The Library

Phantasms of the Living (Volume 1)

(Edmund GurneyFrederic William Henry MyersFrank Podmore)

This two-volume work, co-authored by Edmund Gurney (1847-1888), Frederic W. H. Myers (1843-1901) and Frank Podmore (1856-1910), all leading members of the Society for Psychical Research, was first published in 1886. It documents over 700 case studies of ghost-seeing, and aimed to revolutionise thinking about ghosts by proposing a theory that explained ghost-seeing through the idea of telepathy. Volume 1 includes an introduction by Myers and an explanation of the analytical methods used in the study. It then focuses on hypnotism, the telepathic transference of ideas, mental pictures and emotional impressions, dreams, and hallucinations, and contains an impressive essay on the history of witchcraft. This pioneering study is an indispensable source for the history of psychical research. It provides detailed insights into the Victorian fascination with the occult and the supernatural, and is still the most extensive collection of ghost-seeing accounts available.

Phantasms of the Living (Volume 2)

(Edmund GurneyFrederic William Henry MyersFrank Podmore)

This two-volume work, co-authored by Edmund Gurney (1847-1888), Frederic W. H. Myers (1843-1901) and Frank Podmore (1856-1910), all leading members of the Society for Psychical Research, was first published in 1886. It documents over 700 case studies of ghost-seeing, and aimed to revolutionise thinking about ghosts by proposing a theory that explained ghost-seeing through the idea of telepathy. Volume 1 includes an introduction by Myers and an explanation of the analytical methods used in the study. It then focuses on hypnotism, the telepathic transference of ideas, mental pictures and emotional impressions, dreams, and hallucinations, and contains an impressive essay on the history of witchcraft. This pioneering study is an indispensable source for the history of psychical research. It provides detailed insights into the Victorian fascination with the occult and the supernatural, and is still the most extensive collection of ghost-seeing accounts available.

An investigation into alleged ‘hauntings’

(Richard Wiseman)

In cases of alleged hauntings, a large number of seemingly trustworthy witnesses consistently report experiencing unusual phenomena (e.g. apparitions, sudden changes in temperature, a strong sense of presence) in certain locations. The two studies reported here explored the psychological mechanisms that underlie this apparent evidence of ‘ghostly’ activity.

Belief in the paranormal and suggestion in the seance room

(Richard Wiseman, Emma Greening)

This study shows that believers of the paranormal are significantly more susceptible to suggestion than non-believers.

Belief in psychic ability and the misattribution hypothesis: A qualitative review

(Richard Wiseman, Caroline Watt)

This paper explores the notion that people who believe in psychic ability possess various psychological attributes that increase the likelihood of them misattributing paranormal causation to experiences that have a normal explanation.

HAUNTING PRESENCE: PLACES AND THE PERFORMANCES AND PERCEPTIONS OF THE PARANORMAL

(Mads Daugbjerg, Aarhus University, Kirsten Marie Raahauge)

This paper deals with the ways in which places, people, and stories relate to the paranormal, with a special focus on haunting in Western contexts. It is organized around two analytical takes on ghosts, stories, and perception.

Magnetic Anomalies and the Paranormal

(JOHN D. RALPHS, 2012)

The current interest in the effects of magnetic fields on the brain was originally stimulated by the identification of correlations between some apparently paranormal events (such as hallucinations) and the occurrence of major disturbances to the magnetic field of the earth. This has led to extensive laboratory-based investigations into the effects of magnetic fields on the brain.

Recalling pseudo-psychic demonstrations

(Dr Richard Wiseman)

This paper describes two experiments which investigate how believers in the paranormal (labeled 'Sheep') and disbelievers (labeled 'Goats') recall different aspects of pseudo-psychic demonstrations (i.e., conjuring tricks that can be misinterpreted as genuine psychic phenomena)

BEING SCIENTIFICAL: POPULARITY, PURPOSE AND PROMOTION OF AMATEUR RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION GROUPS IN THE U.S.

(Sharon A. Hill, 2010)

This paper discusses the gap between the scientific community and the lay public regarding the understanding of what it means to do science and what criteria are necessary to establish reliable knowledge about the world.

STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

(Carl C. Bell, MD)

The art of psychiatry offers many different viewpoints from which to catalog behavior and thinking styles and, therefore, many physicians tend to have difficulty in conceptualizing
features of behavioral medicine. A classification of states of consciousness with clinical examples of such states is presented to aid in a more clear understanding of human
behavior.

