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 anomalist.com, survivalafterdeath.org, and paranormal.about.com 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.