Category: Education

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.

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

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Nancy Zingrone  and I are organizing a free online course, Parapsychology and Anomalistic Psychology: Research and Education, on the social media teaching platform,, to start Monday January 5th, 2015 and complete Friday February 14th, 2015. The course will be marketed by the WizIQ course group to its 3.5 million teachers and students from all over the world, as well as marketed by us to our various networks and contact lists.


Dr. Stanley Krippner

Dr. Stanley Krippner

This course is being hosted by our virtual/teaching learning project , the Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education (The AZIRE) and the Parapsychology Foundation and its President, Lisette Coly.  The AZIRE’s Board of Advisors are:  Dr. Dean Radin (Institute of Noetic Sciences), Dr. Stanley Krippner (Saybrook University), Dr. Charles T. Tart (University of California-Davis, Emeritus, and Sofia University), Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore (University of West Georgia), Dr. Chris Roe (University of Northampton), Eberhard Bauer (Institüt de Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene), and Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson (University of Iceland, Emeritus).

Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson

Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson

We are styling the course as a MOOC, (on MOOCs click here  and here) that is, a massively open online course—with open enrollment—so that we can reach the widest audience possible with high quality presentations suitable for post-graduate students, young researchers and academics in our field. We are hoping not only to serve our global community of scientists, academics, clinical professionals, and students at the bachelors and post-graduate stages, but also to pull in individuals we have not yet met who have a serious interest in parapsychology.





 If the MOOC is successful, we hope to run it once a year in January/February with a shifting set of speakers. While the WizIQ platform cannot accommodate more than about 5,000 learners—and in all honesty we will count ourselves as successful if we obtain 1/10th of that amount on a yearly basis—we believe that the global reach of our course may help to set our science on a more stable footing, at least in terms of the visibility of the real work going on in the field.

For the first MOOC, we are focusing on five areas: 1) experimental and non-experimental research with a mix of, we hope, review presentations and some specific to a single research program, phenomena, or approach; 2) theories; 3) interactions with other fields, 4) university education; and 5) an ”other” area in which we might include, say, a lecture by a knowledgeable, self-reflective experiencer.

We have set up a schedule of 22 guest speakers for the course, with potential dates of presentation ranging from Tuesday the 6th of January through Thursday the 12th of February. Nancy and I will conduct both the opening and closing ceremonies on Monday, January 5th and Friday, February 13th, respectively. Nancy will also conduct occasional “housekeeping” online meetings for those among the attendees who are interested in obtaining a certificate of completion for the course from The AZIRE, our virtual teaching/learning project.

The Parapsychology Foundation will issue the certificates to all attendees to complete the requirements. To do this attendees may choose between the following: writing and submitting a reflection on 10 of the total number of online meetings, with approved reflections uploaded to the course materials;  completing an informational or expressive project in the virtual world Second Life that will be displayed in The AZIRE Learning Center (we will offer attendees training for accomplishing work in a virtual world), of which a video will be uploaded in the course materials; completing successfully four of the six weekly quizzes that Nancy will write; or by filming a presentation to share with other attendees and speakers in the course materials, or on some other freely accessible online site.

Dr. Chris Roe

Dr. Chris Roe

A few of the confirmed speakers are: Dr. Antonia Mills, Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida, Dr. Alejandro Parra, Dr. Dean Radin, and Dr. Chris Roe.

Dr. Dean Radin

Dr. Dean Radin

If you’re interested in seeing the virtual classroom in action, you can check out the following lecture on our YouTube Channel.

For more information go here and here.

We hope you will be able to join us in this new course.

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

Dr. Larry Dossey

Dr. Larry Dossey

In a previous blog I referred to the problem of having people in parapsychology that are not knowledgeable about the literature of the field. In the blog I cited the following comment by Larry Dossey: “Research involving human intentionality has been done in the field of parapsychology for decades, including hundreds of careful studies in a variety of living systems . . . However, prayer and healing researchers generally appear oblivious to this work. For example, one can read the literature review sections of healing papers and see no mention of prior intentionality studies in parapsychology” (see Dossey, L. (2008). Healing research: What we know and don’t know. Explore: Journal of Science and Healing, 4, 341-352).

Dr. Steve Braude

Dr. Steve Braude

In an editorial published in 2012 in the Journal of Scientific Exploration Steve Braude stated that a “discouraging trend (revealed even more clearly from my privileged perspective as a journal editor) is that too many people publish (or try to publish) books and articles about parapsychology (pro and con), or conduct their own experiments, with little or no grounding in the field’s extensive literature, both empirical and theoretical” (see Braude, S.E. (2012). Editorial.  Journal of Scientific Exploration, 26, 763-766).

