As a member of the team I am required to do the SOuL Searchers Parapsychology Certificate Course so I decided to record my homework here. 😀
Page 3 of Module 1 Notes:
Research some of the following famous parapsychologists…
The term parapsychology was coined in or around 1889 by philosopher Max Dessoir, and originates from para meaning “alongside”, and psychology. The term was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research. Parapsychologists study a number of ostensible paranormal phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation and apparitional experiences. (From Wikipedia)
William Crookes ~ 1832-1919
Sir William Crookes, OM, FRS (17 June 1832 – 4 April 1919) was a British chemist and physicist who attended the Royal College of Chemistry, London, and worked on spectroscopy. He was a pioneer of vacuum tubes, inventing the Crookes tube.
In 1870 Crookes decided that science had a duty to study preternatural phenomena associated with spiritualism (Crookes 1870). Judging from family letters, Crookes had already developed a favorable view of spiritualism by 1869. In this he was possibly influenced by the untimely death of his younger brother Philip in 1867 at age 21 from yellow fever contracted while on an expedition to lay a telegraph cable from Cuba to Florida. Nevertheless, he was determined to conduct his inquiry impartially and described the conditions he imposed on mediums as follows: “It must be at my own house, and my own selection of friends and spectators, under my own conditions, and I may do whatever I like as regards apparatus”. Among the mediums he studied were Kate Fox, Florence Cook, and Daniel Dunglas Home Among the phenomena he witnessed were movement of bodies at a distance, rappings, changes in the weights of bodies, levitation, appearance of luminous objects, appearance of phantom figures, appearance of writing without human agency, and circumstances which “point to the agency of an outside intelligence”.
To find support and assistance for his research, he joined the Society for Psychical Research, becoming its president in the 1890s: he also joined the Theosophical Society and the Ghost Club, of which he was president from 1907 to 1912.
His report on this research in 1874, concluded that these phenomena could not be explained as conjuring, and that further research would be useful. Crookes was not alone in his views. Fellow scientists who came to believe in spiritualism included Alfred Russel Wallace, Oliver Lodge, Lord Rayleigh, and William James . Nevertheless, most scientists were convinced that spiritualism was fraudulent, and Crookes’ final report so outraged the scientific establishment “that there was talk of depriving him of his Fellowship of the Royal Society.” Crookes then became much more cautious and didn’t discuss his views publicly until 1898, when he felt his position was secure. From that time until his death in 1919, letters and interviews show that Crookes was a believer in spiritualism.
Albert von Schrenck-Notzing ~ 1862-1929
Albert Freiherr von Schrenck-Notzing (18 May 1862 – 12 February 1929) was a German physician, psychiatrist and notable psychic researcher, who devoted his time to the study of paranormal events connected with mediumship, hypnotism and telepathy. He investigated spiritualist mediums such as Willi Schneider, Rudi Schneider, and Valentine Dencausse.
Max Dessoir ~ 1867-1947
Dessoir was born in Berlin. He earned doctorates from the universities of Berlin (philosophy, 1889) and Würzburg (medicine, 1892). He was a professor at Berlin from 1897 until 1933, when the Nazis forbade him to teach.
In 1889, in an article in the German periodical Sphinx, Dessoir coined the term ‘parapsychology’ (actually in its German equivalent, ‘Parapsychologie’): “If one … characterizes by para- something going beyond or besides the ordinary, than one could perhaps call the phenomena that step outside the usual process of the inner life parapsychical, and the science dealing with them parapsychology. The word is not nice, yet in my opinion it has the advantage to denote a hitherto unknown fringe area between the average and the pathological states; however, more than the limited value of practical usefulness such neologisms do not demand.”
Considered a Neo-Kantian philosopher Max Dessoir founded the Zeitschift für Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, which he edited for many years, and published the work Ästhetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft in which he formulated five primary aesthetic forms: the beautiful, the sublime, the tragic, the ugly, and the comic. He died in Königstein im Taunus.
Gustav Geley ~ 1868-1924
Geley was born in 1868 at Montceau-les-Mines, France. He studied medicine at the Salpêtrière Hospital with the great French anatomist Jean-Martin Charcot, who also mentored Sigmund Freud. His first book: “l’Etre Subconscient,” published in 1899 in Paris, predicated a theory of dynamo-psychism, a sort of internal “soul energy,”. He was a critic of naturalistic theories of evolution and his second book, “From the Unconscious to the Conscious,” developed this into a more comprehensive theory in which he insisted that the phenomenon of “trance mediumship” was a “direct route” to this “soul energy.”
According to some authors, Geley was a very keen, objective investigator and insisted on conducting his investigations under fraud-proof conditions that included both himself and a medium being chained and handcuffed during seances. Spiritist sources consider his paraffin casts of Polish medium Franek Kluski to be compelling proof of the paranormal. After a series of experiments with Kluski in Warsaw, Poland, Geley died in an airplane accident on July 15, 1924. He was 56.
