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Book Reviews: Experimental Psi


Ermacora, G.B. LA TELEPATIA, reviewed by Harlow Gale, Proceedings 14, 1899, pp. 392-3. Italian articles on the experimental evidence for telepathy. book review/telepathy/experiments

Coover, John Edgar. EXPERIMENTS IN PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, reviewed by F.C.S. Schiller, Proceedings 30, 1918, pp. 261-73. Voluminous report on thought-transference experiments deemed to have failed to show significant results. The reviewer points to individual cases where significant aberrations were recorded, however. book review/telepathy/experiments

Troland, Leonard T. A TECHNIQUE FOR THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF TELEPATHY AND OTHER ALLEGED CLAIRVOYANT PROCESSES, reviewed by F.C.S. Schiller, Proceedings 31, 1920, pp. 218-23. A Harvard psychologist, entrusted with telepathy research aimed primarily at fulfilling the terms of a bequest, proposes a mathematical approach. However the experiments were unsuccessful and the reviewer doubts the value of the method. book review/psi/experiments

Tischner, R. UEBER TELEPATHIE UNO HELLSEHEN, EXPERIMENTELL-THEORETISCHE UNTERSUCHUNGEN, reviewed by F.C.S. Schiller, Proceedings 33, 1922, pp. 437-8. Report on German telepathy experiments. book review/telepathy/experiments

Barrett, W. CONCERNING PROFESSOR RICHET’S ‘THIRTY YEARS OF PSYCHICAL RESEARCH’, Journal 21, 1923, pp. 139-43. Points out errors in the veteran French researcher’s book, for instance over the circumstances of the founding of the SPR and the status of the telepathic experiments with the Creery sisters. Richet briefly replies. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 201-3. More corrections. book review/psi/experiments

Bruck, Carl. EXPERIMENTELLE TELEPATHIE, Proceedings 35, 1925, pp. 466-9. (In German). Detailed account and discussion of 114 experiments in the transference of drawings and diagrams, carried out by the author as agent and reinforcing, in the reviewer’s opinion, the case for telepathy. book review/telepathy/experiments

Schroder, Christoph. GRUNDVERSUCHE AUF DEM GEBIETE DER PSYCHISCHEN GRENZWISSENSCHAFTEN, reviewed by F.C.S. Schiller, Proceedings 35, 1925, pp. 469-70. (In German). Report on successful telepathy experiments by a German professor. book review/telepathy/experiments

Estabrooks, G.H. A CONTRIBUTION TO EXPERIMENTAL TELEPATHY’, reviewed by Eleanor Sidgwick, Journal 24, 1928, pp. 329-31. Card-guessing experiment by psychical researchers in Boston, one of the first to attempt to impose laboratory conditions on the investigation of telepathy. book review/telepathy/experiments

Herzberg. METHODE UND ERGEBNISSE DES BERLINER RUNDFUNKVERSUCHS, reviewed by F.C.S. Schiller, Journal 24, 1928, pp. 392-4. Account of a German broadcasting experiment in telepathy. book review/telepathy/experiments

Sinclair, Upton. MENTAL RADIO: DOES IT WORK, AND HOW? reviewed by Eleanor Sidgwick, Proceedings 39, 1931, pp. 343-6. Record of successful telepathy experiments by the well-known American novelist and his wife. book review/telepathy/experiments

Fukurai, T. CLAIRVOYANCE AND THOUGHTOGRAPHY, reviewed by Helen Salter, Journal 27, 1931, pp. 87-8. Record of experiments with Japanese mediums, offering striking results but marred by loose experimental conditions. book review/volitional psi/experiments

Rhine, J.B. EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION, reviewed by Robert H. Thouless, Proceedings 43, 1935, pp. 24-37. Report on groundbreaking experiments with high-scorers using Zener cards. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 29, 1935, pp. 80-81, 107-9. book review/psi/experiments

Bender, Hans. ZUM PROBLEM DER AUSSERSINNLICHEN WAHRNEHMUNG & PSYCHISCHE AUTOMATISMEN, reviewed by Theodore Besterman, Journal 29, 1936, pp. 282-3. Results of investigations aimed at demonstrating the value of the psychic and sensory automatisms for the study of the unconscious, financed, unusually, by the German academic establishment. A high level of significance is reported, although with relatively small number of trials and a single subject. book review/psi/experiments

