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

I recently received from its author a reprint of the following article about the Society for the Study of Consciousness: Imants Barušs, “A Vision for the Society for Consciousness Studies” (Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research, 2014, 5, 551-555).

Dr. Imants Barušs

Dr. Imants Barušs

Here is the abstract:

“This editorial is based on a presentation given by the author at the inaugural meeting of the Society for Consciousness Studies at The California Institute of Integral Studies on May 31, 2014. The author discusses the hegemony of materialism and some of the deleterious consequences of its entrenchment in the academy. In particular, research into the nature of consciousness is curtailed, those with demonstrated psychic abilities are oppressed, and little gets done to find effective interventions for resolving existential anxiety. The author’s vision for the Society for Consciousness Studies is that: (1) it is a society that values open inquiry into the nature of consciousness; (2) its members can regard themselves as leaders who are guiding the direction of consciousness studies; (3) practical projects can be undertaken to advance the open study of consciousness; (4) the society can cultivate support for the discussion of existential issues, self-transformation, and transcendent states of consciousness; and (5) the founding of the Society for Consciousness Studies can be a turning point in the history of the study of consciousness.”

One of the points the author makes is the prevalence of a materialistic outlook and the negative consequences in academia to challenge this overarching view of the world. The latter includes various forms of persecution that prevents, or at least, inhibits, open discussion and empirical studies.

Barušs continues saying that another “problem is that those who have demonstrated psychic abilities need to conceal those abilities, particularly from mental health professionals . . . There is still a widespread tendency to regard anyone who manifests or claims to have such abilities as lying, cheating, and as being mentally ill . . . A third problem brings us back to . . . the occurrence of existential angst among teenagers . . .” He also addresses the need to deal with existencial issues, a need that is generally not addressed or fulfilled by formal academic studies. In his words “rather than being marginalized in the academy, my vision is that we should see ourselves as leaders who are guiding the direction of consciousness studies. And rather than retreating from repressive institutions we should seek to transform them from within by asserting, as much as possible, our right to be part of them.”

The author would like to see the Society helping seekers and students in a practical way. “By our numbers we can seek to protect those whose academic freedom is violated because they have chosen to challenge conventional ways of thinking about consciousness. We can provide resources for those who wish to teach courses about consciousness. We can create an endowment fund to financially support research into consciousness. We can create annual awards that recognize outstanding contributions to the study of consciousness. We can create a publications office to publish academic books and journals. We can create a communications office to disseminate information about consciousness to the public as well as to solicit financial resources for an endowment fund. We can actively network with other organizations that support our goals. And we can assist other academics and professionals who become interested in consciousness.”

A few organizations have attempted to do some of this over the years, as seen in the work of the Parapsychological Association and the Society for Scientific Exploration, and the efforts of the Society for Consciousness Studies would indeed be welcome.

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

L’Ame Humaine: Ses Mouvements, ses Lumières, et l’Iconographie de l’Invisible Fluidique [The Human Soul: Its Movements, Its Lights, and the Iconography of the Fluidic Invisible] by Hippolyte Baraduc. Paris: Georges Carré, 1896. 299 pp. Available free here and here. For an English edition click here.

Dr. Hippolyte Baraduc

Dr. Hippolyte Baraduc

French physician Hippolyte Baraduc (1850–1902) was known for his writings about vital forces. In L’Ame Humaine he reported work to detect instrumentally what he believed were manifestations of the soul. While the material, he wrote, manifests “thanks to a solar or artificial exterior solar light, the fluidic invisible manifests by its own intimate and intrinsic luminous force” (p. 4, French edition). Baraduc described in the book what he believed were ways to show the reality of the “fluidic invisible.”

Baraduc Ame Humaine in Color

Baraduc La Force VitaleThe author started with what he called “biometry,” a topic he explored in a previous book (La Force Vitale: Notre Corps Vital Fluidique, sa Formule Biométrique. Paris: Georges Carré, 1893). This referred to the movements of a needle suspended from a thread believed to define certain patterns reflecting the action of the soul on the physical world. He claimed to have found that the “movements of life” showed seventeen different “formulas.” The latter refers to numerical readings of the instrument corresponding to the right and left hands, which showed attraction and repulsion of the force, respectively. Baraduc claimed he had more than one thousand observations showing that while the right side of the body attracted “cosmic life,” the left one did the opposite, pushed it back. Normal states reflected balance between right attraction and left repulsion. But some “formulas” could indicate particular health problems, including mental conditions.

Baraduc believed that his measures were not due to artifacts coming from environmental or body influences. Instead, he wrote, they were due to “our own animic movements, those of the Soul in its physical and psychical manifestations” (p. 26).

Other parts of the book were about the photography of invisible forces. With the exception of some electrophotography, this was mainly achieved using conventional photographic equipment taking photos in darkness, hoping that the plaque was affected “by the effluvia, the emanations, the intimate vibrations” (p. 34) of the target object. The soul, usually invisible to the human eye, was believed by Baraduc to be able to impress a photographic plate. He postulated the existence of seven different emanations.

Somod: Od with White and Black Points) (Without electricity or hands in contact with plate)

Somod: Od with White and Black Points)
(Without electricity or hands in contact with plate)

Psychicone Broken Down by Electricity (No camera, with contact of hand)

Psychicon Broken Down by Electricity
(No camera, with contact of hand)

The first photo presented was that of a boy feeling sorry for a dead pheasant. Baraduc claimed that some patterns seen in the photo, similar to marks made by a brush, were a photographic record of the vital force of the child reflecting his animic state. These and many other anomalous photos were seen by the author as proof of the existence of these forces. In addition to Od, which he described as the threads of the cosmic life, he referred to other forces or subtle bodies, among them the ones he called Somod, Psychicon, and Ob.

Boy Feeling Sorry for the Pheasant

Boy Feeling Sorry for the Pheasant

In the Conclusion Baraduc hoped that his readers believed that there was a soul. Unfortunately, his language and assumptions were unclear at best. No empirical evidence was presented for countless affirmations about the nature of these forces and their interactions and functions. An example was the assertion that: “The physical soul is the product of the vital instinct of the inferior cosmos” (p. 288). It is actually very difficult to follow the author’s way of thinking, and his theoretical assumptions seem to take on a life of their own. To complicate matters, in the last pages of the book Baraduc related some of his ideas to religious teachings and to concepts of universal life and its essence. Nonetheless the book is an excellent example of late nineteenth-century Western ideas of psychic forces and their medical and spiritual implications.

******

These comments appeared in my essay review: Unorthodox concepts of force and psychic phenomena. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2011, 25, 121-130.

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

Dr. Hoyt Edge is a philosopher with a long track record of work in parapsychology (for an interview click here). He is well known for two types of contributions. As a philosopher he has written about philosophical issues in parapsychology. But he has also conducted many experiments, perhaps the most interesting being his studies in Bali. Examples of these contributions include:

(2009). There is No Mind-Body Problem in Parapsychology. In C. Roe, W. Kramer, & L. Coly, (Eds). Utrecht II: Charting the future of Parapsychology. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 421-462; (2002). Two Cognitive DMILS Studies in Bali (with Luh Ketut Suryani, Niko Tiliopoulos, and Robert Morris), Journal of Parapsychology, 68, 289-321; (2002). Philosophy of Mind and Parapsychology. In Frontiers of Human Science, V. Gowari Rammohan, (Ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 30-45; and (1982). The Use of the Pendulum as an Automatism. In Research in Parapsychology 1981. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 193-95.

Dr. Hoyt Edge

Dr. Hoyt Edge

Hoyt, who I see here and there in conventions, is retired from Rollins College, where he was the Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Professor of Philosophy and an Associate Dean. In 1989 he was elected President of the Parapsychological Association.

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

Cassadaga, the winter retreat for spiritualists, was only several miles away from Stetson University, where I went to college. I took a date there one time on a lark, and picked out a medium randomly by his sign on the street. We had readings, but the empty six pack of beer on the floor beside him did not seem to have helped him much. However, I kept hearing about a special medium, and during graduate school when my wife and I would come to Florida, we were finally able to set up an appointment with Anne Gehman after several attempts. I don’t need to go into detail, but the reading, which was more directed to my wife since I was trying to write down everything she said, was impressive in several details. One thing she said to me, however, was that she saw me doing experiments; given that I was studying philosophy, I just laughed at that assertion.

I got a job at Rollins College, again not far from Cassadaga, and after my first class in the evening school, a student came up to me to talk. That student was Jo Marie Haight, who later studied parapsychology and made good contributions while she worked at FRNM (now the Rhine Research Center). At that time she was secretary to Anne Gehman, who had recently founded a spiritualist church in Orlando. My wife started taking a development class, and came home with some impressive stories.

Meanwhile, I was preparing for our Winter Term, in which we were supposed to offer something unusual and especially attractive to students. Because of my love for William James, and knowing his interest in psychical research, I decided to offer a course on William James and Parapsychology, during which time I immersed myself in the experimental literature, and even did an experiment with several students on dream telepathy which had an unusual but impressive result. After that, several synchronous events occurred that drew me more deeply into parapsychology, which resulted in my collaboration with James Wheatley on an edited book in the philosophical implications of parapsychology, an invitation from the Parapsychology Foundation to a conference, and while directing a group of students attending college in Freiburg, Germany, being asked by Eberhard Bauer to contribute my first parapsychology article in the Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie (Journal of Parapsychology and Border Areas of Psychology).

So, my interest in parapsychology did not develop because of any psychic event that I had personally had (although the reading was impressive in some respects), but more because it spoke to the question I was interested in philosophically, the nature of the person.

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

I’ve had a rather Janus–like existence in parapsychology. On the one hand, I have had a philosophical interest stemming from my life-long interest in investigating the nature of the person, and examining how parapsychological phenomena impact our understanding of the person–in terms of human nature, cognition, and knowledge. But because I was focusing on the experimental literature, I tried my hand on a number of experimental projects, sometimes with students who were taking courses in parapsychology that I occasionally taught. Because I turned my attention over the last decades to cross-cultural studies, as another perspective from which to study human nature, it came natural that I combined these two interests, and with the kind support of the Bial Foundation, I was able to carry out a set of significant cognitive DMILS experiments in Bali, Indonesia. I and my colleagues have published the results of the first two of these, and Stefan Schmidt has included all of them in a review article. So the first half of my career was dedicated more to elucidating the philosophical implications of parapsychology, while the second half was directed more experimentally.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

I’ve already indicated that I believe that parapsychology is terribly important for understanding the nature of the person. Further, I think that parapsychology offers an opportunity to ask almost any question that is philosophically interesting, whether it be the mind-body problem, the nature of causation, the nature of time, whether we have free will, what counts as knowledge, and even the metaphysical question of the nature of the physical world.

