Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rhine Research Center Seeks Volunteers

Do you live near Durham, North Carolina?

To help with the increased activity that is occurring around the Rhine Research Center these days, more local volunteers are needed! Advantages include the opportunity to learn more about a fascinating area of nonlocal consciousness from up-close contact with speakers, researchers and others with similar interests, attendance at Rhine Center programs and social events, and the satisfaction of being part of one of the oldest and most respected centers of its kind in the world.

Some of the areas where volunteers are needed include:

1. Telephone coverage for 4-hour blocks of time on a weekly basis.
2. Registration & book sales at evening talks and workshops
3. Greeting and record keeping for daytime meetings, conducting tours as needed.
4. All aspects of publicity from distributing flyers, sending notices to media, to writing articles and notices.
5. Library assistance such as helping implement library management system, preparing for book sales.
6. Backup clerical/mailing duties under direction of Office Administrator.
7. Technical backup or assistance to Audiovisual team as needed.
8. Assisting in various aspects of research, as needed.
9. A Volunteer Coordinator Position is particularly needed to coordinate and expand the Volunteer program. There are opportunities for creative programming, such as initiating a Speakers Bureau, a Docent Program, Book Group.

Volunteers would receive Orientation training, and be asked to attend some weekend meetings if possible. If interested and available, please contact Sally Feather at

Blog Review of Entangled Minds

Mike, a graduate student in psychology, has published a review of Dr. Dean Radin's latest book, Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality at his blog.

Click here to read the review. is a new web site that provides weekly podcasts discussing "new scientific discoveries and the methods for making them." Last week they kicked off the site with an interview with Dr. Rupert Sheldrake on How Controversial Science is Debated. This week's podcast features Dr. Dean Radin, titled The Perils of Psi Research.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Michael Jawer on

The Science and Consciousness Review is featuring an article written by Michael Jawer. I've been personally interested in Jawer's work since he came into the scene a few years ago. In addition to being an independent researcher and director of the Emotion Gateway Research Center, Jawer is an employee of the U.S. General Services Administration. Previously, he worked for the government investigating the 'sick building syndrome' and multiple chemical sensitivities, among other issues. It was part of his job to prepare indoor quality guidance for office building owners and managers.

In the course of that work, Jawer had occasion to speak to people who considered themselves to be suffering from environmental sensitivities and who also reported apparitions and other seemingly paranormal perceptual experiences. As he conducted his research, Jawer began to suspect that a range of odd sensitivities could stem from a common neurobiological foundations. The central thesis of his work is that people who commonly report longstanding allergies, chronic pain and fatigue, depression, migraine headaches, or sensitivity to light, sound, and smell constitute a ‘sensitive’ personality type, and such people are more likely to report anomalous experiences.

I find his thesis both personally and professionally interesting. Being asthmatic and suffering from multiple food allergies (among other things), I find that I conform to his sensitive personality type. And once I get my current study under way, I might be interested in replicating his work...or at the very least, incorporating it into my field research on hauntings.

The article at demonstrates public scholarship at it's very best. After reading about his latest study in plain English, you can find a links to the papers that he references. Kudos to Michael Jawer and for their efforts.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The IJP finally hits the mail

The long-delayed issue -- Volume 12, Number 2, 2001 -- of the International Journal of Parapsychology will be coming off press on January 19th, 2007. Subscribers will receive their copies by mid-February at the latest. Individuals whose subscriptions are expiring with this issue will receive renewal materials with their copy. For a preview of the issue (and for a glimpse into past issues if you're not a subscriber), you can read the abstracts of IJP articles on the following Foundation website page:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series

The Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit of the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London has announced the speakers for the spring term of their Invited Speaker Series.

16 Jan Professor Irving Kirsch
Department of Psychology, University of Plymouth
Placebos and the Power of Belief

30 Jan Dr Peter Naish
Department of Psychology, Open University
Hypnosis and Psychosis: The Temporal Connection

6 Feb Dr Konrad Talmont-Kaminski
Philosophy and Sociology Faculty, Marie Curie-Sklodowska University, Lublin, Poland
In a Mirror, Darkly: Does Superstition Reflect Rationality?

6 Mar Dr Ornella Corazza
Department of Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies
Experiencing near-death states through the use of chemicals

All seminars are held on Tuesdays at 4:10pm in Room 309, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW. All talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. There is no need to book in advance.

For further information contact Mark Williams.

2007 PA Convention

The Parapsychological Association has tentative details for this year's convention available at their website. The convention will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia on August 2-5, 2007. The exact venue is still being negotiated, so specific details are not available yet.

James Randi Changes the Rules

According to Wired News, soon it will be no longer possible for just anyone to take on the James Randi Foundation's million dollar challenge. To submit an application, an aspirant will need to have a 'media profile' and find an academic who will endorse their claims.