Wright, Ernest Hunter. THE CASE FOR TELEPATHY: A RECORD OF SOME REMARKABLE EXPERIMENTS, reviewed by S.G. Soal, Proceedings 45, 1938, pp. 88-96. Articles describing for a popular audience the findings of J.B.Rhine in Extra-Sensory Perception. book review/psi/experiments

Kellogg, Chester E. NEW EVIDENCE (?) FOR ‘EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION’, reviewed by S.G. Soal, Proceedings 45, 1938, pp. 88-96. A scientist attempts to undermine Rhine’s findings by focusing on shortcomings in the conditions of his experiments. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Anon. ‘SYMPOSIUM ON ESP METHODS AT THE MEETING OF THE SOUTHERN SOCIETY FOR PHILOSOPHY AND PSYCHOLOGY’, reviewed by Robert H. Thouless, Journal 31, 1940, pp. 153-4. Discussion of ESP experimental methodology, including Optional stopping’. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Rhine, J.B. et al. EXTRA-SENSORY PERCEPTION AFTER SIXTY YEARS, reviewed by W.W. Carington, Proceedings 46, 1941, pp. 265-70. Comprehensive defence of the reality of ESP against the objections of sceptics. ‘.. .unquestionably the most important book yet published in the field of psychical research and parapsychology’. book review/psi/experiments

Thouless, R.H. EXPERIMENTS IN PARANORMAL GUESSING, reviewed by Kenneth Richmond, Journal 33, 1943, p. 15. Article first published in the British Journal Of Psychology, reporting on ‘some simple but exactly observed experimental work in card-guessing’, and aimed at showing psychologists how to carry out ESP tests for themselves. book review/psi/experiments

Carington, Whately. TELEPATHY: AN OUTLINE OF ITS FACTS, THEORY, AND IMPLICATIONS, reviewed by R.H. Thouless, Proceedings 47, 1945, pp. 275-6. Summarises the experimental evidence for telepathy, including the author’s own, and puts forward his ‘psychons’ theory of mind, which the reviewer briefly discusses. book review/telepathy/experiments/theory

Rhine, J.B. THE REACH OF THE MIND, reviewed by S.G. Soal, Journal 34, 1948, pp. 183-5. A non-technical survey by the leading American ESP researcher. The reviewer, S.G. Soal raises doubts about the apparent success of American experiments compared with Britain. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 224-5, 242-3. book review/psi/experiments

Humphrey, Betty, M. HANDBOOK OF TESTS IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY, Journal 35, 1949, pp. 20-22. Review of ESP experiments in America based on Duke methodology. book review/psi/experiments

Rhine, J.B. NEW FRONTIERS OF THE MIND, Journal 35, 1950, p. 353. Paperback edition of a description of the first seven years of ESP investigations at Duke University. book review/psi/experiments

Soal, S.G. & Bateman, F. MODERN EXPERIMENTS IN TELEPATHY, Journal 38, 1955, pp. 21-8. Survey of ESP experiments from early thought-reading to the present day. ‘This excellent book is likely to become and for long to remain the standard work on its subject.’ Soal, S.G. A RE-EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN STEWART DATA, pp. 240-49. Makes certain corrections arising from misinformation about the use of randomisation tables. book review/telepathy/experiments

Gardner, M. FADS AND FALLACIES IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE reviewed by D. J. West, Journal 39, 1958, pp. 291-3. Attack on J.B.Rhine’s ESP and PK research by a noted American sceptic. book review/psi/experiments

Rhine, J.B. & Pratt, J.G.   PARAPSYCHOLOGY: FRONTIER SCIENCE OF THE MIND, reviewed by D.J. West, Journal 39, 1958, pp. 249-51. ‘...provides the newcomer with a basic, elementary textbook of experimental work.. .the emphasis on techniques... ‘. book review/psi/methodology

Schmeidler, G. R. & McConnell, R. A. EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION AND PERSONALITY PATTERNS reviewed by Christopher Scott, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 73-9. Account of the author’s investigation of the relation between belief and success in ESP experiments. COMMENTS, p. 79. See also Schmeidler, Gertrude R. ADDITIONAL DATA ON SHEEP-GOAT CLASSIFICATION, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 63-72. book review/psi/personality/experiments

Soal, S.G. & Bowden, H.T. THE MIND READERS reviewed by C. W. K. Mundle, Journal 40, 1959, pp. 84-96. Account of successful ESP experiments with two Welsh adolescent boys. The review describes the experiments and considers claims of cheating. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 143-5, pp. 200-203. book review/psi/experiments/cheating

