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

Dr. William G. Roll

Dr. William G. Roll

For me the Psychical Research Foundation has always been synonymous with William G. Roll (1926-2012) and his work with poltergeists and other phenomena. I remember how excited I felt when I read issues of Theta, the PRF’s bulletin, during the 1970s. This was a different organization with a focus on survival of bodily death.

Dr. William G. Roll

Dr. William G. Roll

Bill, as he liked to be called, conducted research while he was at the PRF. He focused on poltergeists, hauntings, mediumship, among other topics. I particularly remember his book The Poltergeist, first published in 1972.

Roll The Poltergeist

If you go to you will find a revamp of the PRFs website by Bryan Williams. The first paragraph of the welcoming page reads: “Established in 1961, the Psychical Research Foundation (PRF) is dedicated to research and education in the field of parapsychology, with particular emphasis on the exploration of the question of whether human personality or consciousness may survive after death. PRF research and educational activities have included studies, lectures, and publications on survival-related phenomena such as apparitional (ghost) experiences, hauntings, mediumship, and expanded states of consciousness such as out-of-body experiences and deep meditative states.”

Bryan J. Williams

Bryan J. Williams

The website has areas about the history of the organization, a topic discussed in an essay by Bill entitled “The Psychical Research Foundation: 1961-2010” ( Other topics include media, published papers, and events.

Particularly interesting, and useful, is the presentation of scans from some articles published in Theta ( As stated in the website: “First published as a bulletin in 1963, Theta has been the official journal of the Psychical Research Foundation, providing a forum for research and discussion on all types of phenomena related to the survival of personality or consciousness after death, including apparitional experiences, mediumistic communications, reincarnation memories, and reported cases of hauntings and poltergeists. Also covered within the scope of the journal were studies of altered states of consciousness which may suggest an extension of the mind beyond the physical body, such as out-of-body experiences and deep meditative states.”

I remember Theta with appreciation because some of my first papers were published in its pages. Among these were my articles “The Physical Detection of the Astral Body: An Historical Perspective” (1980) and “Recent OBE Detection Studies: A Review” (1982). Bryan has scanned some issues, including the first one in which Bill introduced the word “theta” in the context of survival of death. There are plans to keep scanning other issues in the future.

Here are examples of articles from the scanned issues of Theta:

Thouless, R. (1963). The Ciper Test of Survival. No. 2.

Symposium on “What Next in Survival Research? (1).” (1964). No. 4.

Tenhaeff, W.H.C. (1964). My Views on Survival. No. 6.

Parapsychology in Europe. (1965). No. 8.

Suggestions for exploratory investigations of mediums. (1966). No. 14.

Joines, W.T. (1968). Philadelphia haunting. No. 23.

Tart, C.T. (1969). Review of Celia Green’s Out-of-the Body Experiences. No. 25.

Roll, W.G. (1971). Psychical research in the seventies. No. 29-30.

Morris, R.L. (1971). Psychical Phenomena as Interdisciplinary Problem Areas. No. 32.

Osis, K. (1975). What Did the Dying See? No. 45.

Greyson, B. (1983). Increase in Psychic Phenomena Following Near-Death Experiences. Vol. 11.

Alvarado, C.S. (1983). Paranormal faces: The Bélmez case. Vol. 11.

Vaughan, A. (1986). Mediumistic Controls: Unconscious Personalities, or What? Vols. 13/14.

Grosso, M. (1987). Psi-related New Paradigm Thinking – A Few Vichian Suggestions. Vol. 15.

Roll, L.T.(1990). Clinical Interpretation of Possession: A Case Study. Vol. 16.

Jerry Conser is the organization’s current President. Both he and Bryan Williams hope to develop the PRF into a non-profit research organization. Our best wishes for this worthwhile project.