Obituary: Dr. Arthur Hastings
Dr. Hastings was a long-time member of the Parapsychological Association. Here is the obituary that he prepared for his passing, as published in Issue 6.2 of the Mindfield: The Bulletin of the Parapsychological Association.
on Thursday, July 03, 2014
Dr. Arthur Claude Hastings, professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, died April 13, 2014, at age 79. The cause of death was leukemia. Dr. Hastings was a founding faculty member of the institute from its beginning in 1975. He was the director of the William James Center for Consciousness Studies. He had held most of the top positions in the school, including President, Academic Dean, and Chief Financial Officer. He had also held faculty appointments at Stanford University, San Jose State University, and the University of Nevada.
A widely liked and respected professor, he was recently humorously introduced as the Mr. Rogers (a gentle American TV character) of ITP. He was one of the founders of the transpersonal psychology field and specialized in transpersonal theory, altered states of consciousness, and research methodology. He was a former president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and was book review editor for the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology.
His current research had been on the psychomanteum technique, an innovative approach to healing bereavement. He was a leader in the field of transpersonal psychology and was also well known for his research in parapsychology, the study of psychic phenomena. One of his books, With the Tongues of Men and Angels, is considered the standard reference on channeling and his Health for the Whole Person was one of the first books on holistic medicine. He was well known as a parapsychologist and considered that the scientific research evidence was more than enough to establish the reality of extra-sensory perception.
He was a consultant on remote viewing research at SRI International and published successful research studies on the subject. He also investigated poltergeist phenomena, using his insights into conjuring techniques to identify several cases of deception or misinterpretation. He wrote critiques of Israeli psychic Uri Geller and deceptive psychic readers that were published in the literature of parapsychology. He was on the board of the Northern California Society for Clinical Hypnosis. In his private practice he used hypnosis to assist people for medical treatment, performance skills, and personal issues.
Dr. Hastings was born in Neosho, MO, May 23, 1935, the only child of Chauncey and Mildred Hastings, and grew up in a small town environment. He attended college at Tulane University, and received a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in public address and small group communication. In high school and college he was a champion debater. While at Northwestern University he coached teams to national debate championships and later co-authored a standard text, Argumentation and Advocacy. He married Sandra Gray in 1969, and they made their home in Mountain View. Their son Michael is married and lives in San Jose.
One of his hobbies was magic and he often entertained at graduations and school events with magic illustrating psychological concepts and stories. He was a member of the Palo Alto Assembly 94 of the Society of American Magicians, San Jose Ring 216 of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Mystic 13 magic club. He used his magical knowledge to investigate apparent cases of poltergeists and psychic events. He was one of the few individuals who had expert knowledge of magical techniques and also investigated paranormal phenomena with open mindedness.