Sunday, December 07, 2014   4:22 PM

Parapsychology Massively Open Online Course (MOOC)

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Research Fellow, Parapsychology Foundation

Nancy Zingrone and I are organizing a free online course, Parapsychology and Anomalistic Psychology: Research and Education, on the social media teaching platform,www.WizIQ.com, to start Monday January 5th, 2015 and complete Friday February 14th, 2015. The course will be marketed by the WizIQ course group to its 3.5 million teachers and students from all over the world, as well as marketed by us to our various networks and contact lists.

This course is being hosted by our virtual/teaching learning project , the Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education (The AZIRE) and the Parapsychology Foundation  and its President, Lisette Coly. The AZIRE’s Board of Advisors are: Dr. Dean Radin (Institute of Noetic Sciences), Dr. Stanley Krippner (Saybrook University), Dr. Charles T. Tart (University of California-Davis, Emeritus, and Sofia University), Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore (University of West Georgia), Dr. Chris Roe (University of Northampton), Eberhard Bauer (Institüt de Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene), and Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson (University of Iceland, Emeritus).

We are styling the course as a MOOC, (on MOOCs click here and here) that is, a massively open online course—with open enrollment—so that we can reach the widest audience possible with high quality presentations suitable for post-graduate students, young researchers and academics in our field. We are hoping not only to serve our global community of scientists, academics, clinical professionals, and students at the bachelors and post-graduate stages, but also to pull in individuals we have not yet met who have a serious interest in parapsychology.

If the MOOC is successful, we hope to run it once a year in January/February with a shifting set of speakers. While the WizIQ platform cannot accommodate more than about 5,000 learners—and in all honesty we will count ourselves as successful if we obtain 1/10th of that amount on a yearly basis—we believe that the global reach of our course may help to set our science on a more stable footing, at least in terms of the visibility of the real work going on in the field.

For the first MOOC, we are focusing on five areas: 1) experimental and non-experimental research with a mix of, we hope, review presentations and some specific to a single research program, phenomena, or approach; 2) theories; 3) interactions with other fields, 4) university education; and 5) an ”other” area in which we might include, say, a lecture by a knowledgeable, self-reflective experiencer.

We have set up a schedule of 22 guest speakers for the course, with potential dates of presentation ranging from Tuesday the 6th of January through Thursday the 12th of February. Nancy and I will conduct both the opening and closing ceremonies on Monday, January 5th and Friday, February 13th, respectively. Nancy will also conduct occasional “housekeeping” online meetings for those among the attendees who are interested in obtaining a certificate of completion for the course from The AZIRE, our virtual teaching/learning project.

The Parapsychology Foundation will issue the certificates to all attendees to complete the requirements. To do this attendees may choose between the following: writing and submitting a reflection on 10 of the total number of online meetings, with approved reflections uploaded to the course materials; completing an informational or expressive project in the virtual world Second Life that will be displayed in The AZIRE Learning Center (we will offer attendees training for accomplishing work in a virtual world), of which a video will be uploaded in the course materials; completing successfully four of the six weekly quizzes that Nancy will write; or by filming a presentation to share with other attendees and speakers in the course materials, or on some other freely accessible online site.

A few of the confirmed speakers are: Dr. Steve Braude, Dr. Richard Broughton, Dr. Jeffrey Kripal, Dr. Fatima R. Machado, Dr. Alexander Moreira-Almeida, D. Roger Nelson, Dr. Alejandro Parra, Dr. Dean Radin, and Dr. Chris Roe.

If you’re interested in seeing the virtual classroom in action, you can check out the following lecture on our YouTube Channel.

We hope you will be able to join us in this new course.
 