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

The first problem, certainly, would be the prejudice against parapsychology, ruling it as so out of hand scientifically that one does not have to seriously examine the evidence. While this reason is inexcusable, I think that there is a more delicate and difficult reason. Because of the lack of a unifying theory (a paradigm, if you will), parapsychology might be viewed as more of a proto-science, in spite of employing excellent scientific methods. There are several reasons for this, including a paucity of research funding, and in turn a paucity of researchers. And because there are so many interesting questions in parapsychology, these few researchers tend to ask a variety of questions and often don’t develop a research program that might lead to firmer answers over time. That’s a criticism that certainly could be directed at me.

I still hope, however, and fully expect that parapsychology will continue to make progress, and might accelerate the rate. Bob Morris’ contribution in putting the number of new parapsychologists into university systems in Great Britain and the US certainly bodes well for the future.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

I retired a year ago, and while I continued to serve as treasurer of the Parapsychological Association, I have turned my attention to more retirement kinds of things: traveling, reading novels, and gardening. I’m leaving it to the younger generation to continue the work; parapsychology is in good hands.

Selected Publications

Books

A Constructive Postmodern Perspective on Self and Community: From Atomism to Holism,    (Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1994).

Foundations of Parapsychology, with Robert Morris, Joseph Rush and John Palmer (New        York and London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986).

Philosophical Dimensions of Parapsychology, co-edited with James M. O. Wheatley    (Springfield, Ill.: Charles Thomas, 1976).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Gibt Es Vorbegriffliche Beobachtungen? Kommentare zu Stefan Schmidt: Die Fliege des Aristoteles. Bemerkungen zur Anomalistik und eine Forschungsübersicht zum Zusammenhang zwischen Meditation und Psi, In Zeitschrift fuer Anomalistik, (Band 12, Nr. 2+3, 2012) 179-184.

“There is No Mind-Body Problem in Parapsychology,” in Roe, C.A., Kramer, W. & Coly, L. (Eds) (2009). Utrecht II: Charting the future of Parapsychology. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 421-462.

“Two Cognitive DMILS Studies in Bali,” with Luh Ketut Suryani, Niko Tiliopoulos, and Robert Morris, in Journal of Parapsychology (Vol 68, No. 2, Fall, 2002), 289-321.

“Philosophy of Mind and Parapsychology” in Frontiers of Human Science, V. Gowari Rammohan, ed. Jefferson, NC:McFarland & Company, 2002, 30-45.

“Dualism and the Self: A Cross-cultural Perspective,” in Parapsychology, Philosophy, and the Mind, Fiona Steinkamp (ed), Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Publishers, 2002, 33-56.

“Extraordinary Claims in a Cross-Cultural Context,” in Proceedings of Aquem e Alem do Cerebro (Behind and Beyond the Brain). Porto, Portugal: Bial Foundation), 2000, 159-180.

“Should Ganzfeld Research Continue to be Crucial in the Search for a Replicable Psi Effect? Part II. Edited Ganzfeld Debate,” with Gertrude Schmeidler, in The Journal of Parapsychology (Vol. 63, December 1999), 335-388.

“Spirituality in the Natural and Social Worlds” in ReVision, (Vol. 18, No. 1, Summer 1995), 44-48; republished in Body, Mind and Spirit, Charles Tart, ed., (Char­lottes­ville, VA: Hampton Roads), 1997, 153-162.

“Possession in Two Balinese Trance Ceremonies,” in Anthropology of Conscious­ness (Vol. 7, No. 4, December 1996), 1-8.

“Koori Personhood: A Report on Work in Progress” in Australian Parapsy­chological Review (No. 18, 2/1991 & 3/1991).

“The Medium as Healer and Clown: An Interpretation of Mediumship in Bali,” in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol 87, April 1993), 171-83.

“The Relentless Dualist: John Beloff’s Contribution to Parapsychology,” in The Journal of Parapsychology (Vol. 55, June 1991), 209-19.

Presidential Address to the Parapsychological Association: “Psi, Self and the New Mentalism,” in Research in Parapsychology 1989 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press. 1990), 125-59.

“Concluding Remarks at the 1988 PF Conference: Psi Research Methodolo­gy,” Parapsychology Review (Vol 20, No 1, Jan.-Feb. 1989), 1-4.

“Mind-Body Dualism in Parapsychology,” in Philosophers at Work: An Introduction to Issues and Practical Uses of Philosophy, Elliot Cohen, ed. (New York: Holt Rinehart, 1988), 372-84.

“The Use of Physics in Answering Metaphysical Questions,” in Journal of Near-Death Studies (Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1987).

“Parapsychology in the Land of the Canals,” in Parapsychology Review (Vol. 17, No. 3, May-June, 1986), 11-14.

“The Dualist Tradition in Parapsychology” in European Journal of Parapsycholo­gy (Vol. 6, No. 1, November 1985), 81-93.

“Parapsychology and Atomism” in Journal of the Society for Psychical Research(Vol. 53, December 1985), 78-86.

“The Adequacy of Idealism for Model Building” in Psychoenergetic Systems (Vol. 6, December 1984).

“Some Suggestions for Methodology Derived from an Activity Metaphysics” in Parapsychology and the Experimental Method (New York: Parapsychology Founda­tion, 1982). 43-64.

“The Use of the Pendulum As an Automatism” in Research in Parapsychology 1981 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press 1982), 193-95.

“Plant PK: A Failure to Replicate” in Research in Parapsychology 1981 Metuch­en, NJ: The Scarecrow Press 1982), 143-44.

“Further Support for the Psi-Distributed Hypothesis” with Martin Farkash, in Research in Parapsychology 1981 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press 1981), 171-172.

“Die Mangel der Kritik der ‘Rationalisten’ an der Parapsychologie,” in Der Wissenschaftler und das Irrational: (Zweiter Band), H. P. Duerr, ed. (Frankfurt am Main: Syndicat 1981), 307-333.

“A Test of Runner’s Euphoria as a Psi-Conducive State,” with Wendell Wright, in Research in Parapsychology 1979 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press 1981), 157-158.

“The Effect of Feedback and Awareness on a PK Task,” with Kevin Burke, in Research in Parapsychology 1979 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1981), 158-159.

“The Effect of the Laying On of Hands on an Enzyme: An Attempted Replica­tion,” in Research in Parapsychology 1979 (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1981), 137-139.

“Correlations of ESP Success and Biorhythms,” in the Research Let­ter, Parapsychology Lab, University of Utrecht (No. 10, August 1980), 29-41.

“Activity Metaphysics and the Survival Problem,” in Theta (Vol. 8, No. 3, Summer 1980), 5-8.

“Survival and the Meaning of Life,” American Society for Psychical Research Newsletter, (Vol. IV, July 1978), 1-2. Reprinted in Exploring Parapsycholo­gy, by The Education Department, American Society for Psychical Research.

“A Possible Case of the Displacement Effect in a Token Object Test,” with Alan Wright in The New England Journal of Parapsychology (Vol 1, March 1978), 28-34.

“A Philosophical Justification for the Conformance Behavior Model” in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol. 72, July 1978), 215-231.

“Plant PK and the Experimenter Effect,” in Research in Parapsychol­ogy,1977, Morris and Roll, eds. (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1978), 169-174.

“Psi and Materialism in Santayana” read at the Bicentennial Symposium of Philosophy in October 1976 and published in the Proceedings as Philosophy in the Life of a Nation.

“The Place of Paradigms in Parapsychology” read at the 28th Annual Interna­tional Conference of the Parapsychology Foundation, August 1976, in Parapsychology Review (Vol. 8, September-October 1977), 1-8, and in The Philosophy of Parapsychology, Shapin and Coly, eds. (New York: Parapsychology Founda­tion, 1977).

“Rejoinder to Dr. Wheatley’s Note on ‘Do Spirits Matter'”: in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol. 70,October 1976), 293-301.

“Do Spirits Matter: Survival and Disembodied Spirits” in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (Vol. 70, July 1976), 293-301.

“Paradigmata und Parapsychologie” in Zeitschrift fur Parapsychologie (16, 1974). Reprinted in Unter dem Pflaster Liegt der Strand (5), 93-110.

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

I recently published a review of the first volumes of three journals that were historically important in the study of psychic phenomena. The review article is entitled “On First Volumes and Beginnings in the Study of Psychic Phenomena: Varieties of Investigative Approaches” (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2015, 29, 131-153; if you want a copy write to me at: carlos@theazire.org). The journals in question were: Revue Spirite: Journal d’Études Psychologiques, 1858, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1882–1883, and the Journal of Parapsychology, 1937.

In my introduction I mentioned different research styles in the history of psychology, including, for example case studies and experiments. “A similar situation and the topic of this Essay Review is the different approaches in the study of psychic phenomena over time. The purpose of this Essay Review is to introduce to modern readers some of these approaches in the forms of summaries of the contents of three different journals from the past. These are comments about the first volumes of influential publications concerned with the study of psychic phenomena that are probably not familiar to current students of psychic phenomena.”

Allan ardec

Allan Kardec

The Revue Spirite, produced by Allan Kardec, was an important resource in the spreading of Spiritism in France, and elsewhere. Most of the content of the Revue was devoted to mediumistic communications that were seen as authoritative as regards moral, philosophical and scientific issues. There was no attempt at external verification and many of the communications were not verifiable in principle. “In a two-page paper entitled ‘Utilité de Certaines Évocations Particulières’ (Utility of Some Particular Evocations . . .), it was stated that these messages were valuable because the spirits in question ‘have acquired a high degree of perfection’ . . . that allowed them to ‘penetrate the mysteries that exceed the vulgar reach of humanity. . .’ ”

Revue Spirite 1858 2The cases described in this volume were not original investigations, but accounts reprinted from popular sources. “Examples include ‘Visions’ . . . , ‘Le Revenant de Mademoiselle Clairon’ (The Ghost of Miss Clairon . . .), ‘L’Esprit Frappeur de Dibbelsdorf—Basse-Saxe’ (The Rapping Spirit of Dibbelsdorf—Lower Saxony), . . .), and ‘Phénomène d’Apparition’ (Apparition Phenomena, . . .).”

