Category: Education

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

Many articles, and a few books, have appeared about various aspects of the historical relationship between psychology and parapsychology. This includes many of my papers.

Alvarado, C.S. (2002). Dissociation in Britain during the late nineteenth century: The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1900. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 3, 9-33.


This paper reviews the Society for Psychical Research’s (SPR) work on dissociation carried out between 1882-1900. The work of such SPR researchers and theorists as Edmund Gurney and Frederic W.H. Myers on hypnosis and mediums was part of nineteenth-century efforts to understand dissociation and the workings of the subconscious mind. It is also argued that the SPR’s openness to these phenomena represented the first institutionalized attempt in Britain to study dissociation in a systematic manner. An analysis of the dissociation papers published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research shows that hypnosis was the most frequently discussed phenomena. Attention to the contribution of psychical researchers will expand our understanding of the factors that have affected the development of the concept of dissociation and of the subconscious mind.

PSPR 1882 Table of Contents

Table of Contents Proceedings of the SPR, 1882-1883


Alvarado, C.S. (2009). Psychical research in the Psychological Review, 1894-1900: A bibliographical note. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 23, 211-220.


While there was much conflict during the 19th century between psychology and psychical research, the latter was occasionally discussed in psychology journals. The purpose of this paper is to provide a guide to existing discussions of psychical research and related topics in the American journal Psychological Review. Many of the discussions were authored by individuals favorably disposed to psychical research, such as William James and James H. Hyslop, but also by such skeptics as James McKeen Cattell and Joseph Jastrow. With a few exceptions, the majority of the authors were critical of psychical research. This reflected the hostility on the topic shown by many psychologists at the time.

Alvarado, C.S. (2010). Classic text No. 84: ‘Divisions of personality and spiritism’ by Alfred Binet (1896). History of Psychiatry, 21, 487-500.


During the nineteenth century such individuals as Alfred Binet (1857–1911), who is the author of this Classic Text, conducted clinical and research work that led to the development and refinement of ideas about the subconscious mind and dissociation. The work concentrated on hysterical blindness, hypnosis, spontaneous somnambulism, and double and multiple personality. Another phenomenon that focused thinking on the topic was mediumship. The Classic Text is an excerpt from Binet’s writings that illustrates how a representative of French abnormal psychology used mediumship to defend his particular ideas about the mind. The excerpt is taken from the English language translation, published in 1896, of Binet’s Les Altérations de la personnalité (1892).

Alfred Binet 2

Alfred Binet

Alvarado, C.S. (2012). Psychic phenomena and the mind-body problem: Historical notes on a neglected conceptual tradition. In A. Moreira-Almeida and F.S. Santos (Eds.), Exploring Frontiers of the Mind-Brain Relationship (pp. 35-51). New York: Springer Science+Business Media.


Although there is a long tradition of philosophical and historical discussions of the mind–body problem, most of them make no mention of psychic phenomena as having implications for such an issue. This chapter is an overview of selected writings published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries literatures of mesmerism, spiritualism, and psychical research whose authors have discussed apparitions, telepathy, clairvoyance, out-of-body experiences, and other parapsychological phenomena as evidence for the existence of a principle separate from the body and responsible for consciousness. Some writers discussed here include individuals from different time periods. Among them are John Beloff, J.C. Colquhoun, Carl du Prel, Camille Flammarion, J.H. Jung-Stilling, Frederic W.H. Myers, and J.B. Rhine. Rather than defend the validity of their position, my purpose is to document the existence of an intellectual and conceptual tradition that has been neglected by philosophers and others in their discussions of the mind–body problem and aspects of its history.

Alvarado, C.S. (2014). Mediumship, psychical research, dissociation, and the powers of the subconscious mind. Journal of Parapsychology, 78, 98–114.


Since the 19th century many psychiatrists and psychologists have considered mediumship to be related to the subconscious mind and to dissociative processes produced mainly by internal conventional processes of the medium’s mind. However, some psychologists and psychical researchers active between the last decades of the 19th century and the 1920s expressed a different view. Individuals such as Théodore Flournoy, Cesare Lombroso, Enrico Morselli, Frederic W. H. Myers, Julian Ochorowicz, Charles Richet, Eleanor Sidgwick, and Eduard von Hartmann, argued that some mediums combined dissociation with supernormal phenomena such as knowledge acquired without the use of the senses, and the production of physical effects seemingly beyond the normal bodily capabilities. Depending on the theorist, other issues such as pathology and discarnate agency were also part of the discussions. The supernormal was never accepted by science at large and today is rarely mentioned in the dissociation literature. But ideas related to the supernormal were part of this literature. A complete history of dissociation, and of the subconscious mind, should include consideration of this body of work.

Alvarado, C.S. (2016). Classic Text No. 107: Joseph Maxwell on mediumistic personifications. History of Psychiatry, 27, 350-366.


The study of mediumship received much impetus from the work of psychical researchers. This included ideas about the phenomena of personation, or changes in attitudes, dispositions and behaviours shown by some mediums that supposedly indicated discarnate action. The aim of this Classic Text is to reprint passages about this topic from the writings of French psychical researcher Joseph Maxwell (1858–1938), which were part of the contributions of some psychical researchers to reconceptualize the manifestations in psychological terms. Maxwell suggested these changes in mediums were a production of their subconscious mind. His ideas are a reflection of previous theorization about secondary personalities and a particular example of the contributions of psychical researchers to understand the psychology of mediumship.

Maxwell Metapsychical Phenomena

Alvarado, C.S. (2017). Telepathy, mediumship, and psychology: Psychical research at the International Congresses of Psychology, 1889–1905. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 31, 54-101.


The development of psychology includes the rejection of concepts and movements some groups consider undesirable, such as psychical research. One such example was the way psychologists dealt with phenomena such as telepathy and mediumship in the first five international congresses of psychology held between 1889 and 1905. This included papers about telepathy and mediumship by individuals such as Gabriel Delanne, Léon Denis, Théodore Flournoy, Paul Joire, Léon Marillier, Frederic W. H. Myers, Julian Ochorowicz, Charles Richet, Eleanor M. Sidgwick, and Henry Sidgwick. These topics were eventually rejected from the congresses, and provide us with an example of the boundary-work psychologists were engaging in during that period to build their discipline. The height of such presentations took place at the 1900 congress, after which there was a marked decline in discussion on the topic which mirrored the rejection science at large showed for psychical research during the period in question.

Congres international psychologie 1889

Alvarado, C.S., & Krippner, C.S. (2010). Nineteenth century pioneers in the study of dissociation: William James and psychical research. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17, 19-43.


Following recent trends in the historiography of psychology and psychiatry we argue that psychical research was an important influence in the development of concepts about dissociation. To illustrate this point, we discuss American psychologist and philosopher William James’s (1842-1910) writings about mediumship, secondary personalities, and hypnosis. Some of James’s work on the topic took place in the context of research conducted by the American Society for Psychical Research, such as his early work with the medium Leonora E. Piper (1857-1950). James Following recent trends in the historiography of psychology and psychiatry we argue that psychical research was an important influence in the development of concepts about dissociation. To illustrate this point, we discuss American psychologist and philosopher William James’s (1842-1910) writings about mediumship, secondary personalities, and hypnosis. Some of James’s work on the topic took place in the context of research conducted by the American Society for Psychical Research, such as his early work with the medium Leonora E. Piper (1857-1950). James’s work is an example of the influence of psychical research on several aspects of psychology such as early models of the unconscious and of dissociation’s work is an example of the influence of psychical research on several aspects of psychology such as early models of the unconscious and of dissociation.

Alvarado, C.S., Maraldi, E. de O., Machado, F.R., & Zangari, W. (2014). Théodore Flournoy’s contributions to psychical research. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 78, 149-168.

In this paper we review the main contributions of Swiss psychologist Théodore Flournoy (1854–1920) to psychical research. Flournoy always advocated the scientific study of psychic phenomena as an important area that should not be ignored. After a short discussion of Flournoy’s attitudes to psychic phenomena we focus on his main work, his study of Hélène Smith (1861–1929) published in  Des Indes à la Planète Mars (1900), in which he summarized communications about previous lives in France and India, as well as those coming from the planet Mars, which Flournoy attributed to subconscious abilities involving imagination and cryptomnesia. In addition, we review his other investigations of mental mediums, observations of physical mediums, and writings about telepathy and precognition. We argue that Flournoy’s work with mental mediums made him a significant contributor to the study of the capabilities of the subconscious mind, work that was important to the theoretical concerns of both dynamic psychology and psychical research.