Saturday, October 18, 2014   3:51 AM

Parapsychology and Psychology Online Conference

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Nancy Zingrone and I are organizing a small online conference about “Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory.” This will take place on November 1 and 2 of the current year. As stated in the conference page, where you will find information about registration:

“On November 1st and 2nd, 2014 an international group of scientists and scholars will present a variety of papers and posters on the interface between parapsychology and psychology. Presenters will cover such topics as altered states of consciousness, personality and cognitive variables, and clinical issues. Posters will also deal with anomalistic psychology, dream variables, and history of the often complex relationship of these two fields, among other topics. Presenters and Poster authors are academics, scientists and professors from the Instituto de Psicología Paranormal in Argentina, the University of São Paulo in Brazil, the University of Northampton in England, the University of Strasbourg in France, the Institut für Grenzegebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene in Germany, the University of Padova in Italy, and the University of West Georgia in the United States, among other locations. Four synchronous 90-minute sessions, with a presentation followed by a Q & A sessions will be presented on Saturday and five such sessions on Sunday in the WizIQ.com Virtual Classroom on each of the two conference days. Ten Poster Presentations will also be uploaded as stand-alone PowerPoints to the WizIQ Course Schedule. Registration is $50 for non-students and $30 for students with a proof of studentship. If you can’t afford the registration but would like to attend, plenty of scholarships are also available. Just ask!”

The conference schedule appears here. The formal (real time) presentations are:

November 1

Parapsychology and Psychology: An Overview
Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD & Nancy L. Zingrone, PhD, Rhine Research Center, USA
 

Clinical Dimensions of Psychic Experiences
Renaud Evrard, PhD, University of Strasbourg, France
 

Cognitive and Emotional Empathy in Relation to Five Paranormal/Anomalous Experiences
Alejandro Parra, PhD, Universidad Abierta Interamericana & Instituto de Psicología Paranormal, Argentina

November 2nd

We Are All Psychics, but (Often) We Do Not Know How To
Patrizio Tressoldi, PhD, University of Padova, Italy

ESP and Altered States of Consciousness
Chris Roe, PhD, University of Northampton, England

ESP and Synesthesia
Christine Simmonds-Moore, PhD, University of West Georgia

First Sight

Jim Carpenter, PhD

There will also be a dozen posters, consisting of Power Point presentations that will be available through the two days of the conference and later. Some of them are:

Parapsychology and Psychology: A Selected Bibliography

Gertrude R. Schmeidler (1912-2009): Psychologist and Parapsychologist

Evidence-Based Dualism and Transpersonal Psychology
Charles T. Tart, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Sofia University, University of California at Davis

Outline of the Counselling Work at the Institute of Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health
Eberhard Bauer, Dipl.-Psych., and Wolfgand Fach, Dipl.-Psych.
Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene, Freiburg, Germany

Brazilian Mediumship: A Psychosocial Study
Everton de Oliveira Maraldi, PhD
University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Seeing Rare Things with the Mind’s Eye: Visual Imagery Vividness and Paranormal/Anomalous Experiences

Alejandro Parra, PhD
Universidad Abierta Interamericana & Instituto de Psicología Paranormal, Buenos Aires,
Argentina

A Survey of Depersonalization and Parapsychological Experiences
Nancy L. Zingrone, PhD,* Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD,* and Natasha Agee
*Rhine Research Center

The Academic Consolidation of Anomalistic Psychology in Brazil
Vanessa Corredato, MA, and Wellington Zangari, PhD
University of Sao Paulo

Psychologists’ Rejection of Psychical Research: The 1900 International Congress of
Psychology at Paris

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD
Rhine Research Center, USA

Psychology and Psychical Research: The Work of Théodore Flournoy
Everton de Oliveira Maraldi, PhD*, Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD**, Fatima Regina Machado, PhD**, and Wellington Zangari, PhD**
*University of Sao Paulo, **Rhine Research Center, USA

The conference room is open already for those who are registered. You will find there people to chat with and materials to view (the posters, and coming soon presenter biographies and presentation abstracts). These materials will be available indefinitely after the conference, exclusively for registrants, along with the recordings of the presentations.