I argued, “to consider the content of the Revue, and Kardec’s work, as a scientific research program . . . begs the question of what science is. It is one thing to observe nature and develop hypotheses based on observed patterns, or to be tested by further observations or actual experimentation, and another thing to use communications through seances, which source is uncertain, as shown in this volume of the Revue, to get teachings and answers to questions about the nature of topics such as the workings of psychic phenomena and a variety of moral and philosophical issues. Similarly, it is one thing to report on non-evidential spirit communications and on cases of apparitions and other phenomena discussed in the press and other sources, and it is another to study these phenomena with attention to evidence.”

A very different approach was that found in the first volume of the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. “The PSPR was the main organ of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), which was of basic importance for the development of parapsychology. Its work . . . systematized research into psychic phenomena in England, but it was also influential in other countries.”

PSPR 1882-83 Vol 1

PSPR 1882-1883, Vol. 1,  Table of Contents

PSPR 1882-1883, Vol. 1, Table of Contents

William F. Barrett

William F. Barrett

Some of the authors in the first volume of the PSPR were William F. Barrett, Edmund Gurney, Frederic W. H. Myers, and Henry Sidgwick. “The first volume, containing four issues appearing in 1882 and 1883, was formed of papers reporting on the collection and analysis of evidence for psychic phenomena coming from accounts and from experiments. Some of these were . . . Barrett, Gurney, and Myers’ ‘First Report of the Committee on Thought-Reading’ (1882 . . .) . . .Barrett, Keep, Massey, Wedgwood, Podmore, and Pease’s ‘First Report of the Committee on ‘Haunted Houses’ ‘ (1882 . . .), and Barrett, Massey, Moses, Podmore, Gurney, and Myers’ ‘Report of the Literary Committee’ (1882 . . .). These, and other reports such as Barrett’s ‘On Some Phenomena Associated with Abnormal Conditions of Mind’ (1883 . . .) and Malcolm Guthrie and James Birchall’s ‘Record of Experiments in Thought-Transference, at Liverpool’ (1883 . . .), point to the empirical approach prevalent in the SPR even if such attempts seem methodologically crude by modern standards.”

Barrett Phenomena Abnormal Conditions PSPR 1883Different from the Revue, the SPR had high evidential standards with cases. As stated in the “First Report of the Committee on ‘Haunted Houses’ ”, published in 1882: “In the first place, we . . . begin by tracing every story to the fountain-head. But we do not consider that every first-hand narration of the appearance of a ghost, even from a thoroughly trustworthy narrator, gives us adequate reason for attempting further investigation. On the contrary, our general principle is that the unsupported evidence of a single witness does not constitute sufficient ground for accepting an apparition as having a prima facie claim to objective reality. To distinguish any apparition from an ordinary hallucination . . . it must receive some independent evidence to corroborate it. And this corroboration may be of two kinds; we may have the consentient testimony of several witnesses; or there may be some point of external agreement and coincidence—unknown, as such, to the seer at the time—(e.g., the periodic appearance on a particular anniversary, or the recognition of a peculiar dress), to give to the vision an objective foundation.”

The volume also had the beginnings of an experimental tradition in the study of ESP, something that would be developed in later volumes. An example was “Records of Experiments on Thought-Transference, at Liverpool,” by Malcolm Guthrie and James Birchall (1883). Furthermore there were instructions about precautions to follow in conducting such experiments.

Guthrie Birchall Thought Transference PSPR“While the PSPR included some reports of experiments (and this became more frequent in later volumes), this approach was not the main one taken by SPR researchers. But it was the research style predominant in the Journal of Parapsychology.” This is clear in the first volume of this publication, appearing in 1937.

Journal of Parapsychology

J.B. Rhine

J.B. Rhine

The Journal of Parapsychology (JP) came from Joseph Banks Rhine research group at Duke University and represented an experimental and quantitative research tradition. “According to my count of types of paper in the first volume, excluding correspondence and notes, there were 16 experimental reports, 4 editorials, 3 reviews of specific topics, 3 summaries and reviews of specific experiments, and 3 discussions of statistical issues.”

“Examples of experiments include ESP studies such as J. G. Pratt’s . . . ‘Clairvoyant Blind Matching’ . . . , J. L. Woodruff and R. W. George’s ‘Experiments in Extra-Sensory Perception’ . . . , Lucien Warner’s ‘The Role of Luck in ESP Data’ . . . , and Vernon Sharp and C. C. Clark’s ‘Group Tests for Extra-Sensory Perception’ . . . The experimental approach was not limited to proving the existence of ESP. The JP carried interesting experiments to study ESP in relation to other variables, such as J. B. Rhine’s ‘The Effect of Distance in ESP Tests’ . . . , Margaret H. Pegram’s ‘Some Psychological Relations of Extra-Sensory Perception’ . . . , and Edmond P. Gibson’s ‘A Study of Comparative Performance in Several ESP Procedures’ . . . In addition, several studies were reported about ESP tests with special participants.”

J.G. Pratt

J.G. Pratt

In conclusion: “The journals discussed here . . . had to carve out their own territory, so to speak, when they started. The Revue appeared in a context in which mesmerism was better known, a movement that was not always open to spiritism . . . Similarly, to some extent the PSPR and the JP represented ‘new’ beginnings in terms of spiritualism and psychical research, respectively. However, it would be wrong to reduce everything to breaks and discontinuities. In fairness, the issue was more one of general trends, and it is important to recognize that there were clear conceptual and methodological connections between the movements.”

“While different, the three journals presented in their pages material showing empirical attempts to study psychic phenomena, even though they represent different research styles. Of the three approaches—the teaching of the spirits, the analyses of testimony, and the conducting of experiments—only the last two are still pursued in parapsychology. In fact, I doubt that today many parapsychologists . . . will consider the use of mediumistically obtained teachings as a reliable approach to study psychic phenomena, although one may argue that it may be useful to generate hypotheses that may be put to test by other means. But leaving aside modern standards and practices, we must admit that Kardec saw his work as empirical, different from faith, an attempt to collect information from the natural world, albeit from an unusual source.”

“Different from the above, the PSPR and the JP, not to mention other journals . . . , emphasized cases and experiments as the means to generate knowledge for psychical research. Later developments within the SPR and the Duke group, as articulated in the PSPR and the JP, significantly affected the study of psychic phenomena, transforming it into a more systematic endeavor . . .”

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation
May ExtrasensoryIn a recent posting I presented an article by Drs. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Edwin C. May in which they presented a theory of precognition. Here I present an interview about a two volume collection of articles, Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism and Science (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2015) (to order the book from the publisher with a 20% discount click here),edited by the same authors. The interview was conducted with Ed May.

The book, I believe, is one of the most important high level publications about parapsychology published in recent times, with emphasis on experimental and theoretical work in the field. The first volume is subtitled History, Controversy and Research, and the second Theories of Psi.

Dr. Edward May

Dr. Edwin May

Dr. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Dr. Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Here is the table of contents, followed by the interview:

VOLUME 1: HISTORY, CONTROVERSY, AND RESEARCH

Foreword James Fallon

Preface

  1. The Fundamentals of Psi Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Part I: History of Psi Research

  1. A Brief History of Psi Research Nancy L. Zingrone and Carlos S. Alvarado
  2. Mind and Knowledge at the Margins: On the Possible Revitalization of Research on Mind and Knowledge through a Reunion between Philosophical and Psychical Research Anand Jayprakash Vaidya

Part II: Psi Research and Skepticism

  1. ESP, Causation, and the Possibility of Precognition Richard Corry
  2. The Psychology of Belief and Disbelief in the Paranormal Christopher C. French
  3. A Skeptical Eye on Psi Eric Jan Wagenmakers, Ruud Wetzels, Denny Borsboom, Rogier Kievit, and Han L. J. van der Maas

Part III: Psi Research

  1. What Constitutes Replication in Parapsychology? Jessica Utts
  2. Anomalous Cognition and Psychokinesis Research in European Labs Patrizio Tressoldi and Michael Duggan
  3. Anomalous Cognition/ESP and Psychokinesis Research in the United States Loyd Auerbach, Dominic Parker, and Sheila Smith
  4. Anomalous Cognition and Psychokinesis Research in Australian and Asian Labs Lance Storm and Adam J. Rock
  5. Evidence for Precognition from Applied Remote Viewing Joseph W. McMoneagle
  6. Psychophysiology and Anomalous Cognition Dean Radin
  7. Neuroscientific Investigation of Anomalous Cognition Michael A. Persinger
  8. Variation of ESP by Season, Local Sidereal Time, and Geomagnetic Activity Adrian Ryan and S. James P. Spottiswoode

VOLUME 2: THEORIES OF PSI

Foreword James Fallon

  1. Fundamental Issues for Psi Theorists Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Edwin C. May

Part I: Theories of Psi

  1. Higher Dimensions of Space and Time and Their Implications for Psi Bernard Carr
  2. Physics beyond Causality: Making Sense of Quantum Mechanics and Certain Experimental Anomalies Richard Shoup
  3. Remembrance of Things Future: A Case for Retrocausation and Precognition Daniel P. Sheehan
  4. What You Always Wanted to Know about the Observational Theories Brian Millar
  5. Entropy and Precognition: The Physics Domain of the Multiphasic Model of Precognition Edwin C. May and Joseph G. Depp
  6. The Multiphasic Model of Precognition Sonali Bhatt Marwaha and Edwin C. May
  7. Consciousness-Induced Restoration of Time Symmetry Dick J. Bierman
  8. Activational Model of ESP Zoltán Vassy
  9. Experimenter Psi: A View of Decision Augmentation Theory Edwin C. May
  10. The Model of Pragmatic Information Walter von Lucadou
  11. First Sight: A Way to Thinking About the Mind, and a Theory of Psi James Carpenter
  12. Anomalous Cognition and the Case for Mind-Body Dualism David Rousseau

Part II. The Future of Psi Research

  1. Has Science Developed the Competence to Confront Claims of the Paranormal? Charles Honorton
  2. Next Step: Process-Oriented Research: Guidelines for Experimenters Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Appendix 1: General PK Protocol

Appendix 2: AC Protocol

Appendix 3: Research Organizations and Journals

Glossary

INTERVIEW

 Can you give us a brief summary of the book?

Extrasensory Perception: Support, Skepticism and Science is a two-volume set that introduces ESP—also known as anomalous cognition—and psychokinesis, addressing the history, research, philosophy, and scientific theories surrounding the phenomena. With contributions from leading research scientists from within the field of parapsychology and other areas of study, this volume addresses the fundamental questions that the evidence of ESP evokes; examines ESP research from across the world; and explores the controversies, skepticism, and contemporary criticism disparaging the field.