Theodore Flournoy 3

Théodore Flournoy

Brancaccio, M.T. (2014). Enrico Morselli’s Psychology and “Spiritism”: Psychiatry, psychology and psychical research in Italy in the decades around 1900. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 48 (Part A), 75-84.


This paper traces Enrico Morselli’s intellectual trajectory from the 1870s to the early 1900s. His interest in phenomena of physical mediumship is considered against the backdrop of the theoretical developments in Italian psychiatry and psychology. A leading positivist psychiatrist and a prolific academic, Morselli was actively involved in the making of Italian experimental psychology. Initially sceptical of psychical research and opposed to its association with the ‘new psychology’, Morselli subsequently conducted a study of the physical phenomena produced by the medium Eusapia Palladino. He concluded that her phenomena were genuine and represented them as the effects of an unknown bio-psychic force present in all human beings. By contextualizing Morselli’s study of physical mediumship within contemporary theoretical and disciplinary discourse, this study elaborates shifts in the interpretations of ‘supernormal’ phenomena put forward by leading Italian psychiatrists and physiologists. It demonstrates that Morselli’s interest in psychical research stems from his efforts to comprehend the determinants of complex psychological phenomena at a time when the dynamic theory of matter in physics, and the emergence of neo-vitalist theories influenced the theoretical debates in psychiatry, psychology and physiology.

Morselli Psicologia

Charet, F. X. (1993). Spiritualism and the Foundations of C.G. Jung’s Psychology. Albany: State University of New York Press.

“Charet uncovers some of the reasons why Jung’s psychology finds itself living between science and religion. He demonstrates that Jung’s early life was influenced by the experiences,beliefs, and ideas that characterized Spiritualism and that arose out of the entangled relationship that existed between science and religion in the late nineteenth century. Spiritualism, following it inception in 1848, became a movement that claimed to be a scientific religion and whose controlling belief was that the human personality survived death and could be reached through a medium in trance. The author shows that Jung’s early experiences and preoccupation with Spiritualism influenced his later ideas of the autonomy, personification, and quasi-metaphysical nature of the archetype, the central concept and one of the foundations upon which he built his psychology.” (from

Carl G. Jung

Carl G. Jung


Coon, D. J. (1992). Testing the limits of sense and science: American experimental psychologists combat spiritualism, 1880–1920. American Psychologist, 47, 143–151.


American psychologists faced great difficulty at the turn of the century as they tried to erect and maintain boundaries between their science and its “pseudoscientific” counterparts—spiritualism and psychic research. The public solicited their opinions regarding spiritualism, and a few psychologists wanted to conduct serious investigations of spiritualistic and psychic phenomena. However, many psychologists believed that such investigation risked the scientific reputation of their infant discipline. Because they could not readily avoid the topic, some psychologists studied spiritualistic and psychic phenomena in order to prove them fraudulent or explain them via naturalistic causes, and others developed a new subdiscipline, the psychology of deception and belief. This article argues that psychologists used their battles with spiritualists to legitimize psychology as a science and create a new role for themselves as guardians of the scientific worldview.

Crabtree, A. (1993). From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.


“The discovery of magnetic sleep—an artificially induced trance-like state—in 1784 marked the beginning of the modern era of psychological healing. Magnetic sleep revealed a realm of mental activity that was not available to the conscious mind but could affect conscious thought and action. This book tells the story of the discovery of magnetic sleep and its relationship to psychotherapy. Adam Crabtree describes how in the 1770s Franz Anton Mesmer developed a technique based on “animal magnetism,” which he felt could cure a wide variety of ailments when the healer directed “magnetic fluid” through the body of the sufferer. In 1784 Mesmer’s pupil the marquis de Puysegur attempted to heal a patient with this method and discovered that animal magnetism could also be used to induce a trance in the subject that revealed a second consciousness quite distinct from the normal waking state. Puysegur’s discovery of an alternate consciousness was taken up and elaborated by practitioners and thinkers for the next hundred years. Crabtree traces the history of the discovery of animal magnetism, shows how it was brought to bear on physical healing, and explains its relationship to paranormal phenomena, hypnotism, psychological healing, and the diagnosis and investigation of dissociative phenomena such as multiple personality. He documents how the systematic investigation of alternate consciousness reached its height in the 1880s and 1890s, fell into neglect with the appearance of psychoanalysis, and is now experiencing renewed attention as a treatment for multiple personality disorders that may arise from childhood sexual abuse.” (from:

Crabtree From Mesmer to Freud

Fodor, N. (1971). Freud, Jung and Occultism. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books.

An overview of Freud and Jung’s ideas of and involvement with psychic phenomena.

Junior, A. S., Araujo, S. de F., & Moreira-Almeida, A. (2013). William James and psychical research: Towards a radical science of mind. History of Psychiatry, 24, 62–78.


Traditional textbooks on the history of psychiatry and psychology fail to recognize William James’s investigations on psychic phenomena as a legitimate effort to understand the human mind. The purpose of this paper is to offer evidence of his views regarding the exploration of those phenomena as well as the radical, yet alternative, solutions that James advanced to overcome theoretical and methodological hindrances. Through an analysis of his writings, it is argued that his psychological and philosophical works converge in psychical research revealing the outline of a science of mind capable of encompassing psychic phenomena as part of human experience and, therefore, subject to scientific scrutiny.

William James 4

William James

Le Malefan, P. (1999). Folie et Spiritisme: Histoire du Discourse Psychopathologique sur la Pratique du Spiritisme, ses Abords et ses Avatars (1850–1950). Paris: L’Hartmattan.

The author documents the appearance of syndromes of spiritist delusions in French psychiatry, thus showing how Spiritism affected the study of mental health during the 19th century, and part of the 20th.

Le Malefan Folie

Le Maléfan, P., & Sommer, A. (2015). Léon Marillier and the veridical hallucination in late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century French psychology and psychopathology. History of Psychiatry, 26, 418-432.


Recent research on the professionalization of psychology at the end of the nineteenth century shows how objects of knowledge which appear illegitimate to us today shaped the institutionalization of disciplines. The veridical or telepathic hallucination was one of these objects, constituting a field both of division and exchange between nascent psychology and disciplines known as ‘psychic sciences’ in France, and ‘psychical research’ in the Anglo-American context. In France, Leon Marillier (1862-1901) was the main protagonist in discussions concerning the concept of the veridical hallucination, which gave rise to criticisms by mental specialists and psychopathologists. After all, not only were these hallucinations supposed to occur in healthy subjects, but they also failed to correspond to the Esquirolian definition of hallucinations through being corroborated by their representation of external, objective events.

Le Malefan Sommer Leon Marillier

Mauskopf, S.H., & McVaugh, M.R. (1980). The Elusive Science: Origins of Experimental Psychical Research. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


A study of the development of J.B. Rhine’s research in the United States. There is much information about his interaction with psychologists.

Miranda, P. (2016). Taking possession of a heritage: Psychologies of the subliminal and their pioneers. International Journal of Jungian Studies, 8, 28-45.


This essay explores some of the theoretical repercussions of the debate concerning the growth-oriented dimension of the personality that took place in the late nineteenth-century psychologies of transcendence. This terminology refers to the various practitioners of depth psychology who emphasised multiple realities, psychic phenomena, supernormal powers, the mythopoetic function of the unconscious, and transformative mystical experiences. The French–Swiss–English–American psychotherapeutic axis, A name given by the scholar Eugene Taylor to an earlier tradition characterised by the Paris, Cambridge, Geneva/Zürich, and Boston connection, which flourished from about the 1880s to the 1920s. a ‘loose-knit alliance’ of cutting-edge scientists, investigated occult and paranormal phenomena ranging from somnambulism, hypnotic trance states, double consciousness, and multiple personalities to mediumship and pathological schizophrenic fantasies. Their insights into the complex phenomena of psychic dissociation posited a subliminal region that was not only a reservoir of trauma, but also source of a potentiality beyond normal consciousness, a notion which was continued and developed in Jung’s psychology.