Read, Ronald C. CARD-GUESSING WITH INFORMATION - A PROBLEM IN PROBABILITY reviewed by R. G. Medhurst, Journal 41, 1962, pp. 428-9. Proposes an adjustment that would increase the chance expectation for a standard pack of 25 ESP cards from 5 to 8.65. book review/psi/experiments

Thorp, Edward O. A PROFESSOR BEATS THE GAMBLERS, reviewed by Richard Wilson, Journal 42, 1963, pp. 26-8. Article describing how a university mathematics teacher beat the bank at blackjack by manipulating random order. book review/experiments/methodology

Smith, William R. et al. TESTING FOR EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION WITH A MACHINE reviewed by Celia Green, Journal 42, 1964, pp. 259-61. Describes a fully automated set up for generating random ESP targets, recording the guesses made by percipients and checking the results. book review/psi/experiments

Schwarz, Berthold E. PSYCHODYNAMIC EXPERIMENTS IN TELEPATHY reviewed by G.W. Fisk, Journal 42, 1964, pp. 309-16. The author, a psychoanalytic therapist, undertakes drawing experiments in ESP based on his personal observations of how telepathy works. ‘.. .on the whole, one cannot but feel the experiments often show very clearly, how the contents and associations of the agent’s mind are intertwined with those of the percipient’s consciousness.’ book review/telepathy/experiments

Rao, K. Ramakrishna. EXPERIMENTAL PARAPSYCHOLOGY reviewed by D. J. West, Journal 44, 1967, pp. 188-9. Comprehensive survey of experimental evidence, including theoretical interpretations and bibliography of 1251 references. book review/psi/experiments/theory

Ullman, M. & Krippner, S. DREAM STUDIES AND TELEPATHY: AN EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 45, 1970, pp. 415-8. Detailed account of experiments on dream telepathy in a controlled environment. book review/dreams/telepathy/experiments

Ebon, Martin (ed). TEST YOUR ESP reviewed by Rosalind Heywood, Journal 45, 1970, pp. 420-402. Account of pilot tests for ESP based on Rhine’s experimental methods. book review/psi/experiments

Ryzl, Milan. PARAPSYCHOLOGY: A SCIENTIFIC APPROACH reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 46, 1971, pp. 64-8. A Czech parapsychologist working in the USA describes his work in experimental ESP, including sessions with clairvoyant Pavel Stepanek. book review/psi/experiments

Ostrander, Sheila & Schroeder, Lynn. PSYCHIC DISCOVERIES BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN, reviewed by Rosalind Heyward, Journal 46, 1971, pp. 74-5. Journalistic account of paranormal marvels in communist countries. book review/volitional psi/experiments

Thouless, Robert H. FROM ANECDOTE TO EXPERIMENT IN PSYCHICAL RESEARCH reviewed by D. J. West, Journal 46, 1972, pp. 164-7. ‘...admirable introductory text on the experimental approach to psychical research’. book review/psi/experiments

Sailaja, P. & Rao, K.R. EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES OF THE DIFFERENTIAL EFFECT IN LIFE SETTING reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 47, 1973, pp. 196-7. Account of experiments in which job candidates showed higher ESP scores after a job interview than before, attributed to the effect of emotion. book review/psi/experiments

Ullman, Montague et al. DREAM TELEPATHY reviewed by E. J. Farge, Journal 47, 1974, pp. 378-381. Account of controlled ESP experiments in dreaming at New York’s Maimonides Medical Centre. book review/telepathy/dreams/experiments

Taylor, John. SUPERMINDS (AN ENQUIRY INTO THE PARANORMAL). Reviewed by Brian Millar, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 168-71. A physicist describes successful spoon-bending experiments with Uri Geller and others and speculates on the processes involved. book review/psychokinesis/experiments

Guarino, S. LA SCOPERTA DELLE RADIAZIONINERVOSE 1971-1972 reviewed by Pamela M. Huby, Journal 48, 1975, p.172. Collection of papers on ESP experiments. book review/psi/experiments

Rhine, Louisa E. PSI: WHAT IS IT? reviewed by Andrew MacKenzie, Journal 48, 1975, pp. 238-9. Subtitled: ‘The story of ESP and PK. A ‘thorough review’ of ESP research from 1882 to the present day. book review/psi/experiments/methodology/theory

