Ciaran Farrell BSc GRSC joined the SPR in February 2015 as an Associate Member, and further to his request, the Council confirmed his election to full Membership in early 2017. He was elected as a member of the SPR’s Council at the April 2017 AGM. He was appointed as the Society's Data Protection Officer in November 2017. Since Ciaran joined the Society in February 2015 he has regularly attended SPR Lectures, Study Days and SPR Conferences, which he finds very rewarding and he is a regular contributor to the discussion section of these events. He has had psychical experiences from a very early age which have given him a lifelong interest in the psychical and paranormal. This gave him a thirst for knowledge about the subject, and he set off on a personal quest to explore psychical experiences and phenomena from a scientific point of view.
Ciaran is a member of several health-related groups and is a local authority consultant in health & social care. He has also been the Company Secretary of a small publishing business as well as Vice Chair of his local Community Health Council, and a member of its successor bodies and a School Governor. In addition, he was the Chair or Vice Chair of his local Tenants Association for many years and has represented communities at local, regional and national levels in health and housing. He has also been a Charity Trustee of several charities involved in health, housing and education.
He has had psychical experiences of various types over the years which started when he was young including a holiday in a haunted house which involved a poltergeist, as well as experiences in haunted hospitals, houses, and other locations. He became fascinated by the phenomena rather than scared and set out to do all he could to understand their nature. He has been carrying out psychical research for a number of years at the British & Wellcome Libraries, the National Archives & various other institutions. Since he became a member of the SPR he has also made use of the well-stocked and attractive SPR Library. This research includes the history and nature of psychical phenomena, entities, apparitions, poltergeists, Veridical Dreams, telepathy and mediumship.
Ciaran is particularly interested in investigating Cold Spots by defining their size and nature and obtaining psychic sense impression data from them, and from haunted locations and psychic experiences in general. He then employs scientific methods and detective work in order to extract veridical information and ‘testable’ facts from this process. He does this so that he can compare his processed data with the original veridical information & psychical sense impression data with historical fact, so he can test the ‘testable’ presumed facts he obtained earlier with true historical and other known true facts obtained, and established, through his researches. He is then able to directly compare the two sets of facts to see if they correspond to each other.
This method is then used to monitor the effectiveness of his investigative methods. Ciaran is interested in the techniques of mental mediumship and mediumship type experiences which may assist in this process. He has found that through the use of what might best be described as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ style detective work and the application of scientific methods of investigation and enquiry, he has been able to build a bridge between the scientific and the psychical. This has enabled him to verify the truth of testable psychically derived facts.
Ciaran has applied these methods to an area of psychical research which he considers has been rather overlooked, and is of special interest to him. This is the field of Lucid, Veridical, and Telepathic Dreams. At first sight, it might appear that veridical information derived from Veridical Dreams might be viewed as somehow of a less substantial nature, or of a more nebulous character than psychic impression data from a conscious and purposeful investigation carried out when one is awake. Ciaran has found that this is not necessarily the case, and that much valuable and testable veridical psychic sense impression data and testable factual evidence can be found in true Veridical Dreams.
Ciaran graduated from London University with a joint Honours Degree in chemistry & physics after obtaining the first part of an engineering, Toolmaking apprenticeship. He went on to carry out research for a PhD, but was unable to secure funding for his qualification due to the merger of his college with others within the university. He became an honorary student in the college’s Philosophy of Science department and learned about the philosophy of science and scientific method, and soon engaged in original philosophical research into the mind body problem. This is concerned with the question of human consciousness, and whether or not it is to be found only in the brain as the materialist school of thought believes. They consider that the human brain is a biological computer of sufficient power and complexity to explain all human experiences including consciousness. The other approach to this question is the dualist one which considers that consciousness is located in the mind which is considered to be the organ that operates as the ‘human’ aspect, or coordinating centre, containing the higher functions of the brain, which is then in turn thought to a greater or lesser extent to be like the materialist’s organic computer.
This gave Ciaran an appreciation of the issues involved in human consciousness, and an interest in altered states of consciousness, and though it, a greater understanding of psychic and religious experiences. This gave him an understanding of the issues involved in the question of survival of consciousness beyond bodily death. He is also interested in how to obtain altered states of consciousness through meditation, mental mediumship, and other mental techniques, and their relevance and application to, and understanding of, the phenomena of Out of Body Experiences, OBEs.