When multiple mediums attempt to receive After-Death Communications (ADCs) for a single individual (the sitter/subject) who has experienced multiple losses, will accurate and replicable ADC information be obtained? Five highly skilled mediums were flown to the Human Energy Systems Laboratory for research on ADC. An Arizona woman, unknown to all of the mediums, who had experienced six significant losses over the past ten years, served as the primary subject. She filled out detailed pre-experimental questionnaires about her losses. Each medium met individually with the sitter. There was no communication between the mediums about the sessions. Two chairs were placed side by side, a few feet apart, separated by a screen that eliminated visual cues. Except for an initial greeting, the only communications allowed from the sitter were simple yes or no responses to possible questions from the mediums. Nineteen channels of EEG and the ECG were recorded simultaneously from both the mediums and the sitter. Two video cameras recorded the sessions. Verbatim reports were obtained from complete transcripts of the sessions. A second sitter was tested with two of the mediums. The mediums average accuracy was 83% for sitter one and 77% for sitter two. The average accuracy for 68 control subjects was 36%. In a replication and extension experiment, medium's average accuracy in an initial ten minute period that did not allow yes/no questioning was 77%. The data suggest that highly skilled mediums are able to obtain accurate and replicable information. Since all possible measures were taken to eliminate the factors of fraud, error, and statistical coincidence, other possible mechanisms should be considered in future research. These include telepathy, super psi, and survival of consciousness after-death.
Based on the ideas of Evans (1984, 1986, 1987) and insights from a recent content analysis by Houran (in press), we predicted that: 1. entity encounter experiences show a positive relation with scores on the variable known as transliminality; 2. such experiences correlate higher with paranormal beliefs that reflect psychological needs on a personal level ("New Age Philosophy") rather than on a social level ("Traditional Paranormal Beliefs"); and 3. two indices of entity encounter experiences derived from Kumar et al.'s (1994) Anomalous Experience Inventory correlate with one another, thereby providing initial support for the idea that various types of entity encounter experiences are related phenomena. The hypotheses were tested on a sample of 125 first-year psychology students, who completed the Anomalous Experience Inventory and Rasch versions of Tobacyk's (1988) Revised Paranormal Belief Scale and a Rasch version of Thalbourne's (in press) Transliminality Scale. Correlational and regression analyses confirmed predictions, and ancillary analyses supported previous observations that in general entity encounter experiences do not elicit a characteristic affective response: it can be positive or negative. The moderate correlations between these experiences and transliminality and "New Age Philosophy" suggest the possibility of an encounter-prone personality trait that manifests in times of psychological need. A basic psychophysiological model for this process based on MacLean's (1973, 1990) triune brain theory is proposed and practical implications of our findings are discussed.
Stella Cranshaw gave three series of sittings to various groups of people between 1923 and 1928. The observed phenomena included raps, flashes of light, levitations of objects and breaking of furniture. The author assigned a number (the "activity index") to each s?ance according to the degree of physical violence displayed. He found a significant correlation between the activity indices and the recorded falls in temperature during Series I, together with a significant decline effect. Series II showed no decline effect. There was a significant increase in activity during Series III. Light flashes were more common in s?ances with a high activity index, but the effect was only marginally significant. Sittings in which women sitters outnumbered men, or in which the numbers were equal, showed higher levels of activity than sittings in which men outnumbered women. This effect was independently significant in all three series. It is suggested that PK might be regarded as some kind of interpersonal field effect, and that interactions between the sexes may be important in its generation.
Using data from 72 university students, an attempt was made to find a positive correlation between a belief in the paranormal scale and various indicators of religiosity. A number of such correlations were found, suggesting that believers in the paranormal tend to be somewhat more religious.
The 100th anniversary of the death of F. W. H. Myers provides an opportunity to recognize that psychical research, as conceived by Myers, has roots, purposes, and scope far exceeding those usually acknowledged today. In opposition to most scientists, Myers believed that fundamental questions about mind and its relation to matter remain open and are empirical questions, not metaphysical ones only. Myers's great contributions to psychology include his insistence that questions about mind and its relation to matter are the core of psychology, that psychologists must develop their own unique methods to attack such questions, and that the goal of psychology is to develop a comprehensive theory of human personality.
A test was made of the sceptical hypothesis that the statements made by mediums to recipients are so general that they could as readily be accepted by non-recipients. A two year study involving 10 mediums, 44 recipients and 407 non-recipients ostensibly falsified that hypothesis. The average fraction of the set of statements accepted by the recipient was significantly larger than the average fraction of the same set of statements accepted by non-recipients, the probability of the results being due to chance being 5.37 x 10-11 . Details are given of the procedure of data collection and analysis and an objective method of weighting the statements is described. A number of non-paranormal factors are listed and assessed as possible reasons for the seeming falsification of the hypothesis.