SURVEY OF CLAIMED ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DEAD

(ERLENDUR HARALDSSON)

In a national survey in Iceland, 3 1 percent of respondents reported “having perceived the presence of a deceased person.” A multinational Gallup survey conducted in sixteen western countries showed widespread claims of personal contacts with the dead, as well as, considerable national differences. Such experiences were reported most frequently by Icelanders and Italians whereas Norwegians and Danes, considered culturally closest to Icelanders, reported the lowest incidence (9%). In the Iceland survey, interviews were conducted with 127 persons on the nature of these experiences, their relationship with the deceased, the conditions under which these experiences occurred, and various characteristics of the interviewees, as well as, the deceased persons. Attempts were made to test some theories of what may elicit such experiences.

The Contribution of Apparitions to the Evidence for Survival

(IAN STEVENSON)

This paper reviews sympathetically the evidence that favors interpreting some veridical apparitions as providing evidence for survival after death and compare this interpretation with those that account for them in terms of extrasensory perception on the part of the percipient or percipients.

THE SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF SURVIVAL AFTER DEATH

(Michael Roll)

The purpose of this pamphlet is only to bring to peoples' attention these exciting discoveries in subatomic physics. My job is easy, all I have to do is point to the books that have been published, but suppressed.

The main reason why this incredible scientific discovery did not cause a revolution at the beginning of this century is because these experiments lacked the backing of any detailed mathematical theory.

THE SCIENTIFIC PROOF OF SURVIVAL AFTER DEATH

(Michael Roll)

The purpose of this pamphlet is only to bring to peoples' attention these exciting discoveries in subatomic physics. My job is easy, all I have to do is point to the books that have been published, but suppressed.

The main reason why this incredible scientific discovery did not cause a revolution at the beginning of this century is because these experiments lacked the backing of any detailed mathematical theory.

Hallucinatory Experiences in Non-clinical Populations

It is now widely recognized that some people hear voices in the absence of distress or a need for psychiatric care. Although there have been reports of such individuals throughout history, until relatively recently there was little empirical research on this population.

Sleeping With the Entity – A Quantitative Magnetic Investigation of an English Castle’s Reputedly ‘Haunted’ Bedroom

Field-based investigations of haunt-phenomena have revealed that magnetically remarkable signatures may exist in specific locations associated with strange experiences. However, no field-study to date has carried out a detailed assessment of both magnetic frequency and amplitude components present in such environments.

Journal of Psychical Research

1909-1910

The Acoustic Properties of Unexplained Rapping Sounds

(BARRIE G. COLVIN)

The wave characteristics of unexplained rapping sounds have been studied and compared with similar sounding raps produced using normal tapping methods. Differences in low
frequency wave properties between the two classes of raps have been noted.

INFRASOUND AND THE PARANORMAL
by STEVEN T. PARSONS

Infrasound has become established within paranormal research as a causal factor in the production of subjective experiences that may be interpreted by the percipient as having a paranormal origin. This paper introduces infrasound and describes the nature of sound and infrasound, its production and measurement and interactions with structures.

Human hearing and the perception of low-frequency sounds and the psycho-physiological interactions between infrasound and human percipients are discussed. This paper will consider infrasound measuring techniques and choice of a suitable sound filter weighting scale, together with a description of equipment designed by the author to permit infrasound monitoring and measuring to be undertaken at selected locations throughout the UK and Eire.

Belief in the Paranormal: A Review of the
Empirical Literature

HARVEY J. IRWIN

Both parapsychologists and skeptics have interests in investigating the nature of belief in the paranormal, albeit with somewhat different objectives in mind. Despite substantial variation across studies in the definition of the scope of paranormal belief, some degree of order can be imposed on the empirical literature by taking due account of the multidimensionality of paranormal belief. In this light, correlates of paranormal belief are surveyed in the domains of demographic variables, other beliefs and activities, cognitive variables, and personality. Particular emphasis is given to the need for a theory of the psychodynamic functions served by paranormal belief.

“Do ghosts exist?”: A summary of parapsychological research into apparitional experiences
Ian S. Baker, University of Edinburgh

This paper was written in order to provide a summary of research into people’s contemporary experiences of apparitions. The material presented here is different to material presented in other papers at the conference in two main respects: firstly, the majority of material examines experiences from a psychological or parapsychological perspective; and secondly, most of the material covered here, whether it is from an experiment or an account of an experience, is from present-day sources, as opposed to the early modern period that most of the papers from the conference were covering.
The aim of this was to provide the delegates at the conference with an idea of how present-day apparitional experiences are actively researched, in the hope that this might provide fresh perspective on historical and literary accounts of apparitional experiences.

Temperature in Haunting Experiences:
A Basic Primer for Paranormal Enthusiasts

BRYAN WILLIAMS, ANNALISA VENTOLA, & MIKE WILSON

Among the various kinds of subjective perceptual experiences that one may report having in a reputedly haunted house, one of the most common may be sensing a noticeable change (typically a drop) in the ambient background temperature within the space of a room (Coghlan, 1998 – 1999; Osis, 1982; Roll & Persinger, 2001; Roll et al., 1996; Turner, 1970). These apparent “cold spots” may occur spontaneously and only be a fleeting feeling, or they may be persistent over time, seeming to be a characteristic part of the haunted locale and perhaps adding to its mystique.

