsychological phenomena. I soon began to take courses and because I read what was available in Portuguese in the libraries, I started reading books published in other languages (English, Spanish, French and Italian) to obtain further information.

Today I have a different view from what I had at the beginning. I currently follow psychological models of the experiences. But my early experiences affected me greatly and led me to hypnosis, parapsychology and anomalistic psychology. 

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

I am currently interested in mediumship and in deception. My degrees, Masters in the Scientific Study of Religion, and my doctoral degree and post-doctoral work in social psychology, were about aspects of mediumship. Basically in the Masters I attempted to understand the importance of paranormal experiences for the construction of religion, particularly Kardecist Spiritism and Catholicism, two religions that are very influential in Brazil. In my doctorate I analyzed possession mediumship in Umbanda, a Brazilian religion, and what it means to be a medium from the point of view of mediums themselves.

The first part of my thesis was a phenomenological evaluation in which I gave mediums the chance to speak without any psychological analysis. In the second part I evaluated the medium’s narratives from a psychosocial perspective using the role theory proposed by a Swedish psychologist, Hjalmar Sunden. With this evaluation I was able to build a model of mediumship that other researchers in Brazil are using to understand various religious manifestations in general as well as with mediums.

One of my students, Ricardo Ribeiro, for example, is comparing three other mediumistic religions (Kardecist Spiritism, Santo Daime, and Vale do Amanhecer) using the same model. Two other students have studied other aspects of mediumship. Everton Maraldi completed a psychosocial analysis of mediumship while Jeverson Reichow is studying psychopathology in mediums and non-mediums.

In post doctoral research I analyzed one of the phenomena reported by mediums, precognition. I did an experiment, following the technique of Daryl J. Bem called precognitive habituation. I invited more than 50 mediums to participate in the precognition experiment.

Some of my students did experimental precognition projects. Vanessa Corredato tested children for precognition and Fabio Eduardo da Silva studied the presentiment effect. I have also studied personality variables of mediums and other persons who claimed to have had paranormal experiences. Other students are following up on this line of research, among them Leonardo Breno Martins, who analyzed personality and psychopathological variables of persons claiming to have had different types of contact with aliens. Suely Mizumoto and Livea Martins did the same with members of a religious group called Sainto Daime that uses ayahuasca in its rituals in which both adults and children participate.

A fourth topic of interest is the incidence and social relevance of anomalous/paranormal experiences of Brazilians. This goes back to the 1980s when Fatima Regina Machado and I did the first survey with university students in Brazil. She continued to explore this in her doctoral research, enlarging the number and range of the respondents so that the sample did not consist solely of students. Two other students of mine are following up this line of research, but with different samples. Alessandro Shimanbucuru is surveying faculty at the University of São Paulo, and Camila Torres is comparing conventional protestant groups to neo-Pentecostal groups.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important? 

Parapsychology is important for various reasons. First, is important for its historical contributions. Much of psychology’s and psychiatry’s concepts and theories were supported and developed by the pioneers of psychical research. Several of these pioneers were also pioneers in psychology and in psychiatry. In the old days there were no clear separations between these fields as there are now. The study of seemingly psychic claims led to knowledge about the mind.

Second, parapsychology is important for methodological reasons. Experimental research in psychology and in other fields had their origins, and various of its techniques were developed, in the context of psychical research. Parapsychology researchers did much to develop controls over fraud and double blind techniques.

Another important issue is that the psi hypothesis may be the correct one! Although I personally have doubts about its existence and prefer more “simple” and common hypotheses to account for claims of the paranormal, it is not possible to ignore the results of many meta-analyses that favor the existence of psi. The evaluation of such results should not be rhetorical, but empirical! These results enlarge our understanding of the limits of human beings. So, even if future results are not favorable to the psi hypothesis, parapsychology has taught us much about the scientific process and other fundamental epistemological issues. Parapsychology prepares us for the revolutionary. It suggests things not considered by other sciences. This subversive aspect, of considering a scientific anomaly as a hypothesis, is a lesson that parapsychology gives to other sciences that are afraid of looking beyond what their theories can see!

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

From the epistemological point of view, one problem is its proto-scientific character. By this I mean its lack of a wide enough theory that has been empirically demonstrated and generally accepted. If psi exists it is something so elusive that it does not fit rigid models.

From the practical, cultural, and Brazilian point of view—although this is not solely a Brazilian occurrence—, there is a problem with pseudoscientists who use the term “parapsychology” to sell mind development techniques, parapsychological therapies, and all sorts of false science. This keeps away scientists who have a serious interest in the field, and makes productive contact between parapsychology and academia much harder. Not being in universities means having less contact with students who may be interested in conducting research, which diminishes the number of investigators in the field. This may also lead to a lack of financial resources for serious reseachers. Without resources there will be less studies, less publications, and less conventions in the field.

On the other hand, in spite of these difficulties, parapsychology has been able to survive. The resilience of researchers in the field is amazing! These limitations have not been able to extinguish the field. On the contrary, currently we see continuous progress in the field, especially in Europe, with the growth of laboratories in important universities. Today, parapsychology and anomalistic psychology are in various universities of Europe, as well as in Brazil, something that shows that academia is not totally closed to the psi hypothesis nor to the study of psychological variables related to paranormal claims. At this point instead of focusing on problems we should recognize that the problems do not stop scientific research on the topic.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

Still in the topic of religion, I have studied how religion helps mediums cope with stress. One of my students, Mônica Huang, did the same, but with a group of immigrant Protestant Chinese women.

Recently I returned to work with hypnosis, mainly because of interest in the topic by one of my students, Guilherme Raggi, who is translating into Portuguese and adapting the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale to use with Brazilians.

It is important to say that with these students, and other investigators from other universities (such as Gabriel Medeiros from the Federal University of São Paulo, who studies phenomenological aspects of out-of-body experiences), we are active in our laboratory at the University of São Paulo (Inter Psi – Laboratory of Anomalistic Psychology and Psychosocial Processes) and we offer various courses, including graduate ones, at the University’s Institute of Psychology.

Selected Bibliography

Books and Anthologies

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto (Eds.). Caderno da 9ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e Third Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2006.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto (Eds.). Caderno da 8ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2005.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de ; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). A Representação na Religião: Perspectivas Psicológicas. 1ª. ed. São Paulo: Loyola, 2004.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W.; CHIRIACHI, Roberto; BACHA, Maria de Lourdes (Eds.). Caderno da 7ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e Second Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2004.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). Caderno da 6ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2003.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina; BACHA, Maria de Lourdes; ZANGARI, W. (Eds.). Caderno da 5ª Jornada do Centro de Estudos Peirceanos e First Advanced Seminar on Peirce´s Philosophy and Semiotics. 1. ed. São Paulo: Centro de Estudos Peirceanos/COS/PUCSP, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Conversando sobre Hipnose. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1996.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Conversando sobre Aparições e Fantasmas. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Conversando sobre Parapsicologia. 1ª. ed. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1995.

MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Conversando Sobre Casas Mal-Assombradas. São Paulo: Paulinas, 1995.

Chapters in Books

MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. ; KRIPPNER, S. Anomalous Mental and Physical Phenomena of Brazilian Mediums: a review of the scientific literature. In: Jack Hunter; David Luke. (Eds.). Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies From Between the Worlds. Brisbane: Daily Grail Publishing, 2014, p. 259-301.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. . Possibilidades darwinistas para o estudo de experiências anômalas. In: Clarissa de Franco; Rodrigo Petronio. (Eds.). Possibilidades darwinistas para o estudo de experiências anômalas. São Leopoldo: UNISINOS, 2014, p. 127-154.

ZANGARI, W. Alteração de consciência numa cultura globalizada: o caso da mediunidade de incorporação como exemplo de ?permanência fenomenológica”.. In: Marta Helena de Freitas; Geraldo José de Paiva; Célia de Moraes. (Eds.). Psicologia da Religião no mundo ocidental contemporâneo: desafios da interdisciplinaridade. 1ed.Brasília: UNIVERSA, 2013, v. II, p. 375-406.

ZANGARI, W. ; MARALDI, E. O. ; MARTINS, L. B. ; MACHADO, F. R. . Estados Alterados de Consciência e Religião. In: João Décio Passos; Frank Usarski. (Org.). Compêndio de CIência da Religião. 1ed.São Paulo: Paulinas, Paulus, 2013, v. 1, p. 423-435.

TOFOLI, L. F. ; MOREIRA-ALMEIDA, Alexander ; Menezes. A. ; ZANGARI, W. . Transtornos Dissociativos e Conversivos. In: Jair Mari; Christian Kieling. (Eds.). Psiquiatria na prática clínica. Barueri: Editora Manole, 2013, v. 1, p. 111-131.