A ganzfeld study was conducted in an attempt to confirm the proposed link between creativity and psi (cf. Dalton, 1997). Twenty-four pairs of participants volunteered to be tested, with one member of each pair acting as the receiver and the other as sender. Among a number of measures, all participants initially completed the three activities that make up the figural form and activities 5, 6 and 7 of the verbal form of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Torrance, 1974).
Two experimenters (EM and AA) were present for each trial with one being assigned to the sender (Es) and one to the receiver (Er). Once the pre- measures had been completed, the sender was escorted by Es to the sender's room, where they were shown the target image. All targets and dummies were static pictures drawn by CR from the internet - EM and AA had no prior knowledge of the target pools and CR had no contact with the sender or receiver. The sender and Es remained in the sender's room until after the trial was completed. The receiver was taken to a sound attenuated room where they went through a standard ganzfeld procedure. After 25 minutes the receiver was asked to review their mentation with Er and then view the four pictures that formed the target pool, awarding each a similarity rating (between 0 and 100). The four pictures were rank ordered according to these ratings. There was no time limit to this stage. Once a judgement had been made, the receiver's experimenter collected the sender and the identity of the actual target was revealed.
Of the 24 trials, only five resulted in a 'hit' (a rank of 1) which is slightly below chance expectation. An ESP performance score was derived by calculating the z-score of the target picture rating relative to the other three pictures in the pool. This measure was then used to look for covariation in performance with overall measures of senders and receivers' verbal and figural creativity. Three of the four correlations gave coefficients greater than .3 and are broadly in keeping with previous findings, although none was statistically significant once corrected for multiple analyses. Different patterns of association with creativity subscales were evident for senders and receivers that may suggest that the two roles require different aptitudes.
The sense of being stared at from behind can be investigated by means of simple experiments in which subjects and lookers work in pairs, with the looker sitting behind the subject. In a random sequence of trials the looker either looks at the back of the subject, or looks away and thinks of something else. In each trial the subject guesses whether or not he or she is being looked at. There is a 50% probability of getting it right by chance. More than 15,000 trials have already been conducted, involving more than 700 subjects, with extremely significant excess of correct over incorrect guesses (Sheldrake, 1999), indicating that people really can tell when they are being looked at from behind. In this paper I discuss possible artefacts that could have affected these results and describe the results of experiments carried out in a school in London in which I investigated the effects of blindfolding subjects and giving them feedback about whether their guesses were correct or not. Blindfolding and feedback had no significant effects. Under all conditions the scores in looking trials were positive and statistically significant, and in not- looking trials at chance levels. I also describe the results of a series of experiments carried out in schools in Ireland with blindfolded subjects who were not given feedback. The significant positive scores in these experiments confirmed that the feeling of being stared at from behind does not depend on visual clues, nor does it depend on the subjects knowing if their guesses are right or wrong.
Certain photographs of the healer Matthew Manning appear to show diffraction rings (alternating light and dark circular bands) that could be ascribed to the emission of very high-frequency electromagnetic radiation in the microwave to far infrared region of the spectrum. From well established physical theory the angular sizes of the rings indicate a wavelength in the millimetre range. These observations could have implications for research into the paranormal, and for psychic healing in particular.
In a previous study, it was shown that a significantly higher percentage of a set of statements given by a medium to a recipient was accepted by the recipient compared with the percentage of the same set accepted by non-recipients. A number of non-paranormal factors were identified that might diminish the large gap between the acceptibility levels of recipients and non-recipients. In the present paper a hard protocol is described that may be used to assess the effect of each factor separately. The protocol's single, double and triple blind nature in testing each factor is discussed.
In the classic version of the Indian rope trick the performer first causes a rope to rise into the air. His boy assistant then clambers up the rope and promptly disappears. Next, the performer climbs the rope after the boy and also vanishes. Moments later, dismembered parts of the boy's body fall to the ground. The performer now descends the rope and puts these parts into a basket. Finally, the boy jumps from the basket, fully restored to life. This legendary rope trick has generated over a hundred years of debate among scientists, psychical researchers, journalists, magicians and the public. This paper is an attempt to present a comprehensive solution to the legend. The paper describes how the legend of the trick became known in the West via a hoax article carried by an American newspaper in 1890. The paper then notes how the legend gained momentum when witnesses claimed to have actually seen the trick, and occasionally produced photographic and cine-film evidence to support their claims. The paper presents a detailed critique of this evidence and concludes that it is less than convincing. The photographic and cine-film evidence is either inauthentic or hoaxed, and the eyewitness accounts were unreliable. The paper then outlines how those who believed in the reality of the trick attempted to account for the illusion, and notes how writers variously argued that the trick was a genuine paranormal event, the result of mass hallucination or a magic trick. A final section of the paper considers why the legend of the trick has achieved worldwide popularity.