Pimentel, M.G., Klaus Chaves Alberto, K.C.,  & Alexander Moreira-Almeida, A. (2016). As investigações dos fenômenos psíquicos/espirituais no século XIX: Sonambulismo e espiritualismo, 1811-1860. História, Sciência, Saúde-Manguinhos, 16, 1113-1131.


In the early nineteenth century, investigations into the nature of psychic/spiritual phenomena, like trances and the supposed acquisition of information unattainable using normal sensory channels, prompted much debate in the scientific arena. This article discusses the main explanations offered by the researchers of psychic phenomena reported between 1811 and 1860, concentrating on the two main movements in the period: magnetic somnambulism and modern spiritualism. While the investigations of these phenomena gave rise to multiple theories, they did not yield any consensus. However, they did have implications for the understanding of the mind and its disorders, especially in the areas of the unconscious and dissociation, constituting an important part of the history of psychology and psychiatry.

Plas, R. (2000). Naissance d’une Science Humaine: La Psychologie: Les Psychologues et le “Merveilleux Psychique.” Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.


“At the end of the 19th century in France . . . psychology became autonomous, declared it was a science and obtained the creation of chairs. Laboratories, and journals. However, official history is very discrete about the active participation of is better known psychologists, such as Alfred Binet or Pierre Janet, in research that, in our days, is excluded from academic psychology and belongs to parapsychology” (loose translation from

Plas Naissance

Plas, R. (2012). Psychology and psychical research in France around the end of the 19th century. History of the Human Sciences, 25, 91-107.


During the last third of the 19th century, the ‘new’ French psychology developed within ‘the hypnotic context’ opened up by Charcot. In spite of their claims to the scientific nature of their hypnotic experiments, Charcot and his followers were unable to avoid the miracles that had accompanied mesmerism, the forerunner of hypnosis. The hysterics hypnotized in the Salpeˆtrie`re Hospital were expected to have supernormal faculties and these experiments opened the door to psychical research. In 1885 the first French psychology society was founded. The research carried out by this society may seem surprising: its members – Charles Richet in particular – were interested in strange phenomena, like magnetic lucidity, ‘mental suggestion’, thought-reading, etc. Very quickly, psychologists applied themselves to finding rational explanations for these supposedly miraculous gifts. Generally, they ascribed them to unconscious or subconscious perceptual mechanisms. Finally, after a few years, studies of psychical phenomena were excluded from the field of psychology. However, during the 4th International Congress of Psychology, which took place in Paris in 1900, the foundation of an institute devoted to the study of psychical phenomena was announced, but Pierre Janet and Georges Dumas founded within it the Société Française de Psychologie, from which psychical research was excluded. As for Charles Richet, disappointed by the psychologists, he devoted himself to the development of a new ‘science’ which he called ‘Métapsychique’. Several hypotheses have been put forward to account for this early research undertaken by the French psychologists, pertaining as much to parapsychology as to scientific psychology.

Sommer, A. (2012). Psychical research and the origins of American psychology: Hugo Münsterberg, William James, and Eusapia Palladino. History of the Human Sciences, 25, 23-44.


Largely unacknowledged by historians of the human sciences, late-19th-century psychical researchers were actively involved in the making of fledgling academic psychology. Moreover, with few exceptions historians have failed to discuss the wider implications of the fact that the founder of academic psychology in America, William James, considered himself a psychical researcher and sought to integrate the scientific study of mediumship, telepathy and other controversial topics into the nascent discipline. Analysing the celebrated exposure of the medium Eusapia Palladino by German-born Harvard psychologist Hugo Münsterberg as a representative example, this article discusses strategies employed by psychologists in the United States to expel psychical research from the agenda of scientific psychology. It is argued that the traditional historiography of psychical research, dominated by accounts deeply averse to its very subject matter, has been part of an ongoing form of ‘boundary-work’ to bolster the scientific status of psychology.

Hugo Munsterberg

Hugo Münsterberg

Sommer, A. (2013). Formalizing the Supernormal: The Formation of the “Gesellschaft Für Psychologische Forschung” (“Society for Psychological Research”), c. 1886–1890. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 49, 18–44.


This paper traces the formation of the German “Gesellschaft für psychologische Forschung” (“Society for Psychological Research”), whose constitutive branches in Munich and Berlin were originally founded as inlets for alternatives to Wundtian experimental psychology from France and England, that is, experimental researches into hypnotism and alleged supernormal phenomena. By utilizing the career trajectories of Max Dessoir and Albert von Schrenck-Notzing as founding members of the “Gesellschaft,” this paper aims to open up novel perspectives regarding extra-scientific factors involved in historically determining the epistemological and methodological boundaries of nascent psychology in Germany.

Sommer, A. (2013). Spiritualism and the origins of modern psychology in late nineteenth-century Germany: The Wundt-Zöllner debate. In C.M. Moreman (Ed.),  The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and Around the World (Vol. 1, pp. 55-72). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Wilhelm Wundt 4

Wilhelm Wundt


Sommer, A. (2013). Crossing the Boundaries of Mind and Body: Psychical Research and the Origins of Modern Psychology. PhD thesis, University College of London.


This dissertation examines the co-emergence of psychical research and modern professionalized psychology in the late nineteenth century. Questioning conservative historical accounts assuming an inherent incompatibility of these disciplines, this thesis argues that from the early 1880s to ca. 1910, it was often difficult if not impossible to draw a clear distinction between psychology and psychical research. Chapter 1 forms the integrative framework of the thesis through a historiographical review of changing attitudes to ‘occult’ properties of the mind in natural philosophy from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. Chapter 2 provides a study and comparison of concerns and epistemological presuppositions of the instigators and leading representatives of psychical research in England, France, Germany and the USA. Chapter 3 outlines competing methodological maxims in early experimental psychology, explores the work of the Society for Psychical Research in England and psychological societies conducting psychical research in Germany, and discusses the active involvement of the ‘father’ of modern American psychology, William James, in psychical research. Formulations of transcendental-individualistic models of unconscious or subliminal cognition by Carl du Prel in Germany and Frederic W. H. Myers in England, which informed the mature psychological thought of James in America and Théodore Flournoy in Switzerland, are discussed as landmarks in the history of concepts of the unconscious. Chapter 4 presents case studies of early professional psychologists repudiating psychical research from the territories of fledgling psychology, identifies recurring rhetorical patterns in these controversies, and connects them to wider cultural and historiographical developments studied in Chapter 1.

Takasuna, M. (2012). The Fukurai affair: Parapsychology and the history of psychology in Japan. History of the Human Sciences, 25, 14-164.


The history of psychology in Japan from the late 19th century until the first half of the 20th century did not follow a smooth course. After the first psychological laboratory was established at Tokyo Imperial University in 1903, psychology in Japan developed as individual specialties until the Japanese Psychological Association was established in 1927. During that time, Tomokichi Fukurai, an associate professor at Tokyo Imperial University, became involved with psychical research until he was forced out in 1913. The Fukurai affair, as it is sometimes called, was not documented in textbooks on the history of Japanese psychology prior to the late 1990s. Among earlier generations of Japanese psychologists, it has even been taboo for discussion. Today, the affair and its after-effects are considered to have been a major deterrent in the advancement of clinical psychology in Japan during the first half of the 20th century.

Tomokichi Fukurai

Tomokichi Fukurai

Taves, A. (2014). A tale of two congresses: The psychological study of psychical, occult, and religious phenomena, 1900–1909.  Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 50, 376-399.


In so far as researchers viewed psychical, occult, and religious phenomena as both objectively verifiable and resistant to extant scientific explanations, their study posed thorny issues for experimental psychologists. Controversies over the study of psychical and occult phenomena at the Fourth Congress of International Psychology (Paris, 1900) and religious phenomena at the Sixth (Geneva, 1909) raise the question of why the latter was accepted as a legitimate object of study, whereas the former was not. Comparison of the Congresses suggests that those interested in the study of religion were willing to forego the quest for objective evidence and focus on experience, whereas those most invested in psychical research were not. The shift in focus did not overcome many of the methodological difficulties. Sub-specialization formalized distinctions between psychical, religious, and pathological phenomena; obscured similarities; and undercut the nascent comparative study of unusual experiences that had emerged at the early Congresses.

Timms, J. (2012). Phantasms of Freud: Nandor Fodor and the psychoanalytic approach to the supernatural in interwar Britain. Psychoanalysis and History, 14, 5-27.


