Wednesday, September 26, 2007

50th Annual PA Convention: Mediumship

Following lunch on day two, the attendees of Parapsychological Association's 50th Annual Convention settled in for an afternoon of paper presentations on the topic of mediumship. Opening the first session titled Psychology of Mediumship, Alexander Moreira-Almeida, a Brazilian psychiatrist at the Federal University of Juiz de Fora School of Medicine, presented his latest research, Differences Between Spiritist Mediumship and Dissociative Identity Disorder(DID) Based on a Structured Interview. Both mediums and DID patients share the experience of manifesting different personalities. However, the authors hypothesized that only DID patients would exhibit dysfunctionality and other evidence of psychopathology. Almeida and his co-investigators interviewed 24 mediums selected from different Spiritist organizations in Sao Paulo, Brazil using several different established psychiatric and psychological scales. When compared to individuals with DID, mediums differed in having better social adjustment, low prevalence of mental disorders, lower use of mental health services, no use of antipsychotics, and lower histories of physical or sexual child abuse, sleepwalking, imaginary playmates, secondary features of DID, and symptoms of borderline personality. The authors concluded that in their sample of participants, mediums differed from individuals with DID in having better mental health and social adjustment, and a different clinical profile.

Willaim G. Roll, a psychologist at the University of West Georgia presented a paper coauthored with Bryan J. Williams, a student at the University of New Mexico, on Spirit Controls and the Brain. After reviewing relevant research on brain hemisphericity, Williams and Roll propose that spirit controls may be may be conceptualized as mental constructs that are created and personified by the
medium, and that they represent identities consistent with the medium’s left hemispheric sense of self. Comparing spirit controls with the alternate personalities of dissociative identity disorder, the authors discuss how the two are similar in several respects and suggest they may result from the same neurological processes.

Rounding out the session on the psychology of mediumship, Elizabeth C. Roxbourgh, a graduate student at the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes,University of Northamptom, UK, discussed future plans for an exploratory survey on the psychology and phenomenology of mediumship. Roxbourgh plans to explore the experiences of mediums and their insights into the mediumship process using a series of questionnaires and administer them to participants in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Following Roxbourgh's presentation, the convention attendees recessed for a short coffee break, then returned for session titled Mediumship in Latin America. Once again, Alexander Moreira-Almeida opened the session, but he presented a paper on behalf of his coauthor, Angélica A. S. Almeida, a historian at the University of Campinas in Brazil. The paper, titled An "Insanity Factory": Psychiatry vs. Spiritism in Brazil (1900-1950) aimed to investigate the construction of the representation of mediumship as the “Spiritist Madness” and to understand how spiritist mediumistic experiences came to be classified by psychiatrists as causes and/or manifestation of mental disorders at a time when this conflict was most severe in Brazil. Almeida concludes that the conflict between psychiatrists and mediums provided psychiatry with more social visibility and institutional power to treat mental disorders, while also giving influence to the Brazilian spiritist movement with its emphasis on the religious aspects of charity and spiritual consolation.

Sergio Schilling, a Chilean psychologist presented a case study titled Possession Trance and Suicide in a Colombian Tribe. Schilling visited the Embera Union, a community of 350 people located in the northwest frontier of Columbia, where 28 suicides and 26 possession trance episodes have affected young people (especially women) in the village since 2001. His paper briefly discussed his efforts to get to the root of the outbreak by testing the community for sanitary risks that might cause seizures, interviewing survivors and their parents, making a community census, and performing a genetic analysis of community members. Ruling out a number of organic, genetic, and psychological explanations for the recent wave of suicides and possession trance episodes in this small community, Schilling sought the advice and expertise of the convention attendees on how else to investigate the matter.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

50th Annual PA Convention: Psychological Variables

After the morning coffee break, the 50th Annual PA Convention resumed with a session titled Psychological Variables. Professor Chris Roe
of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes at the University of Northampton, UK opened the session by presenting his latest research on Paranormal Belief, Anxiety, and Perceived Control over Life Events. Roe and his coauthor, Claire Bell investigated the hypothesis that paranormal beliefs develop to allay the anxiety of living in an unpredictable and uncontrollable world by offering the promise of order and personal power. Although there is evidence from previous research to support an association between of perceived helplessness, anxiety and paranormal belief, they had not previously been considered together in the same group of participants. Roe and Bell asked 65 participants to complete a battery of questionnaires designed to measure state-trait anxiety, paranormal belief, and participants' estimates of the likelihood of stressful events in their lives as well as their perceived control over those stressful events. No relationship was found between perceived control over stressful life events and paranormal beliefs, but measures of state-trait anxiety correlated significantly with both perceived control and paranormal belief. The authors suggest a model that is broadly in agreement with the hypothesis that paranormal beliefs may develop in some people as a response to anxiety that is evoked by the perception that the world is chaotic and unpredictable.