Guarino, Salvatore. THERMODYNAMIC RADIATION reviewed by Brian Millar, Journal 48, 1976, pp. 350-352. Describes the author’s experimental work in ESP, in which the focus is on the agent rather than the percipient, continuously transmitting both information and misinformation, depending on the agent’s brain metabolism at the time. book review/psi/experiments/theory

Krippner, S. & Rubin, D. (eds). THE ENERGIES OF CONSCIOUSNESS, reviewed by Brian Millar, Journal 48, 1976, pp. 343-5. Collection of papers describing experiments delivered at a conference on Kirlian photography, acupuncture and the human aura. CORRESPONDENCE, pp. 413-4. book review/experiments/photography/aura/healing

Blake, Henry. THINKING WITH HORSES reviewed by Andrew MacKenzie, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 666-7. A horse-trainer describes ESP experiments with horses, showing positive results in at least 81 cases out of 119. book review/experiments/animal psi

Morris, J.D. et al, (eds). RESEARCH IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY reviewed by Anita Gregory, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 881-3. ‘The most characteristic feature of this volume ... is its emphasis on psychokinesis and the relation between physics and parapsychology. book review/experiments/psychokinesis/physics

Rae, James Penman. THE ALGONQUIN EXPERIMENTS reviewed by Ernesto Spinelli, Journal 49, 1978, pp. 895-6. Controlled PK experiments using dice, with encouraging if not conclusive results. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 50, 1979, p. 47. book review/psychokinesis/experiments

Anon. PARASCIENCE PROCEEDINGS 1973-1977 Parascience Centre reviewed by Andrew MacKenzie, Journal 50, 1979, pp.35-8. Conference papers, mainly on ESP research. book review/experiments/psi

Krippner, Stanley (ed.) ADVANCES IN PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH reviewed by John L. Randall, Journal 50, 1980, pp. 297-9. Two volumes, containing a collection of papers on PK and ESP. book review/psi/experiments/methodology/theory

Roll, William G. (ed.)   RESEARCH IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY 1978 reviewed by Michael Goss, Journal 50, 1980, pp. 299-301. Abstracts and papers from the 21st annual convention of the Parapsychological Association, covering a wide range of experimental psi topics. book review/psi/experiments/methodology/theory

Hansel, C.E.M. ESP AND PARAPSYCHOLOGY: A CRITICAL RE-EVALUATION reviewed by D. J. West, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 27-8. Sceptical study: ‘Provided his wilder pronouncements and sweeping denunciations can be ignored, Professor Hansel can be credited with giving us good cause to reflect on our standards for evaluating evidence.’ CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 191-2. book review/psi/experiments/theory

Sargent, Carl L. EXPLORING PSI IN THE GANZFELD reviewed by Deborah Delanoy, Journal 51, 1981, pp. 165-7. Monograph of the author’s first six experiments using the Ganzfeld technique. book review/ganzfeld/experiments

Richards, John Thomas. SORRAT: A HISTORY OF THE NEIHARDA PSYCHOKINESIS EXPERIMENTS 1961-1981 reviewed by I. Grattan-Guinness, Journal 51, 1982, pp. 389-92. Account of mediumistic and PK incidents recorded by the Society for Research on Rapport and Telekenesis (SORRAT). book review/psychokinesis/experiments

Mauskopf, Seymour H. & McVaugh, Michael R. THE ELUSIVE SCIENCE: ORIGINS OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, reviewed by Anita Gregory, Journal 51, 1982, pp. 254-6. Discussion of experimental parapsychology by historians of science: ‘.. .a book of major importance which no one in the field can afford to ignore’. book review/psi/experiments

Roll, William G. et al. RESEARCH IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY 1981 reviewed by Richard S. Broughton, Journal 52, 1984, pp. 280-83. Papers on recent psi experimental and theoretical work by Targ, Braude, Morris, Roll, Dunne & Jahn, and others. book review/psi/experiments/methodology/theory

Mcconnell, R.A. (ed.) PARAPSYCHOLOGY AND SELF-DECEPTION IN SCIENCE & AN INTRODUCTION TO PARAPSYCHOLOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF SCIENCE reviewed by I. Grattan-Guinness, Journal 52, 1984, pp. 387-90. Self-published articles on psi experiments previously rejected by Journals both of science and of parapsychology.’ [The author is] dedicated to the promulgation of the reality of psi to the scientific community to which his training grants him membership. His commitment is evident... [however, philosophical naivety and rigidity of approach are also evident’. book review/psi/experiments/theory

