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Research Catalogue 1884-2011

A COMPLETE summary of the the SPR Journals and Proceedings archive, containing research reports, analysis, book reviews and debate.

Contents are chronological by category. Keywords may be used to refine searches.  

See below for brief content descriptions and right for a list of chapters. Click on links to explore categories.

Part One: Paranormal Abilities of the Living

1. Spontaneous Phenomena

In this section are to be found descriptions of personal experiences of naturally occurring psi or other anomalous phenomena, mainly as reported by members of the public. The most frequently reported seem to be precognitions, usually in the form of dreams interpreted as precognitive, and telepathic communications. Precognition became a major topic with the publication in the 1930s of books by JW Dunne and others, recording coincidences between dreams and actual events they seemed to precognise, which may have stimulated public interest in recording and reporting such events.

A number of reports deal with significant coincidences, apparitions (see also Section 08), psychokinesis, retrocognition and animal psi.

This section includes material dealing with such phenomena as stigmata, auras, religious visions and miracles, fairies and crop circles. Methodological papers relating to the investigation of spontaneous cases can also be found here.

keywords: spontaneous psi, precognition, dreams, telepathy, apparitions, psychokinesis, retrocognition, animal psi, stigmata, aura, crop circles

2. Volitional Psi

Reports of psi happening as a result of deliberate action and/or conscious intervention of the experients. Includes clairvoyance, precognition and psychokinesis, whether obtained by professional psychics or others (e.g., reports of metal-bending by ordinary people or apports and other feats credited to spiritual teachers), stage performances, magic, healing and pain control, dowsing, fire-walking or thoughtography.

keywords: volitional psi, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, magic, dowsing, fire-walking, photography

3. Experimental Psi

The largest category, reflecting the SPR’s interest in studying telepathic and other psychical phenomena under controlled conditions. Papers are concerned with experiments in telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, DMILS (direct mental interactions between living systems), and with methodological and theoretical issues.

keywords: experiments, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, DMILS, personality, methodology, theory

4. States Of Consciousness, Personality, Belief Systems

Papers relating to the study of consciousness and personality. Topics include anomalous states of consciousness: hallucinations, multiple personality, healing, memory, hypnagogia, the effects of drugs, dreams and dreaming, prodigies and out-of-body experiences.

keywords: psi, consciousness, altered states, personality, multiple personality, healing, hypnosis, dreams, out of body experiences, beliefs, witchcraft, magic, experiments, methodology, theory, xenoglossy

5. Theories and Speculations

Philosophical and theoretical issues raised by psi research, such as problems of investigative methodology. Papers range from notes on aspects of psi to philosophical essays on its implications and attempts to construct appropriate scientific models. Topics include the mind-body relationship and where psi fits with developments in physics. Papers devoted to sceptical debates, educational initiatives and terminology can also be found here.

keywords: theory, methodology, psi, consciousness, physics

Part Two: Evidence Suggestive of Survival of Bodily Death

6. Mental Mediumship and Cross Correspondences

Mental mediums occupied much of the Society's attention in the first three decades of the twentieth century. The principal subjects of investigation were Leonora Piper and Gladys Osborne Leonard. Papers relating to these and others are grouped under single sub-headings.

This work sometimes produced scripts that cross-referenced with each other in significant ways, the so-called Cross Correspondences. Papers that analyse this phenomenon are grouped separately.

keywords: mental mediumship, cross correspondences, automatic writing, telepathy, survival, altered states, personality

7. Physical Mediumship

The Society arrived too late to investigate Daniel Home, the most famous séance medium of the nineteenth century, but did publish some of the work done with him by the scientist William Crookes, also reminiscences by frequent sitters. Material can be found here on later séance mediums (those associated with physical phenomena such as rappings, table levitations, ‘ectoplasm’ and other psychokinetic anomalies). These include Eusapia Palladino, William Eglinton, Marthe Beraud (Eva C), Kate Goligher, Willi and Rudi Schneider, Mina ‘Margery’ Crandon, George Valiantine, Helen Duncan, Florence Cook,  Carlos Mirabelli and Franek Kluski.

keywords: physical mediumship, psychokinesis, magic, cheating, slate writing, photography

8. Spontaneous Apparitions and NDEs

This extensive section includes reports of ghosts and apparitions, notably those that are identifiable or that appear to communicate at the time of death or a crisis. It includes the landmark Census of Hallucinations, whose findings were published in the Society's Proceedings in 1894, and papers on theories and investigative methodology.

The Society's publications contain a few early examples of near-death experiences and ‘death-bed visions’ described by the terminally ill. These are grouped together at the end of the section. Other reports describe a sense of presences, dreams and hallucinations that appear to carry veridical information or provide hints of survival of death. Limited material on Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) is found here.

keywords: apparitions, hauntings, near death experiences, EVP

9. Hauntings and Poltergeists

Poltergeists are included under ‘evidence suggestive of survival’, although in many cases the phenomenon can be considered an effect of living minds. Reports on hauntings (repeated sightings of the same apparition in a single location) can be found here. Discussions relating to the famous Borley Rectory case are grouped together.

keywords: hauntings, poltergeist

10.  Reincarnation

In modern times, some SPR investigators have published case reports on individuals who claimed to remember a previous life. The phenomenon overlaps with reports of possession, which is covered in Section 4 (above, States of Consciousness, keyword multiple personality).

11. Survival Theories and Speculations

Papers in this section discuss aspects of the philosophical and methodological problems involved in survival research and the possibility of proving survival scientifically. Discussions cover: the possible nature of afterlife and the surviving consciousness; the quality of the evidence from psychical phenomena; survival in the context of religious and other belief systems.

keywords: survival, theory

Part Three: Reviews and Overviews

12. Book Reviews

Book reviews are divided by topic and listed in chronological order under topic headings. Some book reviews, particularly of the essay-review type, may be included in the main topic sections and can be identified by the keyword book review.

Book Reviews: Spontaneous and Volitional Psi

Book Reviews: Experimental Psi

Book Reviews: States Of Consciousness, Beliefs

Book Reviews: Theories and Speculations

Book Reviews: Mental Mediumship

Book Reviews: Physical Mediums

Book Reviews: Apparitions, Hauntings and Poltergeists

Book Reviews: Near-Death Experiences

Book Reviews: Reincarnation

Book Reviews: Survival Theories and Speculations

Book Reviews: Biographies and Tributes

13 : Periodicals, Conference Reports, Excerpta

Some journal articles summarise subjects being discussed by researchers in other countries. There are also a number of conference reports and extracts from publications of interest to psychical researchers, ranging from full summaries to brief mentions.

keywords: periodicals, conferences, excerpta

14 Biographies and Tributes

This section consists mainly of obituaries, but includes also a small number of reminiscences and tributes to researchers and supporters of psychical research living at the time of publication. 

keywords: tribute, biography

SPR Administrative and Other Issues

This section lists such items as notices of SPR events, forthcoming books, available grants and scholarships, administrative and personnel changes, appeals, reports of international contacts and other matters of relevance to the membership.

keyword: SPR matters