Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Support for Parapsychological Research in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience

Last week, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, an open-access academic publisher and research network, published an opinion article titled "A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness", which calls attention to research on parapsychological topics, such as telepathy and precognition. Organized by Dr. Etzel Cardeña, a professor of psychology at Lund University, the article stresses the following:

  • Research on parapsychological phenomena is being carried out by academics trained in the scientific method, and has been for some time.
  • Positive results from parapsychological studies have been published in an array of peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • Significant support for the existence of psi phenomena has not disappeared under increased experimental controls.
  • Research practices in the field of parapsychology (i.e. meta-analyses, trial registries, and null results reporting) further discourage the idea that these results are due to chance.
  • Like other studies of complex human behavior in psychology and medicine, the effect sizes are typically small and cannot be reproduced on demand.
  • Developing theories of psi phenomena do not necessarily violate the known laws of nature, especially giving consideration to modern theories in physics, and "growing evidence for quantum effects in biological systems".
The article is then signed by 100 university professors from over 20 different countries.

Other commentaries on the internet have characterized this announcement as "legitimizing" parapsychology and psychical research as a science (here and here).  However, I feel that this characterization falls short. 

Members of the Parapsychological Association (PA) were welcomed into the workshop of science almost fifty years ago when the American Association for the Advancement of Science accepted the PA as an affiliate organization. In recent years, around eighty Ph.D.'s have been awarded for research on psi-related topics in the U.K. alone. And as the article points out, over twenty Nobel prizewinners have supported psi research in some form over the years.  

Despite the negative impression given by some critics, the legitimacy of parapsychology as a science has been established for some time.  This is covered in the article's first point.  The next five points are about research results, and that is what makes the publication of this article a bold, and important moment in parapsychological history.

I encourage you to read the more nuanced version of these tenets, as 100 university professors don't simply come together over a few bullet points - but they do come together.  The article is brief, written in plain language, and access is free:

Cardeña E (2014) A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 8:17. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00017

(cross-posted to Reality Sandwich at: http://realitysandwich.com/216628/unified-support-for-parapsychological-research/)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Few PA News Items


The Parapsychological Association (PA) has recently reorganized its membership categories, opening up a new category of "Supporting Membership" for those who want to support the field and enjoy access to the PA's publications and convention videos.  The announcement can be found here, or you can just get right to it and join the PA today.

The PA has also established an email subscription list for those who are not members, but want to be informed of general news and updates.  Sign up here.

Finally, the annual convention of the Parapsychological Association will be happening in Viterbo, Italy this August.  More information is available at their website.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Course at the Rhine Research Center


Investigating Apparitions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists with Loyd Auerbach

In a rare opportunity, the Rhine Research Center, in coordination with famous paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach, presents a professional course in the investigation of apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists. This course is designed for the novice and the experts in field investigations, and it will provide an in-depth study of the techniques used by professional parapsychologists when studying paranormal phenomena outside of the laboratory environment.

This introduction to field investigations is focused on the research techniques used by parapsychologists who study apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists. It includes the basic concepts involved in field investigations, an introduction to the skills needed to perform a scientific examination of these phenomena, and ethical issues associated with such investigations. This course combines scientific methodology and intuitive techniques to provide a well-rounded approach to paranormal investigations.

Students passing the course will receive a certificate signed by Loyd Auerbach and will be entitled to be added to the network of investigators for Loyd Auerbach and the Office of Paranormal Investigators,

When: January 30 - March 20, 2013
Time: Wednesday evenings; 9pm - 10:30pm Eastern Time; or watch the recorded classes anytime
Where: Online Course available from your PC
Prerequisites: None required for this introductory course

Go to www.rhineeducationcenter.org for complete details and to apply for this course.  Space is limited, so apply today!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review of Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader


In 2007, twenty professionals from eight different countries gathered in Naarden, Netherlands to exchange their experiences and scientific knowledge in the field of clinical parapsychology. Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader, edited by Wim H. Kramer, Eberhard Bauer, and Gerd H. Hovelmann was the result of this conference. Containing thirteen contributed articles and an 126 page working bibliography, the book can be considered an up-to-date introduction to this developing field. It can serve as a guide for psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and family doctors who find themselves confronted with clients who report apparently “paranormal” emotional experiences, but do not exhibit the traditional signs of psychopathology.