The paper examines the appearance of “psychoanalytic psychical research” in interwar Britain, notably in the work of Nandor Fodor, Harry Price and others, including R. W. Pickford and Sylvia Payne. The varying responses of Sigmund Freud and Ernest Jones to the area of research are discussed. These researches are placed in the context of the increasingly widespread use of psychoanalytic and psychological interpretations of psychical events in the period, which in turn reflects the penetration of psychoanalysis into popular culture. The saturation of psychical research activity with gender and sexuality and the general fascination with, and embarrassment about, psychical activity is explored.

Nandor Fodor 3

Nandor Fodor

Valentine, E.R. (2012). Spooks and spoofs: Relations between psychical research and academic psychology in Britain in the inter-war period. History of the Human Sciences, 25, 67-90.


This article describes the relations between academic psychology and psychical research in Britain during the inter-war period, in the context of the fluid boundaries between mainstream psychology and both psychical research and popular psychology. Specifically, the involvement with Harry Price of six senior academic psychologists: William McDougall, William Brown, J. C. Flugel, Cyril Burt, C. Alec Mace and Francis Aveling, is described. Personal, metaphysical and socio-historical factors in their collaboration are discussed. It is suggested that the main reason for their mutual attraction was their common engagement in a delicate balancing act between courting popular appeal on the one hand and the assertion of scientific expertise and authority on the other. Their interaction is typical of the boundary work performed at this transitional stage in the development of psychology as a discipline.

Zingrone, N. L. (2010). From Text to Self: The Interplay of Criticism and Response in the History of Parapsychology. Saarbrücken, Germany: Lambert Academic Publishing.

The thesis examines the history of criticism and response in scientific parapsychology by bringing together the tools of history, rhetoric of science, and discursive psychology to examine texts generated in the heat of controversy. Previous analyses of the controversy at hand have been conducted by historians and sociologists of science, focusing on the professionalisation of the discipline, its philosophical and religious underpinnings, efforts of individual actors in the history of the community, and on the social forces which constrict and restrict both the internal substantive progress of the field and its external relations with the wider scientific community. The present study narrows the problem domain from the English-language literature —- an extensive database of over 1500 books and articles —- to the following: (1) a brief history of the development of the field in the U. K. and the U. S. that includes a survey of previous reviews of the controversy; (2) a specific controversy that extended over a 10-year period in the mid-twentieth century; and (3) a solicited debate on parapsychology with two target articles, 48 commentaries, and 3 responses published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences. The thesis is comprised of eight chapters. In Chapter 1, the goals and methods of the thesis are described, previous considerations of controversy and closure in science studies are reviewed, the notion of closure is discussed, and the thesis content is described. In Chapter 2, a brief history of the field is provided which emphasises the broad structure and content of the field rather than specific methodology, results, or theory. In Chapter 3, previous reviews of the controversy are examined to provide a sense of the controversy terrain and to examine the extent to which what Gilbert and Mulkay (1984) have called ‘‘contingent’’ and ‘‘empiricist’’ repertoires have been used in criticisms and response. In Chapter 4, case studies on parapsychology that appeared in the science studies literature are reviewed. Rhetoric of science is introduced as a domain from which analytic tools for the present research are drawn. In Chapter 5, a case study tests the hypothesis that differences in style and structure in the two volumes that bracket the most important controversy in the history of American experimental parapsychology may have contributed to the scope and persistence of the controversy. The controversy extended from 1934 to 1944, beginning with the publication of the monograph Extra-sensory Perception (Rhine, 1934) and ending with the publication of Extrasensory Perception After Sixty Years (Pratt, Rhine, Smith, Stuart & Greenwood, 1940). In Chapter 6, I justify a turn towards the methodology of discourse analysis by reviewing both the antecedents of modern discursive psychology, and methods that are currently in use. I also review Mulkay’s (1985) The Word and The World as a prelude to the case study in the next chapter. In Chapter 7, a subset of the methods available in discourse analysis, particularly the concepts of formulation, category entitlement and footing are used to analyse a target article, 48 commentaries and two responses to the commentaries that center on James Alcock’s contentions that parapsychology is the search for the soul and that dualism as a philosophical position is incommensurate with science. I show how Alcock’s use of the contingent repertoire in characterising science practise in parapsychology undermines his authority as a scientific interlocutor, and obscures, to some extent, the substantive message he intended his target article to carry. Chapter 8 concludes the thesis by restating the findings of the three methods used, examining the limited use of the methods in this thesis and outlining what a more extended study with the same and/or related materials would look like, while describing other potentially fruitful research that might be done. How these methods should and may contribute to science practise in parapsychology is also discussed with a particular emphasis on the multidisciplinary nature of the discipline and the need for a more complete reflexivity.

Zingrone From Text to Self

*I dedicate this series of blogs to the memory of Gerd H. Hövelmann, whose bibliographies of current publications have inspired many of us.

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

Much has been written about the relationships between psychology and parapsychology. Some general overviews are:

Alvarado, C.S., & Zingrone, N.L. (1998). 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, 11, 99-147. (Abstract)


Carlos S. Alvarado and Nancy L. Zingrone

Beloff, J. (1982). Psychical research and psychology. In I. Grattan-Guinness (Ed.), Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles and Practice (pp. 303-315). Wellinborough, Northhamptonshire, England: Aquarian Press.


John Beloff

Burt, C. (1967). The implications of parapsychology for general psychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 31, 1-18.


Cyril Burt

Burt, C. (1968). Psychology and Psychical Research. London: Society for Psychical Research.

Burt, C. (1975). ESP and Psychology (compiled by A. Gregory).  New York: Wiley.

Child, I.L. (1982). Parapsychology and psychology. In W.G. Roll, R.L. Morris & R.A. White (Eds.), Research in Parapsychology 1981 (pp. 202-221). Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press.


Irvin L. Child

Child, I. (1984). Implications of parapsychology for psychology. In S. Krippner, M.L. Carlson, M. Ullman, & R.O. Becker (Eds.), Advances in Parapsychological Research 4 (pp. 165–182). Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Schmeidler, G.R. (1988). Parapsychology and Psychology: Matches and Mismatches. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.


Gertrude R. Schmeidler

Van Over, R. (Ed.). (1972). Psychology and Extrasensory Perception. New York: New American Library.

On specific issues and areas of psychology see:

Cardeña, E., Lynn, S.J., & Krippner, S. (Eds.) (2014). Varieties of Anomalous Experiences (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Holt, N., Simmonds-Moore, C., Luke, D., & French, C.C. (2012). Anomalistic Psychology. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Murray, C. D. (Ed.). (2009). Psychological Scientific Perspectives on Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences. New York: Nova Science.


Rhine, J.B. (1968). Psi and psychology: Conflict and solution. Journal of Parapsychology, 32, 101-128.

Roe, C. A. (2009). Anomalistic psychology. In N. Holt, & R. Lewis (Eds.), A2 Psychology 2009 AQA A Specification: The student’s textbook (pp. 426–463). London: Crown House.


Chris Roe

Servadio, E. (1974). Psychoanalysis and parapsychology. In A. Angoff & B. Shapin (Eds.),  Parapsychology and the Sciences (pp. 68-76). New York: Parapsychology Foundation.


Emilio Servadio

Tart, C.T. (2002). Parapsychology and transpersonal psychology: “Anomalies” to be explained away or spirit to manifest? Journal of Parapsychology, 66, 31-47.


Charles T. Tart

Watt, C. (2005). Parapsychology’s contribution to psychology: A view from the front line. Journal of Parapsychology, 69, 215–232.


Caroline Watt

In later installments I will present other sources to find information about theories, history, clinical issues, and other aspects.

*I dedicate this series of blogs to the memory of Gerd H. Hövelmann, whose bibliographies of current publications have inspired many of us.

Reincarnation Course

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

I am copying this announcement of a remarkable reincarnation course from the website of the Parapsychology Foundation.

* **** *

Parapsychology Foundation Research Fellow, Dr. James G. Matlock, will be teaching his annual online course Signs of Reincarnation starting January 30th, 2017 and running for 15 weeks.


Dr. James G. Matlock

Signs of Reincarnation is an online M.A.-level discussion course that covers all aspects of reincarnation studies, including ideas about reincarnation in different traditions, research methods for studying cases, the results of research with children’s and adult spontaneous cases, regression under hypnosis, and past-life readings of psychics and mediums. It addresses criticisms of the research and different interpretative frameworks that have been put forward for the research findings, through original lectures and readings from the reincarnation research literature.

