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Past Presidents

Current: John Poynton: Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Natal; Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London; Associate of the Natural History Museum, London.

2011-2015: Richard Broughton, former Director of what is now the Rhine Research Center, lecturer, author of Parapsychology: The Controversial Science (1992) and numerous scientific papers.

2004-2007: John Poynton (see above)

2007-2011: Deborah Delanoy, Professor of Psychology, University of Northampton; Research Director for the School of Behaviour Studies, Director of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes, Northampton.

2000-2004: Bernard Carr, Professor in Mathematics and Astronomy, Queen Mary & Westfield College, London University

1998-2000: Donald J. West (also 1963-1965 and 1984-1988), psychologist and criminologist;  Former Director of the Institute of Criminology, Professor of Clinical Criminology at Cambridge, Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge

1995-1998: David Fontana (1934-2010), psychologist; Professor of Educational Psychology, Universities of Minho and of Algarve, Portugal; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Wales, Cardiff

1992-1995: Archie Roy (1924-2012), astronomer; Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Glasgow, founder of the Scottish SPR in 1987 

1989-1992: Alan Gauld, psychologist, retired Reader in Psychology, University of Nottingham.

1988-1989: Ian Stevenson, M.D. (1918-2007), Director of Division of Personality Studies, Carlson Professor of Psychiatry, University of Virginia

1984-1988: Donald J. West, psychiatrist and criminologist (also 1963-1965, and 1998-1999; for full entry see 1998-1999)

1981-1983: Arthur J. Ellison (see entry for 1976-1979)

1980: Louisa Ella Rhine (1891-1983), parapsychologist, writer, co-worker with her husband, J.B. Rhine

1980: Joseph Banks Rhine (1895-1980), biologist and parapsychologist, writer, founder of Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University, USA

1976-1979 (and 1981-1982): Arthur J. Ellison (1920-2000), technologist; after a career in industry taught at Queen Mary College, from 1972 Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the City University, London.

1974-1976: John Beloff (1920-2006), psychologist; Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh; encouraged post-graduate studies in psychical research and was instrumental in establishing the Koestler Unit at Edinburgh.

1971-1974: Clement William Kennedy Mundle (1916-1989), philosopher; Head of Philosophy Departments first at Dundee University, then at University College of North Wales

1969-1971: William A. H. Rushton (1901-1980), physiologist, Professor at Cambridge

1965-1969: Sir Alister Hardy (1896-1985), zoologist; Professor of Zoology at Hull University and then Linacre Professor of Zoology at Oxford; founder of the Religious Experience Research Unit at Manchester College, Oxford

1963-1965: Donald James West (1924-), psychiatrist and criminologist (also 1984-1988 and 1998-1999;  for full entry see 1998-1999)

1960-1963: Eric Robertson Dodds (1893-1979), classical scholar, Regius Professor of Greek (Oxford)

1960-1961: Henry Habberley Price (see 1939-1941)

1958-1960: Charlie Dunbar Broad (see 1935-1936)

1956-1958: Guy William Lambert (1889-1984), civil servant, served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State for War.

1953-1955: F.J.M. Stratton (1881-1961), astrophysicist, Professor of Astrophysics and Director of Solar Physics Observatory at Cambridge 1928-1947, President of Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge 1945-1948

1952: Gilbert Murray (see 1915-1916)

1950-1951: Samuel George Soal (1890-1975), mathematician; Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at Queen Mary College after service during World War I

1949-1950: Gardner Murphy (1895-1979), psychologist; Hodgson Fellow at Harvard University, Professor of the Menninger Foundation from 1940, visiting Professor of Psychology at George Washington University

1947-1948: William Henry Salter (1880-1969), classical scholar and lawyer; called to the Bar 1905.

1945-1946: George N.M. Tyrrell (1879-1952), mathematician and physicist; worked under Marconi on radio communications.