Written for a multidisciplinary audience ranging from physicists to psychologists to lay persons, the volumes present the scientific validity of the field. Volume 1 addresses the historical, philosophical, skeptical, and research viewpoints; volume 2 lays out the current theories on ESP. The theories range from a hyperdimensional model, QM based models, entropy, neuroscience and psychology based models, including a dualist approach. Chapters reveal how strict scientific protocols and state-of-the-art technologies enable scientists to pinpoint and investigate ESP abilities. Appendices include a glossary of key terms in parapsychology, ESP research protocol, ESP research organizations, skeptic associations, and recommended reading.

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

I have been active in parapsychology since 1971. From 1975-1994, I was part of the on-going US Government-sponsored psi program to apply remote viewing and psychokinesis in problems of intelligence during the Cold War and to understand their properties and mechanisms. From 1985 until the close of the program in 1995, I was the contract and researcher director of the program, best known by its last code name Star Gate. In 1996, I founded the Laboratories for Fundamental Research (LFR) in Palo Alto, CA, where we have been continuing research ever since. In the Star Gate program, the focus of research was on psychokinesis and remote viewing/precognition.

Based in India, my co-editor Sonali Bhatt Marwaha (PhD Psychology) worked with K. Ramakrishna Rao for eight years, where she was introduced to the field of psi research primarily from the perspective of Indian psychology. She has been a research associate with LFR since 2006, and currently we are working on a number of projects. Based on her background in psychology neuropsychology, and Indian psychology, her interests are in the theoretical aspects of psi.

What motivated you to prepare this book?

In the process of working on our multiphasic model of precognition, we were faced with a number of fundamental questions about the nature of psi and the models that address this complex problem. Researchers from other disciplines are generally discouraged from psi research because of the seemingly “logical impossibility” of psi—especially precognition. While data is available for all to see—in peer reviewed research articles, and the many books that provide an update on the research—we felt that there was a need for literature that expressly stated the fundamental question that psi researchers address and the theoretical advances in the field. Praeger/ABC-CLIO Publications provided us the opportunity when they asked us to work on these two volumes, rather than on another multivolume series that we are currently working on (to be published by McFarland).

May Anomalous Cognition 2As our area of expertise is primarily in informational psi (ESP), it seemed appropriate that we focus on this area. In our previous work, Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory (2014), we focused on experimental research and presented a sampling of previously published research papers. We thus felt the need to explicitly put forth the fundamental problems that psi research addresses—the nature of time, causality, and information. As we see it, psi is a process rather than a singular event, thus requiring different models to address various points in the process. As we stated in our model, we have formally divided the problem space into the physics domain and the neuroscience domain. This will enable experts from various disciplines to address only that aspect of the psi problem that falls within their domain of expertise. Our current two volumes have attempted to widen the topic beyond our own current thinking to include stalwarts of psi research, skeptics, and mainstream scientists from a variety of disciplines.

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

In our view, the data are in. There is statistical and qualitative evidence for the existence of an information transfer anomaly the mechanism of which we currently do not understand. In our view, the evidence for micro-psychokinesis is questionable, as the data can be accounted for by informational psi.

This book is an important contribution to the psi literature as it lays out the fundamental problems that psi research addresses, discusses the fundamental issues for psi theorists, presents an overview of research and current theories, and suggests guidelines for researchers for developing a process-oriented research program.

With this book, we hope to emphasize the fundamental issues that underlay the manifest ESP experiences. In our view, the final theatre for the understanding of psi rests in the physics domain, with the neuroscience domain having the potential to provide clues for it. This book has the potential to serve as a textbook for introductory and advanced courses in psi.

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

Tart Altered States AnchorI started reading Dr. Charles T. Tart from my early days as a psychology student in the early 1970s. I still remember the excitement I felt when I read his anthology Altered States of Consciousness, in its 1972 Anchor books edition. Later on I acquired his other publications and, eventually, got to see him at the 1979 convention of the Parapsychological Association. Over the years I have had more contact and correspondence with him, and it gives me great pleasure that he accepted my invitation to be interviewed for my blog.

Dr. Charles T. Tart

Dr. Charles T. Tart

Charley has a Ph.D. in psychology (1963), and an Aikido Shodan (black belt, 1987). Among his many awards he has been the recipient of the Parapsychological Association’s Outstanding Career Award (1999) and Division 30 of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Contributions to Scientific Hypnosis Award (2000). He has had many academic appointments, among them Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis (1966-1994), from which he was awarded Professor Emeritus. He was also Professor of Psychology at the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology (1994-2012, now Sofia University).

As seen in the bibliography below, Charley has published many other influential worksTart States of Consciousness related to states of consciousness. This includes his paper “States of Consciousness and State-Specific Sciences”(Science, 176, 1203-1210), and his States of Consciousness (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1975; not to be confused with the previously mentioned anthology, Altered States of Consciousness). He also has had a long and eminent career in parapsychology, as seen by the bibliography below. Charley has published research about the relationship of ESP to learning theory, electrical shielding, geomagnetism, and the psychophysiology of out-of-body experiences, and discussions of the relationship between altered states of consciousness and ESP, and other topics such as auras, and our sometimes not so conscious resistances to the occurrence of psi. But this only scratches the surface of his many contributions.

Tart Transpersonal PsychologiesTart Psi

Tart Learning ESP

Interview

How did you get interested in parapsychology?

I was raised to be conventionally religious, a Lutheran. My parents weren’t religious, but we lived in an apartment upstairs from my grandparents, and my grandmother was devout. She was the one who took me to Sunday school and eventually to church. She was also a major source of unconditional love in my life, so what was good enough for her was good enough for me!

Then as I grew older, became an adolescent, I became an expert on noticing hypocrisy in adults. Not my grandmother, but many adults who went to church didn’t seem to show by the way they lived that they took their religion too seriously. They were basically good people, but something was lacking. Of course, like many teenagers, I was unrealistically idealistic in making my judgments. I also became fascinated by science and by the time I was a teenager I was reading several science books a week, often adult books that I got out of the city library. Thus I became aware that while some scientists had been deeply religious or spiritual themselves, many questioned it and pointed out nonsensical aspects of religion. I could see their points.

I think many people went through this kind of conflict between religion and science in their teenage years, and several patterns developed. One way of coping was to get somewhat fanatical in your belief about religion and just ignore the ways science conflicted with it. The opposite was to say science was completely right, religion was all nonsense. A third was a kind of compartmentalization, religion was important on Saturdays or Sundays, it could be pretty much ignored the rest of the week. In my extensive reading I came across the old books on psychical research as well as more contemporary, for that time (late 1940s and early 1950s), books on parapsychology. I was relieved to see that well educated men and women, particularly members of the SPR in England, had gone through a similar kind of conflict, and had come to the idea that we could apply the methods of science to try to figure out what was indeed true in religion and what was, as critics claimed, superstition and nonsense. You could say my whole career since then has been following that calling, in various ways investigating phenomena that might have spiritual import, seeing what was true and what wasn’t.

I also discovered enormous amounts about the psychology of belief, the politics of belief, etc., so there was no easy simple answer, but, as I concluded in my last book, The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, after more than half a century of researching parapsychology, psychical research, altered states of consciousness, spirituality, and the like, it is reasonable to be both scientific and spiritual in one’s approach to life, science has not somehow categorically disproven spirituality.

Tart End MaterialismOf course there is a lot of nonsense under the heading of spirituality, but there’s nonsense in all areas of life, and discrimination is very much needed. One practical outcome of deciding there is good scientific evidence to take spirituality seriously is that in the several spiritual paths I have practiced in life, trying to get a direct, experiential feel for what all that is about, while I’ve known they are culturally biased and contain mistakes, I’ve also been confident that these various paths are on to something real and it was worth putting in that effort.

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

I’ve worked all over the field, from psychological speculation on spontaneous cases too much more technical experimental work like seeing how immediate feedback can help train people to use ESP more consistently, how a certain kind of electrical shielding may amplify ESP ability, measuring brain wave changes in a young woman who had out of the body experiences, etc. I’ve also tried to act as a gadfly to colleagues, constantly pointing out that once you allow for ESP the question of experimenter bias becomes enormously important, as well as experimenter characteristics in general, so pretending that we are just objective scientists whose individual characteristics don’t matter is a losing approach. Because of my interest in altered states of consciousness and spirituality, I also became one of the founders of transpersonal psychology, a small specialty area of psychology that takes the spiritual seriously, and I’m more willing than most of my colleagues to think about the meaning of parapsychological phenomena, rather than focus on technically sophisticated experiments as if they were just anomalies.

Why do you think that parapsychology is important?

A total materialism is the dominant philosophical view in contemporary science, mind is nothing but electrochemical patterns in your brain, “spirit” is a totally nonsensical concept. I’ve been one of the few to think about the psychological import of such a view of reality. It means, for instance, that your desire to do good is no different from any desires you have to do evil or to just watch TV for the evening, there is no inherent meaning in reality, it’s just how things happen to turn out after molecules randomly bumped into each other for several zillion years. As a psychologist and from personal experience I know how much we humans need to have a feeling of meaning in life, though, so this kind of attitude is very depressing, and pretending the meaninglessness implied in total materialism isn’t there doesn’t make its negative effects on us go away. Because parapsychological phenomena suggest some kinds of reality to the spiritual, and spiritual systems give us a function in a universe that’s inherently meaningful, that’s much bigger than random interactions of electricity and chemistry, that can help people live a better life, both in terms of their own satisfaction and developing wisdom and compassion in interacting with others. But I’m not interested in just promoting fantasies that make people feel good, so the degree to which parapsychological phenomena suggest a reality to the spiritual is a vitally important human question. My last book, The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together, summing up half a century of my and others’ research in this area, is about beginning to look at those kinds of meanings.

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

I think the deep causes of many of our problems in parapsychology today are (a) deep-seated fears of psychic abilities (it hasn’t been very long since we burned witches at the stake, even in Western society), these fears are held both by the scientific community in general and by we parapsychologists, and (b) failure to recognize the importance of the psychological characteristics of experimenters, which leads to great variability and poor replicability of parapsychological experiments.

Can you mention some of your current projects?

I’m semi-retired now, but I participate extensively in discussion groups among parapsychologists, particularly those involving experimental work in general and involving the question of possible survival of bodily death. I’m also working with some of my former students on the possible facilitation of ESP by electrical shielding, and have dozens of theoretical ideas about psi, altered states, spirituality, etc., that I try to find time to at least write preliminary essays about. A number of people have told me I should write an autobiography, since I’ve had an unusual life working with parapsychology, and I think that would be interesting to do if it could give encouragement to others to follow what’s important to them, but I don’t know whether I’ll do that or not.