Magnetic Fields and Haunting Phenomena:
A Basic Primer for Paranormal Enthusiasts

BRYAN WILLIAMS, ANNALISA VENTOLA, & MIKE WILSON

Reports of haunting phenomena are often characterized by two types of ostensibly anomalous phenomena that may repeatedly occur over long periods of time in a given location. There are subjective phenomena that tend to be experienced by our senses, such as seeing apparitions or ghosts, sensing an unseen presence (sometimes accompanied by feelings of apprehension or fear), and hearing various kinds of sounds that may either be suggestive of physical disruptions (e.g., crashes and banging noises) or be suggestive of a presence (e.g., voices, footsteps, doors opening and shutting).

Paranormal experience and the COMT dopaminergic gene

Amir Raza,d, Terence Hinesb, John Fossellac and Daniella Castrob

Paranormal belief and suggestibility seem related. Given our recent findings outlining a putative association between suggestibility and a specific dopaminergic genetic polymorphism, we hypothesized that similar exploratory genetic data may offer supplementary insights into a similar correlation with paranormal belief. With more affordable costs and better technology in the aftermath of the human genome project, genotyping is increasingly ubiquitous. Compelling brain theories guide specific research hypotheses as scientists begin to unravel tentative relationships between phenotype and genotype.

“SEEING AND FEELING GHOSTS”: ABSORPTION, FANTASY PRONENESS, AND HEALTHY SCHIZOTYPY AS PREDICTORS OF CRISIS APPARITION EXPERIENCES
By Alejandro Parra

An apparition is an experience, such as a vision or sense of presence, in which another person appears who is often dying or undergoing some other crisis. Six hypotheses were tested: people who see or feel apparitions have a higher capacity for absorption, fantasy, and cognitive-perceptual schizotypy than nonexperients. Six hundred and fifty-six undergraduate students, 76% females and 24% males (age range 17–57), completed four scales. Experients scored higher on absorption (AE: z = 6.06 and SP: z = 5.19), fantasy proneness (AE: z = 4.76) and cognitive perceptual schizotypy (AE: z = 7.01 and SP: z = 8.21) than nonexperients. The results suggest that, apart from the dominant schizotypy proneness, a second dimension (absorption) may underlie the differentiation of the two groups of participants.

The Neuropsychiatry of Paranormal Experiences

Michael A. Persinger, Ph.D., C.Psych

From the perspective of modern neuroscience all behaviors and all experiences are created by the dynamic matrix of chemical and electromagnetic events within the human brain. Paranormal experiences might be considered a subset of these neurogenic processes. Experiences that are labeled as or attributed to paranormal phenomena

1) are frequently dominated by a sensed presence, 2) appear to involve the acquisition of information from distances beyond those normally obtained by the classical senses, and 3) imply distortions in physical time.

Give the Null Hypothesis a Chance
Reasons to Remain Doubtful about the Existence of Psi

James E. Alcock

Is there a world beyond the senses? Can we perceive future events before they occur? Is it possible to communicate with others without need of our complex sensory-perceptual apparatus that has evolved over hundreds of millions of years? Can our minds/souls/personalities leave our bodies and operate with all the knowledge and information-processing ability that is normally dependent upon the physical brain? Do our personalities survive physical death?

DIFFERENCES IN PARANORMAL BELIEFS ACROSS FIELDS OF STUDY FROM A SPANISH
ADAPTATION OF TOBACYK’S RPBS

BY LUIS DÍAZ-VILELA AND CARLOS J. ÁLVAREZ-GONZÁLEZ

The present research had several objectives: (1) to adapt Tobacyk’s (1988) Revised Paranormal Beliefs Scale (RPBS) into Spanish in order to make cross-cultural comparisons possible, (2) to test the reliability and dimensionality of the instrument and check if the previously found dimensions are replicated with Spanish-speaking participants, and (3) to test the hypothesis of the nonequivalence in paranormal beliefs across fields of study groups.