- Geley, G. From the unconscious to the conscious (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1921)
(Text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Geley, image from http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/225386/enlarge)
Joseph B. Rhine ~ 1895-1980
Joseph Banks Rhine (September 29, 1895 – February 20, 1980) (usually known as J. B. Rhine) was a botanist who later developed an interest in parapsychology and psychology. Rhine founded the parapsychology lab at Duke University, the Journal of Parapsychology, and the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man. He also initiated the Parapsychological Association.
Rhine tested many students as volunteer subjects in his research project. His first exceptional subject in this ESP research was Adam Linzmayer, an economics undergraduate at Duke. In the spring of 1931, Linzmayer scored very high in preliminary Zener-card tests that Rhine ran him through; initially, he scored 100% correct on two short (nine-card series) tests that Rhine gave him. Even in his first long test (a 300-card series), Linzmayer scored 39.6% correct scores, when chance would have been only 20%. He consecutively scored 36% each time on three 25-card series (chance being 20%). However, over time, Linzmayer’s scores began to drop down much closer to (but still above) chance averages. Boredom, distraction, and competing obligations, on Linzmayer’s part, were conjectured as possible factors bearing on the declining test results. Linzmayer’s epic run of naming 21 out of 25 took place in Rhine’s car.
The following year, Rhine tested another promising individual, Hubert Pearce, who managed to surpass Linzmayer’s overall 1931 performance. (Pearce’s average during the period he was tested in 1932 was 40%, whereas chance would have been 20%). Pearce was actually allowed to handle the cards most of the time. He shuffled and cut them.
The most famous series of experiments from Rhine’s laboratory is arguably the ESP tests involving Hubert Pearce and J. G. Pratt, a research assistant. Pearce was tested (using Zener cards) by Pratt, who shuffled and recorded the order of the cards in the parapsychology lab 100 yards from where Pearce was sitting in a campus library cubicle. The series comprised 37 25-trial runs, conducted between August 1933 and March 1934. From run to run, the number of matches between Pratt’s cards and Pearce’s guesses was highly variable, generally deviating significantly above-chance, but also falling dramatically below-chance. These scores were obtained irrespective of the distance between Pratt and Pearce, which was arranged as either 100 or 250 yards.
In 1934, drawing upon several years of meticulous lab research and statistical analysis, Rhine published the first edition of a book titled Extrasensory Perception, which in various editions was widely read over the next decades.
In the later 1930s, Rhine investigated “psychokinesis” – again reducing the subject to simple terms so that it could be tested, with controls, in a laboratory setting. Rhine relied on testing whether a subject could influence the outcome of tossed dice – initially with hand-thrown dice, later with dice thrown from a cup, and finally with machine-thrown dice.
In 1940 Rhine co-authored with J. G. Pratt and other associates at Duke Extra-Sensory Perception After Sixty Years, a review of all experimental studies of telepathy and clairvoyance that they could identify in scientific journals and other published sources. It has been recognized as the first meta-analysis in the history of science. In the course of reviewing their methods and findings, it rated the studies on evidentiality, examined hypotheses other than ESP, and discussed what generalizations might be drawn from them. Additionally, as many of those persons as possible who had published criticism of the research were sent drafts of the book, and invited to offer their comments for publication within it. Only three took up the offer, of which only one maintained an adamant criticism.
During the War years, Rhine lost most of his male staff members to war work or the military. This caused something of an hiatus in the conduct of new research, but the opportunity was taken to publish the large back-log of experiments that, since the early 1930s, had been conducted on psychokinesis. After the War, he had occasion to study some dramatic cases outside the lab.
Rhine’s wife, Dr. Louisa Rhine, pursued work that complemented her husband’s in the later 1940s, gathering information on spontaneous ESP reports (experiences people had, outside of a laboratory setting). Yet J. B. Rhine believed that a good groundwork should be laid in the lab, so that the scientific community might take parapsychology seriously.
In the early 1960s, Rhine left Duke and founded the Institute for Parapsychology which later became the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man. In the 1970s, several high-scoring subjects – Sean Harribance, M.B. Dykshoorn, and Bill Delmore – were tested in the lab, shortly before Rhine’s retirement.
Rhine, along with William McDougall, introduced the term “parapsychology” (translating a German term coined by Max Dessoir). It is sometimes said that Rhine almost single-handedly developed a methodology and concepts for parapsychology as a form of experimental psychology; however great his contributions, some earlier work along similar — analytical and statistical — lines had been undertaken sporadically in Europe, notably the experimental work of Sir Oliver Lodge.
Rhine founded the institutions necessary for parapsychology’s continuing professionalization in the U.S. — including the establishment of the Journal of Parapsychology and the formation of the Parapsychological Association, and also the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man (FRNM), a precursor to what is today known as the Rhine Research Center. His parapsychology research organization was originally affiliated with Duke University, but is now separate.