MOREIRA-ALMEIDA, Alexander ; ALVARADO, C. S. ; ZANGARI, W. . Transtornos dissociativos (ou conversivos). In: Mario Rodrigues Louzã Neto; Hélio Elkis. (Eds.). Psiquiatria Básica. 2ed. Porto Alegre: Artmed, 2007, v. 1, p. 285-297.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de ; ZANGARI, W. . Apresentação. In: Geraldo José de Paiva; Wellington Zangari. (Eds.). A representação na religião: perspectivas psicológicas. São Paulo: Edições Loyola, 2004, v. 1, p. 7-9.

Articles

ALVARADO, C. S. ; MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. Théodore Flournoy’s contributions to Psychical Research. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 78, 149-168, 2014.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, W. Fatores da personalidade e experiências anômalas contemporâneas. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 33, p. 162-178, 2013.

MARALDI, E. O;  ZANGARI, W. Individual and group dialectics in the study of mediumship: a psychosocial perspective. Paranormal Review, No. 66, p. 14-18, 2013.

MARALDI, E. O. ; ZANGARI, W. . Funções projetivas e terapêuticas das práticas dissociativas em contexto religioso. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 32, p. 424-452, 2012.

MARTINS, LEONARDO BRENO ; ZANGARI, WELLINGTON . Relações entre experiências anômalas tipicamente contemporâneas, transtornos mentais e experiências espirituais. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, v. 39, p. 198-202, 2012.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, F. R. . The paradoxal disappearance of parapsychology in Brazil. Journal of Parapsychology, v. 76, p. 66-67, 2012.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . Science and spirit. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 25, p. 419-426, 2011.

MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira ; ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. A psicologia das crenças paranormais: Uma revisão crítica. Boletim – Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 31, p. 394-421, 2011.

MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Importance of a psychosocial approach for a comprehensive understanding of mediumship. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 24, p. 181-186, 2010.

ZANGARI, W. ; MARALDI, Everton de Oliveira. Psicologia da mediunidade: do intrapsíquico ao psicossocial. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 77, p. 233-252, 2009.

PAIVA, Geraldo Jose de; ZANGARI, W. ; VERDADE, Marisa Moura ; PAULA, Jose Rogerio Machado de ; FARIA, David Gaspar Ribeiro de ; GOMEZ, Denise ; FONTES, Fátima ; RODRIGUES, Catia Cilene Lima ; TROVATO, Maria Luisa ; GOMES, Antonio Maspoli de Araujo. Psicologia da religião no Brasil: a produção em periódicos e livros. Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa, v. 25, p. 441-446, 2009.

ALVARADO, C. S. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. ; ZINGRONE, N. L. . Perspectivas históricas da influência da mediunidade na construção de idéias psicológicas e psiquiátricas. Revista de Psiquiatria Clínica, v. 34, p. 42-53, 2007.

ZANGARI, W. Experiências anômalas em médiuns de Umbanda: uma avaliação fenomenológica e ontológica. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 2/07, p. 67-86, 2007.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. Review of Proceedings of the Third Psi Meeting: Real-life Implications and Applications of Psi. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 21, p. 624-628, 2007.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Review of Behind and Beyond the Brain. Journal of Scientific Exploration, v. 20, n.2, p. 312-315, 2006.

ZANGARI, W. Uma leitura psicossocial do fenômeno de incorporação na Umbanda. Boletim. Academia Paulista de Psicologia, v. 3, n.05, p. 70-88, 2005.

RADIN, D. I. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. . Effects of distant healing intention through time & space: Two exploratory studies. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine v. XI, n.3, p. 207-240, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. . Aspectos psicossociais das experiências psicológicas anômalas na religião: O caso do Espiritismo e da percepção extra-sensorial. Anuário Brasileiro de Parapsicologia 2002, Recife, p. 237-266, 2002.

ZANGARI, W. . Uma reflexão sobre o ceticismo. Fator Psi, v. II, n.2, p. 119-121, 2001.

PAIVA, Geraldo José de ; FARIA, D.G.R. ; GOMEZ, D.M. ; GOMEZ, M.L.T. ; LOPES, R. ; NUNES, L.C. ; VERDADE, M.M. ; ZANGARI, W. . Processos psicológicos da conversão religiosa: imaginário e simbólico, categorização e prototipicalidade. Revista de Psicologia da Puc Rj, Rio de Janeiro, v. 12, n.2, p. 151-169, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Parapsychology in Brazil: A science entering young adulthood. Journal of Parapsychology, v. 65, p. 351-356, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. . Charles Sanders Peirce e a pesquisa psíquica. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, v. 1, p. 15, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. . Estudos psicológicos da mediunidade: Uma breve revisão. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Incidência e relevância social de experiências psi de estudantes universitários brasileiros. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina; ZANGARI, W. Percepção extra sensorial: Uma breve revisão dos estudos e algumas reflexões. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. O estatudo científico da Parapsicologia. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Psicopatologia e experimentos psi: Dr. Tart desmente Pe. Quevedo. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Pe. Quevedo: Os melhores livros de parapsicologia do mundo? Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. A psicologia do poltergeist. Revista Virtual de Pesquisa Psi, São Paulo, 2001.

ZANGARI, W. Estudos psicológicos da mediunidade: Uma breve revisão. Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, Braga, Portugal, v. VII, n.58, p. 8-12, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. The poltergeist in Brazil: A review of the literature in context. International Journal of Parapsychology, v. XI, n.1, p. 113-143, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. Experiências psicológicas anómalas. Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, Braga-Portugal, v. VII, n.62, p. 04-05, 2000.

ZANGARI, W. Contra a parapsicologia. Boletim Informativo da Aipa Associación Iberoamericana de Parapsicología, v. 3, n.1-2, p. 7-9, 1999.

BARRIONUEVO, V. L. ; PALLÚ, T. R. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. . Tributo a Nancy Zingrone. Boletim Informativo da Aipa Associación Iberoamericana de Parapsicología, v. 3, n.1-2, p. 19-20, 1999.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Brazil: The adolescent parapsychology. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, v. XX, n.23, p. 233-239, 1998.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina; ZANGARI, W. ESP: Uma breve revisão das pesquisas e algumas reflexões (Partes 1 a 5). Revista Portuguesa de Parapsicologia, v. 51, p. 11-20, 1998.

ZANGARI, W. . Émile Durkheim, a origem das crenças religiosas e as experiências psicológicas anômalas. Anuário Brasileiro de Parapsicologia, v. 1, p. 319-247, 1997.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina . A psicologia do Ganzfeld. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. 36, p. 4-8, 1997.

MACHADO, Fátima Regina ; ZANGARI, W. A psicologia do poltergeist. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. 36, p. 8-12, 1997.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Incidencia e importancia social de las experiencias psiquicas en los estudiantes universitarios Brasileños. Revista Argentina de Psicología Paranormal, v. 7, n.1, p. 19-35, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ; MACHADO, Fatima Regina. Survey: incidence and social relevance of Brazilian university students’s psychic experiences. European Journal of Parapsychology, v. 12, p. 75-87, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. ;MACHADO, Fatima Regina. A psicologia do poltergeist. Jornal de Parapsicologia, v. V, n.12, p. 13-19, 1996.

ZANGARI, W. . Por que paranormal? Revista Brasileira de Parapsicologia, v. 2, p. 14-19, 1993.

ZANGARI, W. . Uma introdução ao estudo das experiências parapsicológicas. Revista Brasileira de Parapsicologia, v. 1, p. 4-9, 1992.

ZANGARI, W. . Parapsicologia: Técnica psicológica? Jornal do Conselho Regional de Psicologia 6º Região, v. 66, p. 8-8, 1990.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Kelly Beyond PhysicalismThe book featured here is one of the most important conceptual contributions to parapsychology (and all disciplines concerned with the mind) in recent years. Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, 978-1-4422-3238-9, $60.00). The book is a collection of essays by various authors mentioned below that was put together by three editors, who also contributed to the book. These are, from the publisher’s website: Dr. Edward F. Kelly (a research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, with interests in psychical research and functional neuroimaging), Adam Crabtree (a psychotherapist in private practice and on the faculty of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in Toronto, with interests in the history of animal magnetism and hypnotism, as well as the history and practice of psychodynamic psychology) and Paul Marshall (an independent researcher with interests in mysticism, philosophy and psychology of religion, science-religion relations, and consciousness studies).

Beyond Physicalism is available from Rowman & Littlefield. Purchasers from the US can call the publisher at 1-800-462-6420 and use the code 4S15KECRMA to get a 30% discount of the price, or download the Sales Flyer, fill it out and fax or mail it in. The flyer is available to download here. Both Beyond Physicalism and Irreducible Mind are also available at an everyday discount on Amazon.com.