 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014   5:11 PM

Online Reincarnation Course

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD, Visiting Scholar, Rhine Research Center

Anthropologist James G. Matlock , known for his writings about reincarnation and other topics, is offering an online course entitled Signs of Reincarnation. Dr. Matlock describes the course as follows:

Dr. James G. Matlock

Dr. James G. Matlock

“Signs of Reincarnation is a 15-week online seminar course offered through The Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education. The course is an interdisciplinary offering that draws on anthropology, consciousness studies, and psychical research, among other fields. It is designed as a graduate-level course to introduce enrollees to academic research on reincarnation (chiefly by Ian Stevenson and his colleagues) and presupposes some acquaintance with academic argument and the scientific method."

Dr. Ian Stevenson

"The course covers all aspects of research on reincarnation, including reincarnation beliefs, methods of case investigation, findings from investigations, and the interpretation of those findings. It includes original lectures as well as readings from the reincarnation and larger scientific literature and involves participation through discussion among enrollees. It is self-paced with an estimated time commitment of 6-8 hours per week, including discussion periods.”
 

The course, running from May 26 to September 7 of 2014, includes such varied topics as belief in reincarnation, studies with children, hypnotic regression, theory, and much more (for a detailed syllabus click here). You will find information about the price of the course, and about its schedule, and registration here. For additional questions write to Dr. Matlock (jgmatlock@yahoo.com).
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013   1:43 PM

Journal of Parapsychology: The Future of Parapsychology

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Rhine Research Center

The December 2012 issue of the Journal of Parapsychology is devoted to the topic: Where Will Parapsychology Be in the Next 25 Years?

Organized by John Palmer, editor of the journal, this exciting issue presents short essays on the topic by 32 individuals.

Some of the contributions are:

Feeling the Future (Daryl J. Bem)

Parapsychology's Future: A Curmudgeonly Perspective (Stephen E. Braude)

Psi is Here to Stay (Etzel Cardena)

The Pursuit of the Paranormal or the Study of Anomalous Experiences? Parapsychology's Next 25 Years (Harvey J. Irwin)

The Easily Tested Ideas Have Been Tried, Now Engage the Phenomena (J.E. Kennedy)

Parapsychology in Context: The Big Pictute (Edward F. Kelly and Emily W. Kelly)

Parapsychology in the Next 25 Yeras--Still a Butterfly Science? (Chris Roe)

The Paradoxical Disappearance of Parapsychology in Brazil (Wellington Zangari and Fatima Regina Machado)

The issue closes with an excellent essay by John Palmer in which he summarizes the opinions of the authors of the various articles. He states that 14 authors were optimistic about the future of the field, while two were pessimistic, and four presented mixed views.

The essays covered aspects related to theory and methodology, but also a variety of extrascientific factors. While there were exceptions, many authors predicted that parapsychology will be better integrated to psychology in the future, but there were exceptions to this view.

Overall the issue is a valuable contribution showing the complexity of the problem, one that does not depend solely on the quality of the findings and methodology, but also involves worldviews and the way individuals interpret the meaning of phenomena such as ESP.

It is my hope that we may see future special issues of the Journal of Parapsychology devoted to issues such as theory, methodology, and studies of specific phenomena and problem areas of parapsychology.

Thursday, February 07, 2013   4:59 PM

Science, the Self, and Survival After Death: A Tribute to Ian Stevenson (1918-2007)

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

One of the most interesting and important figures of modern parapsychology was Ian Stevenson, M.D., who passed away in 2007. He is well known for his studies of children claiming to remember previous lives, but his contribution is wider than that. This is the topic of the book commented on here, Science, the Self, and Survival After Death: Selected Writings of Ian Stevenson, edited by Dr. Emily Williams Kelly (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).

