As stated at their website, the first purpose of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies is "to encourage dialogue, exchange of ideas and cooperation between clergy, academics of religion and philosophy, scientists, researchers and academics of all scientific and humanistic disciplines in the fields of psychical research and new disciplines, as well as the historic sciences." My impressions at their latest conference suggest that the academy is on track with this purpose. The theme for this year's conference of the ASPSI, What the Bleep do We Know about Life after Death?, is an important question to me and many of my fellow researchers in the field of parapsychology, which is why I found it appropriate to review the conference in this blog.
In the program of the ASPSI conference, the attendees were promised that they would gain the following from attending the conference:
1. Inspiring presentations from some of the leaders in the fields of spirituality and nonphysical studies.
2. New insights on a variety of spiritual and paranormal topics.
3. Ideas that you can use both personally and/or professionally.
4. Meeting and exchanging ideas and information with other attendees and presenters.
I am happy to report that the ASPSI conference fulfilled each and every one of these objectives. I was impressed with the variety of perspectives that were presented. Many of the presentations were given by clinical psychologists, philosophers, religious leaders, and mediums. Personally, I have been absorbed in my own research groove as of late, and most of my professional contacts have been with other scientists. It was refreshing to hear some non-parapsychological, yet critical, perspectives on the survival issue.
I was also impressed with the effort to make the conference financially feasible for attendees. I am an academic patron of the ASPSI. For me, the conference fee was $120, and I had the option of paying and extra $180 for a shared dorm room and meals for the entire conference. That means that for $300 ($400 if you count the $100 cost of academic patronship - which includes a subscription to their quarterly journal, newsletter, and the conference proceedings), one can enjoy the conference, three nights of lodging, and three days worth of meals on the DeSales University campus in Pennsylvania. That is more than reasonable. That's a bargain.
Additionally, because most attendees had their meals in the DeSales University cafeteria (which was not half bad, by the way), there were multiple opportunities to talk and mingle with the presenters and attendees. In fact, I probably talked with more people at this conference than I have in the handful of conferences that I have attended combined.
On the first day of the conference, it was announced that the number of attendees of the ASPSI conference had doubled since last year...probably in no small part to having Dr. Raymond Moody as their keynote speaker. I hope that these reviews will inspire an even larger attendance next year. The 2008 annual conference of the ASPSI will be held on June 6-9 at the same venue. The theme of next year's conference will be Beyond the Veil: Evidence for Life after Death. Hopefully, I will see you there.
The Complete Reviews of the ASPSI Conference:
Day 4: Closing Session
Day 3: Evening Session
Day 3: Afternoon Session
Day 3: Morning Session.
Day 2: Evening Session
Day 2: Afternoon Session
Day 2: Morning Session
Day 1: Keynote Address