Reports of out-of-body experience (OBE) challenge ideas of what is `normal' and what is `real', and call for clear understanding of spatial relationships that may be involved. Such challenges are examined under the heads: reality rating, classification, and ontology. Ontological issues are seen to be primary. Among currently predominant theories, one that treats OBE as imaginal or hallucinatory is considered not well supported by many reports of OBE, and the alternative theory involving separation of some non-physical element in a single physical spatial field is questioned as being illogical. In line with current multi-space thinking, a definition of separative OBE is seen to require, as one element, experience in a non-physical state. It is suggested that a major challenge to OBE research is to broaden its scope to examine what processes underlie the manifestation of a world on any occasion of observation in a variety of states.
The paper describes an investigation by two researchers into a recent report of psychokinetic activity surrounding a seven-year-old boy. Knocking sounds for which no natural explanation could be provided were witnessed on three occasions and recorded on camcorder and tape-recorder.
In support of a psychodynamic model of apparitional experiences, Houran and Thalbourne (2001) found that three indices of 'entity encounter experiences' showed stronger correlations with New Age Philosophy than with Traditional Paranormal Beliefs. However, no statistical tests of difference were performed and reported to validate these findings. This note presents such analyses. Results support the original conclusions, except that no statistically significant difference was found between the single perception of an apparition and the two types of paranormal beliefs.
A review of the current neurochemical and psychophysiological theories of the NDE shows these to have significant inconsistencies and limitations. These theories are reductionistic as regards the role of consciousness and the self in NDEs. On the other hand, the terms "consciousness" and "the self" are now being used in cognitive and developmental psychology in almost non-reductionistic ways. Contemporary usage there emphasises their innate structure and their executive roles in organising experience. The review of work on NDEs suggests that during last 25 years since Moody?s pioneering work little progress has been made towards understanding the nature of these experiences. It is argued that real progress can only be made in elucidating the nature of these experiences when the claims of veridical psi-phenomena in the context of NDEs are given the appropriate study and evaluated in the context of contemporary parapsychology and psychology.
Questionnaire research indicates that the experience of apparitions and other "entity encounter experiences (EEEs)" is positively correlated with scores on Thalbourne's Transliminality Scale, as well as being more highly correlated with the New Age Philosophy factor of the "top-down purified" version of Tobacyk's Revised Paranormal Belief Scale rather than with the Traditional Paranormal Belief factor. These findings characterize individuals reporting apparitions as highly transliminal and endorsing a set of beliefs that apparently give them a sense of control over interpersonal events. However, a case study of a young woman claiming a history of various types of EEEs revealed average scores on transliminality and New Age Philosophy. Instead, she scored somewhat highly on Traditional Paranormal Belief and accounts of her experiences suggested that they were facilitated by suggestion effects surrounding group religious rituals. Consistent with this profile, other personality testing revealed a low tolerance of ambiguity and slightly above average fantasy proneness. We interpret the results as suggesting that transliminality acts as both a trait and state variable depending on the neurological make-up of the individual. A refined psychophysical model is proposed in which the brain system of high transliminals is conceptualized as being conducive for spontaneous experiences under a host of contexts, whereas average (and perhaps low) transliminals are conceptualized as experiencing anomalous experiences under certain arousal states. This refined theory of transliminality has implications for general models of paranormal belief by suggesting that individuals endorsing a New Age Philosophy come to acquire paranormal beliefs mostly through direct experience, while a priori belief leads to anomalous experiences most often in those endorsing Traditional Paranormal Beliefs.
Can mediums receive highly accurate and specific information under laboratory controlled blind conditions: (1) prior to the scheduled time of the reading, and (2) during the reading in the absence of visual, auditory, or other potential sensory cues? A medium who for the last three years has been participating in the research conducted at the Human Energy Systems Laboratory at the University of Arizona took part in a novel experiment with a unique sitter she did not know. The medium was in Tucson, Arizona; the sitter (also a medium) was in Los Angeles, California. The experimental design involved three phases: Phase 1, a pre-reading contemplation period where the medium attempted to receive information about the sitter's deceased loved ones before the reading began; Phase 2, a sitter-silent period where the telephone was on mute so that the sitter could not hear the information received by the medium; and Phase 3, an actual telephone reading involving dialogue between the medium and the sitter. Specific and accurate information regarding names and relationships was obtained during Phases 1 and 2, while information obtained during Phase 3 included four pieces of specific information unknown to the sitter and later confirmed. The number of names and other striking details provided in the reading rules out the possibility that the results are due to chance (p less than 1 in 2.6 x 10-12), even on the most conservative estimate. Stringent precautions were taken to rule out fraud, cold reading, vague information, statistical coincidence, selective sitter memory, and sitter rater bias. It is postulated that three anomalous mechanisms may be involved: telepathy with the living, network memory resonance with the living (a super-psi hypothesis), and the existence of intentional, organizing consciousness.
Key Words: Anomalous information retrieval, mediumship, survival of consciousness, telepathy, super-psi, parapsychology.