Dr. Ian Stevenson

Dr. Ian Stevenson

Dr. Emily Williams Kelly

Dr. Kelly, who worked with Dr. Stevenson for many years, and conducted research herself on many of the topics that appear in the book, is an Assistant Professor of Research in Psychiatric Medicine at the Division of Perceptual Studies, a research unit that is part of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. In this book Kelly has selected many articles representing Stevenson’s work.

Here is the table of contents of the book:

Introduction
General Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
1. Some of My Journeys in Medicine: 1989

1: New Ideas in Science
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
2. Scientists with Half-Closed Minds: 1958
3. What Are the Irreducible Components of the Scientific Enterprise?: 1999


2: The Nature of Human Personality
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
4. Why Medicine is Not a Science: 1949
5. The End of Patient Abuse in Medical Care: 1985
6. Psychosomatic Medicine. Part I. What We Know about Illness and the Emotions: 1954
7. Bodily Changes Corresponding to Mental Images in the Person Affected: 1997
8. Bodily Changes Corresponding to Another Person’s Mental Images: 1997
9. Comments on the Psychological Effects of Mescaline and Allied Drugs: 1957
10. Can We Describe the Mind?: 1980

3: Psychical Research - Principles and Methods
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
11. Changing Fashions in the Study of Spontaneous Cases: 1987
12. Comments on Paper by Michael Scriven: 1962
13. Thoughts on the Decline of Major Paranormal Phenomena: 1990

4: Research on the Question of Survival After Death: Reviews
and Representative Case Reports
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
14. Sources of Evidence Supporting a Belief in Survival: 1969
15. Research into the Evidence of Man’s Survival After Death: 1977

a. Apparitions
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
16. Modern Apparitional Experiences: 1995

b. Deathbed Visions
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
17. Modern Apparitional Experiences: 1995

c. Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
18. Cardiac Arrest Remembered: 1971
19. Comments on “The Reality of Death Experiences: A Personal Perspective:” 1980
20. The Case of Linda McKnight: 1998

d. Mediumship: Drop-in Communicators
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
21. A Communicator of the “Drop-In” Type in Iceland: The Case of Gudni Magnusson: 1975

e. Cases of the Reincarnation Type
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
22. Reincarnation: Field Studies and Theoretical Issues: 1977
23. Some New Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. IV: The Case of Ampan Petcherat: 1973
24. Three New Cases of the Reincarnation Type in Sri Lanka with Written Records Made before Verification: 1988
f. Cases of the Reincarnation Type with Birthmarks and Birth Defects
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
25. Excerpt from Reincarnation and Biology: 1997
26. Birthmarks and Birth Defects Corresponding to Wounds in Deceased Persons: 1993
27. Case of Hanumant Saxena: 1997

g. Cases of Maternal Impressions
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
28. A New Look at Maternal Impressions: An Analysis of 50 Published Cases and Reports of Two Recent Examples: 1992
29. A Case of Severe Birth Defects Possibly Due to Cursing: 1989

h. Cases of the Possession Type
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
30. A Case of the Possession Type in India with Evidence of Paranormal Knowledge: 1989

i. Xenoglossy
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
31. A Case of Secondary Personality with Xenoglossy: 1979

5: Implications
Introduction (Emily Williams Kelly)
32. The Explanatory Value of the Idea of Reincarnation: 1977
33. Comments on “Is Outcome for Schizophrenia Better in Nonindustrial Societies? The Case of Sri Lanka”: 1979
34. The Significance of Survival for Our Present Life: 1969
35. Assumptions of Religion and Psychiatry: 1955

Conclusion: Toward a Tertium Quid (Emily Williams Kelly)

Appendix: Publications of Ian Stevenson
 

To understand the magnitude of Stevenson’s work the reader is encouraged to peruse the appendix in which a bibliography of books and articles are presented. Then he or she should proceed to read Kelly’s “General Introduction,” where she presents a broad picture of Stevenson’s work in which he focused “on large questions about the nature of human personality” (p. 1). In her view: “Too often in the modern era, scientists have neglected basic questions about the nature of consciousness and its place in the physical universe, whether because they have assumed such questions to be beyond the reach of science or because they have assumed that the fundamental relationship of consciousness and brain is already known” (p. 2). Stevenson challenged such views, showing that meaningful research could be done on the topic and that such research questioned our complacent assumptions about consciousness.

