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Who's Who in the Society for Psychical Research

The Society for Psychical Research is run by a Council of 18 members elected from the general membership and a varying number of co-opted members. The Council elects the President, a position associated with some illustrious historical names, and appoints various Officers and Staff. We work through a number of committees responsible for aspects of our activities, which include education and research.

President

Prof. John Poynton

Prof. Adrian Parker, MA, PhD.

After qualifying in clinical psychology at the Tavistock Clinic, Adrian Parker was the recipient of the Perrott-Warrick Studentship in psychical research, Trinity College, Cambridge. and became the first to gain a UK doctorate with a thesis on altered states and ESP from the University of Edinburgh. His doctoral work co-innovated the technique, known as the psi-ganzfeld, of reproducing psychic-like experiences in the laboratory.  He is the author of the book States of Mind and has over a hundred publications on altered states of consciousness and psychic experiences.

Parker has also worked in child psychiatry and studied medical sciences before accepting a position at Gothenburg University, when a major award from the Swedish Bank Jubilee Fond (Riksbanken) enabled the development of the “Real Time Digital Ganzfeld” which is now a benchmark procedure for studying high-quality psi (psychic) events in the laboratory.

Parker is Professor at Gothenburg University, where he is currently carrying out research into lucid dream states and exceptional experiences amongst twins and teaches an international course on “Consciousness Studies and Psychical Research.”  

He was elected as President by the Council of the Society in May 2021.

Vice-Presidents

Dr Richard Broughton, PhD, is a former President of the SPR (2011 to 2015) and is the current Hon. Treasurer. He is also a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Northampton and a member of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes. A former President and long-time Board member of the Parapsychological Association, Dr Broughton’s career began with PhD studies under Dr John Beloff in the 1970s. 

Prof. Bernard J. Carr, MA, PhD, joined the Society in 1962, was co-opted to Council in 1975, and became an elected Member of Council in 1977. He has served as SPR Education Officer and was President from 2000 to 2004. Formerly a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, he is now Professor in Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.

Prof. Deborah Delanoy, BA, PhD, joined the Society in 1980, was co-opted to the Council in 1995 and elected in 2000. She is (retired) Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean for the School of Social Sciences (Research and Enterprise) at the University of Northampton; she is also Founder and past Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes (CSAPP), University of Northampton.  She served as President of the Society from 2007 to 2011.

Dr Alan O. Gauld, MA, DLitt, PhD, is a retired Reader in Psychology and former President of the SPR. In recognition of his work he has received the Parapsychology Association’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Parapsychological Research and the SPR’s Myers Memorial Medal.

Prof. Chris Roe, Bsc, MSc, PhD, AFBPsS, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Northampton in the UK. He is Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes and is Course Leader for Northampton’s MSc in Transpersonal Psychology and Consciousness Studies. Chris was awarded his PhD by the University of Edinburgh for research on the ways in which psychic effects might be simulated using conventional psychology. His research at Northampton has continued his interest in the psychology of anomalous experience and has concerned topics ranging from spirituality and wellbeing, psychic deception, correlates of paranormal belief and experience, and experimental tests of claimed phenomena of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis. He is past Editor of the SPR Journal, a Board Member of the Parapsychological Association, Council Member of the Society for Psychical Research, and a Committee member for the BPS Transpersonal Psychology Section. He was appointed as a Vice President in May 2021.

Prof. John C. Poynton, MSc, PhD, OMS, is Professor Emeritus of biology at the University of Natal, South Africa, a research associate of the Natural History Museum, London, and a scientific fellow of the Zoological Society of London. His main research has been in African zoology and biogeography; he has also published in the philosophy of science and in psychical research. He served on the council of the South African Society for Psychical Research and subsequently served on the council of the Society for Psychical Research in London, where he was the Hon. Secretary from 1997 until his election as President in 2004. He served a second term as President from 2015 until 2018 after which he was Hon. Secretary again until 2020.

Council

Marian Barton has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research for over 50 years. Marian has been on the SPR’s Survival Research Committee since 2008 and currently serves as its Chairman. Marian worked for over 13 years as Admissions Officer at St Christopher’s Hospice, London and considers that survival is an important aspect of research in the paranormal, as a knowledge that we do survive bodily death can help those bereaved. Marian has also been a member of The Theosophical Society for over 50 years and has given Workshops and lectures on aspects of the paranormal at their Summer Schools.

Dr Richard Broughton, PhD, see under Vice Presidents above.

Dennis Bury, AFBPsS., CPsychol, BA (Theol), MA, Dip Psychol, Dip Couns is a retired Practitioner Psychologist/Chartered Scientist and Lecturer [Adjunct Prof Syracuse London 21 years].  Principal Trustee of the Afterlife Survival Research SJRCT, Member of the SPR Survival Committee. Interest in Science Journalism and how uncertainty may lead to religious hostility and types of belief in the paranormal. Has served on the Council of the Society for Conflict Research.

Prof. Bernard J. Carr, MA, PhD, see under Vice Presidents above.

Dr Barrie G. Colvin, Bsc, PhD, joined the SPR in 1973 and was co-opted to Council in 2007. He has been actively involved in the investigation of mental and physical mediums, including direct-voice, transfiguration and materialisation mediumship. He is the founder of the Poltergeist Research Group and is a member of the SPR’s Spontaneous Cases Committee.

Dr Callum Cooper, BSc, MRes, PhD, CPsychol., FHEA, is a lecturer and researcher in the Psychology Division of the University of Northampton and is a long-time member of its Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes.