There are a small number of professionally-staffed outpatient clinics in Europe and South America that serve people experiencing paranormal emergencies. However, resources for those suffering in North America and other parts of the world are limited. Fortunately, several chapters in the book give staff members of these clinics an opportunity to share their methods. In the chapter Experiences with Psi Counseling in Holland, Wim H. Kramer summarizes the types of complaints that are common at his counseling practice and outlines two kinds of therapeutic techniques. Clinical psychologist Ian R. Tierney of the University of Edinburgh offers the Lessons from a Case Study, where he outlines the successes and failures of his therapeutic approach to a particular counseling case in which a woman was distressed by apparent psychokinetic events happening around her. In the Group Therapy Approach to Exceptional Human Experiences, Alejandro Parra presents the techniques applied by the staffed professionals at his Argentinian institute. And the overview of Counseling at the IGPP (Institute for Border Areas of Psychology and Mental Hygiene at Freiburg University, Germany) should be considered required reading for anyone interested in establishing their own counseling practice to serve those distressed by anomalous experiences.

The bulk of Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology contains 2,400 entries of Gerd H. Hovelmann's working bibliography Clinical Aspects of Exceptional Human Experiences. The quality of the material, which spans many different languages and an array of mainstream scientific journals, demonstrates that counseling paranormal experiencers has been more than just a fringe interest for some time. In fact, the sheer volume of research presented in this final chapter seems to run counter to the idea that the worldwide availability of competent clinical services is unsatisfactory. However, as noted by Hovelmann, “up to quite recently there have been only a few systematic, coordinated attempts...to actually provide adequate counseling and treatment models for those who have (or claim to have) such non-ordinary experiences. Much less has there been any concerted effort...to transform empirical research findings, theory building and related treatment models into practical counseling approaches” (p.190). This book may be considered one such attempt.

Whether or not a variety paranormal experiences can be seen as scientifically proven phenomena is still a matter of debate. But reports of distress resulting from paranormal experiences in otherwise psychologically healthy people are widespread. The knowledge and methods shared in Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology can assist professionals who are evaluating these kinds of reports in clinical, counseling, and social welfare settings, and may help them ease the suffering of those who are having a paranormal emergency.

Kramer, W., Bauer, E., & Hövelmann, G. (2012). Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology : An Introductory Reader. Bunnik : Stichting HJBF, 320 p.

To order the book, email hoevelmann.communication@kmpx.de

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Parapsychological Association Convention Comes to Durham, North Carolina


The principal international scientific organization studying parapsychology and the nature of consciousness, the Parapsychological Association (PA), will be holding its 55th annual convention on August 9-12, 2012 at the Millennium Hotel in Durham, North Carolina.  For three days, leading scientists and other academics from around the world will gather to present the latest research into psi (or “psychic”) experiences and related phenomena, such as extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, psychic healing, altered states of consciousness, mediumship and possible survival of bodily death. Hosted by the Rhine Research Center and Atlantic University, the event will be open to the public and to academics alike.

Thomas Robisheaux, Professor of History at Duke University, will be the keynote speaker on Saturday night. His talk titled Looking for Psyche: Historical Reflections on Parapsychology, Psychical Research and the Anomalous Experience will look at the historical conditions that have fostered innovative new understandings of anomalous experiences. Other notable speakers include Daryl J. Bem, social psychologist and professor emeritus at Cornell University, who will discuss the experiences he has had dealing with critics of his well- known ESP experiments, which were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2011.  Research Triangle residents John A. Palmer and James C. Carpenter will also receive distinguished awards.


Licensed child psychologist Athena A. Drewes will be leading two workshops, one on understanding psi experiences and another on creating and facilitating psi experience support groups. Panels honoring William A. Roll and Stanley S. Krippner, as well as workshop on medical dream diagnosis will also be presented.  Additionally, PA members will present a variety of papers and posters from experimental, clinical, scholarly, and analytical research approaches to the study of parapsychology.


The PA convention will offer an unique opportunity for those interested in that wide range of human functioning popularly known as the ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ to hear the latest and most advanced scientific thinking about parapsychological topics. Information on registration and accommodations is available at www.parapsych.org

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Human Experiences Survey

Researchers Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore are interested in learning more about a variety of human experiences, some of which are unusual, but are by no means uncommon in the general population. They are undertaking an online survey to explore individual differences, synesthesia (the tendency for some people to experience two senses together, e.g., colored words or numbers; tasting shapes; spatially organized calendars, etc.), and a variety of anomalous experiences (for example, extrasensory perception).

