The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research
The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, 2 (2021)
Bringing the Paranormal Review to an end seemed the sensible thing to do, after all, I always had to preface it as ‘the magazine of the Society for Psychical Research’. The simplest thing, then, was just to call it that. And now, along with the Journal of the SPR and the Proceedings of the SPR, we have the Magazine of the SPR, which seems a much more orderly state of affairs. To be honest, I never really liked the title Paranormal Review, since ‘paranormal’ is such a fraught word (if the evidence is to be believed, then our subject is entirely ‘normal’) and the magazine did not particularly review anything; and I harboured plans to change it since taking over as Editor in 2014. The proposal to change the name had to be made before the SPR’s Council, of course; fortunately, support was virtually unanimous.
I am more than happy to put the new title to this issue of the magazine. Walter Meyer zu Erpen has worked marvels in pulling together reminiscences from some of the many people who knew and respected the late Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson to bring us this tribute to his life and work. Co-ordinating the many contributions from people all over the world was a tremendous achievement. I count myself lucky to have known Erlendur. Always genial company, I first met him at the joint SPR/PA conference at Greenwich University in 2015 and then at subsequent SPR conferences over the following years. He always had something interesting to talk about. He will be missed.
The last time I met Erlendur was at the Parapsychological Association Convention in Paris in 2019, where, coincidentally, I met someone else who had a connection to Iceland. The award-winning artist Dr Stéphanie Solinas had undertaken an experimental project there, photographing places associated with elves in local folklore – a tradition that is still very much alive. Together, the tribute to Erlendur and Solinas’s photographs become more than the sum of their parts, I think.
Talking of photography, I am also itching to tell you that one of my photographs published as part of the Vietnam report in PR96 was shortlisted for the Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2021. The picture of chopsticks poised over a steaming hot pot did not make it further than that, unfortunately, but it is still thrilling to have been plucked out of the more than 10,000 images submitted to the competition. I am also having my first photography exhibition as part of a group show in Rome this year, again the picture was chosen by competition. I have tried hard to promote photography in the magazine as a complement to the many excellent articles I have been lucky enough to publish and want to encourage readers to have a go, too.
As I write this, news has just come in of the death of Lucius Werthmüller at the age of 62. Born in 1958 in Basel, Switzerland, he had been president of the Basler Psi-Verein (Basel Psi Society) since 1991. With over 2,000 members, the BPV is the largest organization of its kind in Switzerland and one of the largest in the world. He was also editor of the magazine Psi-Info, as well as a published author. Readers may remember that he had entered the Paranormal Review Photography Competition and I was pleased to include his séance images in PR84 as one of the finalists. I had been in touch with him in February this year and was expecting an abstract for Volume 2 of Is There Life After Death?
Dr Leo Ruickbie