Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.
Nancy Zingrone (http://www.parapsych.org/users/nanzingrone/profile.aspx) and I recently returned from a long trip to Brazil during which we participated in several activities related to parapsychology representing Atlantic University (http://www.atlanticuniv.edu/). In Curitiba, on the south of the country, we attended two conventions. In the first one, the “VII Encontro Psi” (7th Psi Meetinghttp://www.unibem.br/cipe/11_inde.htm), organized by Fabio da Silva (http://www.parapsych.org/users/fabio5/profile.aspx), there were many Brazilian presenters, as well as some from other countries. Presentations were in Portuguese, English and Spanish. I shared the honor with Stanley Krippner of presenting one of the two invited addresses at the Encounter. The presentation, delivered in Spanish, was entitled “Exploring the Varieties of Human Experience: The Contributions of Psychical Research.” It was a discussion of the importance of psychic phenomena to psychology regarding issues such as the expansion of our views of what constitutes human experiences and an acknowledgement of the relations existing between ESP and other phenomena and psychological experiences and aspects such as dissociation, dreams, and beliefs.
Just after the Encounter we had in the same place the 54th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association, which brought together many of the participants at the Encounter, as well as others (see the 2011 program herehttp://www.parapsych.org/section/24/convention_abstracts.aspx). Here presentations were in English (with translations to Portuguese). In another invited address entitled “Distortions the Past” (see page 50 here:http://www.parapsych.org/uploaded_files/pdfs/00/00/00/00/24/2011_pa_convention_abstracts.pdf) I discussed how some parapsychologists distort the history of their field in their writings. This was part of the Outstanding Contribution Award the Association granted to me at the 2010 convention in Paris (http://www.parapsych.org/articles/29/29/2010_outstanding_contribution.aspx). I also organized a panel discussion about “Future Directions in the Study of Mental Mediumship” in which I discussed the need to research mediumship and dreams.
Nancy L. Zingrone and Carlos S. Alvarado Alvarado presenting at PA Convention
From Curitiba we went to Sao Paulo, where Nancy had a five lecture course in which students registered to hear about the psychology of psychic experiences. This took place at the Institute of Psychology (http://www.ip.usp.br/portal/index.php?lang=en) of the University of Sao Paulo (http://www5.usp.br/en/) where our friend Dr. Wellington Zangari has a tenured position and a research unit in anomalistic psychology named Inter Psi: Laboratory of Anomalistic Psychology and Psychosocial Processes (http://www.ip.usp.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1691:laboratorio-de-psicologia-anomalistica-e-processos-psicossociais&catid=52&Itemid=66&lang=en). This unit, directed by Zangari and by Dr. Fatima Machado, brings together several psychology graduate students and other persons seriously interested in research in anomalous phenomena.
Wellington Zangari Fatima R. Machado
The course included seven lectures consisting on a general introductory discussion, which was followed by presentations about ESP, apparitions and auras, out-of-body and near-death experiences, and a final one about current problems and future needs in research (I presented two of them and participated in the final one). Some days later Nancy and I also made presentations in a small conference entitled “Inter Psi Seminar: Anomalistic Psychology in Context.” Here I presented a paper similar to the one I read at the 7th Psi Encounter. In addition there were three other papers: “Anomalistic Psychology and So-Called Anomalous Experiences,” by Wellington Zangari; “The Academic Study of Anomalous Experience Around the World,” by Nancy Zingrone; and “Anomalous Experiences in Brazil: The Need for Psychological Understanding,” by Fatima Machado.
Between the presentations in Sao Paulo we flew to Juiz de Fora, where we had lectures at the Federal University of Juiz de For a (http://www.ufjf.br/cri-eng/ufjf/), in the state of Minas Gerais. Here we presented to a group of students and faculty organized by psychiatrist Alexander Almeida-Moreira (http://www.parapsych.org/users/alexander/profile.aspx). Nancy presented a discussion entitled “Methodology in Parapsychology,” while I was asked to discuss topics related to the history of the field. These were “Conceptual and Methodological Issues in the History of Parapsychology,” and “Eusapia Palladino and Psychical Research.” I also presented another version of the paper given at the 7th Psi Encounter to an open audience consisting mainly of students.
I greatly enjoyed my visit to Brazil. The people and the culture are very welcoming. I found particularly satisfying to see old Brazilian friends and to be able to bring information about parapsychology to good and motivated students.