They would very much appreciate it if you would take the time to complete this online questionnaire, even if you have never experienced the things described on the questionnaire.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HumanExperiencesSurvey

Please email Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore if you have any questions about the survey.
Christine Simmonds-Moore, Ph.D.
University of West Georgia, csimmond@westga.edu

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Clinical Approaches to Exceptional Experiences

A conference co-sponsored by the Rhine Research Center and University of West Georgia Psychology department

This event will take place in Durham, North Carolina Friday 9th and Saturday 10th March, 2012.
The conference includes a Welcome Reception on the evening of Friday 9th March (from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.)and a day long conference on Saturday 10th March. Registration will open from 7.30 a.m. (with coffee available) and presentations running from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

The conference is of particular relevance to those who have an interest in exceptional experiences, those who are working with (or planning to work with) people who have experienced distressing exceptional experiences those who are currently working as clinicians, social workers and nurses (etc.) researchers into exceptional experiences, and those who may want to further understand their own exceptional experiences. CEU credits will be available (those wanting CEU credits will be required to attend the Friday night reception and the conference presentations). 

Topics will include: discussing the types of experiences that people have, normal explanations for distressing experiences (e.g., those which are sleep related), the history of clinical approaches to exceptional experiences, various clinical approaches toward distressing exceptional experiences, insights from practicing clinicians and those who have had exceptional experiences. 

If you are interested in this conference, please register here to join our conference mailing list. We will then be able to send out additional information

Early bird registration will end January 31, 2012.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

New Online Parapsychology Course at the Rhine Research Center

Introduction to Parapsychology (June 29 - August 31, 2011)

This online course will introduce students to the basics of parapsychology; the scientific study of paranormal experiences.  This interesting course will examine case studies and experiments to explore extrasensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis (mind over matter), near death and out of body experiences, apparitions (including ghosts), and modern research in parapsychology.  In addition, there will be special topics presented by noted parapsychologists and leaders in the field including Loyd Auerbach, Mitch Horowitz, and Ed May.  Students taking this course will gain a deeper understanding of subjective paranormal experiences and the nature of consciousness, and learn that there are a variety of ways to explore these fascinating experiences.

This is an academic course designed to provide professional education in the field of parapsychology.  Students will be required to participate in weekly online discussion forums with other students and they will be evaluated on their progress in the course.  Each student will receive a letter grade for the course which may qualify them for a future certificate from the Rhine Education Center.

Participating Instructors:
■Steve Moore, with special lectures by
■Loyd Auerbach
■Mitch Horowitz
■Ed May

Details:
When:Wednesday, June 29 – Wednesday, August 31; One class per week for 10 weeks.

What Time:Classes will be broadcast each Wednesday from 6:30pm –8:00pm Eastern US Time, and they will be recorded for later viewing if you cannot attend the class live.

Where:Since this is an online course, you can access the class from any computer that has a viable internet connection and meets the minimum system requirements.

Cost:$240 per person.
$195 Rhine Research Center member or student enrolled in a degree program.
Note: Class times and dates are tentative and subject to change based on enrollment and instructor availability.
 
 
 
Class space is limited, so please apply early.  All applications must be received before June 15, 2011.
Click here to apply for this course.
(There is a $15.00 non-refundable application fee which can be paid through paypal or by sending a check to the Rhine Research Center.)
 

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Poltergeist Phenomena Primer

Bryan Williams and Annalisa Ventola are pleased to present the 4th installment of our Public Parapsychology primer series.  This edition summarizes the current state of parapsychological research and perspectives on poltergeist phenomena. Topics such as case studies, experimental approaches to poltergeist phenomena, theoretical aspects, and the similarities between poltergeist and haunt cases are discussed and illustrated with examples from previously published case literature.

We hope that this crash course will help clarify misconceptions about what may be fact and what may be fiction when it comes to apparent poltergeist phenomena, and assist paranormal enthusiasts in their approaches to cases that they might come across and investigate.

Download: Poltergeist Phenomena: A Primer on Parapsychological Research and Perspectives

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Parapsychological Association to Host Convention in Brazil

The principal international scientific organization studying parapsychology and the nature of consciousness, the Parapsychological Association (PA) will be hosting its 54th annual convention on August 18-21, 2011 in Curitiba, Brazil. Leading scientists and other academics from around the world will gather to present the latest parapsychological research into psi and other phenomena, such as extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis, psychic healing, altered states of consciousness, mediumship and survival of bodily death. Open to the public and academics alike, with most events in English but simultaneous translation available in English and Portuguese, the PA convention coincides with UNIBEM's 7th Psi Meeting and the 6th Journey into Altered States, adding local academic and experiential dimensions to the combined events.