In addition, the foundation plans to choose six to eight high profile targets per year and attempt to publicly shame them into taking the challenge. The first four targets for 2007 are John Edward, Sylvia Browne, Uri Geller, and James Van Praagh, none of whom have any interest in jumping through Randi's hoops.

Read the Wired News article here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blog Posts and Articles of Interest

It's been a slow news week as far as academic parapsychology goes, but I've found a number of interesting links that might interest PPB readers:

The journal Consciousness and Cognition has recently published a study demonstrating that participants who have past-life memories had a greater tendency to judge the names of previously presented non-famous people as famous than control participants. The abstract is available online.

Paranormal Magazine reports on declassified army research into animal ESP.

Here's an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove at the Parapsychology Articles and Blog.

The BPS Digest reports on a study investigating the 'dreamy state' in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.

The Science Blog reports on a study investigating whether praying helps cancer patients.

Since parapsychology is a multidisciplinary science, readers might be interested in this look at getting the most out of multidisciplinary teams.

And lastly, my favorite article of the week was a Nature report about an attempt at devising an open peer review system. The experiment was largely unsuccessful, but the author concludes that "there is a possibility that some combination of blogs and wikis might become a partial replacement for the traditional peer review process."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Editorial: Stepping Out

The Public Parapsychology Blog is just few months old, but seems to be growing steadily. Thanks to the attention of a few established web sites such as,, and as well as a number of links from fellow bloggers, this site has quickly gained a small, but dedicated audience. I've received a number of kind emails from individuals of a variety of backgrounds, who all seem to agree that a site such as the PPB was long overdue.

Over the holiday break, I had planned to write a couple of posts using more of a personal tone, but like most people who attempt to have a vacation agenda, I didn't get around to it. With the exception of my inaugural post, What is 'Public Scholarship'?, this blog has been acting as more of a news source than anything else. Though I appreciate all of the links from news sites, I feel as though I should step out from behind the curtain to remind people that I am not a journalist, and I (by my own stringent standards) barely qualify as a parapsychologist either. Still, so many important things transpire in the field without much attention, so I'm happy that the PPB can provide a vehicle for such discussion, no matter my qualifications.

In more personal news, my first technical paper is coming out in the next issue of the Journal of Scientific Exploration. My colleagues and I investigated an allegedly haunted house as well as the thoroughly unhaunted next door neighbor's house. Remaining experimentally blind as to which house was which, we duplicated our efforts over both the target and control houses, and ended up finding a couple measurable differences between the two. It took us several years to get this study completed, so we're very excited to finally see it in print.

Currently, myself and a coauthor are working an online replication of just one segment of that study, dealing with the photographs taken at those sites. The study is being funded by the Parapsychological Association, and we're hoping that we'll have something to report by the annual conference this August.

Last week, I submitted a review of D. Scott Rogo's A Casebook of Otherworldly Music and A Psychic Study of the Music of the Spheres, which were re-released by Anomalist Books in 2005. That review should be coming out in an issue of the JSE in a few months. Now I'm preparing another review of the remaining books in that series, which might appear in print in six months or so, so long as I meet the next deadline.

That's the funny thing about academia. It takes months to get anything done. Every word of every sentence is considered, edited, taken apart, restructured and taken apart again. It's such a stark comparison to the world of blogging, where all one has to do is dribble out a few words and then press the 'publish' button. It's interesting to have a foot in each realm. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so I wouldn't want to have to choose between one or the other. It's interesting to be both a researcher in the field of parapsychology as well as a commentator on it, to be both an insider and an outsider. But perhaps it's because of some aspect of my personality that I find myself fairly comfortable in such liminal situations.

But still, the question of when and how often I should use a personal tone in my own blog remains unanswered. Instead I spent the holiday break fleshing out the 'Explore' box to the right of these posts. Now the PPB has up-to-date links to all of the research centers, organizations, and journals in the field, as well as a bookstore (containing books that I have read and can recommend as well as books that I would like to read) and an events calendar, which I will try to update with important events as I become aware of them. Not a bad way to start the year...

Over the break, I also decided on a simple motto for this blog:

Explore. Support. Participate.

Believe it or not, the acronym formed by this motto was purely coincidental. No matter how I choose to administer Public Parapsychology, it will be a place where the general public can come to explore, support, and participate in parapsychological research. It probably shouldn't matter too much whether I accomplish this aim using a first, second, or third person narrative.

Dean Radin at IONS

The Institute of Noetic Sciences' Shift in Action website features an interview with Dean Radin, parapsychologist and author of Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. In the interview Radin discusses the shift from a mechanistic model of science to one based on quantum interconnection, drawing upon the latest research on the effects of minds on other minds, as well as the environment. Read the Radin interview here.

Public Parapsychology readers might also be interested in visiting Radin's Psi Arcade, where participants can enjoy interactive psi games while contributing performace data to IONS research programs.