(Text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Banks_Rhine, images from http://parapsychology.bravehost.com/2.html and http://www.simonbacon.com/emperical-psychic-research/)
Charles Honorton ~ 1946-1992
Honorton was born in Deer River, Minnesota on February 5, 1946.
Honorton’s research primarily focussed on ESP phenomena and he claimed that the purpose of his study was to bring the ‘Mind-body’ problem out of the realm of philosophy and into the realm of science. He believed that the various findings of parapsychologists showed a systematic process which was the system onto which ESP and PK (which together are called ‘psi’) are built.
To that end Honorton conducted many ESP experiments, both hypothetical and in the real world, which attempted to focus on replicating data which had been collected by other scientists previously. Honorton’s ultimate goal was to produce a method which could easily detect extended mention functioning. Much of Honorton’s work also concentrated on various states of consciousness and how the brain functioned under abnormal conditions.
During the course of his research Honorton created the Ganzfield technique, a mild sensory-deprevation technique designed to refocus the mind inwards. Honorton produced a lot of his experimental evidence for ESP using this technique. However, after a 1985 debate between Honoton and one of his critics, the procedure was changed in line with peer-reviewed guidelines. After the process had been changed, Honorton was still able to achieve the same results as he had previously.
Honorton rejected the term parapsychology, instead preferring to call it psychophysics. To support this opinion he stated: “for the first time in history, we have begun to forge an empirical approach to one of the most profound and ancient of mysteries, the nature of mind and its relationship to the physical world.”
Honorton was a research fellow at the Institute for Parapsychology Durham North Carolina from 1966–67, a research associate, then senior research associate, then Director of Research Division of Parapsychology and Psychophysics at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York from. 1967-79. After that he became the Director Psychophysical Research Laboratories at Princeton University, New Jersey from 1979-89 and from there he moved on to become a researcher at Edinburgh University from 1991 until his death.
He died in on November 4, 1992 of a heart attack.
Many statisticians argued that the meta-analysis carried out by Honorton to try to prove an underlying pattern behind parasychological studies was ill-conceived and ignored basic rules of mathematics. Honorton continued to claim that his meta-analysis, developed in the 1980s, conclusively proved that paraspychological research was replicable.
Other critics have stated that the Ganzfeld technique is flawed as subjects still have partial awareness of their surroundings and as such could cheat during an ESP test.
(Text from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Honorton, image from http://www.pflyceum.org/105.html)
Susan Blackmore ~ 1951
In 1973, Susan Blackmore graduated from St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, with a BA (Hons) degree in psychology and physiology. She went on to do postgraduate study in environmental psychology at the University of Surrey, achieving an MSc degree in 1974. In 1980, she got her PhD degree in parapsychology from the same university, her thesis being entitled “Extrasensory Perception as a Cognitive Process.” After some period of time spent in research on parapsychology and the paranormal, her attitude towards the field moved from belief to scepticism. She is a Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and in 1991 was awarded the CSICOP Distinguished Skeptic Award.
Blackmore has done research on memes (which she wrote about in her popular book The Meme Machine) and evolutionary theory. Her book Consciousness: An Introduction (2004), is a textbook that broadly covers the field of consciousness studies. She was on the editorial board for the Journal of Memetics (an electronic journal) from 1997 to 2001, and has been a consulting editor of the Skeptical Inquirer since 1998.
She acted as one of the psychologists who was featured on the British version of the television show “Big Brother”, speaking about the psychological state of the contestants. She is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.
- Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-Of-The-Body Experiences, Academy Chicago Publishers, 1983, ISBN 0-586-08428-2 (first edition), ISBN 0-89733-344-6 (second edition)
- In Search of the Light: The Adventures of a Parapsychologist, Prometheus Books, 1987, ISBN 0-87975-360-9 (first edition), ISBN 1-57392-061-4 (second edition, 1996)
- Dying to Live: Near-Death Experiences, Prometheus Books, 1993, ISBN 0-87975-870-8
- Test Your Psychic Powers, with Adam Hart-Davis, Thorsons Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-85538-441-8, ISBN 0-8069-9669-2 (reprint edition)
- The Meme Machine, Oxford University Press, reprint edition 2000, ISBN 0-19-286212-X
- Consciousness: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-515342-1 (hardcover), ISBN 0-19-515343-X (paperback)
- Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2005, ISBN 0-19-280585-1
- Conversations on Consciousness Oxford University Press, 2005 ISBN 0-19-280622-X
- Susan Blackmore (6 January 1990), “Dreams that do what they’re told”, New Scientist 125 (1698): 28–31
- Susan Blackmore (16 September 2010), “Why I no longer believe religion is a virus of the mind”, Guardian
Robert G. Jahn
Frederick W.H. Myers
Charles Robert Richet
Ehrich Weiss – Harry Houdini