Kelly discusses Stevenson’s career, considering as well his medical work. In her view the central focus of his work was “the source of individual differences, both in character and in susceptibility to particular diseases” (p. 61). She writes about Stevenson’s intellectual development pointing out how he questioned established “knowledge” throughout his life such as purely physiological views of the nature of the mind. “Ian . . . recognized the aim of psychical research as being precisely his own: to apply the methods of science to the still unanswered question of the relationship of mind and brain . . . .” (p 4). In one of the first papers reprinted in the volume, “Scientists with Half-Closed Minds,” which was originally published in the November 1958 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Stevenson stated that the “data of parapsychology portent, I believe, a conceptual revolution which will make the Copernican revolution seem trivial by comparison” (p. 69).

In her introduction Kelly reminds us that Stevenson followed a “tertium quid,” or a third middle course avoiding polarized thinking in religion and science such as those who solely emphasized faith and reason. “Ian’s career . . . exemplifies a rejection of an ‘either-or’ approach to science and religion. For him . . . religion is not primarily the sectarian, often dogmatic cultural systems of faith that we see outwardly but more broadly the human sense of, and striving toward, something transcending individual finite existence. Similarly, science was for him not a metaphysical belief in the primacy of the physical world but a method of observation leading to publicly shared knowledge. For those who subscribe to a ‘tertium quid’ approach to science and religion, the methods of science can be applied to certain questions traditionally considered metaphysical or spiritual, particularly those related to the relationship between physical processes of the brain and the subjective experiences that we call mental” (p. 7).
 

Stevenson made a career—one may say he was on a scientific quest—in the discussion of and research into reincarnation cases, as well as with other phenomena such as apparitions, mediumship, near-death experiences, and xenoglossy. I say “discussion” because some of his papers were about the importance of the phenomena. But what made Stevenson such an important figure in modern parapsychology was his empirical research with new cases. While many others discussed (and still discuss) survival of bodily death based on old cases and research, Stevenson was actively investigating, bringing new evidence to the subject matter. The field needs more workers of Stevenson’s energy, drive and interests because currently very few individuals investigate psychic phenomena suggestive of survival of death and even fewer less do it systematically or with a sustained focus over long periods of time.
 

It is also important to see Stevenson as a critic of the experimental emphasis in modern parapsychology. Science, he believed, could be conducted via systematic examinations of cases, and was not the sole province of the laboratory. As he wrote in his 1987 paper “Changing Fashions in the Study of Spontaneous Cases” reprinted in this volume, experimental studies in parapsychology cannot describe the whole picture. Cases highlight so many features of psychic phenomena that are not easily introduced in the experimental context or that cannot be introduced or induced in the laboratory with anything like the way they are experienced in life, emotions being an example of this.


In my view Kelly has suceeded in her goal for Science, the Self, and Survival After Death. She has summarized the most important aspects of Stevenson’s thinking and empirical work, and in so doing has represented most of his body of work, not reducing it solely to reincarnation cases (admittedly his greatest and most detailed contribution). More importantly, in her comments throughout the book, Kelly has identified the ideas and driving concepts behind Stevenson’s work as well as its potential significance. In doing so she has not only justly given credit to a man who deserves our respect and admiration, but her comments and the compilation of materials are a reminder of the tradition of studies of the self to which Stevenson belongs, that is approaches pioneered by previous figures such as Frederic W.H. Myers and William James.


The book may be ordered from the publisher (https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781442221147) and from other places (such as http://www.amazon.com/Science-Self-Survival-after-Death/dp/1442221143).