Matlock’s course is conducted on the widely-used Moodle distant learning platform through The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education. Designed to appeal to all those with a serious interest in reincarnation studies, students in previous courses have included people with past-life memories and researchers. Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove, the Dean of Programs in Transformation Psychology at the University of Philosophical Research, had this to say about it: “Having completed Jim Matlock’s course, Signs of Reincarnation, I can say that I am not aware of any other educational resource that offers such a comprehensive overview and analysis of the research data that has been collected over a period of many decades. Not only does Matlock review the most salient cases, he explains why each case lends weight to various interpretations and theories of ostensible reincarnation. Furthermore, in the process of preparing this course, Matlock has developed his own theory of reincarnation and he argues convincingly as to why it offers the most parsimonious explanation of this complex and fascinating body of knowledge. While the course focuses primarily on the published cases within the reincarnation literature, it also draws upon the larger fields of anthropology and cultural history.”

A student of metaphysics who took the course wrote “The course has high personal impact, and has enhanced my understanding immensely of the concept of spiritual growth. I found the class to be both challenging and fun and had a well established base line that shed light on an area of life, in a way that I had not experienced before. Thank you Jim for your communicator skills and ability to format this course in such a manner that my ideas have been changed by the lectures and readings which flowed succinctly toward provoking thought and wonder, of a topic that is so much a part of our daily life.”

The course is set up so that students can access the materials and discussion forums at any time, allowing for participation from all parts of the world. There are no pre-requisites, although it helps to have a college background and to be able to read and write well in English. All lectures and readings are provided in PDF format for download to desktop computer, tablet, or other device. Self-paced over the 15 weeks, students are expected to commit between 6 and 8 hours per week. There are optional written assignments at the conclusion of each week and a certificate of completion is awarded at the end of the course.

Here’s a list of the units for each week:

  1. Introduction to the Study of Reincarnation Signs
  2. The Belief in Reincarnation
  3. Research Styles and Interpretative Frames
  4. Child Studies: Episodic Memories, Statements and Recognitions
  5. Child Studies: Behavioral Signs of Reincarnation
  6. Child Studies: Physical Signs of Reincarnation
  7. Child Studies: The Interval Between Death and Rebirth
  8. Child Studies: Cross-Cultural and Cross-Historical Patterns
  9. Child Studies: The Psychology of Past-Life Memory
  10. From Child to Adult: The Developmental Continuum
  11. Past-Life Memory in Induced States of Consciousness
  12. The Contributions of Shamans, Psychics, and Mediums
  13. Mind/Brain Relations, Survival of Death, and Reincarnation
  14. Postmortem Survival and Reincarnation: Philosophy and Theory
  15. The Process of Reincarnation

The regular registration fee is $300. For students and those who live on fixed incomes, the course costs $150. Research assistantships and other in-kind arrangements may be available. All registrants will receive an ebook copy of I Saw a Light and Came Here: Children’s Experiences of Reincarnation, due to be published on February 1.

For more information go to the courses page on Dr. Matlock’s website by clicking here.


All Our Past is Not in English

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

The world is a vast place, composed of many cultures and languages. Yet some of us still limit our views to English-language sources of information, a topic I discussed some years back in terms of parapsychology (The Language Barrier in Parapsychology. Journal of Parapsychology, 1989, 53, 125‑139; abstract). In that article I outlined some implications for ignoring material published in other languages.

Here I would like to make an obvious point about the history of the field, a topic with a considerable bibliography (click here, here, here, and here).  If we focus only on English-language publications we will have an incomplete view of the historical development of parapsychology. Unfortunately this is precisely what we find in many accounts of the development of the field published in English, particularly those written by parapsychologists. Most of these accounts are based on English-language sources.

Further examples are the history sections of almost all general books about parapsychology published in English in the last decade. I recently read an article that should be published soon about the development of experimental parapsychology that, with a single exception, was based solely on work published by English-language workers. But what about developments coming from places such as France, Italy and Germany? For example, there should be mention of work by such individuals as René Warcollier. If an author is going to limit his or her work in this way they should at least state so, that is, they should present their work as an overview of English-language publications, and not as a more general work.

Rene Warcollier

René Warcollier

The same problem is present in reviews of the work conducted with mediums such as Eusapia Palladino. Very few writers covering this medium in English-language publications mention, and even less, discuss, the work published by Jules Courtier and Enrico Morselli (click here and here), in French and Italian, respectively. Those who write about this topic have the right to select their materials, but it is unfortunate that no qualifications are presented.

Enrico Morselli 4

Enrico Morselli

These works tend to emphasize developments in the English-language world—such as the work of the Society for Psychical Research and of J.B. Rhine and associates—to the neglect of developments in other countries. No one would deny the importance of this work. What I decry here is that reliance on these sources produces an incomplete view of the development of the discipline. But what is worse is that some seem to have accepted these incomplete views as the whole canon, and feel no need even to qualify the obvious incompleteness of their writings.

PSPR Vol. 1

An example of such distortion is that it is sometimes assumed that what was very important in a country was equally important all around. It may be questioned, to give two examples, that the important work of Frederic W.H. Myers and of J.B. Rhine had the same impact in places other than the UK and the US.

Myers Human Personality 2


Although there are a few translations available of the work of important figures of the past, they represent but a small percentage of their production. This is the case of the work of individuals such as Ernesto Bozzano, Théodore Flournoy, Charles Richet, and Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A recent review of the work of Flournoy shows that a general perspective of his work can only be obtained consulting his writings in French.

Theodore Flournoy 3

Théodore Flournoy

It is interesting to see that students of physical mediumship writing in English tend to ignore  Albert von Schrenck-Notzing’s German writings, such as Physikalische Phaenomene des Mediumismus (Munich: Ernst Reinhardt, 1920; see also the French translation).


Albert von Schrenck-Notzing

Fortunately in recent years there has been an increase in the number of publications in English about developments in France, Germany, and other countries. Most of these works have been produced by historians, not by workers in parapsychology, and includes studies such as LaChapelle’s Investigating the Supernatural: From Spiritism and Occultism to Psychical Research and Metapsychics in France, 18531931 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011) and Wolffram’s The Stepchildren of Science: Psychical Research and Parapsychology in Germany, c. 1870-1939 (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009). But the fact remains that many parapsychologists and other students of psychic phenomena are willfully ignorant of the past of their discipline in places other than the United Kingdom and the Unites States.

Lachapelle Investigating the Supernatural

Wolffram Stepchildren of Science

The solution, of course is not simple. In addition to the study of other languages, we could encourage the translation of works. I did this for the theoretical section of a paper by French researcher Albert de Rochas. But there are other things that will help.

One of them is the consultation of multi-lingual bibliographies. Two examples are those compiled by George Zorab (Bibliography of Parapsychology. New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 1957) and Adam Crabtree (Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism, and Psychical Research, 1766-1925: An Annotated Bibliography. White Plains, NY: Kraus International, 1988). Unfortunately, there are not many of these works available today.

Zorab Bibliography

Crabtree Animal Magnetism

We could also encourage publications of relevant material. In my capacity of Associate Editor in the Journal of Scientific Exploration I have invited the publication of various articles (which are refereed) covering the work of specific researchers from European countries (such as L. Gasperini,  Ernesto Bozzano: An Italian spiritualist and psychical researcherJournal of Scientific Exploration, 2012, 25, 755–773), and reviews of important relevant books from the old days of psychical research.

Over the years I have been trying to do more than complain. I have written several articles about specific topics, mainly summarizing various European publications. This includes aspects of the work of Italian Ernesto Bozzano and the content of the French journal Annales des Sciences Psychiques. Other work I have published includes:

Annales des Sciences Psychiques 1916 (2015). (with N.L. Zingrone). Note on the reception of Théodore Flournoy’s Des Indes à le Planète Mars. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 79, 156-164.

(2013). (with R. Evrard). Nineteenth century psychical research in mainstream journals: The Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Étranger. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 27, 655-689.

Revue Philosophique 1876b

(2009). Modern animal magnetism: The work of Alexandre Baréty, Émile Boirac, and Julian Ochorowicz. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 37, 1-15.

Barety Magnetisme Animal

(2009). Late nineteenth and early twentieth century discussions of animal magnetism. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 57, 366-381.