He has received numerous awards for his work and research, including the Parapsychology Foundation’s Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship, Parapsychological Association’s Gertrude Schmeidler Award, and the Alex Tanous Foundation’s Scholarship Award for research and archiving.

Prof. Deborah Delanoy, BA, PhD, see under Vice Presidents above

Dr Deborah Erickson, MBA, PhD, is the SPR’s Honorary Website Manager. Her PhD from Saybrook University in San Francisco was the first parapsychological dissertation research of its kind exploring telepathic interspecies communication with companion canines. She has over 30 years in technology management as a Director and Technical Project Manager.

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 in April 2017.  He was appointed as the Society's Data Protection Officer in November 2017.

John Fraser, joined the SPR in the late 1990s, became a member of the Spontaneous Cases Committee in 2003 and was invited to join the Council in 2008. He was also the former ‘Vice Chair’ (with investigations portfolio) of the Ghost Club from 1998-2004.

Dr Graham Kidd, MBBS, MRCPsych, is a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dr Kidd has been a member of the SPR since 1969. He is a retired psychiatrist, specialising in trauma and dissociative disorders. He has been on the Spontaneous Cases Committee since 2009 and on the Council since 2014. He has contributed to study days and to the SPR Journal and the Paranormal Review. Since, 2020, he has served as Honorary Secretary.

Robert McLuhan is a freelance journalist and a member of the Society for Psychical Research since 1993. He wrote Randi’s Prize: What Sceptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong and Why It Matters (2010), and blogs at Paranormalia.com. He is currently overseeing the SPR’s new publications projects financed by the Buckmaster Bequest.

Alan D. Murdie, LLB, has been a member of the SPR since 1997 and was co-opted to the Council in 1999. A lawyer by profession, he is also Chairman of the SPR’s Spontaneous Cases Committee and the long-serving Chairman of the Ghost Club.

Prof. Adrian Parker, MA, PhD. See under President above.  

Steve Parsons began his search for answers as a child and subsequently has spent more than 40 years as a full-time investigator of apparitions, poltergeists, haunted houses, and related phenomena.  His background and qualifications in engineering and medicine have taught him the value of accurate and precise observations. He is currently acknowledged by his peers and leading academic parapsychologists to be one the leading investigators in the UK.

Prof. Chris Roe, Bsc, MSc, PhD, AFBPsS. See under Vice Presidents above.

Dr David Rousseau, BEng, PhD, FRSA, is a systems philosopher and founder of the Centre for Systems Philosophy. He joined the SPR in 1994, was co-opted to Council in 1997 and has been an elected Council member since 2003. In 2000 he co-founded C-FAR, and led the project that in 2003 launched the online Library of Exploratory Science (www.lexscien.org), which hosts peer-reviewed publications relating to controversies in science and the humanities.

Julie Rousseau, BSc (Hons), is a business strategy consultant in retail ecommerce. She joined the SPR in 1994 and has been a member of Council since 2002. She served as the SPR’s Hon. Website Manager from 2006 to 2014. She is also a Scientific Advisor to the Center for Systems Philosophy and co-founder of the Library of Exploratory Science, which houses the SPR’s Online Library.

Dr Leo Ruickbie, BA (Hons), MA, PhD (Lond), AKC (Associate of King's College), is the author of several books on witchcraft, magic, and the supernatural.  His published articles, covering such subjects as theories of magic, the historical development of personalised conceptions of evil, folk beliefs in the external soul, and the representation of angels in modern media, show his broad interest in the history and sociology of belief and anomalous phenomena. Dr Ruickbie is the current Editor of The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research.

Dr Tom Ruffles, Bsc, BA, MA, PhD, ARPS, joined the Society in 1987 and Council in 1990. He has been active on many SPR committees and is currently the Hon. Communications Officer, and chairs the Library Committee. He is an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, and an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society.

Adrian Ryan is a freelance business systems analyst for the financial services industry. His interests include the study of the association between ESP, geomagnetic activity and local sidereal time; laboratory experimentation, particularly remote viewing; and experiment design. He is also a co-founder of the psi-in-the-pub network.

Dr Malcolm Schofield, BSc, MRes, PhD, is a lecturer in Psychology at the University of Derby in the UK. The University of Derby awarded Malcolm his PhD for research on supernatural belief, cognition and personality. His research at Derby has continued his interest in supernatural belief and has researched other areas such as dark personality traits, metacognition and paranormal experience. He is currently the Editor of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

Dr Zofia Weaver, BA PhD, has been a member of the SPR since 1982 and served as the Editor of the Society’s Journal in the years 1999-2002.  One of her main areas of interest in psychical research is the investigation of famous Polish psychics.  Together with Mary Rose Barrington and the late Professor Ian Stevenson, she has written a comprehensive study of the Polish clairvoyant Stefan Ossowiecki, published in 2005, and in 2015 she published a book on the Polish physical medium Franek Kluski. Her current research interests include research into a number of mediums and clairvoyants, past and present.

Dr Melvyn J. Willin, BMus, MMus, PhD, LRAM, is a long-time member of the SPR and has published on his two main fields of research, namely, music and witchcraft. In his role as Hon. Archives Liaison Officer he regularly explores and adds to the wealth of material that is housed in the London and Cambridge libraries. He houses the audio-visual collection at his secure premises and has an in-depth knowledge of its content.