About Ian Stevenson


Alvarado, C.S. (2007). Ian Stevenson’s contributions to parapsychology: An appreciation. Online:http://www.pflyceum.org/178.html


Alvarado, C.S., & Zingrone, N.L. (2008). Ian Stevenson and the modern study of spontaneous ESP experiences.Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 44-53.


Gauld, A. (2008). Reflections of the life and work of Ian Stevenson. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 18-35.


Haraldsson, E. (2008). Ian Stevenson’s contributions to the study of mediumship. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 64-72.


Matlock, J.G. (2011). Ian Stevenson’s Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 25, 789-820.


Tucker, J.B. (2008). Ian Stevenson and cases of the reincarnation type. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 22, 36-43.


Some of Stevenson’s Books
 

(1970). Telepathic Impressions: A Review and Report of 35 New Cases. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.

(1974). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation (second ed.). Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia).

(1975). Cases of the Reincarnation Type: Vol. 1: Ten Cases in India. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.

(1987). Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virgina. (Second edition, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Press, 2011).

(1997). Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects(2 vols.). Westport, CT: Praeger Scientific.

(2003). European Cases of the Reincarnation Type. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

 

Friday, January 25, 2013   6:58 PM

Journal of Nonlocality

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia

The first issue of the Journal of Nonlocality is available here as an open access publication:http://journals.sfu.ca/jnonlocality/index.php/jnonlocality.

Here is information about the journal's Editorial Board http://www.mindmattermapping.org/home/journal-of-nonlocality/editorial-board  and its Table of Contents:http://journals.sfu.ca/jnonlocality/index.php/jnonlocality/issue/view/1/showToc

According to the the publishers, the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (http://icrl.org/):  "The Journal of Nonlocality has been set up to address an experimental and conceptual impasse in understanding the nature of nonlocality and observer effects in quantum mechanics. In conjunction with ICRL's Mind-Matter Mapping Project, we hope to create a research venue where cutting-edge experimental tools in physics, biology and parapsychology can be combined to design more revealing protocols; to bypass the experimental difficulties identified by Wheeler and Bell; and to cast new light on the role that these effects play in genetic regulatory systems, placebo effects, anomalous perception and retrocausality."

The history of the journal is summarized by the publishers in their website as follows: "The Journal of Nonlocality started out as an open access, non-peer reviewed publication in 2002 under the title Journal of Nonlocality and Remote Mental Interactions (JNLRMI). Volumes I-IV are accessible in full text at http://emergentmind.org/journal.htm"  

"The history of the journal is summarized by the publishers in their website as follows: "In 2011 ICRL decided to adopt the title Journal of Nonlocality for its new peer-reviewed publication, building on the research directions outlined by the now-retired JNLRMI, but with an exclusive focus on experimental design and empirical results. While some of the original editorial board members remain, a sustained effort has been made to broaden the expertise area and reach out to the mainstream research community in related fields such as biophysics and foundations of quantum mechanics."
 

Sunday, January 20, 2013   5:18 PM

Conference of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia

The next conference of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies (http://www.ascsi.org/) will be held at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel in Virginia Beach, Virginia (USA) from Friday, May 17 to Sunday, May 19, 2013.

The topic of the conference is Spirituality, Consciousness and Science. Some of the main speakers are listed here:http://www.ascsi.org/anco/prog.php

Among the speakers are P.M.H. Atwater, Dr. James E. Beichler, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Dr. Karen E. Herrick, Dr. Raymond Moody, and Dr. Vernon Neppe.

For registration details click here: http://www.ascsi.org/anco/online_con_reg.php  For questions about the conference write to Mr. Boyce Batey: BateyB@infionline.net
 

Friday, February 03, 2012   6:55 PM

New Article about Ernesto Bozzano

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

Atlantic University (carlos.alvarado@atlanticuniv.edu)

Italian psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano (1862-1943), a favorite of mine, has received some attention over the years. Unfortunately for English-language students with the exception of my papers about aspects of his work, most of these discussions have appeared in Italian. Among them we may mention Giovanni Iannuzzo’s and Silvio Ravaldini’s works (see the bibliography at the end).

