Archive for December, 2018


At the End of 2018

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

Another year has gone by. This one has been mainly good, not counting the recent loss of a  friend. May I wish all of you a Merry Christmas (or, if you do not celebrate Christmas, a good end of 2017)?

christmas mistletoe

Like in previous years, I have summarized for my readers various important publications related to parapsychology. These include:

Star Gate Project Publication (February 1)

New Paper About Mind-Body Issues in Psychiatry (February 12)

Biographies of Psychical Researchers in the Psi Encyclopedia (February 26)

Study of Japanese Reincarnation Cases (April 5)

Precognition Discussed in a Psychology Journal (April 19)

Open Source Data in Parapsychology (July 4)

Synesthesia and Other Experiences (November 22)

Exceptional Experiences of Scientists and Engineers (December 11)

As always, I take great pleasure in informing my readers about articles relevant to the study of the history of parapsychology, among them:

Hans Driesch and Psychical Research (April 10)

Hans Driesch

Hans Driesch

Psychoanalysis and the Occult—Revisited (May 13)

Uri Geller and Parapsychology in the 1970s (September 14)

Article about Julian Ochorowicz (December 1)

Julian Ochorowicz 3

Julian Ochorowicz

Similarly, I spread news about new books via author interviews: Real Magic, by Dean Radin (April 25); Arthur Balfour’s Ghosts: An Edwardian Elite and the Riddle of the Cross-Correspondence Automatic Writings, by Trevor Hamilton (June 6); The Elements of Parapsychology, by K. Ramakrishna Rao (July 8); and Psience Fiction: The Paranormal in Science Fiction Literature, by Damien Broderick (July 24).

Broderick Psience Fiction

Other blogs are about list of publications, mainly from the old days: Important Books About Experimental ESP, 1930-1958 (May 23); Our Psychic Past in Digital Libraries: VII. SurvivalAfterDeath | CienciasPsíquicas (September 21).

And of course, I have also posted comments about the articles I have published. What is the point of having a blog if you are not going to publicize your own work?: Flournoy’s From India to the Planet Mars Revisited (March 11); Psicologia e “Spiritismo:” An Italian Psychical Research Classic (April 10); Charles Richet’s Psychic Autobiography (July 29); Historical Views of Mediumship and Pathology (October 20); On William Stainton Moses (December 20).

My thanks to all of you who have followed my blog during 2018. Stay tuned for further news and discussion in 2019. My best wishes for the coming year.

Happy New Year

Unpaid and unacknowledged (but greatly appreciated) Blog Staff

Nancy L. Zingrone

(Advisor, Problem Solver, and Morale Officer)

Nancy L. Zingrone 4

 

Spotty and Pinky

(Master proof readers)

Pinky and Spotty 22

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On William Stainton Moses

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

One of my last published papers is “Note on the Intellectual Work of William Stainton Moses” (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2018, 32, 596–603; available here). Here is the abstract:

STAINTON MOSES

William Stainton Moses

Abstract

Most discussions about William Stainton Moses have focused on his mediumship. This note is a reminder that, in addition to mediumship, such as the spirit communication recorded in Spirit Teachings (1883), he contributed in other ways to the study of psychic phenomena, including studies of direct writing, materializations, and spirit photography. Furthermore, Moses wrote about apparitions of the living and out-of-body experiences, and veridical mediumistic communications, and criticized the writings of others, among them physiologist William B. Carpenter. A consideration of this and other neglected aspects of Moses’ work, enlarges our view of his contributions to Nineteenth-Century British Spiritualism and psychical research.

William Carpenter

William B. Carpente

I wrote: “In [a] . . .  long paper, Moses (1876–1877) presented discussions and classifications of cases of what he referred to as the “Trans-Corporeal Action of Spirit.” This included various cases of out-of-body experiences and of apparitions of the living. Moses wrote that the cases he presented here were scattered and in need of “classification and arrangement” . . . In Psychography: A Treatise on One of the Objective Forms of Psychic or Spiritual Phenomena, Moses (1878) reviewed the evidence for the phenomenon of direct writing obtained via mediums. He presented examples of cases attested by the senses (vision, hearing), cases presenting writing in languages unknown by the medium, and cases obtained in conditions preventing the previous preparation of writing to fake the phenomenon. In Moses’ view, psychography was only one of many phenomena ‘which testify to the existence of a soul in man, and to its independent action beyond his physical body; an earnest of its survival and independent life when released by death from its earthly prison-house’ ” . . . Another book was Spirit Identity, in which Moses (1879) studied veridical mediumistic communications. This included personal experiences, and communications recorded by others. The author concluded: ‘Intelligence is perpetuated after the body is dead’. . . , and that the “human spirit after its separation from the body loses none of its individuality.”