(2008). Note on Charles Richet’s “La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilités” (1884). Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 543-548.

To improve the situation it is essential that English speakers realize they not only need more knowledge about the history of their field in other countries, but that they also have a responsibility to disseminate a more complete and representative historical view of parapsychology in their writings. One thing that they could do is to consult colleagues known to have such knowledge. In the past I have been helped with German materials by persons such as Eberhard Bauer, Gerd H. Hövelmann, and Andreas Sommer. Massimo Biondi has been invaluable with his knowledge of Italian developments. I am glad to acknowledge their assistance publicly.

Eberhard Bauer

Eberhard Bauer

Massimo Biondi 3

Dr. Massimo Biondi

Another way to improve the situation is to collaborate with such individuals, as I have done on occasion. Examples of this are: Alvarado, C.S., Biondi, M.,  & Kramer, W. Historical notes on psychic phenomena in specialised journals (European Journal of Parapsychology, 2006, 21, 58-87); and Alvarado, C.S., Nahm, M., & Sommer, A.  Notes on early interpretations of mediumship. (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2012, 26, 855-865).

But for the situation to improve we need to be aware there is a problem, and that we can do something about it. This needs to include an expanded vision of history as more than an Anglo-American perspective. Once this is realized, it will be possible to expand our views, including the idea of different cultures and ways of thinking, something related to the topic discussed here.


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

Those of you who have followed this blog may be aware of the parapsychology MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) Nancy L. Zingrone and I organized in 2015 (click here). We are now organizing the ParaMOOC2016. This is the joint effort of our organization The AZIRE  and the Parapsychology Foundation (PF), which is well-known in the field for its long history of supporting parapsychology via conferences, grants, and in other ways (click here for information about the PF).

MOOC Course Banner

The 2016 MOOC is being organized following our previous thinking, that, in addition to the few currently available introductory and popular information offerings about parapsychology on the Web, there is a need to present high level scientific and scholarly discussions of parapsychological topics to inform the general public and interested others. These discussions are presented by individuals with recognized academic credentials (doctoral degrees), and with research experience.

The ParaMooc2016 was approved by the administration of the WizIQ learning platform this morning and Nancy has been uploading the schedule as we know it at the moment, as well as welcoming the dozen students who have already signed up. WizIQ is the social media teaching platform that we and the Parapsychology Foundation are using in our online teaching/online conference activities. The benefit of getting approval is that the course is marketed by WizIQ to it’s 500,000 or so teachers, and 4.5 million students already using the system worldwide. Because of the system’s reach we are hoping to get the word out about the scientific side of the field to as many newcomers as we did in last year’s MOOC.

Registration is definitely open. Just create a free account by using your Facebook log-in or creating a new one that’s just for the WizIQ system, then click this link: The MOOC is free and live presentations are scheduled at 2:00pm Eastern time for the majority of the speakers. The presentations will be recorded and available soon after (usually within 24 hours). Later on, as we finish uploading the edited versions of the lectures from last year’s MOOC on our YouTube Channel, Parapsychology Online, we will start editing and loading up the lectures from this year.

While the ParaMOOC2016 schedule may still change, we have received confirmation for the participation of such persons as Drs. Bernard Carr, Arnaud Delorme, William Everist, Renaud Evrard, Erlendur Haraldsson, Janice Holden, David Luke, Antonia Mills, Ginette Nachman, Serena Roney-Dougal, Stefan Schmidt, and Patrizio Tressoldi. A few others may join us soon.

Some of the topics discussed include hyperdimensional and quantum theory ideas related to psychic phenomena, clinical perspectives of psychic experiences, and studies of recollections of previous lives, near-death experiences, mind-body medicine, distant intentions, the psychophysiology of mediumship, meditation and psi, and apparitions.

The complete (so far) information on the course is available on the enrollment link, so feel free to click just to check out the information at this link:

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

It is my pleasure to publicize an excellent course about reincarnation offered by Dr. James G. Matlock, an anthropologist who specializes in reincarnation studies (for a brief biography click here, this site has much information about the scholarly and scientific study of belief and cases related to reincarnation). I have known Jim for over 30 years and can attest to his commitment for rigorous standards and his track record in the field (see his published work here). He is currently a Research Fellow with the Parapsychology Foundation.

Jim Matlock.jpg

Dr. James G. Matlock

This is the third time Jim teaches the course and he hopes to complete a book soon following the lectures and other course materials.

The course, Signs of Reincarnation, has been described by Jim as follows:

“My online Signs of Reincarnation course will begin again on January 4. It runs for 15 weeks and covers all aspect of reincarnation research and theory in an inter-disciplinary way. The course is designed as an advanced undergraduate or Master’s-level graduate seminar and is built around discussion of original lectures and readings from the published literature. All materials are provided in PDF format and can be downloaded and read offline. Discussion questions and posts are delivered in email so there is no need to go to a special forum. There are no set meeting times and participants from all time zones are welcome.”

“See the course description on my web site, for more information. You can read evaluations from previous participants here. The registration fee is $300. Registration opens December 28. Write to with any questions.”

Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove took the course in one of its previous offerings. In his evaluation, he says:

“Having completed Jim Matlock’s course, Signs of Reincarnation, I can say that I am not aware of any other educational resource that offers such a comprehensive overview and analysis of the research data that has been collected over a period of many decades. Not only does Matlock review the most salient cases, he explains why each case lends weight to various interpretations and theories of ostensible reincarnation. Furthermore, in the process of preparing this course, Matlock has developed his own theory of reincarnation and he argues convincingly as to why it offers the most parsimonious explanation of this complex and fascinating body of knowledge. While the course focuses primarily on the published cases within the reincarnation literature, it also draws upon the larger fields of anthropology and cultural history.”

Jeffrey Mishlove, PhD
Dean of Programs in Transformation Psychology
University of Philosophical Research

Jim is compiling his course lectures into a book, Signs of Reincarnation: Lectures and Readings for an Interdisciplanary Graduate Course.


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

One frequently hears criticisms of academic publishing, and of the pressures in academia to publish or perish. But while there are good critiques, I believe, along with many colleagues, that academic publishing is essential for parapsychology to move forward and to present a good image of its scientific and scholarly work.

When I mention academic publishing I am referring to refereed publications. This includes most serious journals of various disciplines and some academic and scholarly book publishers who care about the expertise of their authors and editors.

While there is a literature of this sort in our field (for examples click here, here, and here), we have, unfortunately, a high quantity of research that remains unpublished in our scientific and scholarly literature. It is not helpful to say that many things go unpublished as well in other fields because parapsychology has so few workers and for us, the importance of publishing cannot be properly compared to other more established disciplines.

It’s not that nothing is being published. But I sometimes hear about experiments on remote viewing and macro-PK, or field studies (e.g., poltergeists) that are talked about repeatedly but never seem to get published. Similarly for years I have heard mention of research supposedly conducted by the associated members of a research center, but none of that research ever seems to be completed, much less published. This type of situation gets even more complicated when unpublished research is tied up with monetary and public relations interests and is used to bolster or support the reputation of the place. While such practices may help the research center involved, for the field as whole, it looks as if even more research is out there that has never been written up.

It is true that the percentage of unpublished to properly published research is an old problem for our field. It has never been difficult to find papers in past proceedings and among the current abstracts of papers presented in the annual conventions of the Parapsychological Association that have not been published, even years after they have been presented. Unfortunately many of these papers are used in meta-analyses. Recently I examined one of these meta-analyses and found that 30% of the papers used in the analysis were unpublished PA papers. These papers, one must keep in mind, are generally shorter that journal papers, and may lack information that would be included in journal publications. In addition to which, any future researcher will have a hard time getting copies of these papers precisely because they are unpublished.

These days though, we have the added problem of the proliferation of informal publishing outlets. Many field investigators study poltergeist and haunting cases that never get published, or that get summarized on websites or in popular books that generally lack the details necessary to evaluate the quality of the case, much less consider the depiction of it a scientific publication. And then there is the problem that few of the case reports posted to websites or included in popular books have had the benefit of expert peer review. Even worse, we live in a time when popular publications regularly get confused by the general public with serious academic reports. This does not raise the image of our field among mainstream scientists, and does much to confuse students and new researchers in our field who are searching for our best evidence.

If you believe as I do that science needs to correct its own mistakes and that replication is key to progress, then the importance of academic, scholarly and scientific publication becomes obvious.

