The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, 7 (2022)
It is the end, my friends. After nine years at the helm, I am stepping down as editor of our Magazine. It has been a wonderful nine years, but not without its lows as well as highs. Since the first terrifying moment I had a magazine to produce with no template and no content, it has nonetheless been a labour of love to design and develop each issue. Some of you may already know that I have accepted a position at the Bigelow Institute for Consciousness Studies in Las Vegas, with the consequence that I would not have the time to give to the Magazine. It was a difficult decision, emotionally, but a simple one when I asked myself what was best for the Magazine.
When I first took on the editorship, I had little idea what to expect, but a clear vision of what I wanted the Magazine, then called the Paranormal Review, to look like. You might recall my first issue with C.R.W. Nevinson’s Bursting Shell on the cover – that was my motto and rallying cry, that was my vision. Since then, I have introduced colour interiors and then a step up to magazine-quality paper. I wanted to create something you would enjoy looking at as much as reading and, of course, no amount of razzmataz could detract from the contributors I brought to these re-invigorated pages. With only a few of the inevitable curmudgeons, it has been enormously satisfying to work with some of the best writers and researchers in our field. To them, I raise a glass and offer my heartfelt thanks, for these authors have given the life-blood to this publication.
To you, my readers, I am also grateful. Grateful for the feedback, support and encouragement over the years. It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to produce this magazine for you and I hope that it has played just as important a role in your lives as it has in mine.
It would be inexcusable if I did not also thank Profs Bernard Carr and Chris Roe, who interviewed me for the post and ultimately trusted me with its duties and responsibilities. I remember Prof. Carr tracked me down to a conference in Cambridge and we held an impromptu meeting in an unused lecture theatre. Carr seemed satisfied by my replies to his questions, but at the end, with an uneasy look, he added something along the lines of “I hope you’ll not put too much witchcraft in the magazine.” Given that I had just presented a paper on witchcraft, it was a fair question, but if I have not overwhelmed these pages with witchery, I do hope that I have added a good dose of magic.
But it is also the beginning. I am pleased to introduce your new editor, long-standing SPR member Gordon Rutter. Coincidentally, he is also from Edinburgh, also a photographer and currently teaches at my old school, The Royal High School, where I learnt to develop my first blackand- white print, and much else besides. And, I am sure this is no coincidence, he will also be a sterling editor. Strangely, editors are often overlooked when the history books come to be written, but they play a key role in shaping discourse and promoting the discipline, often being compelled to be strenuous in their efforts to cause other people’s work to see the light of day. At the SPR, especially, all its editors are at the forefront of the organization’s interaction with its members. Committee meetings may come and go, but it is the publications that enter the homes, and, one hopes, the hearts of the SPR’s members. And when we are all dust and ashes, it is our publications that shall live on, stored in the archives, stacked on the bookshelves, our best testament to what we did and what we thought. In the meantime, I am looking forward to continuing being a reader and following the next chapter of this magazine’s adventure.
Dr Leo Ruickbie