Kelly Irreducible MindThe interview that appears below provides answers written by Ed Kelly. I have known Ed for many years, and can attest to his commitment to parapsychology, and more recently to the study of research that suggests that the mind transcends the physical body. Together with his wife and colleague Dr. Emily Williams Kelly, and other authors, they produced the book Irreducible Mind, the predecessor of Beyond Physicalism (as explained below).

Drs. Edward and Emily Kelly

Drs. Edward and Emily Kelly

Dr. Adam Crabtree

Dr. Adam Crabtree

Dr. Paul Marshall

Dr. Paul Marshall

Interview

Can you tell us first how this book came about?

Beyond Physicalism (or BP for short) is the second main product of a fellowship organized in 1998 by Esalen co-founder Mike Murphy under the auspices of its Center for Theory and Research. Our first book, Irreducible Mind (IM for short), sought to re-assess F. W. H. Myers’s model of human personality in light of subsequent work on topics investigated by him such as psi and survival, extreme psychophysical influence, memory, dissociation and secondary centers of consciousness, NDEs and related phenomena (especially NDEs occurring under extreme physiological conditions such as deep general anesthesia and/or cardiac arrest), genius, and mystical experiences whether spontaneous or induced by meditation or psychedelics. Its main goal was to assemble in one place multiple lines of peer-reviewed evidence demonstrating the empirical inadequacy of contemporary mainstream “physicalism”, the metaphysical doctrine based upon the idea that all facts are determined by physical facts alone. Physicalist thinkers of course picture mind and consciousness strictly as products of physiological processes occurring in brains. Myers, in contrast — along with William James, Henri Bergson, F. C. S. Schiller and others — argued that the brain is better conceived as constraining, shaping, and limiting expressions of a mind and consciousness inherently much greater in capacities and scope. In Bergson’s terminology, for example, consciousness “overflows the organism”, and the brain is “an organ of attention to life”. Our central conclusion at that time was that Myers & co. seemed to be on the right track, and that the evidence supporting their views has actually grown far stronger over the past century. In a nutshell, psychology seems to have taken a 100-year detour precipitated by the rise of behaviorism, and it’s just now becoming capable of appreciating the theoretical beachhead these founding figures had already established.

Frederic W.H. Myers

Frederic W.H. Myers

Our new book is much more theory-oriented, and attempts to address the big underlying questions: Specifically, how must our individual human psyches and the world we live in be structured, in order that “rogue” phenomena of the kinds catalogued in IM can happen?

Can you next give us a summary of the new book?

Dr. Michael Grosso

Dr. Michael Grosso

Sure. It has three main parts. Part one provides necessary background, and contains just two chapters — one by me which summarizes the central arguments of IM, and one by Paul Marshall which explains why we have come to believe that mystical experiences provide crucial pieces of the metaphysical puzzle. Part two then surveys “transmission” or “filter” models of the Myers/James/IM sort from a wide variety of perspectives. Philosopher Mike Grosso starts off with a first-ever sketch of the rich intellectual history of such conceptions, focusing mainly on Western thinkers from pre-Socratic philosophers to more contemporary figures such as C. D. Broad, Aldous Huxley, and Cyril Burt. Neurobiologist David Presti and I then discuss transmission models from a psychobiological point of view, concentrating on psi, flights of genius and mystical experiences as key expressions of the deeper resources of the psyche. Three physics-based chapters come next: Henry Stapp presents his basic quantum-theoretic model of the mind/brain connection and explores its possible extensions to phenomena including psi and survival; Harald Atmanspacher and Wolfgang Fach characterize the Pauli-Jung dual-aspect monism, and show how it leads naturally to a theoretical taxonomy of exceptional experiences matching those actually occurring in clinical practice; and Bernard Carr provides a compact exposition of his own hyperdimensional theory and its explanatory potential. Then come three mystically-informed models drawn from studies in comparative religion: a chapter by Greg Shaw on Neoplatonism, one by Ian Whicher and myself on yogic philosophy and practice, and one by Loriliai Biernacki on the 11th-century Kashmiri philosopher/sage Abhinavagupta.

Dr. Henry Stapp

Dr. Henry Stapp

Dr. Bernard Carr

Dr. Bernard Carr

Dr. Loriliai Biernacki

Dr. Loriliai Biernacki

Part two concludes with three chapters drawing directly upon the Western metaphysical tradition: Paul Marshall presents his “monadic” theory, modified from Leibniz’s original version so as to improve its power to explain the relevant phenomena; Adam Crabtree sketches the contributions of James’s friend and colleague Charles Sanders Peirce, who took psi and survival seriously and believed his metaphysics could explain them; and Eric Weiss presents his “transphysical process metaphysics”, combining an updated version of Whitehead with insights derived from the modern Tantric philosopher/sage Sri Aurobindo.

Part three then tries to draw these extremely diverse threads together into a coherent picture. Our central contention is that theorizing from an adequately comprehensive empirical foundation that includes the phenomena catalogued in IM – especially psi, survival and mystical experiences – leads inescapably into territory traditionally occupied by the world’s major religious faiths. Specifically, we argue that emerging developments in science and comparative religion, viewed in relation to centuries of philosophical theology, point to some sort of evolutionary panentheism — splitting the differences between classical theisms and pantheisms — as our current best guess about the metaphysically ultimate nature of things. The rough picture we develop can be elaborated and tested through many kinds of further empirical research, and as emphasized especially by Mike Murphy in an inspirational concluding essay, it portends an expanded scientific world-view which can embrace empirical realities of spiritual sorts while remaining faithful to science and avoiding untenable “overbeliefs” characteristic of traditional religions. It also potentially addresses a multitude of societal ills and threats to our precious planet that can be seen as flowing directly from the currently prevailing physicalism.

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

I’ve come a long way from where I started! I went to work for J. B. Rhine right out of graduate school in psychology, a conventional physicalist myself except for my interest in experimental studies of psi. An early encounter with the special subject Bill Delmore erased any lingering doubts I had about the reality of psi phenomena, and started me down the path toward physiological studies of psi performance. That led in turn to an interest in apparently psi-conducive altered states of consciousness, such as deep hypnosis, trance mediumship, OBEs and NDEs, and deep meditative and mystical states. Over the next decade or so the group I assembled in Duke’s Electrical Engineering Department got far enough down this path to feel sure it could be productive, but like many others we ran out of cash. I therefore commenced a 13-year detour through somatosensory neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill, mainly carrying out EEG and fMRI functional neuroimaging studies of human cortical responses to natural tactile stimuli. In addition to earning a decent living for a change, I learned a good bit of systems-level neuroscience during that period and established a record of productivity in conventional mainstream science, but my deepest interests still lay in psychical research. Ian Stevenson’s long-time DOPS colleague Emily Williams and I married in 1998, and I went with her to those first meetings at Esalen where we conceived the plan for IM. In 2002 I retired early from UNC and moved to Charlottesville, so Emily and I could live together (!) and work more or less full-time on that first book, which took us until about mid-2006 to finish.

What’s perhaps most important here, theoretically speaking, is that for me the development of IM did a lot to dissolve what Gardner Murphy had called the “immovable object” in the survival debate — the biological objection to survival. If physicalism is true, and mind and consciousness are produced by neurophysiological processes occurring in brains, then survival is impossible, period. But the evidence assembled in IM shows, I believe, that the connections between mind and brain are in fact much looser, and can be conceptualized in the alternative fashion of filter or transmission models without violence to other parts of our scientific understanding including in particular leading-edge physics and neuroscience. That in turn opens the door — and in fact demands, in my opinion — a more radical overhaul of the prevailing physicalist metaphysics. I’m a pretty good cat-herder, though not much of a theoretician myself, and I guess that’s how I got the job as lead editor for the new book.

Why do you think these books are important and what do you hope to accomplish with them?

Like many others I was initially attracted to parapsychology by a strong sense that psi phenomena, if real, indicate that our world is significantly different in construction from that pictured in the received physicalist doctrine. I began pursuing that intuition by just “tinkering around the edges”, trying like many others to imagine small changes in the prevailing world-view that might allow it to accommodate a few additional phenomena for which we have good evidence. That after all is normal scientific practice, and a reasonable way to start. As time went by, however, I became increasingly persuaded that something much more radical is needed. I was also struck by the fact that similar rumblings of discontent were arising from a number of related disciplines that clearly have lots in common and ought to be communicating but if anything seem systematically to avoid each other. I’m thinking here particularly of disciplines such as psychical research in the broad original sense, transpersonal psychology, comparative studies of religion and mystical experience, and psychedelic studies.