1942-1944: Robert Henry Thouless (1894-1984), psychologist; academic posts at a number of universities, eventually becoming Reader in Educational Psychology at Cambridge

1939-1941: Henry Habberley Price (1899-1984), philosopher; various academic posts, including Wykeham Professor of Logic

1937-1938: Robert John Strutt, 4th Baron Rayleigh (1875-1947), physicist; Professor of Physics at Imperial College, London, 1908-1919, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1905

1935-1936 (and 1958-1960): Charlie Dunbar Broad (1887-1971), philosopher; after a distinguished academic career at several universities, he eventually became Knightsbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge in 1935. He had Fellowships and honorary degrees in several countries.

1933-1934: Edith Lyttelton (née Balfour) (1865-1948), social activist and writer

1932: Joint Presidency, Eleanor Sidgwick (see 1908-1909) and Oliver Lodge (see 1901)

1930-1931: Walter Franklin Prince (1863-1934), clergyman; described by Joseph Banks Rhine as 'my principal teacher in psychical research'.

1928-1929: Sir Lawrence J. Jones, Bt (1885-1955)

1926-1927: Hans Driesch (1867-1941), German biologist and natural philosopher; Professor of Systematic Philosophy at Cologne University from 1919, Director of Philosophical Seminars at Leipzig from 1921

1924-1925: John George Piddington (1869-1952), businessman

1923: Camille Flammarion (1842-1925), French astronomer, President of the Astronomical Society of France

1922: Thomas Walter Mitchell (1869-1944), physician, for many years editor of the British Journal of Medical Psychology

1920-1921: William McDougall (1871-1938), psychologist, educated at St John's College, Cambridge, became Wilde Reader in Mental Psychology at Oxford in 1905. In 1921 appointed Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, then at Duke University in 1927, where he founded the Journal of Parapsychology in 1937.

1919: John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (1842-1919), experimental physicist, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1866; Nobel Prize winner 1904

1917-1918: L. P. Jacks (1860-1955), philosopher; Professor of Philosophy at Manchester College, Oxford from 1903, Principal of the College from 1915.

1915-1916 (and 1952): Gilbert Murray (1866-1957), classical scholar, Fellow of New College, Oxford, later Regius Professor of Greek. Founded the League of Nations Union after World War I.

1914: Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller (1864-1937), philosopher; Profesor of Philosophy at the University of South California from 1929.

1913: Henri Bergson (1859-1941), French philosopher, Chair of the Philosophy of History at the College de France 1900-1921

1912: The Rt Reverend W. Boyd Carpenter (1841-1918), clergyman, Bishop of Ripon from 1884, Canon of Westminster from 1911

1911:Andrew Lang (1844-1912), anthropologist, writer, scholar of extraordinarily wide range of learning, author of sixty published volumes, Fellow of Merton College

1910:  Henry Arthur Smith (1848-1922), lawyer, business man and administrator

1908-1909 (and 1932): Eleanor Sidgwick (1845-1936), mathematician, closely connected with Newnham College, Cambridge (first women's college), Principal of Newnham College 1892-1910

1906-1907: Gerald Balfour (1853-1945), classical scholar, later politician

1905: Charles Richet (1850-1935), French physiologist, Professor of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine of Paris, Nobel Prize winner 1913

1904: Sir William Fletcher Barrett (1845-1925), physicist; Chair of Physics at the Royal College of Science in Dublin, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1899

1901-1903 (and 1932): Sir Oliver Lodge (1851-1940), physicist and mathematician, Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Liverpool from 1881, first Principal of Birmingham University

1900: Frederic William Henry Myers (1843-1901), classical scholar and philosopher, "Of all the founder members he had perhaps the liveliest and widest-ranging mind."

1896-1899: Sir William Crookes (1832-1919),  chemist and physicist, discoverer of thallium and cathode rays, inventor of radiometer

1894-1895: William James (1842-1910),  American psychologist and philosopher

1893: Arthur Balfour (1848-1930), philosopher, Prime Minister 1902-1905

1888-1892: Henry Sidgwick (also 1882-1884)

1885-1887: Balfour Stewart (1827-1887), physicist, Professor of Physics at Queen's College, Manchester, from 1870, Fellow of the Royal Society from 1862

1882-1884 (and 1888-1892): Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), philosopher, Knightsbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambridge University 1883-1900