European Journal of Parapsychology, Volume 25 (2010)

A Methodological Issue in the Study of Correlation between Psychophysiological Variables

Reality Testing, Belief in the Paranormal, and Urban Legends

A Parapsychological Perspective on a Recent Study of “Intuitions in the Workplace”

The Effect of Priming of the Film Clips Prior to Ganzfeld Mentation

‘Twitter’ as a New Research Tool: Proof of Principle with a Mass Participation Test of Remote Viewing

The Effect of ‘Sigilisation’ on Forced–Choice ESP Task Success

THE CAPRICIOUS, ACTIVELY EVASIVE, UNSUSTAINABLE NATURE OF PSI: A SUMMARY AND HYPOTHESES
By J. E. Kennedy

Many parapsychological writers have suggested that psi may be capricious or actively evasive. The evidence for this includes the unpredictable, significant reversal of direction for psi effects, the loss of intended psi effects while unintended secondary or internal effects occur, and the pervasive declines in effect for participants, experimenters, and lines of research. Also, attempts to apply psi typically result in a few very impressive cases among a much larger number of unsuccessful results. The term unsustainable is applicable because psi is sometimes impressive and reliable, but then becomes actively evasive.

Arguing for an Observational Theory of Paranormal Phenomena
JOOP M. HOUTKOOPER

The problem of devising a theory for paranormal phenomena
(psi) may be separated into, first, the basic physical mechanism and second, the psychological aspects of how and when people are able to elicit psi. Observational theory addresses primarily the first aspect, the basic physical mechanism of psi. A problem is that the known types of physical interaction do not fit the existing data. The measurement problem in quantum mechanics can be used to hypothesize an observer who adds information at the collapse of the wave function. For each random event one of the possible outcomes becomes realized as the event is being observed. The basic tenet of observational theory is: the statistics of single events become biased if the observer is motivated and prefers one of the possible outcomes over the other.

Are phantasms fact or fantasy?
A preliminary investigation of apparitions evoked in the laboratory

Dean I. Radin, Jannine M. Rebman
Consciousness Research Laboratory, Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

An important but unresolved question about apparitions is whether they are subjective fantasies or whether they reflect some form of objective reality. If apparitions are subjective, they may be best understood in normal psychological terms. If apparitions also involve some form of independent physical reality, the implications of this age-old phenomenon are more intriguing.

Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death

(Frederic William Henry Myers, 1903)

This work comprises two large volumes at 1,360 pages in length and presents an overview of Myers's research into the unconscious mind. Myers believed that a theory of consciousness must be part of a unified model of mind which derives from the full range of human experience, including not only normal psychological phenomena but also a wide variety of abnormal and "supernormal" phenomena.

Origins of Belief in Life after Death, Implications for Survival Research

(Michael Grosso)

This paper discusses two possible origins for the belief in life after death.

A Field Guide to Critical Thinking

(James Lett, 1990)

This article on critical thinking contains the six rules of evidential reasoning and a simplification of the scientific method.

The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (Cemi) Field Theory

(Johnjoe McFadden 2002)

The cemi field theory provides a simple and elegant solution to the binding problem (without recourse to any new physics or metaphysics), and also provides new insights into the nature and significance of consciousness.

An investigation into the alleged haunting of Hampton Court Palace: Psychological variables and magnetic fields

(Dr Richard Wiseman, Dr Caroline Watt, Emma Greening,
Dr Paul Stevens, Ciaran O'Keef)

This paper discusses the extent to which reports of haunting phenomena were related to three variables often proposed to account for alleged hauntings, namely, belief in ghosts, suggestion and magnetic fields. Over 600 members of the public took part in the experiment.

Some Determinants in the belief of Psychical Phenomena

(Erlendur Haraldsson, 1981)

This paper reports further attempts to investigate the psychological dimensions which distinguish believers in the paranormal from disbelievers.

Psychic Experiences in Multinational Human Values Study

(Erlendur Haraldsson, 1981)

This paper looks into the question of how people who report psychic experiences differ from those who do not.

An Apparitional Case of the Bystander Type

(Erlendur Haraldsson)

A case of ' crisis apparition' is reported in which a seriously ill physician has a visual and auditory hallucination of the grandfather of a young colleague who is present at her sickbed. In the hallucination the old man urges the physician to tell her colleague to go to their joint home immediately. When the colleague telephones home at the repeated request of the percipient, she learns that the old man had died unexpectedly a few minutes earlier. Statements made by several persons involved in this case are described and discussed.

An Experimental Test of Instrumental Transcommunication

(Imants Baruss)

As a result of a previous study in which electronic voice phenomenon failed to be found, the author introduced two new elements in an experiment seeking to produce instrumental transcommunication: the creation of text using random text generators and the presence of a medium.

There were 26 experimental sessions carried out from April 28,2003 to August 30,2003 in the Psychology Laboratory at King's University College.

Something in the Cellar

(Vic Tandy)

An investigation into the link between infrasound and the perception of apparitions was performed in the 14th Century
cellar beneath the Tourist Information Centre in Coventry. Based on the effect described in The Ghost in the Machine (Tandy and Lawrence 1998) details of individuals experiences
were recorded and an analysis performed to test for any infrasound present in the cellar. Infrasound was found to be present at the point at which individuals had reported apparitional experiences at exactly the same frequency as that predicted in the original paper.