Moses Psychography

Moses Spirit Identity

Moses also published in the spiritualist magazine Light a long article unique in the 19th Century literature of materialization phenomena. The article appeared in 56 installments and covered many mediums and topics, an excellent source to conduct research on the subject.

Moses Materialization Light 1885

Page from materialization multipart article published in Light

In addition to his contributions as a medium, Moses also left us a rich bibliographical legacy that will be of help to those interested in the aspects of the spiritualistic literature he surveyed.

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

Here is a new survey of exceptional experiences.

Helané Wahbeh, Dean Radin, Julia Mossbridge, Cassandra Vieten, and Arnaud Delorme, Exceptional Experiences Reported by Scientists and Engineers. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 2018, 14(5), 329-341. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2018.05.002. Epub 2018 Aug 2. (First author’s email wahbehh@ohsu.edu)

Helané Wahbeh

Helané Wahbeh

Dean Radin 4

Dean Radin

Julia Mossbridge 7

Julia Mossbridge

Cassandra Vieten

Cassandra Vieten

Arnaud Delorme

Arnaud Delorme

Abstract

CONTEXT: Throughout history people have reported exceptional experiences that appear to transcend the everyday boundaries of space and time, such as perceiving someone’s thoughts from a distance. Because such experiences are associated with superstition, and some violate currently accepted materialist conventions, one might assume that scientists and engineers would be much less likely to report instances of these experiences than the general population. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate 1) the prevalence of exceptional human experiences (EHEs), 2) the level of paranormal belief, 3) the relationship between them, and 4) potential predictors of EHEs in three groups. PARTICIPANTS: Potential volunteers were randomly selected to receive invitations for an anonymous survey. MAIN MEASURES: Data were collected on 25 different types of EHEs, demographics, religious or spiritual affiliations, paranormal beliefs, mental health, and personality traits. Group differences were analyzed with chi-square tests and analysis of variance, and predictors were evaluated with a general linear model. RESULTS: 94.0% of the general population (n = 283), 93.2% of scientists and engineers (n = 175), and 99.3% of enthusiasts (n = 441) endorsed at least one EHE (X2(2) = 21.1, p < 0.0005). Paranormal belief was highest in EHE enthusiasts, followed by scientists and the general population F(2,769) = 116.2, p < 0.0005). Belief was positively correlated with experience (r = 0.61, p < 0.0005). An exploratory general linear model showed that variables such as mental health, personality, impact and family history predict the endorsement and frequency of EHEs. This study indicates that EHEs occur frequently in both the general population and in scientists and engineers.

 

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

Polish psychologist and philosopher Julian Ochorowicz (1850-1917), who also contributed to psychical research, is the topic of this recently published article: Karolina Maria Hess, The Idea of Ideoplasty and Occult Phenomena in the Theoretical and Empirical Research of Julian Ochorowicz (Preternature, 2018, 7, 239-274; for reprints write to the author: karolinamariahess@gmail.com).

Julian Ochorowicz 3

Julian Ochorowicz

Here is the abstract:

Julian Leopold Ochorowicz (1850–1917) was a psychologist, philosopher, and inventor, as well as a photographer, journalist, and poet. As a positivist, he postulated strict research methods in science and treated psychology as a field of study to which the tools of natural sciences can be applied. Ochorowicz’s interest in occult phenomena, which for him were not supernatural but just unexplained and misinterpreted qualities of the human body and mind, in time grew to be the most intriguing topic of his work. Ochorowicz wanted to experimentally examine medium-related and other occult phenomena, which he associated with hypnotic states. He used the term “ideoplasty” for a class of phenomena that he deemed theoretically possible, whereby psychic energy is transformed into material excretions. Ideoplasty was a part of his wider conception of transformations of energy (e.g., of power into motion), which combined his theoretical attitude in psychology and his technical inventions.

Ochorowicz Suggestion mentale

Ochorowicz Mains Tomczyk

Work with Medium Stanislawa Tomczyk

The author concluded: “Ochorowicz knew that by choosing to devote himself to the study of a topic such as mediumic phenomena, he was risking criticisms both from other scientists and from the public opinion. Indeed, his interests and research, which was conducted already after he obtained his habilitation, did not advance Ochorowicz’s academic career . . . Nonetheless, Ochorowicz, convinced that the phenomena he observed actually existed, decided to describe everything in the greatest detail, even if the observations could seem implausible . . . The example of Julian Ochorowicz shows how nuanced and complex the relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were between scientific knowledge and the field of phenomena characterized as occult or paranormal. Ochorowicz’s hypothesis went against the tendency that would later prove to provide a better experimental and theoretic model of reality; he endeavored to describe psychological phenomena directly with physical concepts, but it cannot be denied that his motivation was purely and properly scientific.”

Ochorowicz with Stanislawa Tomczyk Levitating Scissors

Ochorowicz with Stanislawa Tomczyk Levitating Scissors