I don’t want to get excessively messianic about this, but I feel that in developing these two books our Esalen fellowship has been able to put together a much bigger-than-normal picture in a more or less correct way, at least to first approximation. The picture we’re advancing as a replacement for physicalism essentially inverts the current hegemony of the physical relative to mind and consciousness. It amounts to a fundamentally spiritual worldview that is compatible with emerging science and potentially goes a long way toward reversing the pervasive “disenchantment” of the modern world with its multifarious attendant ills. I’m well aware that for some of my more experimentally-minded parapsychology colleagues in particular what we’re proposing may seem “a bridge too far”, and in the short run at least they may well be right in terms of how science and society at large will respond. But the vision we have advanced in these two books lends itself to systematic further development using conventional scientific tools, and I believe we have planted a flag well out in the direction that science itself will ultimately move. With any luck that flag should still be standing when the main forces arrive.

* * * * * *

Beyond Physicalism is available from Rowman & Littlefield. Purchasers from the US can call the publisher at 1-800-462-6420 and use the code 4S15KECRMA to get a 30% discount of the price, or download the Sales Flyer, fill it out and fax or mail it in. The flyer is downloadable here. Both Beyond Physicalism and Irreducible Mind are also available at an everyday discount on Amazon.com.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Over the years many have said that the term out of body experience was introduced either by G.N.M. Tyrrell or by Charles T. Tart. While I do not know who originated the term, I would like to point out in these comments that there are published examples of it before these authors.

Charles T. Tart

Charles T. Tart

Hill Man is a SpiritThree early examples were a letter published in the Spiritualist journal Light (Hamilton, M. ‘Out of the Body’ Experiences. Light, 1911, 31, 480), the fourth chapter of J.A. Hill’s Man is a Spirit (London: Cassell, 1918), and an article published by Walter Franklin Prince. In the article Prince asked an experiencer: “Had your conversation during the previous day suggested out-of-body experiences?” (Incidents: Four Peculiarly Characterized Dreams. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1923, 17, 82-107, p. 106).

 

The term was also used in the classic The Projection of the Astral Body (London: Rider, 1929), by Sylvan J. Muldoon and Hereward Carrington. According to Muldoon: “When my first out of body experiences occurred I was but twelve” (p. 11).

Muldoon Projection of the Astral Body Bret MetapsychosesSeveral other examples could be mentioned. Some mentions of the term in books are: P.T. Bret’s Les Métapsychoses : La Métapsychorragie, la Télépathie, la Hantise (Vol. 1, Paris: J. -B. Baillière, 1938, p. 44), Muldoon and Carrington’s The Phenomena of Astral Projection (London: Rider, 1951, p. 216), and G.O. Leonard’s Brief Darkness (London: Cassell, 1942, p. 147). See also the articles by N. Fodor (A Letter from England. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1937, 31, 118-123, p. 118) and E.W. Oaten (‘Out of the Body’ Experiences. Psychic Science, 1938, 17, 64-72).

Muldoon Carrington Phenomena Astral Projection 2

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Several laboratory experiments have presented evidence to the effect that changes in some physiological measure correspond to a remote stimuli, suggesting ESP may manifest physiologically while the person is not aware of the process. In an article I published recently I discussed a generally forgotten nineteenth-century example of this.

Here is the reference and the abstract:

Carlos S. Alvarado (2015). Note on an Early Physiological Index of ESP: John E. Purdon’s Observations of Synchronous Pulse Rates. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 29, 109–123. (Available on request from the author: carlos@theazire.org)

Abstract

The purpose of this Note is to rescue from oblivion the nineteenth-century researches of physician John E. Purdon with measures of pulse rate synchrony between two persons. This was done using a sphygmograph, an instrument that measured pulse and provided graphic tracings on paper. According to Purdon, he found some persons reproduced the tracings of others in conditions that he considered to imply a telepathic transfer. Purdon speculated that one person produced emissions of nervous force that were propagated to others via the ether. While this research may be criticized from the point of view of modern research standards, it is presented here as an interesting and generally unknown early instrumental study of the concept of the detection of ESP via a physiological response.

Dudgeon's Sphygmograph Used by Purdon

Dudgeon’s Sphygmograph Used by Purdon

“John Edward Blakeney Purdon was a physician who was born in Dublin in 1839. He was educated and trained in medicine at Trinity College, Dublin . . . Purdon lived in India serving as a surgeon in the British Army starting in 1865 . . . In 1881, when he made his first observations of synchronous pulse rates, he was in charge of a military hospital in Guernsey, the Channel Islands. After retiring from the Army in 1883, Purdon lived in the United States.”

The observations were done in informal ways. The first one took place in a hospital between a soldier and a woman separated by a wall. “During the ten days that my observations continued, I took many scores of traces with the sphygmograph finding the likenesses between the curve of Private W . . . and the young woman next door to be often remarkable. On one occasion I found that Private W . . . Private L . . . and myself were showing the same pattern almost exactly. That night our neighbour was eliminated as a disturbing cause, for she was laid up with a very bad sick headache . . .”

First Page of Purdon's Article in the  Metaphysical Magazine, 1896

First Page of Purdon’s Article in the Metaphysical Magazine, 1896

In another instance recorded in 1881: “I was taking the tracing of a young lady who was lying down with a menstrual headache, her hand being held by an older lady, her first cousin, when I suddenly saw the pulse curve change to that of the other, which I had more than once taken that morning. There could be no mistake about the resemblance, for the tracing of the other person was very characteristic and so familiar to me that such would have been a moral impossibility under the circumstances.”

Purdon's Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Purdon’s Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Another example: “I was taking the tracing of a young lady who was lying down with a menstrual headache, her hand being held by an older lady, her first cousin, when I suddenly saw the pulse curve change to that of the other, which I had more than once taken that morning . . . I repeated the observation, taking the tracings of each woman repeatedly, and found more or less resemblance between the tracings of the elder and one side of the younger. . . . This relation had to do in my mind with the state of susceptibility to change, disturbance, or irritation of the nervous system of the younger, as depending upon the presence of the catamenia.”

Examples of Sphygmographic Tracings from Purdon's Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

Examples of Sphygmographic Tracings from Purdon’s Paper Presented at the Fourth International Congress of Psychology, Paris, 1900

I concluded the paper pointing out some problems with Purdon’s research when seen from the point of view of modern standards: “The evaluation of the results depended on visual inspection of the tracings, something that does not seem to have been done blindly. Furthermore, the reports lack information about checks on the proper functioning of the sphygmograph, potential artifacts related to how the instrument was attached to the arm, the position of the arm and its movements, and environmental stimuli that could have affected the tracings of both subjects.”

However, my interest to write this paper was not to present evidence for ESP via pulse rate change, but to acknowledge the pioneering efforts of Purdon.

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

I am glad to present an interview with Dr. Marilyn Schlitz, who I believe I first met in a Parapsychological Association Convention. Marilyn, who has a PhD in anthropology, has held various positions at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, among them President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of Research. She is also a Senior Scientist at the California Pacific Medical Center and the founder and CEO of Worldwide Enterprises, “established to create and distribute multi-media education programs on worldview appreciation, health and healing, death awareness, and contemplative practices.” See her website here.

 Marilyn is the recipient of several awards, among them: Professional of the Year in Science, Executive Professionals and Entrepreneurs of the Year (2014); Gutsy Gals Film Writers Award (2014); Bronze Medal, Telly Award for Best Documentary (2014); and Silver Medal, Telly Award for Best Spirituality and Religion Documentary (2014).

In parapsychology Marilyn is well known for several contributions over the years. One that comes to mind when I think about her is a well-known ESP study with artists: Schlitz, M. & C. Honorton. (1992). A ganzfeld ESP study within an artistically gifted population. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 86, 83-98. But there have been many other contributions, such as: Wiseman, R. & M. Schlitz, (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. Journal of Parapsychology, 61,197-207; and Schlitz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C. & Radin, D. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322. See the bibliography below for many other examples.

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan during the 1960’s and 70’s. This was a time and place of great social and political unrest. I was restless and wished I could change things. But as a teenager, there was not much to be done. When I entered Wayne State University, I discovered two books that profoundly impacted my life and my career. The first was The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. This now classic book showed me that we live in a paradigm and that paradigms shift. This gave me hope and a sense of purpose.  In particular, Kuhn’s focus on science led me to think this would be an arena in which I might make a difference. The second book was Psychic Exploration by Edgar Mitchell and John White. Coming on the heels of Kuhn’s ideas, I felt that parapsychology was just the place in which to help foster a paradigm shift. From this book, and the many that I read after, I was impressed that a group of serious minded scientists and scholars were approaching psi with rigor and discernment, even if mainstream scientists considered it heresy. I wanted to be part of the revolution that could change our paradigm from strict materialism to one that pointed to our fundamental interconnectedness and vast human potentials. Decades later, I can say it’s been a fascinating and remarkable ride.