THEORIES OF HAUNTING: A CRITICAL OVERVIEW

(Peter A. McCue)

The term ‘haunting’ is generally applied to cases involving recurrent phenomena, of a supposedly paranormal nature, that are associated with particular places. Approaches to understanding hauntings can be divided into two categories: those that attempt to explain the manifestations ‘naturalistically’ (e.g. in terms of the misinterpretation of normal sounds or the effects underground water), and those that employ concepts such as telepathy or the laying down of a ‘psychic trace’ in the haunted location. Some psi-based theories posit discarnate agency. ‘Naturalistic’ and psi-based theories are reviewed, and suggestions are made regarding possible directions for future research in this area.

Signal Processing with PRAAT

The aim of this book is to give the non-mathematically oriented reader insight into the speech processing facilities of the computer program Praat.

Using Praat for Linguistic Research

Praat is a wonderful software package written and maintained by Paul Boersma and David Weenink of the University of Amsterdam. Available for free, with open source code, there is simply no better package for linguists to use in analyzing speech.

 

 

 

 

A Two-Year Investigation of the Allegedly Anomalous Electronic Voices or EVP

Controlled experiments aimed at the recording of the purportedly anomalous electronic voices (EVP) were carried out in Vigo, Spain, during the years 2008 and 2009. Dr. Anabela Cardoso (2010) was the research project director and also the main operator of the EVP tests.

 

 

 

 

A Systematic Review on Research on After Death Communication

Experts have defined after-death communication (ADC) in a variety of ways (Guggenheim & Guggenheim, 1995; Houck, 2005; LaGrand, 1997; Long, 1999). Distilling the common features of their definitions yields the following: ADC is a
spontaneous phenomenon in which a living person has a feeling or sense of direct contact with a deceased person.

 

 

 

 

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Fact or Fiction

Throughout the early years of the 21st century there are increasing reports throughout the world of individuals and clusters of people complaining of various clinical in response to minimal exposure of everyday levels of electromagnetic radiation.

 

 

 

 

Six Modern Apparitional Experiences

The early investigators of paranormal phenomena, in the late 19th century, gave much attention to "hallucinations" occurring in ostensibly healthy persons. The term "apparitions" became applied to perceptions of persons who were not physically present to the percipient. The investigators attached special importance to apparitional experiences that either coincided with the death of the perceived person or contained verified details of which the percipient had no normal knowledge.

 

 

 

 

THE HISTORIOGAPHY OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH: LESSONS FROM HISTORIES OF THE SCIENCES
By RICHARD NOAKES

This paper surveys the different uses to which history has been put, and the different historiographical perspectives adopted, in psychical research and related enterprises since
the mid-nineteenth century. It contrasts recent historiographies of the science with those employed from late eighteenth century to the 1960s, and shows how these and other developments in the practice of history have dramatically changed our understanding of the places occupied by psychical research and the ‘occult’ in ‘orthodox’ sciences and wider culture. The second half of this paper outlines some of the key ways in which we can proceed still further in the shift towards better situating psychical research in its contemporary scientific contexts and abandoning rigid and ultimately unhelpful distinctions between ‘science’ and ‘pseudo-science’.

 

 

 

 

The science behind why people see ghosts

By Michael Shermer and Pat Linse

500 years ago demons haunted our world, and incubi and succubi tormented their victims as they lay asleep in their beds. 200 years ago spirits of the departed made bedside visits. More recently green and gray aliens began to molest people in their sleep. What is going on here? Are these mysterious visitors in our world or in our minds?
They are in our minds. All experience is mediated by the brain, which consists of about a hundred billion neurons with a thousand trillion synaptic connections between them. No wonder the brain is capable of such sub- lime ideas as evolution and big bang cosmology. But it also means that under a variety of conditions the brain is capable of generating extraordinary experiences that are not real.

Perception and Hallucination, The Case for Continuity
Charles McCreery, DPhil

This paper discusses what the author considers to be empirical evidence supporting the representative theory of perception as against the theory of direct realism. The majority of the material is taken from research into hallucinatory experiences in apparently normal subjects.

It is argued that many of these involve the complete replacement of the perceptual field with a hallucinatory one, even in cases where only a constituent element is definitely unrealistic, and that these ‘metachoric’ experiences, as they are called, are often phenomenologically indistinguishable from normal perception.

 

 

 

 

Survival or Super-psi?
STEPHEN E. BRAUDE, Philosophy Department, University of Maryland

Even the most sophisticated discussions of the evidence for survival underestimate the conceptual difficulties facing the survival hypothesis. Perhaps the major challenge is posed by the rival "super-psi" hypothesis, which most writers fail to confront in its most plausible and potent form. Once the super-psi hypothesis is taken seriously, two major weaknesses in discussions of survival stand out clearly. First, analyses of apparently anomalous knowledge that tend to be fatally superficial in their treatment of subject psychodynamics. And second, analyses of apparently anomalous abilities and skills trade on an impoverished and naive conception of the nature of human abilities.