Dr. Etzel Cardeña of the Center for Research on Consciousness and Anomalous Psychology (CERCAP) at Lund University, Sweden presented a study authored by himself and several CERCAP members titled The Neurophenomenology of Hypnosis. In their study, the authors followed a neurophenomenological approach by analyzing hypnotic experiences parallel to brain processes. The lab selected a group of participants with high, medium, and low hypnotizability and evaluated their cortical activity while the participants responded to various suggestions and spoke aloud their mentations. Analyses using both quantitative and qualitative measures showed that individuals with high, medium, and low levels of hypnotizability experience hypnosis in very different ways. While the experience of low hypnotizables was characterized by normal mentation, that of medium hypnotizables was centered more on bodily sensations and the mentations of highs were characterized by positive affect and mystic-like phenomena. EEG analyses also corroborated differences in brain functioning across levels of hypnotizability. The authors hypothesize that the experiences of highs in "deep" hypnosis is more likely to be conducive to psi phenomena.

The final presentation of the session was given by David Wilde, a Ph.D. student at the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, UK. Wilde discussed the plans for a program of study on The Occurence, Phenomenology, and Psychological Correlates of Out-of-Body and Near Death Experience. The objectives of such research are to elicit phenomenological detail regarding the circumstances surrounding OBE occurences, develop a psychological theory of the OBE, examine the relationship between OBE's and other paranormal experiences and belief, and develop novel methods of the data collection and analysis in parapsychological research. This ambitious project is being undertaken through several phases of research; interviewing participants, data collection through surveys, and finally the participation of OBE experiencers in a web environment.

Following the presented papers, the convention recessed for lunch, with two sessions on mediumship for attendees to look forward to in the afternoon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

50th Annual PA Convention: Forgotten Pioneers of Parapsychology Panel

Day Two of the 50th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association commenced with welcoming remarks from the PA president Rex Stanford and Program Chair of the convention, John Palmer. Then the attendees were treated to a panel titled Forgotten Pioneers of Parapsychology chaired by Carlos S. Alvarado.

Max Dessior (1867-1947), a German philosopher-psychologist, is best known for introducing the term parapsychology, but what else is known about him? Gerd H. Hövelmann presented a short biography about his life. Dessior was considered a young genius and played the violin for the Great Emporer as a child. He was only 20 years when he coined the term 'parapsychology' and published over 100 scientific publications before the age of 26, after which he became a professor of philosophy at the University of Berlin. During his career, he was hired by the Imperial Government to do a study on war psychology. He wrote books on art, aesthetics, the history of philosophy, psychology in everyday life, and on the art of holding public speeches. However, the Nazi's virtually terminated his scientific career in 1933. In 1945, Dessoir's Berlin home was hit by a presumably American bomb, destroying his library and scientific files. He died, forgotten by many, in 1947, but not before writing an autobiography discussing his views on parapsychology. He ended his life as a reluctant believer at least in telepathy.

Carlos S. Alvarado discussed the life of American physician Rufus Osgood Mason (1830-1903), who was a figure in American psychical research. Born in Sullivan, New Hampshire, Mason initially studied at a seminary, and later went to medical school. He practiced medicine in New York City, where he distinguished himself for his defense of the therapeutic use of hypnosis. His major publication in psychical research was his book Telepathy and the Subliminal Mind (1897). Mason's contributions to the field centered about case studies of alleged supernormal phenomena and popularization of psychical research through a series of articles in the 1893 issues of the New York Times.

