The Irish broadcaster and historian Brian Inglis (1916-1993) turned his back on a successful television career to carve out a completely new role, as advocate for the reality of psi forces--in Inglis's mind, the single major underreported news story of his era. In his two-volume history of the Occult ("Natural and Supernatural" (1977), "Science and Parascience" (1984)) and other related books, Inglis set out what he believed to be incontrovertible evidence for the truth of the paranormal, in the sincere belief that his status as a respected public intellectual would earn him a hearing. Instead, skeptics around the world counterattacked with a vengeance. Relishing the controversy, Brian and his colleagues in the field--all personal friends or correspondents--shared information by mail and telephone throughout the world, in a kind of psi information network. From Uri Geller to Andrija Puharich, from Rupert Sheldrake to Guy Lyon Playfair--Brian Inglis knew all the key players. This early militancy was eventually replaced by a mellower outlook, when Inglis fell in love with one skeptic and became friends and neighbours with another. This shift in outlook deserves closer examination. In the 1970s, Inglis had reported on mind-boggling occurrences that frontally challenged scientific orthodoxy (teleportation, levitation, psychic surgery, and so on). In the final years of his life he switched to the gentler topics of coincidence, inspiration, and serendipity (which all people--including skeptics--occasionally experience). Was Inglis describing different manifestations of one and the same phenomenon, two sides of the same coin? And what is the verdict on Inglis's personal contribution to this richly productive period in the world of paranormal investigation? Had Brian and his colleagues won over a disbelieving world, as they set out to do; or were scientism and reductionism alive and well?
1st March, 2021 8:00 PM through 9:30 PM
Office Phone: 02079378984
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