Selected Publications

(with emphasis on parapsychology and transpersonal psychology)

Books

Altered States of Consciousness: A Book of Readings. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1969 (Editor and Contributor).

[Altered States of Consciousness: A Book of Readings. New York: Doubleday, 1972. Second Edition, revised.]

[Altered States of Consciousness. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1990. Third edition, revised.]

On Being Stoned: A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication. Palo Alto, California: Science and Behavior Books, 1971. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2001.

Transpersonal Psychologies. New York: Harper & Row, 1975 (Editor and Contributor).

[Transpersonal Psychologie. Berlin: Walter-Verlag, 1978 (German translation).]

[Transpersonal Psychologies. Buenos Aires: Editorial Paidos, 1979 (Spanish translation).]

[Transpersonal Psychologies. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1992, second, revised edition (Editor and Contributor).]

States of Consciousness. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1975. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2001.

[Stati di Coscienza. Roma: Astrolabio, 1977.]

[States of Consciousness. El Cerrito, California: Psychological Processes, 1983.]

[Teaduse seisundid. Finnish translation, 2008]

The Application of Learning Theory to ESP Performance. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, Inc., 1975.

Symposium on Consciousness. New York: Viking Press, 1975 (With Lee, P., Ornstein, R., Galin, D., & Deikman, A.).

Learning to Use Extrasensory Perception. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2001.

Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1977. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2001.

Psi: Scientific Studies of the Psychic Realm. Tokyo: Kowsakusha, 1982 (Japanese translation).]

[Das Übersinnliche: Forschunger über einen Grenzbereich psychischen Erlebens. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta., 1986]

Mind at Large: Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Symposia on the Nature of Extrasensory Perception. New York: Praeger, 1979 (Tart, C., Puthoff, H., & Targ, R., Editors and Contributors). Second and revised edition, Charlottesville, Virginia: Hampton Roads, 2002.

Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential. Boston: New Science Library, 1986. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2001.

[Hellwach und Bewußt Leben: Wege zur Enfaltung des Menschlichen Potentials – die Anleitung zum Bewußten Sein. Munchen: Scherz Verlag, 1988.]

[Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential. Long­mead, England: Element Books, 1988.]

[El Despertar del “Self”. Barcelona: Editorial Kairos, 1990.]

[Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential. Moscow, Russia. 1997. (Russian translation)]

[Japanese translation] 2001.

Ebook version available from Amazon.com.

Open Mind, Discriminating Mind: Reflections on Human Possibili­ties. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989. Print-on-demand edition from Authors Guild back-in-print editions, http://www.iUniverse.com, 2000.

Living the Mindful Life. Boston: Shambhala, 1994.

[Die innere Kunst der Achtsamkeit: Ein Praxisbuch für das Leben im gegenwärtigen Moment. Freiamt, Germany: Arbor Verlag, 1996.]

[Russian translation, 1996; new edition 2005]

Body Mind and Spirit: Exploring the Parapsychology of Spirituality. Charlottesville, Virginia: Hampton Roads, 1997. (Editor and Contributor).

Mind Science: Meditation Training for Practical People. Novato, California: Wisdom Editions, 2001. Second print edition, Fearless Books, Napa CA 2013. Ebook available thru Amazon.

The End of Materialism: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science and Spirit Together. Oakland, California: New Harbinger, 2009.

Le spiritual est-il reel? Paris, Intereditions, 2010.

Le Psychologue, la Science et l’ Extraordinaire. Paris, InterEditions, 2012.

El Fin del Materialismo: Parapsicologia, Ciencia y Espiritualidad. Barcelona, Editorial Kairos, 2013.

Ebook available thru Amazon.

Articles

1963

Physiological correlates of psi cognition. International Journal of Parapsychology, 5, 375-386.

1964

A possible “psychic” dream, with some speculations on the nature of such dreams. Journal of the Society for Psychical Re­search, 42, 283-298.

A comparison of suggested dreams occurring in hypnosis and sleep. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 12, 263-289.

1965

The hypnotic dream: Methodological problems and a review of the literature. Psychological Bulletin, 63, 87-99.

Applications of instrumentation to the investigation of “haunt­ing” and “poltergeist” cases. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59, 190-201.

Exploratory ESP matching tests with a “sensitive.” Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 59, 226-236. (Roll, W. & Tart, C.)

1966

Models for explanation of extrasensory perception. International Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 2, 488-504.

Card guessing tests: Learning paradigm or extinction paradigm. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 60, 46-55.

Some effects of posthypnotic suggestion on the process of dream­ing. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 14, 30-46.

ESPATESTER: An automatic testing device for parapsychological research. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 60, 256-269.

1967

A second psychophysiological study of out-of-the-body experiences in a gifted subject. International Journal of Parapsychology, 9, 251-258.

1968

A psychophysiological study of out-of-the-body experiences in a selected subject. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 62, 3-27.

Hypnosis, psychedelics, and psi: Conceptual models. In R. Cavanna & M. Ullman (Eds.), Psi and Altered States of Con­sciousness. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, pp. 24-41.

Two token object studies with Peter Hurkos. Jour­nal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 62, 143-157. (Tart, C., & Smith, J.)

1969

A further psychophysiological study of out-of-the-body experienc­es in a gifted subject. Proceedings of the Parapsychology Association, 6, 43-44.

1970

Did I really fly? Some methodological notes on the investigation of altered states of consciousness and psi phenomena. In R. Cavanna (Ed.), Psi Favorable States of Consciousness: Proceedings of an International Conference on Methodology in Psi Research. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, pp. 3-10.

1972

Scientific foundations for the study of altered states of con­sciousness. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 3, 93-124.

Concerning the scientific study of the human aura. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 46, 1-21.

States of consciousness and state-specific sciences. Science, 176, 1203-1210.

Some studies of psychokinesis with a spinning silver coin. Jour­nal of the Society for Psychical Research, 46, 143-153. (Tart, C., Boisen, M., Lopez, V., & Maddock, R.)

1973

Preliminary notes on the nature of psi processes. In R. Ornstein (Ed.), The Psychology of Consciousness: A Book of Readings. San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, pp. 468-492.

1974

On the nature of altered states of consciousness, with special reference to parapsychological phenomena. In W. Roll, R. Morris, & J. Morris (Eds.), Research in Parapsychology, 1973. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 163-218.

Some methodological problems in out-of-the-body experiences re­search. In W. Roll, R. Morris, & J. Morris (Eds.), Research in Parapsychology, 1973. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 116-120.

Out-of-the-body experiences. In E. Mitchell, & J. White (Eds.), Psychic Exploration. New York: Putnam’s, pp. 349-374.

1975

The basic nature of altered states of consciousness: A systems approach. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 8(1), 45-64.

Studying out-of-the-body experiences. In T. X. Barber (Ed.), Advances in Altered States of Consciousness and Human Poten­tialities, Vol. 1. New York: Psychological Dimensions Press, pp. 579-585.

A large-sample classroom ESP card-guessing experiment. European Journal of Parapsychology, 1(3), 40-56. (Palmer, J., Tart, C., & Redington, D.)

1977

Toward humanistic experimentation in parapsychology: A reply to Dr. Stanford’s review. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 81-102.

Putting the pieces together: A conceptual framework for under­standing discrete states of consciousness. In N. Zinberg (Ed.), Alternate States of Consciousness. New York: Free Press, pp. 158-219.

Toward conscious control of psi through immediate feedback train­ing: Some considerations of internal processes. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 375-408.

Scoring patterns in an ESP Ganzfeld experiment. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 71, 121-145. (Palmer, J., Bogart, D., Jones, S. & Tart, C.)

1978

Psi functioning and altered states of consciousness: A perspec­tive. In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds.), Psi and States of Awareness. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, pp. 180-210.

Space, time, and mind. In W. Roll (Ed.), Research in Parapsy­chology 1977. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 197-250.

1979

Effects of immediate feedback on ESP performance: A second study. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Re­search, 73, 151-165. (Tart, C., Palmer, J., & Redington, D.)

Improving real-time ESP by suppressing the future: Trans-tempo­ral inhibition. In C. Tart, H. Puthoff, & R. Targ (Eds.), Mind at Large: Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers Symposia on the Nature of Extrasensory Perception. New York: Praeger, pp. 137-174.

A survey of expert opinion on potentially negative uses of psi, United States government interest in psi, and the level of research funding of the field. In W. Roll (Ed.), Research in Parapsychology 1978. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, pp. 54-55.

An emergent-interactionist understanding of human consciousness. In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds.), Brain/Mind and Parapsycholo­gy. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, pp. 177-200.

Delayed PK with Matthew Manning: Preliminary indications and failure to confirm. European Journal of Parapsychology, 2, 396-407. (Palmer, J., Tart, C., & Redington, D.)

Effects of immediate feedback on ESP performance over short time periods. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 73, 291-301. (Tart, C., Palmer, J., & Redington, D.)

Some psi experiments with Matthew Manning. Journal of the Socie­ty for Psychical Research, 50, 224-228. (Tart, C., & Palm­er, J.)

1980

Information transmission in remote viewing experiments. Nature, 284, 13 March, 191. (Tart, C., Puthoff, H., & Targ, R.)

The possible nature of post-mortem states: A discussion, Part II. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 74, 418-424.

1981

Causality and synchronicity: Steps toward clarification. Jour­nal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 75, 121-141.

1982

Extrasensory perception (ESP). McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Sci­ence and Technology, fifth edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 282-283.

Mathematical inference strategies versus psi: Initial explora­tions with the Probabilistic Predictor Program. European Journal of Parapsychology, 4, 325-356. (Tart, C., & Dronek, E.)

The controversy about psi: Two psychological theories. Journal of Parapsychology, 46, 313-320.

1983

Improving psychokinesis performance: Theoretical and methodolog­ical notes. European Journal of Parapsychology, 4, 475-481.

Information acquisition rates in forced-choice ESP experiments: Precognition does not work as well as present-time ESP. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 77, 293-310.

1984

Acknowledging and dealing with the fear of psi. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 78, 133-143.

1985

Pure clairvoyance and the necessity of feedback. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 79, 485-492. (Targ, R. & Tart, C.)

1986

Stopping on a hit: Preliminary studies of a method for producing positive experiences in the parapsychology laboratory. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 80, 31-48.