The parapsychological contributions of Emil Mattiesen (1875 - 1939), a German composer and 'metapsychologist', were presented by Eberhard Bauer. Mattiesen wrote seventeen albums of songs and ballads, but in his double career as a parapsychologist ('metapsychologist') he traveled the world learning about different languages, religions, philosophical and ideological systems. This resulted in his book Man of Next World: An Introduction into the Metapsychology of the Mystical Experience (title translated from German). The book was an ambitious attempt to give the psychology of religion a new basis by integrating paranormal phenomena. Near the end of his life, he wrote a second book called The Personal Survival of Death: An Account of the Empirical Evidence (title also translated). He died of leukaemia at the age of 64. For whatever reasons, Mattiesen's work remained totally unknown to the English speaking world.

Peter Mulacz presented Christoph Schröder's (1871-1952) contributions to parapsychology. Schröder was a German zoologist who specialized in entomology, but little biographical data is known about his life. He published his own journal, Journal for Metaphysical Research (title translated from German), which ran from 1930 to 1941. Schröder was pivotal in parapsychological networking because many noted parapsychologists of his time found a forum to publish their papers in the journals he edited . It is notable that his periodicals were published even during the first few years of World War II.

The career of surgeon and neurologist Orlando Canavesio (1915 - 1957), one of the pioneers of parapsychology in Argentina, was discussed by Alejandro Parra. Canavesio focused on medical and biological aspects of psychic phenomena and founded the Argentinean Medical Association of Metapsychics. He was interested in using EEG in psychical research to study brain activity associated with ESP performance, and did so with many self-claimed psychics. Canavesio's medical dissertation was entitled Electroencephalography in Metapsychic States and it was the first dissertation in Latin America based on a parapsychological topic. He attempted to place parapsychology within government institutions and universities and was a strong defender of the incorporation of parapsychology (or metapsychics) in the chairs of psychology medicine in Argentina.

Charles Edward Stuart (1907 - 1947) was an important member of the Duke Parapsychology Lab from 1931 until his death at age 39. Nancy Zingrone presented some of the highlights of his short career. Stuart obtained a BA in mathematics with a minor in philosophy from Duke University. While an undergraduate, he volunteered to be tested for ESP and wound up being one of the lab's "star" subjects. Stuart became a formal member of the lab after being awarded a Ph.D. in the Duke program in psychology. He contributed to the debate over statistical methods being developed in psychology and parapsychology, and took a lead in the Laboratory's interaction with its critics. In addition to co-authoring an early testing manual and providing a key contribution to Rhine's book Extrasensory Perception after Sixty Years, Stuart conducted and published a wide variety of experiments exploring and expanding upon the current methodologies in the field.

An open discussion about these forgotten pioneers followed the panel presentations. Then the attendees took a coffee break, where we got to chat over a banquet of fruit and pastries and look forward to the next session of presented papers on Psychological Variables.

Friday, September 21, 2007

50th Annual PA Convention: The Journey and Social Reception

This post is the first in a series of reviews and summaries of the 50th annual conference of the Parapsychological Association. As many of you know, I drove over 1400 miles to Halifax, Nova Scotia for the event. I love a good road trip, so we'll begin with a short travelogue.

The journey officially began when I picked up my friend and research partner Devin at a greyhound bus station in Albany, New York. From there we drove to Easthampton, Massachusetts to visit one of our former classmates from the 2001 Rhine Research Center's summer study program, who kindly fed us an excellent vegan meal and hosted us for the evening. It was so good to see and catch up with her after six years. The next morning, our mission was to drive, drive, drive...and then drive some more.

We crossed into the Canadian border into New Brunswick without a hitch, but it was getting late, so we set up camp at the first campground we could find. We ended up at Sunset View Campgrounds near Nackawic, where we got to watch the sun set over the St. John River. The next morning, we still had another five hours to drive to Halifax, with the conference beginning that evening.

As we crossed into Nova Scotia, we stopped at the visitor's center to pick up a free map, and looking around the center, I regretted that we had not allowed any free time in our travel schedule for sight seeing. Nova Scotia is the ocean playground of Canada, but not once during my trip did I get a good view of ocean. The most exciting thing I saw was a sculpture of the blueberry king next to a gas station. So my first lesson of PA conference attendance is to allot an extra day or two for some fun. All work and no play makes Annalisa a dull girl.

Once we did arrive in Halifax, we had an hour to kill and I tried to find a place to dip my toes in the ocean, but we wound up at Point Pleasant Park, which had a nice set of trails and an artillery battery, but no beach front. *sigh*

Soon it was time to find our way back to the Holiday Inn for registration and social reception, which took place around a banquet of finger foods and a cash bar. There were a few faces that I hadn't seen since 2001 at the Rhine, so we got to play catch up. I also made fast friends with a few grad students who had traveled all the way from the United Kingdom for the conference. There were additional people there whom I had been in communication with via my internet and email activities and finally got to meet face to face.