In addition to hosting the largest contingent of PA members and affiliates outside of the US and Europe, Brazil contains a rich diversity of groups and individuals that engage in a range of apparently paranormal approaches to healing. Curitiba, Brazil is a modern city that has attracted attention around the world for its innovations in sustainability.

The convention will open with a reception featuring the release of the Portuguese edition of the book Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence, first published in 2000 by the American Psychological Association, and edited by psychologists Etzel Cardeña, Steven Jay Lynn, and Stanley Krippner.  Ihnvited speakers include Dr. Wellington Zangari, Professor of Psychology at the University of São Paulo and coordinator of INTER PSI, a laboratory conducting studies and interdisciplinary research at the crossroads between anomalistic psychology and social psychology. Dr. Zangari will be speaking about the new horizons in psi research in Brazil. Dr. John Alexander, a leading advocate for the development of non-lethal weapons and a Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University will provide a cross-cultural review of applications of psi phenomena. Dr Michael Winkelman, author of several books on shamanism, psychedelic medicine, and consciousness will deliver the PA’s annual J.B. Rhine banquet address titled, "Evolved Psychology and the Deep Structure of Psi: The Shamanic Paradigm." Dozens of presentations on a variety of parapsychological topics, as well as a panel session on ayahuasca and exceptional human experiences will round off the event.

The PA convention will offer an opportunity for attendees interested in that wide range of human functioning popularly known as the ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ to hear the latest and most advanced scientific thinking about parapsychological topics.  Additional convention information and online registration is available at www.parapsych.org.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Online Survey Investigating Experiences of Ghostly Phenomena

Dr. Simon Sherwood at the University of Northampton (UK) is conducting an investigation of ghostly phenomena, the circumstances in which it is reported, and the characteristics of people who have and have not experienced it.

You are invited to take part in an online survey.  You need to be at least 18 years of age to take part but you do not have to have experienced ghostly phenomena.

If you are interested in taking part then please visit https://survey.northampton.ac.uk/ghostly.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Parapsychological Association Convention in Paris

Paris to Host Annual Convention of Parapsychologists in July

The principal international scientific organization studying the nature of consciousness, the Parapsychological Association (PA), will hold its 53rd annual convention in Paris, France on July 22-25, 2010.  Members of the PA are engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, precognition and survival of bodily death.  Leading scientists and scholars from universities and laboratories around the world will gather to present and discuss their latest research findings on these sometimes controversial, but always fascinating, aspects of human consciousness. 

The event will feature over 30 presentations on a variety of parapsychological topics. Several presentations will look at historical and case studies of mediums, including a neuroimaging study of mediumistic trance.  Papers examining the effects of geomagnetic activity on psi will also be presented, as well as studies looking at meditation and psychic functioning.  There will be reports of anomalous mental phenomena studied in South America and Tibet, while other studies will look at the experience of telephone telepathy, psychokinetic experiences, and the application of psi in archeology.

The convention’s keynote speaker, Paul Devereux is managing editor and co-founder of the peer-reviewed publication, Time & Mind - The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness and Culture. A research associate at the Royal College of Art and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Devereux was a Senior Research Fellow with the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL) in Princeton for twelve years. He has written 27 books since 1979.  His latest work, Sacred Geography, a look at ancient and traditional mindscapes, is due out in October 2010.

Other notable speakers include Russell Targ, a physicist and author who was a pioneer in the development of the laser and laser applications, and investigator of psychic abilities in the 1970s and 1980s for the CIA.  The winner of PA’s 2009 Career Award, Targ’s invited address is titled, Why I am absolutely convinced of the reality of psychic abilities, and why you should be, too.  Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Saybrook University, fellow of the American Psychological Association, and author of numerous articles and books on dreams, hypnosis, altered states of consciousness, will lead a workshop on psi and creativity.

The convention, which is open to the public and academia alike, will offer a rare opportunity for attendees interested in that wide range of human functioning popularly known as the ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ to hear the latest and most advanced scientific thinking about parapsychological topics .

Hosted by the Institut Métapsychique International and held at Enclos Rey in Paris, full PA convention information can be found at http://www.parapsych.org/convention.