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

I began my laboratory research in the area of free response psi testing.  I conducted an early replication of Targ and Puthoff’s remote viewing protocol. This was done as a student of Robert Morris  at the University of California, Irvine.  Moving to the Institute for Parapsychology, now the Rhine Research Center, I expanded this research over long distances and produced the strongest statistical evidence for remote viewing under controlled conditions in the literature. My work with the ganzfeld method led to a now classic study of psi among artists at the Juilliard School of the Performing Arts. This was done in collaboration with Chuck Honorton and was the last study to be reported out of the Psychophysical Research Laboratory. It has been replicated in several other laboratories.

Beginning in the early 1980’s, I was drawn to studies of healing.  They offered a practical application for what are often abstract studies. In particular, I worked for a decade with William Braud at the Mind Science Foundation to develop an experimental protocol for studying healing intention under randomized, controlled conditions. Now known as DMILS (Distant Mental Interactions with Living Systems), the protocol monitors physiological outcomes in response to healing intentions from another person in a distant room and with no sensory communication. The results of our studies showed significant differences in the intention periods as compared to the control trials. This experimental protocol has now been replicated in many laboratories across the world, subjected to critical evaluations and meta-analyses, and provides one of the most reliable data sets in the field of psi research.  I established a laboratory at the Institute of Noetic Sciences that allowed this work to continue, now under the direction of Dean Radin.

My studies on experimenter effects began during my time at Wayne State, when I noticed that the experimenters performed better than our subjects in some preliminary research. This interest was further developed years later in my collaborations with parapsychology skeptic, Richard Wiseman. Together we conducted three formal studies over ten years and the summary of these studies showed a psi effect in my data but not in Richard’s. This provocative work also established the feasibility of building collaborations between skeptics and psi proponents, which I think are important for the future of the field.

I also have a long standing interest in the discourse of the skeptic/proponent debate, including work done when I held the Thomas Welton Stanford Fellowship for Psychical Research at Stanford University.  As an anthropologist, I am drawn to the cultural aspects of the debate and how truth is constructed in the context of controversial science. Most recently, I have conducted a meta-experiment with an international team of scientists to study experimenter expectancies using a precognition protocol developed by Daryl Bem.  This work is currently underway.

Today I am focusing on questions of death and the afterlife. I have created a feature length documentary in partnership with Deepak Chopra entitled, Death Makes Life Possible, a companion book and a learning program. We invite people in this work to consider their own worldview about death, what happens after, and why this is important for how they live their lives. The research from parapsychology, together with people’s noetic experiences and different cultural and religious worldviews, provides a rich tapestry of human experience. The goal is to help transform the fear of death into an inspiration for living and dying well.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

Psi experiences have been profound for many people and have stimulated transformations in people’s worldviews and belief systems. Parapsychology offers a way of legitimating these experiences and giving people a framework for understanding anomalous occurrences. In this way, it is a bridge between noetic insights and objective knowing. It is also a field that invites discovery and out of the box thinking. Some of the data from the controlled research forces us to question our assumptions and expand our methods of knowing and being in the world. It is also a nexus for multi-disciplinary pursuits that are often not possible in other areas of study where people become very specialized. From a cultural perspective, psi research is a rich laboratory in which to study beliefs, expectations, and the politics that govern truth construction.

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

It is a tough field for many reasons. Funding, credibility, challenges in replication, and the small number of researchers make progress painfully slow. Parapsychology is situated in an odd place, focusing on topics outside the mainstream scientific community while raising questions that many in the general population no long question. Researchers often find themselves betwixt and between. The interesting thing is that psi researchers have been in the vanguard for years, making discoveries in areas such as hypnosis, altered states of consciousness, research methods,  long before the time has come to have these ideas integrated into the prevailing paradigm. This may be happening again today, with quantum physics and studies of entanglement offering a theoretical framework to account for psi phenomena. If this happens and psi results can be replicated by mainstream scientists, parapsychology may find itself within the mainstream scientific camp. For some who are used to living on the edge of the mainstream, this may not be a place of comfort. Time will tell.

Selected Publications

(Mainly About Parapsychology and Related Topics)

Books

Schlitz, M. (in press). Death Makes Life Possible. Revolutionary Insights on Living, Dying and the Continuation of Consciousness. Boulder, CO: Sounds True. For more information click here.

Peterson, K., Schlitz, M., Vieten, C. (2013). Worldview Explorations, Facilitator Guide and Workbook. Petaluma: Institute of Noetic Sciences.

Schlitz, M., C. Vieten, & T. Amorok. (2007) Living Deeply, The Art and Science of Transformation. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger (also published in Spanish and German).

Schlitz, M., T. Amorok. with M. Micozzi, Editors. (2005). Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind Body Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier: Churchill Livingstone.

Schlitz, M. & Zingrone, N.L. (Eds.). (1997). Research in Parapsychology. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press.

Schlitz, M. (1987). Reflections on Medina Lake: 1912-1987. San Antonio: Quadrangle Press.

Book Chapters

Schlitz, M. (2009). Exploring the Akashic Field: Bridging Subjective and Objective Ways of Knowing. In E. Laszlo, The Akashic Experience: Science and the Cosmic Memory Field. Rochester, VT. Inner Traditions Bear.

Schlitz, M. (2007). Prayer and Healing: Assessing the Evidence. In I. Serlin (Ed.), Whole Person Healthcare. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Schlitz, M. & Radin, D. (2006). Distant Healing: Assessing the Evidence. In Integrative Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Press.

Schlitz, M. & Harman, W. (2004). The Implications of Alternative and Complementary Medicine for Science and the Scientific Process. In M. Schlitz, T. Amorok, with M. Micozzi, (Eds.), Consciousness & Healing: Integral Approaches to Mind Body Medicine. London: Churchill Livingstone.

Schlitz, M. & N. Lewis. (2002). Distant Healing: The Power of Prayer and Intention. In Breast Cancer: Beyond Convention. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Schlitz, M. & W. Harman. (2001). The implications of complementary and alternative medicine for science and the scientific process. In D. Lorimer (Ed.), Thinking Beyond the Brain: A Wider Science of Consciousness. Floris Books: London.

Schlitz, M. & Targ, E. (2000). Parapsychological experiences. In E. Cardeña, S.J. Lynn, and S. Krippner (Eds.), Varieties of Anomalous Experience. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Taylor, E. & Schlitz, M. (1998). Meditation. In N. Allison, (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Body Mind Disciplines. New York: Rosen Publishing Group.

Schlitz, M. & May, E. (1998). Parapsychology: Fact or fiction? Replicable evidence for unusual consciousness effects. In S.R. Hameroff, A.W. Kaszniak, & A.C. Scott (Eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II (pp. 691-700). Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Moerman, D., Jonas, W., Bush, P., Edwards, R., Herxheimer, A., Kleijnen, J., Roberts, A., Schlitz, M., Solfvin, J., van der Geest, S., & Watkins, A. (1997). Placebo effects and research in alternative and conventional medicine. In Proceedings of the Alternative Medicine Research Methodology Conference. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

Schlitz, M. (1994). Women, power, and the paranormal: A cultural critique. In L. Coly and R. White (Eds.), Women in Parapsychology (pp. 157-174). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Schlitz, M. (1992). Psychic unity: The meeting ground of anthropology and parapsychology. In B. Shapin and L. Coly (Ed.), Psychology, Depth Psychology, and Spontaneous Psi Research. New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Schlitz, M. (1985). The phenomenology of replication. In B. Shapin and L. Coly (Ed.), The Repeatability Problem in Parapsychology (pp. 73-97). New York: Parapsychology Foundation Press.

Hansen, G., Schlitz, M., & Tart, C. (1984). Bibliography: Remote viewing research, 1973-1982. In R. Targ and K. Harary (Eds.), The Mind Race (pp. 265-269). New York: Villard Press.

Schlitz, M. & Gruber, E. (1984). Transcontinental remote viewing: A rejudging. In K. R. Rao (Ed.), Basic Experiments in Parapsychology (pp. 237-42). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Schlitz, M., & E. Gruber, E. (1984). Transcontinental remote viewing. In K. R. Rao (Ed.), Basic Experiments in Parapsychology (pp. 225-236). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Journal Articles

Schlitz, M. (2014). Transpersonal Healing: Assessing the Evidence from Laboratory and Clinical Trials. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 33, 97-101.

