A few very brief introductions to Parapsychology, it's research methods and the problem of interpreting the findings:
- Paranormal (1)
- Paranormal (2)
- Parapsychology (1)
- Parapsychology (2)
- Parapsychology (3)
- Weird Science
The Society for Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research was founded in the UK in 1882 and was the first such organisation in the world to subject paranormal phenomena to scientific scrutiny
- The Society for Psychical Research — A general article explaining the function of the socety.
- Humanist attitudes to psychic phenomena — An article by Chris Bratcher, who is a member of the SPR
- Spiritualism – While the SPR sees itself a essentially scientific, the Spiritualist movement is essentially religious
- The Church of England and Spiritualism – This odd little report, provided by Chris Pettit, was written in 1937 and shows the C of E struggling to reconcile itself with spiritualism. Spiritualism appears to give some credence to belief in life after death and yet is embarrassing to the C of E in that the vision of life after death contains no specifically Christian features, such as judgment and redemption.
Brain Chemistry & Belief
Recent research suggests that people who believe in paranormal phenomena have high amounts of a chemical in their brains that enables humans to recognise patterns in their environments. Sceptics, on the other hand, have less of this chemical. So which one should we regard as "disabled"?
- The Telepathy Debate – Transcript of a debate between Rupert Sheldrake and Lewis Walpert on Telepathy. Well worth reading.
Susan Blackmore spent over 25 years researching the paranormal, coming to the conclusion that it does not exist. She is therefore a very interesting case-study of someone who has moved from committed believer to sceptic.
- Susan Blackmore
- Interview with Dr Susan Blackmore – by Jody Franklin
- Why I have given up
- The Elusive Open Mind
Rupert Sheldrake, in contrast to Susan Blackmore, is a believer, but also a proper scientist. He has conducted research into very common forms of telepathy such as the feeling of being stared at when you are not looking at someone and communication with animals - such as dogs who appear to know their owners are coming home.
Nicholas Humphries is a very high profile sceptic. This is a review of his book arguing against the existence of the paranormal.
The Stargate Project
From the 1970s to mid 1990s the US government were financing a spying project using psychics to observe the Russians "clairvoyantly" (Yes - It's true! I know it sounds like something from the X files). The project claimed good results (15% hits!) but a government enquiry eventually concluded that the results were to vague to make the project worth continuing.
- Star Gate – Controlled Remote Viewing Project.
- Stargate Project
- NBC Reveals Psychic Secrets
- Inside the CIA's psychic program
- The Evidence for Psychic Functioning
Two reports on the famous poltergeist which operated for two years at the end of the 1970s in Enfield, UK (I know - not very Gothic is it?). However it's useful to have a case-study in mind when you are thinking about the paranormal.
Loss of belief
- My short love affair with magic – Stuart Brown explains his loss of belief in the paranormal