Saturday, May 22, 2010

Online Survey on Parapsychological Experiences


A request from Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., from the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia:

I am conducting an on-line survey to learn more about a variety of experiences many people have had in their daily lives. I hope your answers will help me determine how common these experiences are.

I really hope you will help me in my task! All you have to do is fill out an on-line questionnaire. Completing the questionnaire should take youless than 30 minutes. Whatever your answers may be, whether or not you have had the experiences I mention, your answers are just as important and valuable! Be assured that all your answers will be held in the strictest confidence, and the findings will be presented in such a way that no individual could possibly be singled out or recognized. (There is more information on this issue and other issues in the cover letter and consent form that are included in the on-line questionnaire.)

If you took the on-line questionnaire that I was involved with a couple of years ago, you will find that the demographic, dream and parapsychological experiences questions are pretty much the same. But because the body of the questionnaire is quite different, I hope you won’t mind answering the demographic, dream and parapsychological experiences questions again.

If you’re interested in taking part in the survey, please go to the following website to begin the process: www.studyofhumanexperiences.org/index.html

Monday, May 03, 2010

SSE Meeting Announcement

THE SOCIETY FOR SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION
29TH ANNUAL MEETING
 
ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA
&
CUTTING EDGE ENERGY AND ADVANCED PROPULSION RESEARCH
 
June 10 – 12, 2010.  Millennium Harvest House, Boulder Colorado
 
From June 11 to June 12, scientists and schools from across the world will gather in Boulder for the Society’s annual national conference to discuss anomalous phenomena to include UFOs, ESP, consciousness, healing and other topics on the frontiers of science. This will be the 29th annual meeting of The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) an international multi-disciplinary professional organization of scientists and scholars committed to the rigorous study of unusual and unexplained phenomena that cross traditional scientific boundaries and have been ignored or inadequately studied within mainstream science. The public is invited to participate – the meeting promises to be a lively event.
 
Science has yet to provide all the answers to questions that life on this planet raises. However, few scientists are willing to investigate phenomena outside conventional scientific paradigms. “The Society offers scientists a forum to exchange ideas on how to create new scientific methodologies to measure and assess these phenomena while adhering to objective and rigorous research designs. New paradigms need to be discovered in order for science to make a significant shift into the future”, said meeting Chair, Dominique Surel.
 
This year's meeting will feature three themes: advanced propulsion, cutting-edge energy concepts, and anomalous phenomena. Among the several invited speakers for advanced propulsion is Dr. Eric W. Davis of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin and CEO of Warp Drive Metrics. As a technical consultant and contributor to NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project and co-editor of the new book "Frontiers of Propulsion Science," he will give an overview of the newest developments in his field. 
 
Cutting-edge energy concepts will have several thrusts, including low-energy nuclear reactions (LENL), zero-point (vacuum) energy, and challenges to the second law of thermodynamics. Over the last 15 years it has become apparent from a theoretical perspective that the second law can probably be violated and, if so, the possible implications for science and society -- especially for energy generation -- are enormous. In the last few years experimental tests have become feasible. Among the several speakers on this thrust, Dr. Daniel P. Sheehan from the Physics Department of the University of San Diego will discuss experimental test of the second law. 
 
SSE will also host a number of researchers concerned with anomalous phenomena. Dr. Roger Nelson (PEAR Lab) will discuss the newest findings from the Global Consciousness Project and John Alexander will present "The Real Story of Goats," a scientific discussion on the anomalous phenomena at the heart of the recent movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats." 
 
This meeting is a unique opportunity for scholars and the general public to discover research being conducted at the edge of science. “Scientific enquiry has, over time, elucidated many unexplained anomalies and formulated scientifically proven models that support the findings. Yet these new paradigms generate more unexplained phenomena that push researchers further out onto the edge of scientific exploration” said Dominique.
 
Dr. Urban-Lurain, Director of Instructional Technology Research and Development at the MSU College of Natural Science adds that “SSE members are true-skeptics, pushing the limits of scientific inquiry, and even questioning science’s own assumptions. Is it the edge or is it the fringe? It’s a fine line”.
 
The SSE is a professional organization with 800 members in 45 countries. It publishes a peer-reviewed journal: The Journal of Scientific Exploration, and a magazine entitled EdgeScience.
 
The Meeting is open to the public. Registration fee is $185 and $75 for students. There is a special SSE hotel rate of $99. For additional information, please visit www.scientificexploration.org