Attitudes toward strongly functioning psi: A preliminary study. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 80, 163-173. (Tart, C. T. & LaBore, K.)

Psychics’ fears of psychic powers. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 80, 279-292.

1987

Altered states of consciousness and the possibility of survival of death. In J. Spong (Ed.), Consciousness and Survival: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry into the Possibility of Life Beyond Biological Death. Sausalito, CA: Institute of Noetic Sciences, pp. 27-56.

1988

Effects of electrical shielding on GESP performance. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 82, 129-146.

Geomagnetic effects of GESP: Two studies. Journal of the Ameri­can Society for Psychical Research, 82, 193-216.

1989

Enlightenment, altered states of consciousness and parapsycholo­gy. In B. Shapin & L. Coly (Eds.), Parapsychology and Human Nature. New York: Parapsychology Foundation. Pp. 150-169.

A case of predictive psi, with comments on analytical, associative and theoretical overlay. Journal of the Society for Psychi­cal Research, 55, 263-270.

1990

Psi-mediated emergent interactionism and the nature of conscious­ness. In R. Kunzendorf & A. Sheikh (Eds.), The Psychophy­siology of Mental Imagery: Theory, Research and Applica­tion. Amityville, New York: Baywood, 1990. Pp. 37-63.

1992

Perspectives on scientism, religion, and philosophy provided by parapsychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 32, No. 2, 70-100.

1993

Marijuana intoxication, psi, and spiritual experiences. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 87, 149-170.

1994

Fears of the paranormal in ourselves and our colleagues: Recog­nizing them, dealing with them. Subtle Energies, 5, No. 1, 35-67.

1995

Toward the objective exploration of non-ordinary reality. Jour­nal of Transpersonal Psychology, 27, No. 1, 57-67.

1996

Science, compassion and the possible survival of death. In S. Boorstein (Ed.), Transpersonal Psychotherapy (second ed). Albany: State University of New York Press. Pp. 531-544.

Parapsychology and transpersonal psychology. In B. Scotton, A. Chinen & J. Battista (Eds.), Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology. New York: Basic Books. Pp. 186-194.

1997

Parapsychology as calling and science. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 91, 77-81.

1998

Six studies of out-of-the-body experiences. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 17, 73-99.

2000

Fear of psychic phenomena. In E. Leskowitz (Ed.), Transpersonal Hypnosis: Gateway to Body, Mind and Spirit. Boca Raton: CRC Press. Pp. 1-12.

What is parapsychology? In R. Kuhn (Ed.), Closer to Truth: Challenging Current Belief. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 65-80. (Beyerstein, B., Kuhn, R., Radin, D., Schlitz, M., Tart, C. & Trefil, J.)

Can ESP affect your life? In R. Kuhn (Ed.), Closer to Truth: Challenging Current Belief. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 81-94. (Beyerstein, B., Kuhn, R., Schlitz, M., Tart, C. & Trefil, J.)

Prelude to Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. International Journal of Parapsychology, 11, No. 1, 3-5.

Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: State-specific sciences. In M. Velmans (Ed.), Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: New Methodologies and Maps. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing. Pp. 255-278.

2002

Parapsychology & transpersonal psychology: “Anomalies” to be explained away or spirit to manifest? Journal of Parapsychology, 66, 31-47.

2003

Spiritual motivations of parapsychologists? Empirical data. Journal of Parapsychology, 67, 181-184.

2004

On the scientific foundations of Transpersonal Psychology: Contributions from Parapsychology. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 36, No. 1, 66-90.

2008

Altered states of consciousness and the spiritual traditions: The proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. In Rao, K. R., Paranjpe, A. C. & Dalal, A. K. (Eds.) (2008). Handbook of Indian Psychology.   New Delhi: Cambridge University Press India Pvt. Ltd. Pp. 577-607.

2010

Reflections on the experimenter problem in parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 74, 3-13.

Toward evidence-based spirituality. Journal of Parapsychology, 74, No. 1, 31-60.

Fifty-five years in parapsychology: frustrations, advances, directions, meaning, and an interesting life. In Millay, J. (Ed.), Radiant Minds: Scientists Explore the Dimensions of Consciousness. Doyle, CA: Millay. Pp. 564-587.

2013

The parapsychological side of my career. In R. Pilkington (Ed.), Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections. Esprit, Volume 2. San Antonio: Anomalist Books. Pp. 385-406.

2015

Investigating altered states of consciousness on their own terms: A proposal for the creation of state-specific sciences. In D. Eigner & J. Kremer (Eds.), Transformation of Consciousness: Potentials for our Future. Kathmandu: Vajra Books, pp. 67-98.

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

Leonora E. Piper

Leonora E. Piper

Leonora E. Piper is well known to students of the history of mediumship. Studied by Richard Hodgson, James H. Hyslop, William James, Oliver Lodge, and others, her séances have been recorded in detail in various specialized publications, such as the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.

Hodgson report, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1892

Hodgson’s report, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1892

Hyslop report, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1901

Hyslop’s report, Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1901

 

Charles Richet

Charles Richet

I just published in a short communication a report that has been generally neglected in discussions of Piper. My note appeared as a letter to the editor: “Charles Richet on Leonora Piper.” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 2015, 79, 56-59. This report, authored by French physiologist Charles Richet, has probably been neglected for various reasons. In addition to being published in French, the report did not appear as a separate article, but was included in Walter Leaf’s “A Record of Observations of Certain Phenomena of Trance (3). Part II.” (Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 1890, 6, 558-646). Being inside a longer report it is no wonder that Richet’s work has been overlooked (see pp. 618-620).

Much of Richet’s report, which I translated in the note, does not include evidential material. Here he discussed some of the information he obtained:

“It seems that Mrs. P. did not know my name: but I admit as very possible that she knew it, or that people of the house had spoken it inadvertently, or that she guessed my nationality. (She was around Mr. William James and Mr. Hodgson for two years, and had read the Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research.) She told me that my name was Charles, and that I worked in medicine. Then I told her about my grandfather: she told me his name was Charles like me, which is true, although I had told her it was my mother’s father. She added that he was called Richhet, and she said each letter unaided by me and spontaneously. But I cannot attach much importance to these facts because it is quite possible that she knew my name unconsciously.”

“Then I asked a few details about my grandfather. She had nothing to say, but very inaccurate and numerous mistakes; assuring me he was a soldier—a chemist—a doctor—that I lived with him—that he had a dog; all incorrect facts. I told him he had translated an American author into French. It was impossible to say who. She said, Henry James, Hawthorne, &c., without being able to say Franklin.”

“Because she talked about a dog, I asked her about a little dog I had that was dead. She said Pick without hesitation. Now this fact is very important, and it is, in my opinion, the best result she gave; because my dog was called Dick; and we must admit she absolutely did not know the name, which was unknown at Cambridge and at Boston.”

Another interesting aspect of Richet’s short report were observations of the changes shown by Piper.

“We do not put her to sleep by the procedure of magnetic passes, but she enters trance, so to speak, spontaneously.”

“However all does not happen spontaneously; for she needs to grab someone’s hand for the trance. Then she takes the hand for a few minutes remaining in silence and in half-darkness. After some time—from 5 to 15 minutes—she has small spasmodic convulsions that increase, ending with a very moderate small epileptiform seizure. At the end of this crisis she falls into a state of stupor, with a somewhat gasping breathing, which lasts close to a minute or two; then, all of a sudden, she comes out of this stupor by an outburst. Her voice has changed; it is no longer Mrs. P. who is there, but another character, Dr. Phinuit, who speaks with a deep voice, of manly appearance, with a mixed black patois, and a French and American dialect accent.”

Older Mrs. Piper

Older Mrs. Piper

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

I would like to congratulate two persons I have known for many years who recently were granted awards by the Parapsychological Association. Gerd H. Hövelmann, MA, received the Outstanding Career Award and Nancy L. Zingrone, PhD, the Outstanding Contribution Award.

Gerd H. Hövelmann

Gerd H. Hövelmann

Hövelmann studied philosophy, linguistics, literature, and psychology at the University of Marburg, Germany, and he was a Senior Research Associate at the Department of Philosophy at Marburg University (1984-1993). He is the editor of the Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, and of two collections of articles: Kramer, W., Bauer, E., & Hövelmann, G. (2012). Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader. (Bunnik: Stichting HJBF), and G.H. Hövelmann, and J.A.G. Michels, (Eds.) (in press), Legitimacy of Unbelief: The Collected Papers of Piet Hein Hoebens. (Münster: Lit-Verlag).

Hövelmann has published on a wide range of topics from dialect geography to manned space exploration and has extensive research experience in nonverbal communication, evolutionary theory, and philosophy and history of science. He recently served two consecutive terms as the Vice President of the Parapsychological Association, and he has been the owner and director of several firms.

Some of his articles include:

Bauer, E., Hövelmann, G.H. & Lucadou, W. von (2013). Von Scheinriesen [Pretended giants: On the recent history of German skepticism]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 13, 89-129.

Hövelmann, G. H. (2012). Vom Nutzen der Grenzgebietsforschung für die Wissenschaft [On the utility of frontier research for science at large]. In Ambach, W. (Ed.), Experimentelle Psychophysiologie in Grenzgebieten [Experimental Psychophysiology in Frontier Areas] (pp. 303-337). Würzburg: Ergon.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2012). Aristoteles’ flüchtige Fliege [Aristotle’s fugitive fly]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 12, 190-208.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2010). Editorial: Historische Fallstudien zur Anomalistik [Editorial: Historical case studies in anomalistics]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 10, 202-236.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2008). Escape from Wonderland. In Roe, C., Kramer, W., & Coly, L., (Eds.), Utrecht II: Charting the Future of Parapsychology (pp. 559-568). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2007). The function of book reviews in anomalistics. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 21, 123-133.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2005). Laienforschung und Wissenschaftsanspruch [Amateur research and science claims]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 5, 126-135.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2005). Devianz und Anomalistik – Bewährungsproben der Wissenschaft. Prof. Dr. Marcello Truzzi (1935-2003) [Deviance and Anomalistics – Performance tests for science]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 5, 5-30.

Krippner, S., & Hövelmann, G.H. (2005). The future of psi research: Recommendations in retrospect. In Thalbourne, M.A.. & Storm, L. (Eds.), Parapsychology in the Twenty-First Century: Essays on the Future of Psychical Research (pp. 167-188). Jefferson, NC & London: McFarland.

