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Past Presidents

1882-1884 (and 1888-1892):

Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), philosopher, Knightsbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University 1883-1900.


Balfour Stewart (1827-1887), physicist, Professor of Physics at Queen's College, Manchester, from 1870, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1862.


Henry Sidgwick (also 1882-1884).


Arthur Balfour (1848-1930), philosopher, Prime Minister 1902-1905.


William James (1842-1910), American psychologist and philosopher.


Sir William Crookes (1832-1919), chemist and physicist, discoverer of thallium and cathode rays, inventor of radiometer.


Frederic William Henry Myers (1843-1901), classical scholar and philosopher: ‘Of all the founder members he had perhaps the liveliest and widest-ranging mind’. Myers coined the well-known term telepathy.

1901-1903 (and 1932):

Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), physicist and mathematician, Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Liverpool from 1881, first Principal of Birmingham University.


Sir William Fletcher Barrett (1845-1925), physicist, Chair of Physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1899.


Charles Richet (1850-1935), French physiologist, Professor of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, Nobel Prize winner 1913.


Gerald Balfour (1853-1945), classical scholar, later politician.

1908-1909 (and 1932):

Eleanor Sidgwick (1845-1936), mathematician, closely connected with Newnham College, Cambridge (first women's college), Principal of Newnham College 1892-1910.


Henry Arthur Smith (1848-1922), lawyer, business man and administrator.


Andrew Lang (1844-1912), anthropologist, writer, scholar of extraordinarily wide range of learning, author of sixty published volumes, Fellow of Merton College.


The Rt Reverend W. Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918), clergyman, Bishop of Ripon from 1884, Canon of Westminster from 1911.


Henri Bergson (1859-1941), French philosopher, Chair of the Philosophy of History at the College de France 1900-1921.


Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller (1864-1937), philosopher; Profesor of Philosophy at the University of South California from 1929.

1915-1916 (and 1952):

Gilbert Murray (1866-1957), classical scholar, Fellow of New College, Oxford, later Regius Professor of Greek. Founded the League of Nations Union after World War I.


L. P. Jacks (1860-1955), philosopher; Professor of Philosophy at Manchester College, Oxford from 1903, Principal of the College from 1915.


John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (1842-1919), experimental physicist, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1866; Nobel Prize winner 1904.


William McDougall (1871-1938), psychologist, educated at St John's College, Cambridge, became Wilde Reader in Mental Psychology at Oxford in 1905. In 1921 appointed Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, then at Duke University in 1927, where he founded the Journal of Parapsychology in 1937.


Thomas Walter Mitchell (1869-1944), physician, for many years editor of the British Journal of Medical Psychology.


Camille Flammarion (1842-1925), French astronomer, President of the Astronomical Society of France.


John George Piddington (1869-1952), businessman.


Hans Driesch (1867-1941), German biologist and natural philosopher; Professor of Systematic Philosophy at Cologne University from 1919, Director of Philosophical Seminars at Leipzig from 1921.


Sir Lawrence J. Jones, Bt (1885-1955).


Walter Franklin Prince (1863-1934), clergyman, described by Joseph Banks Rhine as 'my principal teacher in psychical research'.


Joint Presidency: Eleanor Sidgwick (see 1908-1909) and Oliver Lodge (see 1901).


Edith Lyttelton (née Balfour) (1865-1948), social activist and writer.

1935-1936 (and 1958-1960):

Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887-1971), philosopher. After a distinguished academic career at several universities, he eventually became Knightsbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge in 1935. He had Fellowships and honorary degrees in several countries.


Robert John Strutt, 4th Baron Rayleigh (1875-1947), physicist; Professor of Physics at Imperial College, London, 1908-1919, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1905.


Henry Habberley Price (1899-1984), philosopher; various academic posts, including Wykeham Professor of Logic.


Robert Henry Thouless (1894-1984), psychologist; academic posts at a number of universities, eventually becoming Reader in Educational Psychology at Cambridge.


George N.M. Tyrrell (1879-1952), mathematician and physicist; worked under Marconi on radio communications.


William Henry Salter (1880-1969), classical scholar and lawyer; called to the Bar 1905.


Gardner Murphy (1895-1979), psychologist; Hodgson Fellow at Harvard University, Professor of the Menninger Foundation from 1940, visiting Professor of Psychology at George Washington University.


Samuel George Soal (1890-1975), mathematician; Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Queen Mary College after service during World War I.


Gilbert Murray (see 1915-1916).


F.J.M. Stratton (1881-1961), astrophysicist, Professor of Astrophysics and Director of Solar Physics Observatory at Cambridge 1928-1947, President of Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge 1945-1948.


Guy William Lambert (1889-1984), civil servant, served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State for War.


Charlie Dunbar Broad (see 1935-1936).


Henry Habberley Price (see 1939-1941).


Eric Robertson Dodds (1893-1979), classical scholar, Regius Professor of Greek (Oxford).


Donald James West (1924-), psychiatrist and criminologist (also 1984-1988 and 1998-1999; for full entry see 1998-1999).


Sir Alister Hardy (1896-1985), zoologist; Professor of Zoology at Hull University and then Linacre Professor of Zoology at Oxford; founder of the Religious Experience Research Unit at Manchester College, Oxford.


William A. H. Rushton (1901-1980), physiologist, Professor at Cambridge.


Clement William Kennedy Mundle (1916-1989), philosopher; Head of Philosophy Departments first at Dundee University, then at University College of North Wales.


John Beloff (1920-2006), psychologist, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He encouraged post-graduate studies in psychical research and was instrumental in establishing the Koestler Unit at Edinburgh.

1976-1979 (and 1981-1982):

Arthur J. Ellison (1920-2000), technologist. After a career in industry, he taught at Queen Mary College and from 1972 was Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the City University, London.


Joseph Banks Rhine (1895-1980), biologist and parapsychologist, writer, founder of Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University, USA.


Louisa Ella Rhine (1891-1983), parapsychologist, writer, co-worker with her husband, J.B. Rhine.


Arthur J. Ellison (see entry for 1976-1979).


Donald J. West (also 1963-1965, and 1998-1999; for full entry see 1998-1999).


Ian Stevenson, MD (1918-2007), Director of Division of Personality Studies, Carlson Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia.


Alan Gauld, psychologist, retired Reader in Psychology, University of Nottingham.


Archie Roy (1924-2012), astronomer; Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Glasgow, founder of the Scottish SPR in 1987 .


David Fontana (1934-2010), psychologist; Professor of Educational Psychology, Universities of Minho and of Algarve, Portugal; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Wales, Cardiff.


Donald J. West (also 1963-1965 and 1984-1988), psychologist and criminologist; Former Director of the Institute of Criminology, Professor of Clinical Criminology at Cambridge, Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge.


Bernard Carr, Professor in Mathematics and Astronomy, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London University.

2004-2007 (and 2015-2018)

John Poynton, Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Natal; Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London; Associate of the Natural History Museum, London.


Deborah Delanoy, Professor of Psychology, University of Northampton; Research Director for the School of Behaviour Studies, Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes, Northampton.


Richard Broughton, former Director of what is now the Rhine Research Center, lecturer, author of numerous scientific papers and an acclaimed book on parapsychology.


John Poynton (see 2004-2007)


Chris Roe, Professor of Psychology at the University of Northampton, Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes. He is past Editor of the SPR Journal, a Board Member and past president of the Parapsychological Association, Council Member of the Society for Psychical Research, and a Committee member for the BPS Transpersonal Psychology Section.


Adrian Parker, Professor at Gothenburg University. Parker has over a hundred publications on altered states of consciousness and psychic experiences.