The conference attendance was very small...maybe 50 people or so. Considering that there are almost 300 members and affiliates of the Parapsychological Association, I was slightly disappointed in the low turnout. Still, it was a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with a group of specialists and shake hands with some of the established researchers in the field. It was intimidating and exciting at the same time, finally getting to meet the people whose research I've been reading for almost 10 was almost like getting to meet my favorite super heroes. But parapsychologists are ordinary people with extraordinary research interests, something that I was reminded of throughout the four days of the conference, and something that I hope to impress upon Public Parapsychology readers as well.

Sadly, on day one I had to call it a night before my new friends did. The conference resumed at 9am the next day, and I still had to get to know the kind student at Dalhousie University who was hosting my stay through I hadn't sold enough metaphorical candy bars to afford the Holiday Inn Select, but couch surfing was an excellent experience and the site is one that I'll be likely to use in my travels again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Site:

Berkeley, CA, September 12, 2007 – Throughout history, an understanding of the nature of consciousness has been sought after through a variety of fields of research - philosophy, psychology, biology, neurology, physics, various spiritual and occult systems, and more. Often a seemingly concrete solution to the "problem" of consciousness in one field can be counter-balanced by an equally concrete and very opposite solution in another field. To fully understand and appreciate the mystery of consciousness, a multi-disciplinary approach is indispensable. is the brainchild of consciousness researcher Kevin Kovelant. The plural 'streams' was chosen deliberately, as the study of the nature of consciousness requires a multi-faceted approach. The website features an active blog and impressive array of links to consciousness and dream-related resources online.

“I created this site to be a gateway to the exciting research being conducted in consciousness studies and dream studies,” says site founder Kevin Kovelant. “While I don’t necessarily agree with the results or philosophical conclusions being drawn by all of the research being done in these fields, I believe it is important to keep the dialogue open in order to get a comprehensive view of these fascinating avenues of inquiry.”

For further information, please contact, or visit, on the web.

Kevin Kovelant is currently completing his Masters degree in Consciousness Studies and Dream Studies at John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California.

Monday, September 17, 2007

IRVA Remote Viewing Conference

3-Day Remote Viewing Conference

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Jacques Vallee

"On the Software of Consciousness: Personal recollections from the early days of the remote viewing program"

When and where is it?

The 2007 Remote Viewing Conference will be held on October 19-21, 2007 at the Alexis Park Resort just off the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What is the IRVA Conference?

The event is sponsored by the International Remote Viewing Association, which was organized in 1999 by a group of experts that included the original creators of the government remote viewing program; Dr. Hal Puthoff and Russell Targ, along with other luminaries with long histories in the field, such as past-president of IRVA, Stephan A. Schwartz. Previous conferences have featured Ingo Swan, the father of remote viewing; Dr. Edgar Mitchell, founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, ESP researcher, and Apollo astronaut; Dean Radin, scientist and leading advocate of remote viewing and ESP; and legendary military remote viewer Mel Riley, just for starters.

What should I expect from this year's conference?

This year features scientist and respected UFO researcher Jacques Vallee, model for the scientist character in Stephen Spielberg's classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Dr. Vallee recently revealed that he worked for many years with the government remote viewing program and was one of Ingo Swann's first guinea pigs in learning the CRV (controlled remote viewing) process upon which nearly all modern remote viewing methods are based.

Who will be speaking this year?

The 2007 Remote Viewing Conference will be kicked by Stephan A. Schwartz, who will be speaking on "Opening to the Infinite," exploring what remote viewing tells us about our nature as human beings.