Eysenck, Hans J. & Sargent, Carl. KNOW YOUR OWN PSI-Q reviewed by D.J. West & Betty Marwick, Journal 52, 1984, pp. 396-9. ‘...lively, practical and easy-to-use source for anyone wanting to do useful home testing psi experiments.’ The review includes detailed descriptions of the computer programs. book review/psi/experiments

Collins, H.M. CHANGING ORDER, REPLICATION AND INDUCTION IN SCIENTIFIC PRACTICE reviewed by I. Grattan-Guinness, Journal 53, 1986, pp. 397-8. Investigates the ‘experimenters’ regress: that ‘since experimentation is a matter of skilful practice, it can never be clear whether a second experiment has been done sufficiently well to count as a check on the first’. CORRESPONDENCE, Journal 54, 1987, pp. 85-7. book review/psi/experiments

Rao, K. Ramakrishna, (ed.) THE BASIC EXPERIMENTS IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 53, 1986, pp. 461-2. Covers the Pearce-Pratt distance ESP series, confirmatory tests by Blom and Pratt on Stepanek, Helmut Schmidt’s PK tests using a high-speed RNG, and others. This is certainly a useful volume to have at hand for any student or teacher of parapsychology. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Rao, K. Ramakrishna, ed. BASIC RESEARCH IN PARAPSYCHOLOGY reviewed by John Randall, Journal 66, 2002, pp. 58-60. Updated version. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Jahn, Robert G. & Dunne, Brenda. MARGINS OF REALITY: THE ROLE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 55, 1989, pp. 364-8. Major study detailing the results of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) programme on remote viewing and psi research with random generators. In an otherwise positive review, Beloff voices some reservations regarding the authors’ attempts to clarify through analogies the nature of psi. book review/clairvoyance/consciousness/experiments

Gardner, Martin. HOW NOT TO TEST A PSYCHIC: TEN YEARS OF REMARKBALE EXPERIMENTS WITH PAVEL STEPANEK reviewed by John Beloff, Journal 56, 1990, pp. 171-5. Sceptical study of a high-scoring psi subject, proposing the tricks of the expert conjurer as acceptable alternatives to paranormality. Praised as exemplary for its thoroughness although not universally convincing. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Drewes, Athene A. & Drucker, Sally Ann. PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH WITH CHILDREN: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY reviewed by M.H. Coleman, Journal 58, 1992, pp. 394-6. Papers on psychical research with children, and an annotated bibliography with the emphasis on laboratory studies at the expense of historical material. book review/psi/experiments

Wiseman, Richard & Morris, Robert L. GUIDELINES FOR TESTING PSYCHIC CLAIMANTS, reviewed by Tom Ruffles, Journal 60, 1995, pp. 275-7. Comprehensive handbook. ? useful checklist of possible problems in scrutinizing claims.. .guaranteed to become a well-thumbed member of any serious researcher’s library’. book review/psi/methodology

Blackmore, Susan. IN SEARCH OF THE LIGHT: THE ADVENTURES OF A PARAPSYCHOLOGIST reviewed by Christopher C. French, Journal 61, 1997, pp. 399-400. Lively memoir of a prominent parapsychologist and sceptic, who failed in her own work to discover any evidence of psi. book review/psi/experiments

Milton, Julie & Wiseman, Richard. GUIDELINES FOR EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION RESEARCH reviewed by Christopher C. French, Journal 62, 1997, pp. 170-71. This book provides an excellent introduction to important methodological issues and also an extensive list of references for those requiring further details. Topics covered include: basic experimental designs; pre-specification of experimental details and statistical tests; methods of randomisation; randomness testing; type of participant; sensory shielding; free-response judging; recording, checking, scoring and calculation procedures; and reporting and retaining data’. book review/psi/experiments/methodology

Gruber, Elmar R. PSYCHIC WARS: PARAPSYCHOLOGY IN ESPIONAGE - AND BEYOND reviewed by Hilary Evans, Journal 64, 2000, pp. 245-8. Describes the remote viewing project run by the American military during the Cold War, which was well funded and produced ‘spectacular results,’ but which also highlighted the difficulty of trying to pin down the nature of the psi process. The reviewer reflects on the implications for future psi research. book review/experiments/clairvoyance