Leaving laziness, apathy and anti-intellectualism aside, there are sometimes very good reasons for the lack of publication. Many people do not have stable professional positions and have left the field after their work was done but before they were able to publish it. In one case a good proportion of the work had to be kept secret for years because of constraints laid upon it by government funders. But then there are other cases I know in which people seem to have had the possibility of preparing their materials for peer-reviewed publication but have not done so. Encouragement for and appreciation of taking that final step in the scientific process can help those people find the motivation to get their work into peer-reviewed print.

My point here is not to condemn people, but to point out that this situation is particularly onerous for our field. Not only is parapsychology’s image as a science diminished when we have to rely on popular books, and unpublished writings as the source of the field’s findings, but such a situation is particularly problematic in a field like ours where so few of us are actually able to conduct research.

Parapsychology needs to rise to the challenge: whenever possible research results need to be published in peer-reviewed journals, whether parapsychology-specific journals or in the journals of other disciplines. And the primary research institutions of the field, whether private or public, need to encourage scientific reporting in academic or scholarly books or in peer-reviewed journals among their staff and associates, as well as encourage reading the peer-reviewed literature even if it requires more preparation and more effort than the popular materials. Science and scholarship progresses on the presence of visible, accessible, well-designed, well-done, well-reported, properly vetted and published materials. The same is true for our field. Granted this is an old goal for our field, but it is one that we need to achieve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

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

Live Parapsychology MOOC is Over

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

The live part of the Parapsychology MOOC I mentioned before (click here) ended on February 14. This consisted of over 25 presentations by different lecturers, something that had not been done before at this scale. The MOOC went from January 5 to February 14, and was organized mainly by Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone, with some assistance by myself.

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

It was a success. Not only did we have many registrants (almost 850, with people still registering everyday), but we obtained the cooperation of many individuals engaged in parapsychological research. A few of the over 25 presentations were:

Clinical and Counseling Aspects of Psychic Phenomena, Dr. Alejandro Parra

The Multiphasic Model of Precognition, Dr. Edwin C. May

Dr. Ed C. May

Dr. Ed C. May

The Role of Creativity in Psi Research, Dr. Kathy Dalton

Presentiment: An Anomalous Anticipation of Random Future Events, Dr. Thomas Rabeyron

Dr. Thomas Rabeyron

Dr. Thomas Rabeyron

Supernormal: Science, Yoga and Psi, Dr. Dean Radin

Will an Evolutionary Perspective Help Us Understand How Extrasensory Perception Works?, Dr. Richard S. Broughton

Dr. Richard Broughton

Dr. Richard Broughton

Implications of Mediumship for the Mind-Brain Relationship, Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida

Beyond the Brain? Exploring the Neuropsychological Correlates of ESP, Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams

Authors of the Impossible: What the Humanities Can Offer Parapsychology, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal

Psi-Related Experiences in Daily Life and Their Relationship to Beliefs, Attitudes and Subjective Well-Being: A Brazilian Survey, Dr. Fátima Regina Machado

Dr. Fatima Regina Machado

Dr. Fatima Regina Machado

The Challenge of Macro-PK, Dr. Stephen E. Braude

Anomalous Experience and Psychopathology, Dr. Etzel Cardeña

Dr. Etzel Cardeña

Dr. Etzel Cardeña

Different from most materials and courses about parapsychology available in the Web, our lectures were intended to represent high level discussions of the topic. To guarantee this we selected most of our lecturers following two criteria: they must have conducted research on the area they spoke about, and have completed their educations to the level of doctoral degrees. Only two of our speakers, both exceptional people, had less formal education than that.

While many lectures were quite technical they were all well received, showing that at least part the general public is eager and interested in obtaining high quality and technical information about parapsychology. In fact one of the most common compliments we got during the course was the happy surprise at the number of working scientists and university professors doing research on the phenomena in the field.

However, there was also less technical material. In addition to a general introduction to parapsychology that I presented, including a little about terminology, phenomena, history, and methodology, we had several posters consisting of slides about several topics. With one exception they were about non-technical topics, and one of them presented a general bibliography of books and articles. The titles are listed below:

Parapsychology: A Selected Bibliography in English

Animal Magnetism and Psychic Phenomena: The Neo-Mesmeric Movement, by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado

Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado

Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado

Robert Van de Castle: Dream Researcher and Parapsychologist, by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado

Pulse Rates as a Physiological Index of ESP: The Nineteenth-Century Explorations of John E. Purdon, by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado

Charles Honorton and Parapsychology, by Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

The Parapsychology Foundation: Yesterday and Today, by Lisette Coly

The Mediumship of Leonora E. Piper, by Dr. Phil Morse

Current Trends in Parapsychology in Italy, by Dr. Massimo Biondi

Dr. Massimo Biondi

Dr. Massimo Biondi

Psi and Death of the Person-Target: An Experiment with Highly Emotional Iconic Representations, by Dr. Alejandro Parra and Dr. Juan Carlos Argibay

Exceptional Human Experiences (ExE) as a Counseling and Research Topic, by Eberhard Bauer and Dr. Wolfgang Fach

Evidence-Based Dualism and Transpersonal Psychology, by Charles T. Tart

Dr. Charles T. Tart

Dr. Charles T. Tart

Understanding Ghost Hunting, by Dr. Leo Ruickbie

The Academic Consolidation of Anomalistic Psychology in Brazil, by Vanessa Corredato and Dr. Wellington Zangari

In addition to the variety of topics discussed, I also enjoyed the international aspect of the course. This not only was the case with those who registered, but also from the lecturers. Our presenters who gave their presentations live via the social media teaching platform on were from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Sweden, the UK, and the United States. In the posters there were two additional countries, Italy and Germany.

We hope to continue to organize similar courses in the near future, as well as shorter ones about specific topics. One we are putting together now is about out-of-body experiences. The same goes for online conferences about specific topics, such as the one about parapsychology and psychology.

When we undertook the project we weren’t sure how we were going to manage as neither of us have full-time jobs, but donations from colleagues and contributors, Natasha and Jonathan Chisdes of and Dr. Phil Morse of helped immensely. Even more so was the contribution of our partner in the course, Lisette Coly, President of the Parapsychology Foundation. She attended almost every live class, and is issuing the certificates of completion for the learners who earned them, and who let us put the course before projects she was paying us to do for the Foundation.

We were also helped in the day-to-day tasks of the course by Natasha Chisdes, and Nancy’s colleagues from her teaching online network, Tom Hodgers, Nives Torresi, and Halina Ostancowiz-Bazan, two of our speakers, Cherylee Black and Bryan Williams, and many learners who stepped up to the plate with links, articles, ideas, and general helpfulness, not to mention their grass roots marketing among friends and colleagues.

Perhaps the most important group of volunteers for the course though were our lecturers. Our thanks to all the lecturers for their cooperation. With the exception of one person who refused the invitation because we could not pay for participation given that the course was and still is free, everyone else was delighted to make a contribution to field on a voluntary basis. This shows the commitment and generosity of most people in parapsychology. Far from being stuffy scientists and scholars they are well aware of the importance of spreading knowledge about the field. Without the speakers the course would not have been possible.

All the presentations will be available for free for the next year. Just go to, create a free account, click on the link below, look to the left and click on course schedule, then browse for the lectures you want to see.

Parapsychology MOOC: An Update

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, and Nancy L. Zingrone, PhD, Research Fellows, Parapsychology Foundation

In a recent blog one of us wrote about the free Parapsychology MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) we are organizing to take place in January and February of 2015 (click here ). This course consists of many lectures by guest speakers who have graciously donated their time and effort for this pioneering education effort in parapsychology.

We have 35 events including the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, four WizIQ discussion sessions, the first Second Life Discussion session that starts out on WizIQ, two sessions on completing a certificate for the course (one early to introduce the idea, one late in the course to make sure the folks who want to obtain one know what to do), Carlos’ Intro overview, Nancy’s Geographical overview of research locations, and 26 guest lectures. There are more or two still to add (guest lectures) and a few other presenters who are still working on titles.

So there will be many real-time lectures, a discussion forum, or a class meeting, six days a week from Monday, January 5th, 2015 through Saturday, February 14th. No class activities will take place on Sundays during the course. (Because we’ll need at least one day a week off.)

As of today we have 443 learners. In addition there are 11 lecturers who have also signed up, so that’s 454 in total.