Hövelmann, G.H., & Schriever, F. (2004). Der leise Revolutionär: Prof. Dr. Robert L. Morris (1942-2004) [The silent revolutionary: Prof. Dr. Robert L. Morris (1942-2004)]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 4, 6-13.

Hövelmann, G.H. (2001). Was wissen wir, wenn wir Literatur erkannt haben? [What have we learned once we have identified experiential reports as literature?]. Zeitschrift für Anomalistik, 1, 23-29.

Berger, A.S., Hövelmann, G.H. & Lucadou, W. von (1992). Spirit extras on video tape? The first field investigation. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 58, 153-164.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1989). Parariteiten – Het belang van woorden bij het spreken over parapsychologie [The importance of the choice of words for talking about parapsychology]. Skepter, 2(2), 20-27.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1988). Parapsychologists and skeptics ─ problems of identification. SRU Bulletin, 13, 125-132.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1987). Max Dessoir and the origin of the word ‘parapsychology’. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 54, 61-63.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1987). A constructively rational approach to parapsychology and scientific methodology. Zetetic Scholar, #12/13, 110-153.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1987). “Please wait to be tolerated”: Distinguishing fact from fiction on both sides of a scientific controversy. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 10, 592-593.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1986). Beyond the Ganzfeld debate. Journal of Parapsychology, 50, 365-370.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1986). Neglected figures in the history of parapsychology: Some general reflections. In Snel, F.W.J.J. (Ed.): Liber Amicorum in Honour of G.A.M. Zorab. The Hague: Nederlandse Vereniging voor Parapsychologie, pp. 94-126.

Hövelmann, G.H., Krippner, S. (1986). Charting the future of parapsychology. Parapsychology Review, 17(6), 1-5.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1985). [with M. Truzzi & P.H. Hoebens]. Skeptical literature on parapsychology: An annotated bibliography. In Kurtz, P. (ed.), A Skeptic’s Handbook of Parapsychology. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, pp. 449-490.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1985). Evidence for survival from near-death experiences? A critical appraisal. In Kurtz, P. (Ed.), A Skeptic’s Handbook of Parapsychology. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, pp. 645-684.

Hövelmann, G.H., & Zorab, G.A.M. (1985). The Kern City Poltergeist: Some critical remarks on the quality of the evidence and the arguments. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 53, 87-92.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1984). Against historicism. Critical remarks on Thomas Kuhn’s conception of science and its reception in parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 48, 101-119.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1984). Are psi experiments repeatable? A conceptual framework for the discussion of repeatability. European Journal of Parapsychology, 5, 285-306

Hövelmann, G.H. (1983). Cooperation versus competition: In defense of rational argument in parapsychology. European Journal of Parapsychology, 4, 483-505.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1983). Seven recommendations for the future practice of parapsychology. Zetetic Scholar #11, 128-138.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1983). Parapsychologen und das Irrationale [Parapsychologists and the irrational]. Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie, 25, 91-105.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1982). Involuntary whispering, conversational analysis, and electronic voice phenomena. Theta, 10, 54-58.

Hövelmann, G.H. (1980). Kooperation und Konkurrenz im wissenschaftlichen Schrifttum der Parapsychologie [Cooperation and competition in scientific writing on parapsychology]. Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie, 22, 143-156.

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Zingrone has served as President of the Parapsychological Association twice and is currently a Research Fellow at the Parapsychology Foundation. She has held other positions, among them Assistant Professor of Research at the Division of Perceptual Studies of the University of Virginia (2003-2011), and a Research Fellow (1982-1985), and a Visiting Scholar (1986-1993, 2013-2014) at the Institute for Parapsychology (now the Rhine Research Center). Zingrone has conducted experimental ESP research, survey research on psychic experiences, and worked on controversy in parapsychology from a science studies point of view.

In recent times Zingrone has been the main coordinator of online educational efforts in parapsychology. These have included an online conference: “Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory” (2014) and the ParaMOOC2015 (MOOC being short of massively open online course) “Parapsychology and Anomalistic Psychology: Research and Education” 2015). The course is still receiving registrants having from around 800 at the close of the live lectures to 937 today.

She was one of the editors of Research in Parapsychology 1993 (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998), the Program Chair for the Parapsychological Association’s convention in 1995, and is the author of From Text to Self: The Interplay of Criticism and Response in the History of Parapsychology (Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2010). Zingrone has also authored several papers published in history, psychology, psychiatry and parapsychology journals, among them:

(in press). (Second author, with Alvarado, C.S.). Features of out-of-body experiences: Relationships to frequency, willfullness of and previous knowledge about the experience. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

(in press) (First author, with C.S. Alvarado, & G.H. Hövelmann). An overview of modern developments in parapsychology. In E. Cardeña, J. Palmer, & D. Marcusson-Clavertz, (Eds.). Parapsychology: A Handbook for the 21st Century. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

(in press). (Second author, with Alvarado, C.S.). Note on the reception of Théodore Flournoy’s study of “Hélène Smith.” Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

(2012). (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Classic Text No. 90: ‘The Pathology and Treatment of Mediomania’, by Frederic Rowland Marvin (1874). History of Psychiatry, 23, 229–244.

(2010) (First author, with Alvarado, C.S., & Cardeña, E.) Out-of-body experiences, physical body activity and posture: Responses from a survey conducted in Scotland. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198, 163-165.

(2009) (First author, with C.S. Alvarado, and N. Agee). Psychological correlates of aura vision: Psychic experiences,dissociation, absorption, and synaesthesia-like experiences. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 37, 131-168.

(2009) (First author, with C.S. Alvarado). Pleasurable Western adult near-death experiences: Features, circumstances and incidence. In J.M. Holden, B. Greyson, & D. James (Eds.), The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences (pp. 17-40). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

(2008) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Ian Stevenson and the modern study of ESP experiences. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 44-53.

(2007-2008) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Interrelationships of psychic experiences, dream recall and lucid dreams in a survey with Spanish participants. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 27, 63-69.

(2006) Complicating the conversation: Rhetoric, substance, and controversy in parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 69, 3-21.

(2003) (Second with C.S. Alvarado). Exploring the factors related to the aftereffects of out-of-body experiences. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 67, 161-183.

(2002) Controversy and the problems of parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 66, 1-30.

(1999) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Out-of-body experiences among readers of a Spanish New Age magazine. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 63, 65-85.

(1998-99) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado & K.S. Dalton). Out-of-body experiences: Alterations of consciousness and the Five-Factor Model of personality. Imagination, Cognition andPersonality, 18, 297-317.

(1998-99) (First author, with C.S. Alvarado & K. Dalton). Psi experiences and the “Big Five”: Relating the NEO-PI-R to the experience claims of experimental subjects. European Journal of Parapsychology, 14, 31-51.

(1998-99) (Second author with C.S. Alvarado). A study of the features of out-of-body experiences in relation to Sylvan Muldoon’s claims. European Journal of Parapsychology, 14, 89-99.

(1998) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Anomalías de interacción con el ambiente: El estudio de los fenómenos parapsicológicos [Anomalies of interaction with the environment: The study of parapsychological phenomena]. Revista Puertorriqueña de Psicología [Puerto Rican Journal of Psychology], 11, 99-147.

(1997-1998) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado). Factors related to the depth of near-death experiences: Testing the“embellishment over time” hypothesis. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 17, 339-344.

(1994). Images of women as mediums: Power, pathology and passivity in the writings of Frederic Marvin and Cesare Lombroso. In L.Coly & R.A. White (Ed.), Women and Parapsychology (pp. 90-121). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.

(1994) (Second author, with C.S. Alvarado) Individual differences in aura vision: Relationships to visual imagery and imaginative fantasy experiences. European Journal of Parapsychology, 10,1-30.

(1989) (Second author, with D. H. Weiner). In the eye of the beholder: Further research on the Checker Effect. Journal of Parapsychology, 53, 203-231.

(1988) Authorship and gender in American parapsychology journals. Journal of Parapsychology, 52, 321-343.

(1987) (Second author, with Carlos S. Alvarado). Historical aspects of parapsychological terminology. Journal of Parapsychology, 51, 49-74.

(1986) (Second author, with D. H. Weiner). The Checker Effect revisited. Journal of Parapsychology, 50, 155-161.

Congratulations to both.

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

Like any other phenomenon, mediumship can be studied from different conceptual and disciplinary perspectives. The works presented here are recent publications illustrating this.

Beischel, J., Boccuzzi, M., Biuso, M,, & Rock, A.J. (2015). Anomalous Information Reception by Research Mediums Under Blinded Conditions II: Replication and Extension. Explore: Journal of Science and Healing, 11, 136-142.

Context. The examination of the accuracy and specificity of information reported by mediums addresses the existence of non-local information transfer. Objective. This study was designed to replicate and extend a previous methodology achieving positive findings regarding the anomalous reception of information about deceased individuals by research mediums under experimental conditions that eliminate conventional explanations, including cold reading, rater bias, experimenter cueing, and fraud. Design. Mediumship readings were performed over the phone under blinded conditions in which mediums, raters, and experimenters were all blinded. Participants. A total of 20 Windbridge Certified Research Mediums WCRMs participated in 86 readings. Main Outcome Measures. Accuracy and specificity were assessed through item scores, global reading scores, and forced-choice selections provided by blinded sitters. Results. (1) Comparisons between blinded target and decoy readings regarding the estimated percentage accuracy of reading items (n = 27, P = .05, d = 0.49), (2) comparisons regarding the calculated percentage accuracy of reading items (n = 31, P = .002, d = 0.75), (3) comparisons regarding hits vs. misses (n = 31, P < .0001 and P = .002 for different reading sections), (4) comparisons regarding global scores (n = 58, P = .001, d = 0.57), and (5) forced-choice reading selections between blinded target and decoy readings (n = 58, P = .01) successfully replicate and extend previous findings demonstrating the phenomenon of anomalous information reception (AIR), the reporting of accurate and specific information without prior knowledge, in the absence of sensory feedback, and without using deceptive means. Because the experimental conditions of this study eliminated normal, sensory sources for the information mediums report, a non-local source (however controversial) remains the most likely explanation for the accuracy and specificity of their statements.

Cunningham, P.F. (2012). The Content–Source Problem in Modern Mediumship Research. Journal of Parapsychology, 76, 295-319.

This article examines the methodological issue of whether the content of mediumistic/channeled communications can be used to determine the source of those communications (“content-source problem”) within the context of the trance possession mediumship of Jane Roberts. The Seth material receives a thorough new examination in light of three approaches to the content-source problem in modern mediumship research that promises to advance the present state of discussion of this issue. A process-oriented investigation of phenomenological processes underlying Roberts’s channeling experience, a hermeneutic examination of Roberts’s channeling behavior, and a rhetorical analysis of the dictated Seth material offer novel analyses of the Seth phenomenon that might shed some light on the case.