Just a few of the three days of speakers this year include:

Dr. Jessica Utts, Professor, University of California at Davis
Lyn Buchanan, former military remote viewer and Director of P>S>I>
Major Paul H. Smith (US Army, ret.)
George McMullen, Archaeological Remote Viewer
Glenn Wheaton, founder of the Hawaii Remote Viewing Guild

There will also be an opportunity for all attendees to get some basic instruction in remote viewing and try remote viewing for themselves during the "out-bounder" experiment that is a regular and very popular feature of the conference.
or call toll free: 866-374-4782
(9:00am-4:30pm Eastern)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review of Unleashed

Unleashed: Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch is a captivating narrative of the highly publicized events surrounding Tina Resch, from the bizarre occurrences of apparent poltergeist activity in her Columbus, Ohio home, to the mysterious murder of her daughter less than six years later. These events had been previously documented in the form of newspaper articles and conference proceedings, as well as in a segment of Unsolved Mysteries. However, in this book, readers get a behind the scenes look at the case through the eyes of William Roll, an Oxford-educated parapsychologist who acted as an investigator during the events of 1984 and as a friend during the tragedies that followed. With the assistance of creative writing teacher Valerie Storey, Roll's story takes on the tone of a novel, which readers will find easy to finish in just a few sittings and probably leave them agreeing with the adage that truth is stranger than fiction.

The first half of the book is largely devoted to the flurry of unusual activity that took place over two weeks in the Resch home. It began after Tina had an argument with her adoptive father, and ended when Roll and his assistant Kelly Powers left the home, taking Tina with them for further testing. There was a wide range of phenomena that took place in the home. Radios and TV's operated erratically (even while unplugged), the telephone lines became noisy, heavy furniture scooted to greet people, light switches flipped up and down without known human contact, and household objects flew about the house. During that brief period in the Resch home, flying objects had become mundane occurrences, while objects that stayed at rest became oddities. The events garnered the attention of many people in the community, including local religious leaders, journalists and photographers, as well as the famous magician James Randi.

Roll and Powers arrived on the scene ten days after the events began, and immediately witnessed phenomena that could easily be attributed to trickery. It did not help matters that Tina was caught pulling over a lamp on camera during a press conference at the Resch home. However, after some time, Roll witnessed phenomena for himself that he took to be genuine, thus lending credence to some of the accounts of other observers. By the end of his investigation, he counted 87 incidents that were vouched for by observers outside of the home, where he or other witnesses knew Tina's position and the location of the objects before they moved (p.222).

Because of the frequency of the object movements, the book tends to become monotonous as the authors must constantly describe the 'who, what, when, where, and why' of a multitude of similar incidents. Fortunately, the story does not end with those two weeks in the Resch home. Just as the narrative threatens to become tedious, the scene changes as Roll gains permission from Tina's parents to take her to North Carolina and later Florida for further study.

Previous to this development, readers might question Roll's motives. In the first half of Unleashed, it seems as if Tina is a mere subject in the investigator's eyes, but his later actions quickly demonstrate that this was not the case. Tina was invited to participate in several parapsychological studies. Roll and his family opened their own home to the girl at the risk of having their own belongings destroyed. He also solicited the help of volunteer clinical psychologists to counsel Tina and get at the root of her apparent abilities, as well as the help of a medium who sought to help Tina bring her powers under conscious control. Overall, this was a well-rounded approach to the dual goal of helping a troubled teen and gathering information about her abilities.

It is not until the reader is over two-thirds through the book that Roll shares his ideas about the phenomena in a single, dizzying chapter. He attributes the phenomena to several overlapping triggers and causes; a stressful domestic environment, a geomagnetic storm, and the suggestion that Tina had a brain stem anomaly as well as a mild form of Tourette's Syndrome. In the end, Roll suspects that "Tina's RSPK (recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis) may have been a form of Tourette's where the tics and explosive behavior occurred outside of her body in the form of object movements and banging sounds" (p. 216). Due to the narrative tone of the book, Roll also enjoys the freedom to speculate on the mechanisms of psychokinesis and provides a short treatment on the possible physics behind the phenomena. Professionals and educated lay readers might find this chapter to be lacking the depth needed for such discussion, yet for the general reader, it might be too much. Attempting a chapter like this in a narrative is difficult task, however, and the authors still manage to do it with grace.

The story picks up five years later when Tina, a wife and mother, calls Roll complaining of balls bouncing on their own, pieces of silverware bending in their drawer, and unexpected fires starting up in the bedroom, bathroom, and in her daughter Amber's crib. Afraid for her daughter and wanting to separate from her abusive husband, Tina moved to the same town as Roll in hopes of improving her life and giving her daughter a more promising future. Yet once again, she fell for the wrong man, and her daughter mysteriously died while under his supervision. In the end, Tina (now under the name Christina Boyer) was charged for her daughter's murder and agreed to a plea bargain. Despite Roll's many efforts to help her, she is now serving a life sentence.