Schlitz, M., Hopf, H.W., Eskenazi, L., Vieten, C., Radin, D. (2012). Distant Healing of Surgical Wounds: An Exploratory Study. EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing, 8, 223-230.

Radin, D., Stone, J., Levine, E., Eskandarnejad, S., Schlitz, M., Kozak, L., Mandel, D., & Hayssen, G. (2008). Compassionate intention as a therapeutic intervention by partners of cancer patients: Effects of distant intention on the patients’ autonomic nervous system. Explore, 4, 235-43.

Vieten, C., Amorok, T., & Schlitz, M. (2006). From I to We: The Study of Spiritual Transformation. Zygon, 41, 915-931.

Schlitz, M. (2005). The Discourse of Controversial Science: The Skeptic-Proponent Debate on Remote Staring. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 12, 101-105.

Schlitz, M., Wiseman, R., Watt, C., & Radin, D. (2006). Of two minds: Skeptic-proponent collaboration within parapsychology. British Journal of Psychology, 97, 313-322.

Radin, D. I. & Schlitz, M.J. (2005). Gut feelings, intuition, and emotions: An exploratory study. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 1, 85-91.

Schlitz, M. (2004). Intentional Healing: Exploring the Extended Reaches of Consciousness. Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, 14(1): 1-18.

Schlitz, M., Radin, D.I., Malle, B.F., Schmidt, S., Utts, J., & Yount, G.L. (2003). Distant healing intention: Definitions and evolving guidelines for laboratory studies. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 9 (3), A31-A43.

Wiseman, R. &, Schlitz, M. (1999). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring: A replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 63, 232-233.

Schlitz, M. J. & Braud, W.G. (1997). Distant intentionality and healing: Assessing the evidence. Alternative Therapies, 3(6), 62-73.

Schlitz, M. & LaBerge, S. (1997). Covert observation increases skin conductance in subjects unaware of when they are being observed: A replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 185-196.

Schlitz, M. (1997). Intentionality: An argument for transpersonal consciousness. World Futures, 48, 115-126.

Wiseman, R. & Schlitz, M. (1997). Experimenter effects and the remote detection of staring. Journal of Parapsychology, 61, 197-207.

Schlitz, M. (1996). Intentionality and intuition and their clinical implications: A challenge for science and medicine. Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health, 12(2), 58-66.

Schlitz, M. (1996). Intentionality: A program of study in five questions on intentionality, science and mind-body medicine—an Advances forum. Advances: The Journal of Mind-Body Health 12(3), 31-32.

Moerman, D., Jonas, W., Bush, P., Edwards, R., Herxheimer, A., Kleijnen, J., Roberts, A., Schlitz, M., Solfvin, J., van der Geest, S., & Watkins, A. (1996). Placebo effects and research in alternative and conventional medicine. Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine, 2(2), 141-148.

Schlitz, M. (1995). Intentionality in healing: Mapping the integration of body, mind, and spirit. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 1(5), 119-120.

Schlitz, M., & Honorton, C. (1992). A ganzfeld ESP study within an artistically gifted population. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 86, 83-98.

Braud, W. & Schlitz, M. (1991). Consciousness interactions with remote biological systems: Anomalous intentionality effects. Subtle Energies, 2(1) 1-46.

Targ, R., Braud, W., Stanford, R., Schlitz, M. & Honorton, C. (1991). Increasing psychic reliability. Journal of Parapsychology, 55, 59-83.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1989). Possible role of intuitive data sorting in electrodermal biological psychokinesis (bio-PK). Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 83, 289-302.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1989). A methodology for the objective study of transpersonal imagery. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 3, 43-63.

Schlitz, M. & Braud, W. (1985). Reiki plus natural healing: An ethnographic and experimental study. Psi Research, 4, 100-123.

Schlitz, M., & Haight, J.M. (1984). Remote viewing revisited: An intrasubject replication. Journal of Parapsychology, 48, 39-49.

Braud, W., & Schlitz, M. (1983). Psychokinetic influence on electrodermal activity. Journal of Parapsychology, 47, 95-119.

Schlitz, M., & Gruber, E. (1981). Transcontinental remote viewing: A rejudging. Journal of Parapsychology, 45, 233-237.

Schlitz, M. & Gruber, E. (1980). Transcontinental remote viewing. Journal of Parapsychology, 44, 305-317.

 

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

The following article is a report of psychological studies of American children that say they remember previous lives.

“Psychological Evaluation of American Children Who Report Memories of Previous Lives,” by Jim Tucker and F. Don Nidiffer (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2014, 28, 585-596).

For reprints write to the first author: jbt8n@virginia.edu

Dr. Jim Tucker

Dr. Jim Tucker

Abstract

Some young children claim to have memories of a previous life, and they often show behaviors that appear related to the memories. This pilot study examined the psychological functioning of such children in the United States. Fifteen participants, ages 3-6 years, underwent testing with the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale (fourth edition) and the Children’s Apperception Test. Their parents completed the Survey Form of the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, the Child Behavior Checklist, the Child Dissociative Checklist, and the Family Questionnaire. The children’s composite intelligence scores on the Stanford-Binet were greater than one standard deviation above the mean, with relative strengths in verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning. On the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, the children scored significantly above average in daily living skills, motor skills, and on the overall composite score. Thirteen of the 15 children obtained low scores on the Child Dissociative Checklist, indicating no dissociative thought patterns in most participants. The Child Behavior Checklist averages all fell within the normal range, revealing no clinically significant behavior problems. Results on the Children’s Apperception Test revealed no unusual themes, and the families did not show any distinct patterns of functioning on the Family Questionnaire. Young children who claim to remember previous lives show high intelligence, and testing revealed no evidence that their reports arise from psychopathology.

In the conclusion the authors state:

“This sample of young American children claiming past-life memories showed high intelligence levels, with particular strengths in quantitative reasoning and verbal reasoning. One possibility to consider is that advanced verbal skills in very young children make them more likely to verbalize mental images. Their ability to do so may intensify those images so that they become firmly established in their minds as memories.”

“The results on the other measures do not indicate any evidence of psychopathology for the group as a whole. Thirteen of the 15 participants showed few dissociative features. Thus, it appears that most children who report past-life memories do not show dissociative symptoms, but the two exceptions raise the possibility that children who have dissociative tendencies may be more likely than other children to make past-life reports.”

 

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Traité de Métapsychique by Charles Richet. Paris: Félix Alcan, 1922. Pp. 815. Available online at GallicaGoogle Books, and Hathi Trust.

 Richet Traite

 

Richet Traite table contents 1

Charles Richet

Charles Richet

Although overviews of psychical research such as the one reviewed here are appreciated, they are not generally considered to be particularly important or influential beyond the panoramic views, summaries, and bibliographies they provide. An exception to this is the book reviewed here, authored by French physiologist Charles Richet (1850-1935), which was translated into English from its second edition as Thirty Years of Psychical Research (New York: Macmillan, 1923).

Richet Thirty Years

Richet Clairvoyance PSPR 1889By the time the Traité was published Richet was well known in psychical research. This was evident from the frequent and multiple citations he received in general French books about the topic. During the 1880s he conducted research about what we would refer today as ESP, as seen in his reports “La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilités” (Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, 1884, 18, 609–674), and “Further Experiments in Hypnotic Lucidity or Clairvoyance” (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1889, 6, 66–83). Later on he was involved with bringing psychical research into the 1889 Congress of Physiological Psychology, the development and publication of the Annales des Sciences Psychiques, medium Eusapia Palladino, and the presidency of the SPR. He authored many more papers about psychic phenomena and their study, among them a highly controversial report of materialization phenomena with medium Marthe Béraud.

Paper by Richet about medium Marthe Beraud's materialization phenomena (in Annals of Psychical Science, 1905)

Paper by Richet about medium Marthe Beraud’s materialization phenomena (in Annals of Psychical Science, 1905)

Richet opened the book stating in the preface that readers expecting “nebulous” discussions about “man’s destiny, about magic, about theosophy” would be dissappointed. Instead he argued he would write about facts without advancing a theory because in his view theories in metapsychics were “astoundingly frail.”

Franz Anton Mesmer

Franz Anton Mesmer

The Traité was divided in four “books” or sections. The first one was a general perspective on metapsychics, which was defined by Richet as “a science which object is phenomena, mechanical or psychological, due to seemingly intelligent forces ot to unknown latent powers in human intelligence.” He classified the field into subjective and objective metapsychics, terms he used to refer to mental and physical phenomena. The section also included a discussion of history in which the author divided the subject in four periods. These periods were denominated by Richet as mythical (up to Mesmer), magnetic (from Mesmer to the Fox sisters), spiritistic (from the Fox sisters to William Crookes), and scientific (starting with Crookes). Richet hoped that his book will start a fifth period.