Motivation and training in some discipline sometimes is not enough to come into parapsychology to conduct work. Like in any other field you need to know about the conceptual and research tradition of the field you are getting into. As Braude continued in his editorial referring to lack of background knowledge, “this form of naïveté—if not outright hubris—is regrettably quite common, and I encounter it repeatedly in manuscripts submitted to the JSE.”

Unfortunately I have to agree that this problem is widespread. Furthermore, it is not limited to individuals coming from outside parapsychology, some workers in the field also show this problem. Here are some anonymous examples.

*An individual I know is always making comments about what he thinks are “new” contributions, and about their importance, not being aware his points are highly questionable in light of previously published parapsychological research. As a consequence what this person says is ill-informed and many times incorrect.

*Someone recently complained about a particular individual’s lack of knowledge of previous work (even when told about this) shown in presentations and publications. Unfortunately this person gets considerable attention in the press and publishes in high impact journals.

*A group of researchers published a paper about subjective aspects of psychic functioning without mentioning a single similar observation recorded by past researchers.

Dossey referred to this problem in his comment about healing-related research: “This willful ignorance is dreadful, because psi researchers have dealt for decades with issues that are critical in healing research. Decline phenomena and experimenter effects are examples. Moreover, theory development and hypothesis formation in the psi literature is leagues ahead of the situation in healing research in medicine.” Braude put it in stronger terms in his editorial, pointing out how this practice damages parapsychology. In his view, “as a result, simplistic and ignorant opinions (pro and con) about psi research spread and perpetuate.” Furthermore, he wrote, such situation “can only impede the dissemination and recognition of sensible and informed work in the area.”

Braude’s comments are reason enough for worrying about this problem. But the situation is worse when some of these individuals teach others, presenting misconceptions and incomplete perspectives. Furthermore, such ignorance blocks the use of past knowledge to make sense of current work. While there are sociological and historical reasons to question views of the development of science solely as an enterprise based on cumulative knowledge, it is true that those of us who have engaged in research have received useful methodological and conceptual guidance by being informed by previous work on the subject (even when admitting this past may bring its own set of blinders).

Is it too much to ask these individuals to do their homework and become familiar with what they are talking about? No, this is common practice and should also be common sense. The fact this takes place suggests there are several possible explanations I cannot discuss here in any detail. In addition to the arrogance mentioned by Braude, I will just mention belief in one’s brilliance (perhaps a form of arrogance), laziness, or intentional strategies to separate your work from previous parapsychological developments to avoid the perceived stigma some see in parapsychology, or to situate yourself as a pioneer and a central figure. But these speculations are topics for future discussions.

In the meantime at the very least we need—as Dossey and Braude remind us—to be aware of the problem and try to be constructive in terms of providing help to others, which is one of the motivations behind my constant postings about: recent publications in various journals (for examples click here, here , and here), sites with pdf articles (click here, here , and here), and, regarding the historical literature, virtual libraries (for examples click here,  here, and here). In the past, I have compiled works providing bibliographies, among them those posted years back in the website of the Parapsychology Foundation (click here).

This problem cannot be solved overnight. But regardless of what we do—such as paying attention to general information sources (bibliographies, textbooks, article reviews), or the efforts of journal editors and referees, or annoying blogs such as this one—the main thing is to recognize the problem. Due to the lack of formal educational and training programs in parapsychology the only solution is to take responsability and improve ourselves via self-study. This, it seems to me, is common sense when it comes to any discipline. Even those with formal education and training programs need to keep up their studies because no program can be completely comprehensive and every field continues to develop after our personal graduation. Keeping up with our field is a never-ending process, which is a good thing. And having a good foundation, makes keeping up with new research and theory, all the more enjoyable and effective.

Quality Courses in Parapsychology

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

Irwin Education in ParapsychologyWhile parapsychology is an underdeveloped academic field, many of us involved in it have been concerned for years about the lack of proper training and education in the field (for my distinctions between training and education click here). Recent discussions of the problems with this enterprise and the need to improve and expand it have been presented by Harvey J. Irwin  in his monograph Education in Parapsychology  and by Nancy L. Zingrone in her video “Education in Parapsychology: Context, Problems, Needs” (see also one of my blogs).