                                                                   
 

                                                                        Ernesto Bozzano

More recently Luca Gasperini has joined the ranks of the students of Bozzano’s life and work, producing a comprehensive thesis for academic work at the University of Bologna, aspects of which have appeared in the Italian journalLuce e Ombrain which Bozzano published a good proportion of his work when he was alive. I have appended at the end of these comments a brief bibliography of modern writings about Bozzano.

                                                                     

                                                                            Luca Gasperini

Gasperini has published an overview of Bozzano’s life and work in his article “Ernesto Bozzano: An Italian Spiritualist and Psychical Researcher” (Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2012, 25, 755-773) which is the best English-language introduction to Bozzano available today. In addition to biographical information the article has a very good introduction to Bozzano’s approach and methodology, not to mention his analyses and evaluations of psychic phenomena in relation to the issue of survival of death.

                                                                       

Gasperini writes: “Ernesto Bozzano . . . was probably the most important Italian representative of psychical and spiritualistic studies before the 1940s, as well as one of the few to emerge on the international scene, thanks to his numerous publications which gained him the esteem of scientists, philosophers, and psychical researchers. He was at the center of an intense network of correspondence with Italian, European, and American intellectuals, receiving an average of 200 letters a month, and was furthermore one of the few Italian scholars to have been named an honorary member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), and the Institut Métapsychique International (IMI) . . . [But] Bozzano is completely unknown in Italy to those who do not deal with the history of psychical research.”

                                                  

He wrote that Bozzano attempted to “create a ‘metapsychical philosophy’ capable of interpreting and coherently connecting paranormal phenomena, above all considering the demonstration of human survival, the topic which interested him primarily, but also secondarily deriving some notions of metaphysical and cosmological order of the general guiding hypotheses with which to return and compare the psychic phenomena in order to justify and organize them in a wider perspective, namely that of the spiritual evolution of the universe.”

                                                               

Finally, Gasperini concluded: “Bozzano was deeply convinced of his Spiritistic hypothesis and therefore spent 50 years of his life collecting his immense paranormal record of cases in order to demonstrate them scientifically, so that no one could any longer voice doubts about them . . . . The methods of Bozzano, which Iannuzzo . . . defined as observational and naturalistic and which we can also call bibliographic, must have seemed rather simplistic to the parapsychologists of the experimental school . . . . Nevertheless, from a historical point of view, he symbolically epitomized the interest of his time and place for spiritualism and psychical phenomena, and to study him permits, if nothing else, a more in-depth reconstruction of the Italian situation . . . . ”

                                             

Some Writings About Ernesto Bozzano (for a bibliography of Bozzano's writings see http://www.bibliotecabozzanodeboni.it/bibliografie/bibliografia_bozzano.htm)

Alvarado, C.S. (1987). The life and work of an Italian Psychical Researcher: A review of Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e L'Opera by Giovanni Iannuzzo. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 81, 37-47.

Alvarado, C. S. (2005). Ernesto Bozzano on the phenomena of bilocation. Journal of Near-Death
Studies, 23
, 207–238. http://atlanticuniv.academia.edu/CarlosSAlvarado/Papers/318846/_2005_._Ernesto_Bozzano_and_the_phenomena_of_bilocation._Journal_of_Near-Death_Studies_23_207-238

Alvarado, C. S. (2007). Remarks on Ernesto Bozzano’s La Psiche Domina la MateriaJournal of Near-Death Studies, 25, 189-195.www.medicine.virginia.edu/.../Alvarado-Bozzano-La-Psiche-Domina-2007-JNDS-Bozzano.pdf

Biondi, M. (1984). Pagine d’appunti di Ernesto Bozzano [A page of notes about Ernesto Bozzano]. Luce e Ombra, 84, 156–164.