William Crookes

William Crookes

Richet saw the scientific period as the high point of the history of interest in metapsychic phenomena and separated it conceptually and methodologically from previous movements. In fact, he pictured mesmerism, as well as spiritism and spiritualism, as stages in the development of metapsychics. Previous movements, Richet believed, had too much theory, something that metapsychics must be careful with. But he believed it would have been an injustice to despise the magnetizers and the spiritists. Their work, Richet stated, “contributed to the founding of metapsychics.” But in his view their time was past. Nowadays a medium should not be wasted in informal spiritistic circles “without the use of methods of research adopted by all the sciences, balances, photography, cinematography, graphic registration. Similarly . . . rigorous, strict investigation, similar to those the S.P.R. [Society for Psychical Research] has conducted, is indispensable.”

First Chapter of Richet's Traite

First Chapter of Richet’s Traite

The second part of the book was about “subjective metapsychics.” Richet started with a section in which he attempted to separate phenomena that could be explained via conventional ideas of the action of the subconscious mind such as automatisms, personation, and pantomnesia (or memories of all the past experiences of the person), from phenomena such as telepathy and the like requiring explanations beyond the conventional (I have presented a reprint of this section elsewhere). He wrote that: “to separate the psychic [psychological] from the metapsychic, we adopt the following criterion: Everything that may be done by human intelligence, even the very profound and skillful, is psychic. Everything a human intelligence cannot do . . . would be metapsychic” (italics in the original).

Chapter of Subjective Metapsychics

Chapter about Subjective Metapsychics

Reprint of telepathy drawings from an experiment published by the Society for Psychical Research

Reprint of telepathy drawings from an experiment published by the Society for Psychical Research

Two other sections were about chance and observation errors. Such discussions were not only proper in a book like this to show how psychical researchers have been aware of conventional explanations and the precautions they have taken to avoid them, but also served a rhetorical function in that it gave credibility to Richet’s defenses of the reality of the metapsychic realm beyond the counterexplanations of science.

Leonora E. Piper

Leonora E. Piper

The rest of this part of the book was devoted to what Richet called cryptesthesia. This meant a “hidden sensibility, a perception of things, unknown regarding its mechanisms, and of which we cannot know but its effects.” Richet discussed spontaneous and experimental examples of this faculty. He included his own observations and studies, such as those with a woman he referred to as Alice, and discussed the topic as manifested in mediums such as Leonora E. Piper, and in various ways, among them psychometry and premonitions. The spontaneous occurrences were classified as monitions involving non-serious and serious events (other than death), death, and those perceived collectivelly. Richet mentioned that cryptesthesia showed no time and space limitations. He wrote that the phenomena “is very strange, and we do not understand it at all,” but such lack of understanding did not mean the acceptance of spiritual entities following “savages who attributed forces of Nature to a Divinity . . . .”

Part 3 was about physical phenomena. In addition to hauntings (and poltergeists), it included chapters about phenomena infrequently discussed in modern parapsychology, namely telekinesis, materializations, levitation, and bilocation. The later was defined by Richet as the simultaneous presence of a person in different locations. He rejected the existence of objective bilocation as the duplication of the human body, but accepted that apparitions representing the individual could be perceived as if the person was alive and that this represented a modality of cryptesthesia.

Chapter about Objective Metapsychics

Chapter about Objective Metapsychics

 

Florence Cook

Florence Cook

Regardless of the fraudulent practices of some physical mediums, Richet was convinced that there were real telekinetic and ectoplasmic manifestations. Among many observations he discussed medium Florence Cook and the famous Katie King materialization, and his own observations with medium Marthe Béraud. Regarding Béraud (later known as Eva C.), Richet presented some notes he compiled in 1906 in which he saw ectoplasmic forms move and take shapes. He also payed attention to many other mediums, among them Linda Gazzera, D.D. Home, Eusapia Palladino, and Stanislawa Tomczyk.

Linda Gazzera

Linda Gazzera

Drawings Illustrating Richet's Observations with Marthe Beraud

Drawings Illustrating Richet’s Observations with Marthe Beraud

Richet Traite Stanislawa Tomczyck

Richet Traite Stanislawa Tomczyck

Finally, the fourth part of the book was the conclusion. Richet concluded that the collective weight of all evidence showed the reality of metapsychic phenomena. This, he believed, was the case regardless of criticisms:

“Therefore: 1. there is in us a faculty of knowledge that is absolutely different of our common sensory faculties of knowledge (cryptesthesia); 2. movement of objects without contact are produced, even in plain light (telekinesis); 3. there are hands, bodies, objects, that appear to be formed completely from a cloud and show all the appearances of life (ectoplasmy); 4. there are presentiments that neither perspicacy nor chance can explain, and sometimes they are verified to their smallest details.”

In the conclusion Richet returned to his view that metapsychics should be an empirical specialty which current task should not be the defense of particular models. In fact, if there was a perspective characterizing the Traité it was that of the need to have an ultra-empirical metapsychics with little theoretical content. Consistent with this view Richet stated he was not convinced of any explanation so far offered to account for metapsychic phenomena and that at present (1922) no cohesive theory could be presented. He was particularly critical of explanations based on the concept of discarnate action, something he discussed in other publications. Nonetheless, and regardless of his protestations, Richet was not completely atheoretical. He was positive about the idea that unknown human faculties, and forces, were at work, and, as he discussed in the Traité, he used the concepts of personation and cryptesthesia to explain the manifestation of mental mediumship. Richet also speculated about forces in reference to materializations: “Materialization is a mechanical projection . . . . Is it not a very long way to consider possible, other than projections of heat, light, and electricity, a projection of a mechanical force? The memorable demonstrations of Einstein establish to what extent mechanical energy is similar to luminous energy.” Such idea, while perhaps too vague to be called a theory, was consistent with an old model of biophysical forces present throughout the literatures of mesmerism, spiritualism, and psychical research.

Richet concluded his book with hope for the future, as he did in other publications. Currently, “when everything is still in darkness,” Richet stated that there was a pressing need to move forward with research. “Then Metapsychics will come out of Occultism, as Chemistry was separated from Alchemy.” The situation, Richet continued, may seem to be too dark and difficult to solve. He further wrote: “But this is no reason for not increasing our efforts and labors . . . . The task is so beautiful that, even if we fail, the honor of having undertaken it gives some value to life.”

This book received much publicity when it was first published in 1922. Richet presented it to the prestigious Académie des Sciences, referring to the phenomena in question as “new” and “inhabitual” (Mémoires et communications des membres et des correspondants de l’Académie. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaires des Seances de l’Académie des Sciences, 1922,  174, 429-430). The reception of the Traité was surprising for an introductory book about psychical research. It was repeatedly reviewed as a special book. Examples of this are the long, and not always positive discussions of it in journals dedicated to psychic phenomena, such as the essays of Henry Holt, (A review of Richet. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1922, 16, 655-670.), Ernesto Bozzano (Considerazioni intorno al “Traité de Métapsychique” del Prof. Charles Richet. Luce e Ombra, 1922, 22:103-115), and Oliver Lodge (A textbook of metapsychics: Review and critique. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1923, 34, 70-106).  A prominent example of a review appearing in the journals of other disciplines was that authored by Pierre Janet (À propos de la métapsychique. Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger, 1923, 96, 5-32).

Henry Holt's Review of Richet

Henry Holt’s Review of Richet

There is no question that the book was comprehensive, and systematic, and this made it valuable as a general introduction to the subject. It is in fact one of the best overviews of psychical research for the period in question. Richet’s insistence in the collection of facts, to the neglect of theories, made the book his personal manifesto of psychical research. He projected an image of metapsychics as a science, arguing for the existence of a field that had a subject matter and a right to exist. But as much as the book was a summary of facts, it was also Richet’s attempt to construct and promote it.

Richet SouvenirsHowever, both in the Traité as well as in latter publications, such as his autobiographical memoir Souvenirs d’un Physiologiste (Paris: J. Peyronnet, 1933) Richet described the discipline as being in a preliminary stage of development. Nonetheless, he stated in this latter book, “I am convinced it is the science of the future” (p. 156).

Unfortunately Richet’s neglect to summarize theoretical models properly and to include systematic discussions or research methodologies weaken the status of the Traité as a rigorous textbook. I believe the empirical approach defended by Richet in the book would have received support from the latter.