Zingrone Education in Parapsychology

While there are lists presenting places where courses (click here  and here) and some general thoughtful advice can be found, my interest here is to offer some practical advice regarding choosing courses.

Unfortunately the Web is full of courses that seem to be of low quality and that do not represent the serious scientific parapsychological literature. For this reason prospective students need to do their own research to decide what to do. I am suggesting the following criteria as general guidelines, and not as definitive statements. But bear in mind that I am concerned here with parapsychology as a scientific and scholarly field and not with amateur investigations or with psychic development.

Where is the Course Offered?

The first thing to consider is where are these courses offered? What type of institution or organization is behind the courses? Is this a fly-by-night place, or a place of some reputation such as an accredited college or university? There are respectable private organizations of good standing that are not colleges or universities. These organizations also offer good courses, even if they are not accredited (bear in mind that accreditation may involve factors other than course quality). But there are other places—including unaccredited universities and colleges—that lack such standing.

The point here is to investigate the organization, to find out if they have a history of good work. It is easy to check the website of any organization to see their philosophy. If, for example, they mix occultism with parapsychology, or they do not have a scientific approach, then the courses may not be for you.

Who is Teaching?

Perhaps even more important than the institution or organization hosting the course is the often neglected question of who is teaching it. If possible, and this is not always the case, you can obtain biographical information about instructors that will help you assess the quality of the course. An obvious question here is the educational background of the teacher. Generally in academia individuals with doctoral level training have a better handle on a field (in terms of theories, methods, and findings) than individuals without such backgrounds. Presumably they also have a better sense of the advantages and limitations of the tools used to explore psychic phenomena than persons without such training.

And of course you need to see if this person has a good track record in the field. Has she or he conducted work in the topic of the course? We have a right to have some misgivings about someone who teaches about the history of and research methods of the field, or about theoretical ideas coming from anthropology, medicine, physics, or psychology if that person does not have training in the area. It is common sense to prefer to have someone with some experience in the field teach you rather than someone who has no experience at all, and this is particularly important in a controversial area such as parapsychology. Of course in real life sometimes you have to teach or lecture about something that is not your specialty, and many newly-minted PhDs have to teach university courses outside of their specialties, such as 101 level courses. That’s also true in our field. Nonetheless, these are useful questions to help you decide about which courses you may want to take and which teachers you want to trust.

You may also ask if this person’s work has been presented in peer-reviewed publications. I am not saying that persons without peer-reviewed publications (or doctoral degrees) cannot be good teachers. In fact, some may be better than those with doctoral degrees (because some academics can be kind of stuffy). But in general you want to have information that assures you that the teacher has been well-trained in the topic in question.

When you are assessing a potential teacher and examining their publications you need to make a difference between academic and popular work. Academic publishing gives some assurance that the work is generally acceptable and of quality because it is peer-reviewed (while bearing in mind the subjectivity of the process, the many differences of opinion within academia, and the prejudices against parapsychological work). Again, this is a question of degree, there are some individuals who are very capable and do not have an academic publishing record, so we need to bear that in mind. This includes those who  are in essence pure educators or who have no pretensions or interest in being researchers. But in general, if a potential teacher is only blogging, or writing articles for magazines or newspapers, or blogging on YouTube or elsewhere and does not have any academic publications, they may not be the right teacher for you.

Another useful piece of information to consider is whether the person teaching the course is a member of the Parapsychological Association , the professional association of parapsychological researchers and scholars. This is more impressive if the person is a Full Member, because such level of membership requires more accomplishments. Similarly you may talk to other people in the field about their views of the reputation of capabilities of the teacher. Again, these criteria may be useful, but they are not necessarily conclusive. There are many researchers in the field who are not Full members of the Association, or not members of the PA at all, or who are not prominent enough to be known by others, but still they may have a lot to offer.

PA logo

Finally, I would suggest being careful with those teachers who have set answers for everything, either on the believing or on the skeptical side. Some, inspired by personal experiences, philosophical systems, or just plain panache, claim to know more than the rest of us and sometimes are too sure of their facts. This is a big indicator of possible problems because parapsychology is an uncertain field. It is possible that they are right, but more likely that they are wrong if they take the “my way or the highway” approach to the material. So definitely keep this in mind and compare this individual’s perspective with what you have read and with the approaches of others.

Course Content

Then there is the obvious issue of course content. It is important to investigate whether the course represents generally accepted scientific knowledge in the field, or at least general topics found in the literature, many of which are controversial. Of basic importance here is that the course should be based on scholarly and scientific work published in the main journals and best books in the field.