Darghawth, R. (2013). Contemporary Mediumship: Anthropological Perspectives on the Long Island Medium. Totem: The University of Western Ontario Journal of Anthropology, 21, Issue 1, Article 9.

Bereavement following the loss of a loved one has and always will remain a panhuman constant. An increasingly popularized form of healing is asserting itself in the form of mediumship. This paper seeks to investigate contemporary forms of mediumship in North America through critical analysis of the TLC show, Long Island Medium. Rather than questioning the validity of such practices, it instead strives to deconstruct the symbolic healing system surrounding the medium. This healing system serves to assure cultural constructions of an afterlife while acknowledging the presence and ability of spirits gaining agency through after-death communication. Furthermore, this paper seeks to assert that mediumship can in fact draw the bereaved from the liminal state of mourning into active life once again.

Massicotte, C. (2013). Talking Nonsense: Spiritual Mediums and Female Subjectivity in Victorian and Edwardian Canada. (2013). University of Western Ontario – Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 1656.

This study traces the development of mediumship in Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Especially popular among women, this practice offered them an important space of expression. Concealing their own identities under spiritual possession, mediums ubiquitously invoked well-known historical figures in séances to transmit their opinions on current issues. As such, they were able to promote new ideas to interested audiences without claiming responsibility for their potentially controversial words. While many studies have been conducted in the United States, Britain, and France regarding the significant role of mediumship in the emergence of women on the political scene, very few have approached this history in Canada. My research defends the importance of studying mediums’ discourses as they provide rare access to Canadian women’s perspectives at a time when public speaking was restricted for them. More particularly, I argue that séances provided women a disguised means to explore, discuss, and reconfigure the notion of female agency within a variety of public and private platforms. I read séances through the works of major figures in feminism and psychoanalysis in order to demonstrate how the complexity of subjectivity performed by mediums questioned traditional understandings of discourse and agency. Examining the trance communications of mediums from pioneering author Susanna Moodie to suffragist Flora MacDonald Denison, among others, my objective is to shed new light on the relations between women and politics, while defending a more inclusive understanding of the historical past that addresses yet unexplored forms of women’s participation in sexual, cultural, and political debates.

Osborne, G., & Bacon, A.M. (2015) The Working Life of a Medium: A Qualitative Examination of Mediumship as a Support Service for the Bereaved. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 1-13,

Despite widespread scepticism, it has been estimated that around 10% of the UK adult population regularly visit a medium and television programmes showing mediumship demonstrations draw in millions of viewers. While many assume mediumship to be purely for entertainment, an alternative discourse presents it as being a service offered to comfort and support the bereaved. In this qualitative study, data were collected through semi-structured interviews with nine working mediums and examined with an interpretative phenomenological analysis which aims to understand the lived experiences of participants. Three key superordinate themes emerged, Responsibility and Ethics, Passion to Help and Therapeutic Value. These themes are discussed in terms of mediums’ perception of their work as a helping profession and an ethical framework which illustrates awareness of the vulnerability of sitters. We also consider whether mediums may be equipped to deal with sitters experiencing complicated grief.

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

In this new series of blogs I plan to mention various aspects of the history of out-of-body experiences (OBEs). In addition to cases I will summarize articles and books, as well as theories. It is my hope to contribute to rescue this material from oblivion.

Nineteenth Century Artistic Conception of Pliny the Elder

Nineteenth Century Artistic Conception of Pliny the Elder

The first account presented here comes from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History. This work, published around 77 AD, was a work devoted to various areas of knowledge and practices, including, but not limited to, agriculture, botany, geography, painting, and zoology. Rather than a case this is an account of what happened to a person said to have frequent OBEs.

In Pliny’s words: “With reference to the soul of man, we find, among other instances, that the soul of Hermotinus of Clazomenae was in the habit of leaving his body, and wandering into distant countries, whence it brought back numerous accounts of various things, which could not have been obtained by any one but a person who was present. The body, in the meantime, was left apparently lifeless . . . . At last, however, his enemies, the Cantharidae, as they were called, burned the body, so that the soul, on its return, was deprived of its sheath, as it were” (The Natural History of Pliny [J. Bostock & H.T. Riley, translators, Vol. 2]. London: George Bell & Sons, 1890, p. 210).

A much longer account, and one taking place in apparent near-death circumstances, was that mentioned by Plutarch in an essay (Schilleto, A.R., Editor and translator. Plutarch’s Morals: Ethical Essays. London: George Bell and Sons, 1888).

Plutarch

Plutarch

“Thespesius of Soli, . . . who lived in this city with us for some time, had been very profligate during the early part of his life, and had quickly run through his property, and for some time owing to his straits had given himself up to bad practices . . . . He fell headlong down from a great height, and though he had received no wound [p. 357] nor even a blow, the fall did for him, but three days after (just as he was about to be buried) he recovered. He soon picked up his strength again, and went home, and so changed his manner of life that people would hardly credit it . . . . [Thespesius said] that, when his soul left the body, the change he first underwent was as if he were a pilot thrown violently into the sea out of a ship. Then raising himself up a little, he thought he recovered the power of breathing again altogether, and looked round him in every direction, as if one eye of the soul was open. But he saw none of the things he had ever seen before, but stars enormous in size and at immense distance from one another, sending forth a wonderful and intense brightness of colour, so that the soul was borne along and moved about everywhere quickly and easily, like a ship in fair weather. But omitting most of the sights he saw, he said that the souls of the dead mounted into the air, which yielded to them and formed fiery bubbles, and then, when each bubble quietly broke, they assumed human forms, light in weight but with different kinds of motion, for some leapt about with wonderful agility and darted straight upwards, while others like spindles flitted round all together in a circle, some in an upward direction, some in a downward, with mixed and confused motion, hardly stopping at all, or only after a very long time. As to most of these he was ignorant who they were, but he saw two or three that he knew, and tried to approach them and talk with them, but they would not listen to him, and did not seem to be in their right minds, but out of their senses and distraught, avoiding every sight and touch, and at first turned round and round alone, but afterwards meeting many other souls whirling round and in the same condition as themselves, they moved about promiscuously with no particular object in view, and uttered [p. 358] inarticulate sounds, like yells, mixed with wailing and terror. Other souls in the upper part of the air seemed joyful, and frequently approached one another in a friendly way, and avoided those troubled souls, and seemed to mark their displeasure by keeping themselves to themselves, and their joy and delight by extension and expansion. At last he said he saw the soul of a relation, that he thought he knew but was not quite sure, as he died when he was a boy, which came up to him and said to him, “Welcome, Thespesius.” And he wondering, and saying that his name was not Thespesius but Aridseus, the soul replied, “That was your old name, but henceforth it will be Thespesius. For assuredly you are not dead, but by the will of the gods are come here with your intellect, for the rest of your soul you have left in the body like an anchor; and as a proof of what I say both now and hereafter notice that the souls of the dead have no shadow and do not move their eyelids.”

“Thespesius, on hearing these words, pulled himself somewhat more together again, and began to use his reason, and looking more closely he noticed that an indistinct and shadow-like line was suspended over him, while the others shone all round and were transparent, but were not all alike; for some were like the full-moon at its brightest, throwing out one smooth even and continuous colour, others had spots or light marks here and there, while others were quite variegated and strange to the sight, with black spots like snakes, while others again had dim scratches . . . . .” [p. 360]

“After he had said this, Thespesius’ kinsman [who had shown him many things] hurried him at great speed through immense space, as it seemed to him, though he travelled as easily and straight as if he were carried on the wings of the sun’s rays. At last he got to an extensive and bottomless abyss, where his strength left him, as he found was the case with the other souls there: for keeping together and making swoops, like birds, they flitted all round the abyss, but did not venture to pass over it. To internal view it resembled the caverns of Bacchus, being beautiful throughout . . . with trees and green foliage and flowers of all kinds, and it breathed a soft and gentle air, laden with scents marvellously pleasant, and producing the effect that wine does on those who are topers; for the souls were elevated by its fragrance, and gay and blithe with one another: and the whole spot was full of mirth and laughter, and such songs as emanate from gaiety and enjoyment. And Thespesius’ kinsman told him that this was the way Dionysus went up to heaven by, and by which he afterwards took up Semele, and it was called the place of Oblivion. But he would not let Thespesius stay there, much as he wished, but forcibly dragged him away . . . .” [p. 361].

“Next Thespesius travelled as far in another direction, and seemed to see a great crater into which several rivers emptied themselves, one whiter than the foam of the sea or snow, another like the purple of the rainbow, and others of various hues whose brightness was apparent at some distance, but when he got nearer the air became thinner and the colours grew dim, and the crater lost all its gay colours but white. And he saw three genii sitting together in a triangular position, mixing the rivers together in certain proportions . . . .” [p. 362]

“After this Thespesius and his guide turned to see those that were undergoing punishment. And at first they saw only distressing and pitiable sights, but after that, Thespesius, little expecting it, found himself among his friends and acquaintances and kinsfolk who were being punished, and undergoing dreadful sufferings and hideous and bitter tortures, and who wept and wailed to him. And at last he descried his father coming up out of a certain gulf covered with marks and scars, stretching out his hands, and not allowed to keep silence, but compelled by those that presided over his torture to confess that he had been an accursed wretch and poisoned some strangers that had gold, and during his lifetime had escaped the detection of everybody; but had been found out here, and his guilt brought home to him, for which he had already suffered much, and was being dragged on to suffer more. So great was his consternation and fear that he did not dare to intercede or beg for his father’s release, but wishing to turn and flee he could no longer see his gentle and kind guide, but he was thrust forward by some persons horrible to look at, as if some dire necessity compelled him to go through with the business, and saw that the shades of those that had been notorious criminals and punished in their life-time were not so severely tortured here or like the others, but had an incomplete . . . though toilsome punishment for their irrational passions. . . .” [p. 363]

“So much did Thespesius behold, but as he intended to return a horrible dread came upon him. For a woman, marvellous in appearance and size, took hold of him and said to him, “Come here that you may the better remember everything you have seen.” And she was about to strike him with a red-hot iron pin, such as the encaustic painters use, . . . when another woman prevented her ; and he was suddenly sucked up, as through . . . a pipe, by a strong and violent wind, and lit upon his own body, and woke up and found that he was close to his tomb” [p. 365].

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