For many, particularly in France, the Traité became an exemplar of the “new” science, and this took place in spite of much criticism. Why, one may ask, did Richet’s book attained such a status? After all, the content of the Traité was not innovative or revolutionary so as to command so much attention and respect. In fact, in many ways the Traité was rather dry and uninspired. I believe there are at least two aspects to consider in discussing this issue.

Ceccarelli Shaping Science with RhetoricFirst, Richet’s book cannot be dismissed as just a relatively unimportant exercise in synthesis. In fact, this characteristic of the book is one of the aspects identified by Leah Ceccarelli in his Shaping Science with Rhetoric (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001) as being important to produce influential books that assist in the development of interdisciplinary communities. Synthesis is present in the Traité in the form of a modest non-theorethical integration based on the accumulation of facts presented to show the existence of a subject matter. Ceccarelli believes that such influential books present two other characteristics, the development of an “authorial persona,” and the fact that the text is addressed to more than one audience. The first point perhaps includes Richet’s strong and repeated ultra-empirical and anti-survival stances, while the second may also be present in that several audiences benefitted from the work: scientists, psychical researchers, and the general public. While I do not want to push this view too much, it seems to me that the book could be studied in more detail from this perspective.

Richet Abrege HistoireSecond, the author commanded much attention due to his eminence. Richet–who worked in so various fields as aviation, eugenics, history, literature, pacifism, philosophy, psychical research, psychology, and sociology–was a well-known and highly respected intellectual. He published much research on physiological topics such as animal heat, breathing, stomach acid, serotherapy, and anaphylaxis. He also had several important academic positions and honors before the publication of the Traité. This included being editor of the Revue Wolf Brain Mind Medicine RicherScientifique, Professor of Physiology at the Faculte de Medicine in Paris, member of the Academie de Medicine and of the Academie des Sciences, and Nobel prize winner for his work on anaphylaxis. In addition, Richet had many social advantages. His wealth and high social position, coming both from his father and from his mother’s family, allowed him many personal connections that facilitated publishing and being heard in different forums. On these issues see S. Wolf, Brain, Mind and Medicine: Charles Richet and the Origins of Physiological Psychology (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1993).

Revue Scientifique, edited by Richet, with article by him

Revue Scientifique, edited by Richet, with article by him

All this meant that a treatise about psychic phenomena from such a man would not be ignored and would be seen as a more important event than publications on the topic by less eminent individuals. His persona was a social and intellectual beacon that attracted many, who would either praise or condemn him for his positive belief in the existence of metapsychic phenomena and for his involvement with the topic.

Modern researchers will find the Traité of value for several reasons. The book is a reference work presenting many summaries of studies, bibliographical references, and evidential claims about psychic phenomena for the pre-1922 period. In addition, those current researchers who are not familiar with the old psychical research literature will find in this book a window into the past, a past somewhat different from the present, as seen in the emphasis on gifted subjects, such as psychics and mediums, on the phenomena of physical mediumship, and on the issue of survival of death.

Richet

Richet

These comments first appeared as a book review in the Journal of Scientific Exploration. They are reprinted with permission from the journal’s editor.

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Nancy L. Zingrone and I are presenting an online four week course about research and other aspects of out-of-body experiences (OBEs). The course, part of the educational events of the AZIRE (The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education), starts on March 9, 2015 and ends on April 5.

Mind Without a Body: Exploring Out-of-Body Experiences will offered via the WizIQ teaching platform. This is an overview course that provides an introduction to the study of OBEs. The emphasis is on the scientific study of OBEs and not on other important issues such as techniques to induce the OBE or the spiritual implications of the experience. The general topics discussed will be: Definitions, historical perspective, and approaches; research findings (OBE features and measurements related to psychology, psychophysiology and other areas, discussed over two weeks); and parapsychological aspects and explanations.

This online course consists of four live lectures and other meetings in the Virtual Classroom on WizIQ as well as active discussion on the Course Feed. PDF reprints and links to articles and videos will be provided with the understanding that we are sharing materials with learners and not selling them.

A Certificate of Completion will be issued by The AZIRE. Certificates may be earned by successfully completing the course Quizzes or Assignments, by putting together a presentation for the class, or by some other method the learners and facilitators agree upon. Creativity is welcomed.

The course fee is $40 per learner and may be paid through Paypal by clicking below.

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

Within 24 hours of paying you will receive an invitation to enroll in the course. If you do not receive your invitation within a day, please contact Nancy L. Zingrone (nancy@theazire.org) or Carlos S. Alvarado (carlos@theazire.org)

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Although I have never met Dr. Zofia Weaver I have had correspondence with her while she was editing the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Zofia, whose background is in linguistics, has a particular interest in Polish psychics and mediums. She is one of the authors and compilers, with Mary Rose Barrington and Ian Stevenson, of A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2005). In addition, Zofia was the editor of the Journal and Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research between 1999 and 2002. She is the Chair of the E-Communications Committee of the Society for Psychical Research.

Dr. Zofia Weaver

Dr. Zofia Weaver

In her recently published book Other Realities: The Enigma of Franek Kluski’s Mediumship (Hove, UK: White Crow Books, 2015) Zofia presents an overview of the career of Polish physical medium Franek Kluski. Many of us know about Kluski mainly through Gustave Geley’s book Clairvoyance and Materialisation (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1927). But there is much more information about Kluski, and this is the first time that a book is dedicated to him in English, including much new material.

Weaver Other Realities Kluski 2

Materialization with Kluski

Materialization with Kluski

Interview

Can you give us a brief summary of the book?

The book describes the life and mediumship of Franek Kluski, who produced a striking range of physical and mental phenomena. He was not a professional medium, his professions included banking, journalism and writing for the stage, and his recorded mediumship lasted for only a short time, 1918 to 1925. Meticulous records of séances held with him exist (involving eminent researchers such as Gustave Geley and Charles Richet, but mainly less well-known yet equally able Polish investigators); however, much, in fact most, of the information about Kluski has until now only been available in Polish. In Other Realities, in addition to providing general background and context to Kluski’s mediumship, I have included a range of summaries and full original reports translated from Polish. I hope they provide a comprehensive picture of the events which surrounded this fascinating and reluctant medium – not only during sèances but in his everyday life.

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

My background is in linguistics, and my interest in psychical research was awakened by accident. I came across Rosalind Heywood’s “The Sixth Sense” and “The Infinite Hive” in the local library, and I was struck by the contrast between the author’s evident rationality and the amazing nature of the phenomena she was describing. I then joined the Society for Psychical Research, where I had the good fortune of being “mentored” by such figures as Alan Gauld and the late Tony Cornell. For a number of years I edited the Society’s Journal and Proceedings, and until recently I have been in charge of the content of the Society’s website. Together with Mary Rose Barrington and Ian Stevenson, I am also a co-author of a comprehensive study of the Polish clairvoyant Stefan Ossowiecki, which was published in 2005.

Barrington Stevenson Weaver World in a Grain of Sand

Since I am Polish by birth and upbringing, and bilingual, from the beginning of my involvement in psychical research I have been dealing with questions relating to famous (and less famous) Polish psychics. One might say that investigating these has become my special area of interest more by default than by choice, but I am glad to have specialised in this area. When you study such figures as Stefan Ossowiecki and Franek Kluski, you realise just what an enormous range of psychic phenomena, reported in impressive detail, they represent, and what profound implications they could have for one’s worldview.

What motivated you to write this book?

Mainly a sense of obligation and guilt, as well as a series of fortuituous happenstances. The main source of the Kluski material came into my possession many years ago, and over time valuable Polish archives on psychical research have been entrusted to me as well. I have therefore known for many years that this material must not be lost and much of it needs to be made public. I hope that a bilingual Polish/English archive will be created to preserve it, but that’s another story. In fact, I had been translating parts of the sources with the bilingual archive in mind for some time, but then suddenly all the ingredients of a book came together, the idea for a framework, the additional sources, and a supportive and encouraging publisher.

Okolowicz Kluski

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

The most important thing to me is that this unique material will now not be lost, and this was the limit of my hopes when I started on the project of translation. As to what the book might accomplish, if it corrects some of the misrepresentations of the Kluski phenomena based on fragmentary and secondary sources found on the internet, I would be very happy. I would also be very happy if it drew attention to at least the possibility of a much “bigger picture” of psi than many researchers are prepared to consider.

 *******

Table of Contents

Introduction

Physical mediumship: The refuge of cheats and scoundrels?

Chapter 1: Setting the scene: special times, special people

Chapter 2: Kluski the person

Chapter 3: Séances and phenomena

Chapter 4: Physical mediumship: The path to other realities?

References and Bibliography

*******

Moulds of Materialized Hands Obtained in a Seance with Kluski

Moulds of Materialized Hands Obtained in a Seance with Kluski

 

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