 

 

 

 

Apparitional Experiences: A Primer on
Parapsychological Research and Perspectives

BRYAN WILLIAMS, ANNALISA VENTOLA, & MIKE WILSON

We present here a basic and accessible primer for paranormal enthusiasts on what has generally been learned about apparitions by parapsychologists and psychical researchers since the late 19th century. Topics such as the types and possible characteristics of apparitions, experimental approaches, theories and perspectives, and witness characteristics are covered, and are supplemented with illustrative examples and anecdotes from the published case literature.

 

 

 

 

The ‘‘Haunt’’ project: An attempt to build a ‘‘haunted’’ room by manipulating complex electromagnetic fields and infrasound
Christopher C. Frencha,*, Usman Haqueb, Rosie Bunton-Stasyshyna and Rob Davisa

Recent research has suggested that a number of environmental factors may be associated with a tendency for susceptible individuals to report mildly anomalous sensations typically associated with ‘‘haunted’’ locations, including a sense of presence, feeling dizzy, inexplicable smells, and so on. Factors that may be associated with such sensations include fluctuations in the electromagnetic field (EMF) and the presence of infrasound. A review of such work is presented, followed by the results of the ‘‘Haunt’’ project in which an attempt was made to construct an artificial ‘‘haunted’’ room by systematically varying such environmental factors.

 

 

 

 

PARANORMAL BELIEF AND THE
STRANGE CASE OF HAUNT EXPERIENCES:
EVIDENCE OF A NEGLECTED POPULATION

By Brian Laythe and Kay Owen

The current study examines the specific experiences of individuals who have reported haunt phenomena in the context of common paranormal belief measures. One hundred and sixty nine community college students completed online surveys assessing personality traits, cognitive functioning, Tobacyk’s (2004) measure of paranormal belief, Gallagher, Kumar, and Pekala’s (1994) Anomalous Experiences Inventory, and a measure designed for the current study to assess haunting experiences. Results using Spearman correlations show occasional and small relationships between paranormal belief measures and haunting experiences. Contrary to existing literature, t test findings show analytical and personality measures do not significantly differ between those who have experienced haunting phenomena and those who have not.

 

 

 

 

Personality Contributions to Belief in Paranormal Phenomena
Cara L. Smith

Openness to Experience (OE) and Sensation Seeking (SS) combine significantly in prediction of paranormal beliefs. Beliefs were regressed on the six facets of OE with Fantasy as the best predictor, then Feelings, Values, Actions, Aesthetics, and Ideas. Beliefs were regressed on the four subscales of the SS measure with Boredom Susceptibility as the best predictor, then Experience Seeking, Disinhibition Seeking, and Thrill and Adventure Seeking. These findings support the hypotheses that the personality constructs of OE and SS both partially predict belief in the paranormal. OE accounts for a greater portion of the unique variance in predicting such beliefs. These personality constructs are important to the understanding and explanation of divergent belief systems such as beliefs in the supernatural.

 

 

 

 

Complex Visual Hallucinations

M. Manford, F. Aldermann

Complex visual hallucination may affect some normal individuals on going to sleep and are also seen in pathological states often in association with sleep disturbance. The context of these hallucinations is striking and relatively stereotyped, often involving humans and animal figures in bright colors and dramatic settings.

 

 

 

 

Critical thinking ability and belief in the paranormal
Andreas Hergovich, Martin Arendasy

study was conducted to assess the relationship between critical thinking and belief in the paranormal. 180 students from three departments (psychology, arts, computer science) completed one measure of reasoning, the Paranormal Belief Scale (Tobacyk & Milford, 1983), and a scale of paranormal experiences. Half of the subjects filled out the Cornell Critical Thinking Test (Ennis & Millmann, 1985) and the Watson–Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (Watson & Glaser, 2002), respectively. The results show no significant correlations between critical thinking and paranormal belief or experiences.

 

 

 

 

Seeing Things: Visual Recognition and Belief in the Paranormal

Susan Blackmore

Evidence is reviewed suggesting differences in cognitive style between sheep (believers in the paranormal) and goats (non-believers). It is suggested that belief in the paranormal can be increased when people misinterpret chance events as requiring an explanation, or think they see something in noisy stimuli.

Accordingly believers would be expected to be more prone to identifying objects in noisy stimuli.

 

 

 

 

The Ghost in the Machine
Published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research
Vol.62, No 851 April 1998, Vic Tandy

In this paper we outline an as yet undocumented natural cause for some cases of ostensible haunting. Using the first author’s own experience as an example, we show how a 19hz standing air wave may under certain conditions create sensory phenomena suggestive of a ghost.

