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Guy Lyon Playfair

Guy Lyon Playfair, BA, joined the SPR in 1974, is currently a member of the Library, Survival and Image & Publicity committees and was appointed as a Vice President of the Society in December 2015. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has been a freelance journalist and photographer since 1963. He spent 14 years in Brazil where he collected material for the first two of his twelve books, the most recent of which are Twin Telepathy (2002) and New Clothes for Old Souls (2006). His research activities have included collaboration with Maurice Grosse on the Enfield poltergeist case of 1977-78 and with Montague Keen on the Jacqueline Poole murder case (2004). He is a regular contributor to the SPR Journal and his Mediawatch column, featuring criticism of extreme scepticism, appeared in 32 consecutive issues of the Paranormal Review from 1996 to 2004, and now appears regularly on Skeptical about Skeptics.

Playfair has worked for several US, British and Brazilian magazines, newspapers and publishing houses. From 1967 to 1971 he worked in the press section of the US Agency for International Development in Rio de Janeiro. Widely travelled, he has lived in Brazil for many years. For two years, Playfair worked with IBPP, Brazil's first and only serious psychical research organisation. He has also written numerous articles for magazines in several countries and has worked as researcher and consultant on numerous radio and television programmes.

In his first book, The Unknown Power (first published as The Flying Cow by Souvenir Press Ltd., UK 1975) he brings a wide reading in the literature of psychical research to bear on Brazilian paranormal phenomena, including those events connected with Francisco Candido 'Chico' Xavier, Zé Arigó and others. In The Indefinite Boundary (first published by Souvenir Press Ltd., UK 1976), Playfair reviews evidence for the existence of psychic phenomena. He wrote a study of time cycles in connection with paranormal phenomena in The Cycles of Heaven (1978). With Maurice Grosse he investigated the Enfield Poltergeist over one year, as recorded in This House is Haunted (1980). His book If This Be Magic, an inquiry into hypnotism, was published in 1985. He then collaborated with Uri Geller on The Geller Effect (1986). His books have been translated into about 15 languages.


Selected Publications

The Unknown Power. Panther Books, St. Albans 1977.

The Indefinite Boundary. Panther Books, 1977.

with Scott Hill, The Cycles of Heaven : Cosmic Forces and What They Are Doing to You. St. Martin’s Press, New York 1978

This House is Haunted : The Investigation of the Enfield Poltergeist. Stein & Day, 1980.

The Haunted Pub Guide. 1985.

If This be Magic. Jonathan Cape, 1985.

with Uri Geller, The Geller Effect. Grafton, Jonathan Cape, Hunter Publishing.

Twin Telepathy. Vega, 2002.

New Clothes for Old Souls : World Wide Evidence for Reincarnation. Druze Heritage Foundation, 2006.

Chico Xavier, Medium of the Century. Roundtable Publishing, 2010.

Education and Publicity Committee

Co-ordinates and publicises educational activities 

Chairman: Prof. Bernard Carr

Members: Dr Deborah EricksonRobert McLuhan, Guy Lyon Playfair, Prof. Chris Roe, Dr Tom Ruffles, Dr Leo Ruickbie, Adrian Ryan

Library Committee

Acquires new titles for the SPR library

Chairman: Dr Tom Ruffles

Members: Robert McLuhan, Dr John Newton, Karen Patel, Guy Lyon PlayfairProf. John Poynton, Dr Melvyn Willin


Spontaneous Cases Committee

Handles reports received from the general public concerning anomalous phenomena, ranging from precognitive dreams to sightings of apparitions

Chairman: Alan Murdie

Members: Mary Rose Barrington, Dr Barrie Colvin, Paul Cropper, John Fraser, Dr Graham Kidd, Rita Leek, Dr John Newton, Steve Parsons, Guy Lyon Playfair, James Tacchi, Dr Zofia Weaver, Ciaran Farrell

Survival Research Committee

Distributes a legacy from Henry B. Tate, of Tate & Lyle, to support research on the question of the survival of human mind and personality after death, including, as stipulated in the will, the organisation of two Gwen Tate Memorial Lectures per year

Chairman: Marian Barton

Members: Dennis Bury, Dr Callum Cooper, Dr Alan Gauld, Guy Lyon Playfair, Dr David Rousseau