Of the attendees who listed their countries we have: 186 from the USA, 82 from India, 38 from the UK, 29 from Canada, 13 from France, 12 from Australia, 11 from Brazil, seven from Greece, six from the Netherlands, five each from Germany and Italy, four each from Argentina and Puerto Rico, three each from Mexico, South Africa and Sweden, and two each from Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, and Spain.

Then we have the following countries with one registrant each: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Zambia.

For the folks who also uploaded their city, the top 14 cities are Delhi/New Dehli with 12 registrants, eight each from Bangalore, London and Mumbai, six from San Francisco, four each from Chicago, Maharashtra, and Sao Paulo, and three each from Ann Arbor, Buenos Aires, Chennai, Newark, Orlando, and San Juan.

Among the cities with two registrants each are Amsterdam, Atlantic, Dallas, Glasgow, Las Vegas, Leeds, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Nantes, Ottawa, Rome, and Sydney (and a few more). After that we have a wide variety of cities represented with one registrant each, among them, Al Manamah, Albuquerque, Antwerpen, Athens, Berlin, Boston, Brasilia, Bucharest, Cambridge, Canberra, Capetown, Detroit, Edinburgh, Exeter, Florianopolis, Groningen, Ha Noi, Hamburg, Helsinki, Honolulu, Johannesburg, Kiev, Long Beach, Lucknow, Lund, Lyon, Melbourne, Moscow, Nicosia, Northampton, Rio de Janeiro, San Antonio, Seoul, Stockholm, Tuscaloosa, Winnipeg, Wroclaw and Zurich.

Here is the last schedule, which may change slightly:

  1. Monday, January 5th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Opening Ceremonies, Drs. Carlos S. Alvarado & Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  2. Tuesday, January 6th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Overview: Introduction to the Scientific Study of Psychic Phenomena, Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado & Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundaton, USA)
  3. Wednesday, January 7th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Clinical and Counseling Aspects of Psychic Phenomena, Dr. Alejandro Parra (Interamerican Open University & the Institute for Paranormal Psychology, Argentina)
  4. Thursday, January 8th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Paranormal Healing Studies: Research, Practice, and Life Lessons, Dr. Daniel Benor (Wholistic Healing Research, Canada)
  5. Friday, January 9th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Completing a Certificate for Parapsychology and Anomalisitic Psychology, Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  6. Saturday, January 10th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, The Multiphasic Model of Precognition, Dr. Edwin C. May (Laboratories for Fundamental Research, USA)
  7. Monday, January 12th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Dissociation, Identity and Belief: Results from a Multi-Methods Study with Mediums, Atheists, and Others in Brazil, Dr. Everton de Oliviera Maraldi (University of Guarulhos, Brazil)
  8. Tuesday, January 13th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Modern Parapsychology: A Geographic View, Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  9. Thursday, January 15th, 2pm Eastern, The Role of Creativity in Psi Research. Dr. Kathy Dalton (Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  10. Friday, January 16th, 2pm Eastern, Second Life Discussion Forum (Starts in WizIQ, ends in Second Life), Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  11. Saturday, January 17th, 2pm Eastern, WizIQ Discussion Forum, Drs. Carlos S. Alvarado & Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  12. Monday, January 19th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Perceptions of a Paranormal Subject, Joe McMoneagle, USA)
  13. Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Dr. Roger Nelson (Global Consciousness Project, USA), title to come
  14. Wednesday, January 21st, 2015, 11:30am Eastern, Yoga, Siddhis and Psi: Experimental Considerations and Implications, Dr. Sonali Marwaha (Laboratories for Fundamental Research, USA, and India)
  15. Thursday, January 22nd, 2015, 2pm Eastern, WizIQ Discussion Forum (and later in the Second Life Discussion Forum), Drs. Carlos S. Alvarado & Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  16. January 23rd, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Presentiment: An Anomalous Anticipation of Random Future Events, Dr. Thomas Rabeyron (University of Nantes, France)
  17. Saturday, January 24th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Supernormal: Science, Yoga and Psi, Dr. Dean Radin (Institute for Noetic Sciences, USA)
  18. Monday, January 26th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Applied Precognition Research can Bridge the Gap between Skeptics and Proponents, Dr. Michael Franklin (Theoretical and Applied Neuro-Causality Laboratories, USA)
  19. Wednesday, January 28th, 2015, Noon Eastern, Will an Evolutionary Perspective Help Us Understand How Extrasensory Perception Works?, Dr. Richard S. Broughton (Intuition Laboratories & University of Northampton, England)
  20. Thursday, January 29th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Qualitative Study of Mediumship, Dr. Chris Roe (University of Northampton, England)
  21. Friday, January 20th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, WizIQ Discussion and Second Life Discussion Forums, Drs. Carlos S. Alvarado & Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  22. Saturday, January 31st, 2015, 2pm Eastern, We are All Experiencers, Cherylee Black (Canada)
  23. Monday, February 2nd, 2015, Noon Eastern, Implications of Mediumship for the Mind-Brain Relationship, Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida (Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil)
  24. Tueday, Feburary 3rd, 2015, Noon Eastern, Beyond the Brain? Exploring the Neuropsychological Correlates of ESP, Bryan Williams (Psychical Research Foundation, USA)
  25. Wednesday, February 4th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Completing the Course Certificate Revisted, Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)
  26. Thursday, February 5th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, The Potential of Interdisciplinarity: Working between Disciplines to Better Understand Anomalistic Phenomena and Experience, Christopher Laursen (University of British Columbia, Canada)
  27. Friday, February 6th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, What the Study of Religion has to Offer Parapsychology, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University, USA)
  28. Saturday, February 7th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Remote Viewing: Antecedents, Conditions, People, Protocols, Applications, Dr. Paul H. Smith
  29. Monday, February 9th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Dr. Peter Bancel (France), title to come
  30. Tuesday, February 10th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Psi-Related Experiences in Daily Life and Their Relationship to Beliefs, Attitudes and Subjective Well-Being: A Brazilian Survey, Dr. Fátima Regina Machado (InterPsi, University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  31. Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Dr. Fabio da Silva (University of São Paulo, Brazil), title to come
  32. Thursday, February 12th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, The Challenge of Macro-PK, Dr. Stephen E. Braude (University of Maryland-Baltimore County, USA)
  33. Friday, February 13th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Hypnosis and Psi, Dr. Etzel Cardeña (Lund University, Sweden)
  34. Saturday, February 14th, 2015, 2pm Eastern, Closing Ceremonies, Drs. Carlos S. Alvarado & Nancy L. Zingrone (The AZIRE & Parapsychology Foundation, USA)

There are also various poster sessions, that is, the stand-alone PowerPoints that will be uploaded to the WizIQ course room over the next few days. These PowerPoints can be viewed at any time by clicking on the title in the Course Schedule when you are registered for the course. The following are the posters scheduled so far, but we hope to have a few more:

  1. Parapsychology: A Selected Bibliography in English
  2. Animal Magnetism and Psychic Phenomena: The Neo-Mesmeric Movement (prepared by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado)
  3. Robert Van de Castle: Dream Researcher and Parapsychologist (prepared by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado)
  4. Pulse Rates as a Physiological Index of ESP: The Nineteenth-Century Explorations of John E. Purdon (prepared by Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado)
  5. Charles Honorton and Parapsychology (prepared by Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone)
  6. The Parapsychology Foundation: Yesterday and Today (prepared by Lisette Coly)
  7. The Mediumship of Leonora E. Piper (prepared by Dr. Phil Morse)
  8. Current Trends in Parapsychology in Italy (prepared by Dr. Massimo Biondi)
  9. Psi and Death of the Person-Target: An Experiment with Highly Emotional Iconic Representations (prepared by Dr. Alejandro Parra and Dr. Juan Carlos Argibay)
  10. Exceptional Human Experiences (ExE) as a Counseling and Research Topic (prepared by Eberhard Bauer and Dr. Wolfgang Fach)
  11. Understanding Ghost Hunting (prepared by Dr. Leo Ruickbie)
  12. The Academic Consolidation of Anomalistic Psychology in Brazil (prepared by Vanessa Corredato and Dr. Wellington Zangari)

There is still time to register (for free), so we hope to have more persons attending the lectures. To register go here and click on “enroll.” Remember that if you cannot attend in “real time” you can always see the recordings later. Recordings will be available for many months.