The mechanics and physiology of this ‘ghost in the machine’ effect is outlined. Spontaneous case researchers are encouraged to rule out this potential natural explanation for paranormal experience in future cases of the haunting or poltergeistic type.

 

 

 

 

ALLEGED ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DEAD:
The Importance Of Violent Death In 337 New Cases
By Erlendur Haraldsson

Personal encounters with the dead are reported by 25% of Western Europeans and 30% of Americans. Three hundred thirty-seven Icelanders reporting such experiences were interviewed at length.

Ninety percent of them reported sensory experiences (apparitions) of a deceased person; 69% were visual, 28% auditory, 13% tactile, and 4% olfactory. Fewer than half of the experiences occurred in twilight or darkness. In half of the cases the experiencer was actively engaged or working. Disproportionately prominent were apparitions of those who died violently and crisis apparitions observed close to the time of death of the person who was perceived, although in the majority of cases, the percipient did not know that the person had died.

 

 

 

 

Paranormal phenomena in the medical literature sufficient smoke to warrant a search for fire
Robert S. Bobrow

Paranormal phenomena, events that cannot be explained by existing science, are regularly reported in medicine. Surveys have shown that a majority of the population of the United States and Great Britain hold at least one paranormal belief. Information was retrieved by MEDLINE searches using keywords ‘paranormal’ and ‘psychic’, and from the author’s own collection. Reports are predominantly by physicians, and from peer-reviewed, MEDLINE-indexed literature. This is a representative sample, as there is no database for paranormal medical phenomena. Presented and discussed are: a case of systemic lupus erythematosis ameliorated by witchcraft; an analysis of studies on distant healing; acupuncture, as a bridge between what is now accepted but recently would have been deemed paranormal.

 

 

 

 

Something in the Cellar
Published in Journal of the Society for Psychical Research,
Vol. 64.3, No 860, Vic Tandy

An investigation into the link between infrasound and the perception of apparitions was performed in the 14th Century cellar beneath the Tourist Information Centre in Coventry. Based on the effect described in The Ghost in the Machine (Tandy and Lawrence 1998) details of individuals experiences were recorded and an analysis performed to test for any infrasound present in the cellar. Infrasound was found to be present at the point at which individuals had reported apparitional experiences at exactly the same frequency as that predicted in the original paper.

Skepticism and Negative Results in Borderline Areas of Science
J.E. Kennedy, 1981

When researchers who are skeptical of the validity of a hypothesis fail to replicate the significant results obtained by those more favorable to the hypothesis, the skeptics often explicitly or implicitly interpret the positive results as being due to some type of experimental error.
The purpose of this paper is to address the other side of the coin, the possibility that, at least sometimes, biased errors by the skeptics play a decisive role in producing their negative results and conclusions. To this end, some cases in which skeptics either carried out research or evaluated the work of others are examined for errors, and then some implications of these cases are discussed.

 

 

 

 

Psychical Research in the Psychological Review, 1894–1900: A Bibliographical Note
Carlos S. Alvarado

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 refl ected the hostility on the topic shown by many psychologists at the time.

Perception and Hallucination, The Case for Continuity
Charles McCreery, DPhil

This paper discusses what the author considers to be empirical evidence supporting the representative theory of perception as against the theory of direct realism. The majority of the material is taken from research into hallucinatory experiences in apparently normal subjects. It is argued that many of these involve the complete replacement of the perceptual field with a hallucinatory one, even in cases where only a constituent element is definitely unrealistic, and that these ‘metachoric’ experiences, as they are called, are often phenomenologically indistinguishable from normal perception.

 

 

 

 

Online Historical Materials about Psychic Phenomena
Carlos S. Alvarado

Readers of Journal of ScientiJic Exploration interested in the history of parapsychology and related matters will find many freely-available books and articles in Google Book Search (http://books.google.com/).

I have presented lists of some of the relevant holdings of this database in a bibliography (Alvarado, 2007b). Here I will focus on examples of a few classic writings available in the collection.

 

 

 

 

Over a Century of Research on After-Death Communication
Sylvia Hart Wright, M.S., M.A.

Unexpected and unsought contact with the dead has been sensed since time immemorial around the world. Serious research on this phenomenon started over a century ago. Ambitious studies done in Britain and France collected thousands of accounts of after-death communication, many of them evidential.
Subsequent studies done here and abroad have documented that it is commonplace for healthy, normal people to have such experiences. This paper outlines the work of numerous researchers in this field.