Unleashed: Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch is a unique contribution to the literature on anomalous phenomena. Whereas many reports of case studies end when the investigators pack their bags, a much larger story is presented here. This book is not just about poltergeists and murder; it is also about the cooperation of professionals, the dynamics between witnesses and skeptics, and the friendship between a parapsychologist and his charge. Roll has investigated many landmark cases over the years, and while most professionals in the field of parapsychology are familiar with the details of these cases, the intricacies have been less accessible to the general public, simply by virtue of the extensive vocabulary required to understand them. It is my hope that Roll will be able to publish more books of this nature about his experiences in the field. Such writings are good for the science of parapsychology in terms of public scholarship, and likely to inspire the next generation of young scientists.

This review previously appeared in:

Ventola, A. (2004). [Review of the book Unleashed: Of poltergeists and murder: The curious story of Tina Resch]. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 18, 703-705.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jessica Utts in the News

The California Aggie online has posted an article about the research of Jessica Utts, a statistician at UC Davis who has done much work in the field of parapsychology.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Photography Exhibit

Public Parapsychology readers may be interested in a forthcoming photography exhibition entitled We Are Witnessing the Dawn of an Unknown Science being held at the Permanent Gallery in Brighton, England. It opens at the end of September and features three contemporary photographers exploring the paranormal and occult through the medium of photography. The exhibition also features material contributed by Richard Wiseman.

Psychical Research Classics Online has some classic psychical research texts online, including early volumes of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research and both volumes of Phantasms of the Living.


Thursday, September 06, 2007

Review of The Gift

Research in parapsychology has tended to follow at least two different avenues of exploration. Many researchers have continued the work of J.B. Rhine by using applied statistics and experimental controls to study ESP in the lab. Others have followed in the tradition of Louisa Rhine, collecting and analyzing the reported spontaneous ESP experiences of people in everyday life. Through decades of research, both methods have yielded clues to solve the mystery of ESP and how it works. Yet as much as the Rhines had hoped that these differing methods would compliment one another, it is sometimes difficult for researchers of these different methods to enter into dialogue with one another.

Dr. Sally Rhine Feather wears many hats. She is an experimental and clinical psychologist, a director of the Rhine Research Center, a wife, a friend, a mother, and the daughter of the late J.B. and Louisa Rhine. If we could expect anyone to create a constructive dialogue between the experimental and case research methods, it would be her. With the assistance of Michael Schmicker, author of Best Evidence, Feather has created a personal and provocative book that rises to this challenge.

At first glance, it looks like The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People might be concerned only with case research. Indeed the majority of these pages contain accounts of people’s spontaneous ESP experiences in their own words. These experiences are clustered around several different themes, such as premonitions about death and disasters, ESP between people who are romantically involved, the ESP of mothers and children, and so on. There is also a unique chapter on the premonitions surrounding the terrorist attacks on September 11th, as well as a chapter discussing the inevitability (or not) of fate. Feather does not rely entirely on the Rhine Research Center’s extensive collection of self-reported experiences for the material in The Gift. Sometimes she provides experiences as related to her colleagues or excerpts from her mother’s journal. Sometimes pseudonymous characters are introduced, and the variety of their experiences emerges at different points throughout the book.

Feather is not concerned with arguing about the reality of ESP. Within the first chapter, she states “there is ample evidence that it exists” (p. 17). Rather, she frames the case material with discussions of what parapsychologists have learned about the relationship between ESP performance and variables such as IQ, gender, age, personality, states of consciousness, and personal belief. When Feather is not discussing laboratory research, she contributes her own perspective while speaking from under one of her many hats. This creates a cohesive whole out of the personal, the anecdotal, and the empirical facets of the phenomena under study.

The result is an excellent introduction for general audiences to ESP phenomena as well as the field that studies it. At the end of the book, there are additional resources for individuals who might wish to learn more. The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People could serve as a prequel to any of the excellent introductory texts that are recommended in its final pages. However, parapsychologists and lay readers will still enjoy reading about these extraordinary experiences as well as reviewing the history of the field from an insider’s point of view.

This review previously appeared in:
Ventola, A. (2006). [Review of the book The gift: ESP, the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people]. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 20, 134-135.