Currently we have very few courses (if any) that may be labeled as professional education in parapsychology, even if based on serious work. What we have are a handful of good general introductions, either overviews or discussions of specific topics available from various sources.

A general problem are those courses that focus only on the teachers’ own research and theories, especially if they are unpublished in the academic literature. If the course is presented as an overview of parapsychology, or of a particular area, it should represent scholarship and research in the field as a whole and not only the work of the instructor. This does not means there are no good courses that focus mainly on the teacher’s work, but such courses are far from being representative of the field at large. Of course this objection does not apply if the course is openly advertised as one based on the teacher’s work.

Some courses are labeled parapsychology, but they seem to be an excuse to discuss occult practices, psychic development, and many other topics. Be cautious of those courses than present parapsychology solely as the study of hauntings and poltergeists, and particularly when they place much emphasis on the use of “detectors” of spirits, and all sorts of psychic forces. All those topics deserve investigation, but many popular courses present them in exaggerated ways.

Similarly, be sure to distinguish courses based on scientific research from those based on psychic or spiritual sources of information. While fulfilling and important to many people, and possibly containing insights and truths, these are not parapsychology courses. The point is not to put down alternate views and approaches to psychic phenomena, just to establish differences between these approaches and parapsychology.

While much of what I have said may be common sense to some, I believe many are not aware of these issues. I do not oppose courses on some of the topics I have critiqued as long as they are not presented as parapsychology. The field shares things with many practices and psychic movements, but its approach is different.


I am aware that some people may see my ideas and attitude as too stuffy or rigid. But I believe these are important considerations if your interest lies in scholarly and scientific approaches. People use the term parapsychology differently, but we should not be confusing the field with the wider psychic world of beliefs and practices.

I would like to emphasize again that the points I have made are to be considered as general guidelines, not as strict criteria to evaluate courses. It is certainly possible that you can find a good course coming from an organization or a teacher with little or no track record in the field. A teacher may present a good course even if he or she has no graduate education, academic publications, or even if he or she has not conducted research in the area or is a member of the Parapsychological Association. My aim has been to present some general indicators and what I suggest is to use them as a checklist, so that you may decide on courses on the basis of several joint criteria.

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

Dr. James G. Matlock

Dr. James G. Matlock

Anthropologist James G. Matlock , known for his writings about reincarnation and other topics , is offering an online course entitled Signs of Reincarnation . Dr. Matlock describes the course as follows:

“Signs of Reincarnation is a 15-week online seminar course offered through The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education . The course is an interdisciplinary offering that draws on anthropology, consciousness studies, and psychical research, among other fields. It is designed as a graduate-level course to introduce enrollees to academic research on reincarnation (chiefly by Ian Stevenson  and his colleagues) and presupposes some acquaintance with academic argument and the scientific method.

Dr. Ian Stevenson

Dr. Ian Stevenson

The course covers all aspects of research on reincarnation, including reincarnation beliefs, methods of case investigation, findings from investigations, and the interpretation of those findings. It includes original lectures as well as readings from the reincarnation and larger scientific literature and involves participation through discussion among enrollees. It is self-paced with an estimated time commitment of 6-8 hours per week, including discussion periods.”

The course, running from May 26 to September 7 of 2014, includes such varied topics as belief in reincarnation, studies with children, hypnotic regression, theory, and much more (for a detailed syllabus click here). You will find information about the price of the course, and about its schedule, and registration here. For additional questions write to Dr. Matlock (

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

Nancy L. Zingrone  and I  will be offering two online courses via the Rhine Education Center. One is an eight week course about mediumship and the other is a shorter four week course about dream ESP.

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone

Exploring Mediumship Research

In this course students will be given an in-depth look at mediumship research, from the 19th-century to the present. Among the topics will be: the history of mediumship, physical and mental mediumship, the medium in popular culture, and the impact of mediumship research on theory-building in parapsychology, especially on research into survival beyond bodily death.

Dreams and ESP

This four week adult education course will focus on the fascinating topic of dreams and ESP. Topics will include: dreams and ESP throughout history; the famous Dream Telepathy experiments conducted in the 1960s and 1970s; the very interesting connection between precognition (seeing the future) and dreams; and how modern day researchers investigate seemingly psychic dreams.

For the course syllabus and information about specific dates, price, registration, and other issues click here.

Rhine Research Center, Durham, North Carolina

Rhine Research Center, Durham, North Carolina