Neglected Near-Death Phenomena
Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.
University of Virginia

There are a number of important near-death phenomena that
have not received much research attention in recent times. These include visual and auditory experiences, as well as such physical phenomena as breakage or falling of objects reported to take place around the time someone dies. Furthermore, some bystanders at deathbeds have reported seeing apparitions and a variety of emanations coming from the dying person's body, such as mists, lights, or replicas of the dying person's body. In addition to presenting examples of these phenomena, I suggest several topics for further work in this area. Research needs to be conducted on the prevalence and the psychological characteristics of the experiencer.

Hallucinations and Sensory Overrides
T. M. Luhrmann
Department of Anthropology, Stanford University

Hallucinations are a vivid illustration of the way culture affects our most fundamental mental experience and the way that mind is shaped both by cultural invitation and by biological constraint. The anthropological evidence suggests that there are three patterns of hallucinations: experiences in which hallucinations are rare, brief, and not distressing; hallucinations that are frequent, extended, and distressing; and hallucinations that are frequent but not distressing.

The ethnographic evidence also suggests that hallucinations are shaped by learning in at least two ways.

ALLEGED ENCOUNTERS WITH THE DEAD:
The Importance Of Violent Death In 337 New Cases

Erlendur Haraldsson

Personal encounters with the dead are reported by 25% of Western Europeans and 30% of Americans. Three hundred thirty-seven Icelanders reporting such experiences were interviewed at length. Ninety percent of them reported sensory experiences (apparitions) of a deceased person; 69% were visual, 28% auditory, 13% tactile, and 4% olfactory. Fewer than half of the experiences occurred in twilight or darkness. In half of the cases the experiencer was actively engaged or
working. Disproportionately prominent were apparitions of those who died violently and crisis apparitions observed close to the time of death of the person who was perceived, although in the majority of cases, the percipient did not know that the person had died. Reported mode of death and the identity of the deceased persons were verified by checking official records. A fair number of collective experiences were reported, some of which were verified by other witnesses.

The presence of the dead: an empirical study
GILLIAN BENNETT& KATE MARY BENNETT
Manchester Metropolitan University; De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom

It is very common for newly bereaved people to hold on to their spouse’ s possessions, and talk to photographs of them, or to feel that they are still communicating with them. A post-bereavement experience that encapsulates these themes, providing closeness, communication, and the continuation of an important relationship, is the sense of the dead person’ s presence. At its weakest this is a feeling that one is somehow being watched; at its strongest it is a full-blown sensory experience. This experience has over the past 50 years become well documented in medical, counselling and psychological literature. Our discussion is based on two empirical studies undertaken roughly 15 years apart, and it leads us to challenge some assumptions found in the literature.

 

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW, Is There Life After Death? An Examination of the Empirical
Evidence, by David Lester

Alexander Moreira-Almeida, M.D., Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center

The words psychology and psychiatry mean respectively science and medicine of mind. So the study of the mind-body relationship, the source of consciousness and whether it survives bodily death, could be one of psychology’s and psychiatry’s greatest enterprises. Unfortunately, these scientific disciplines have understudied these topics.
Usually, even considering the possibility of a source of consciousness outside the brain or its survival after death is considered heretical and raises doubts about one’s scientific credibility. However, the question of whether the personality survives after death is one of the most important ones a scientist can pose.

 

 

 

 

On the "Types" and Dynamics of
Apparitional Hallucinations

S. Alexander Hardison

The term hallucination carries with it many connotations and associations. Some imagery that might spring to mind are persons resting securely at local asylums in straight jackets, or longhaired, overtly optimistic psychedelic users, with a bent for exploring their consciousness.

But, without delving into the adventures of psychedelic investigators, or taking a trip into the local insane asylum, quite a large number of seemingly ordinary people, scattered amid the population, seem to have experienced visual, auditory and tactile experiences without the aid of any objective stimulus.

More often than not, though not always, these particular forms of hallucination are related to real people, sometimes living and sometimes deceased.

 

 

 

 

Hallucinations, Research and Practice
Jan Dirk Blom ● Iris E.C. Sommer

The scientifi c study of hallucinations is, however, relatively youthful – perhaps a mere 150 years old, beginning with Esquirol and others. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries were a ‘Golden Age’ as far as descriptive psychopathology goes, but of course the neuroscientifi c contribution to psychopathology is more recent, beginning with electroencephalography but now fuelled by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Indeed those of us in the 1990s who had the opportunity to use this ‘toy’ thought that hallucinations were an obvious target and that they would be explained once and for all. All we needed to do was show that the sensory processing areas of the brain ‘lit up’ in response to an hallucination in the same way as they did to an external stimulus and the riddle was solved. Such hubris! In fact this early work did lend support to the idea that hallucinations were indeed sensory phenomena to some extent (David et al. 1996) but, like most research, raised new questions about, for example, the relationships between hallucinations, mental imagery and perception.