Bozzano, E. (1924). Autobiographical sketch. Journal of the American Society for Psychical
Research, 18
, 153–155.

Di Porto, B. (no year). Ernesto Bozzano. In Dizionario Biografi co degli Italiani (Vol. 13, pp. 578–580). Rome: Treccani.http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/ernesto-bozzano_(Dizionario-Biografico)/

Gasperini, L. (2009-2010). Ernesto Bozzano: Tra Spiritismo Scientifico e la Ricerca Psichica [Ernesto Bozzano" Between Scientific Spiritism and Psychical Research]. Laurea thesis, University of Bologna.

Gasperini, L. (2010). L’annosa disputa Bozzano–Morselli [The age-old dispute Bozzano-Morselli]. Luce e Ombra, 110, 290–306.

Gasperini, L. (2011). Ernesto Bozzano, i “popoli primitivi” ed Ernesto de Martino (Ernesto Bozzani, "primitive people," and Ernesto de Martino]. Luce e Ombra, 111, 17–25.

Gasperini, L. (2011). Criptestesia o ipotesi spiritica? Ch. Richet ed E. Bozzano a confronto [Cryptesthesia or spiritistic hypothesis? The confrontation of Ch. Richet and E. Bozzano] Luce e Ombra, 111, 113-126.

Iannuzzo, G. (1983). Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e l’Opera [Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work]. Verona: Luce e Ombra.

Ravaldini, S. (1993). Ernesto Bozzano e la Ricerca Psichica: Vita e Opere di un Pioniere della
Parapsicologia
[Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work of a Pioneer of Parapsychology]. Rome: Mediterranee. (For a review seehttp://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_n4_v59/ai_18445604/)
 

Sunday, January 29, 2012   5:00 PM

Digital Libraries with Holdings of the Old Literature--IV.

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

Atlantic University (Carlos.alvarado@atlanticuniv.edu)

Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/)

This library covers a variety of subjects, including Spiritualism and related matters. It includes other collections such as Project Gutenberg, and holdings from Google Books. The books appear as facsimiles of the original, as well as text files.

Here are a few examples of the holdings.

Bray, C. (n.d., ca 1866). On Force, its Mental and Moral Correlates. London: Longmans,
Green, Reader, and Dyer.

Crowe, C. (1848). The Night-side of Nature (2 vols.). London: T. Newby.

                                                                        

Cumberland, S. (1880). A Thought-Reader’s Thoughts. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington.

Davis, S.W. (1907). A Future Life? Los Angeles: Humanitarian Review Publishing House.

Dendy, W.C. (1841). The Philosophy of Mystery. London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman.

Hyslop, J.H. (1908). Psychical Research and the Resurrection. Boston: Small, Maynard.

                                                      James H. Hyslop

Leger, T. (1846). Animal Magnetism; or Psycodunamy. New York: D. Appleton.

Mitchell, T. W. (1922). Medical Psychology and Psychical Research. London: Methuen.

Sweet, E. (1870). The Future Life (2nd ed.). Boston: William White.

Williamson, M.J. (1873). Modern Diabolism. New York: James Miller.

                                                                  

Gallica (http://gallica.bnf.fr/)

This project, covering practically all areas of interest, is produced and maintained by the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Consequently, most of the books and journals offered online are in French. It also includes many other auditory and visual files (e.g., illuminated manuscripts).

Books

Barety, A. (1887). Le Magnetisme Animal: Etudie sous le Nom de Force Neurique Rayonnante et Circulante dans ses Proprietes Physiques, Physiologiques et Therapeutiques. Paris: Octave Doin, J. Lechevalier.

Duhem, P. (1904). Contribution a l’Etude de la Folie chez les Spirites. Paris: Steinheil.

Figuier, L. (1860). Histoire du Merveilleux dans les Temps Modernes (4 vols.). Paris: L. Hachette.

                                                                        

Gyel, E. (1899). L’Etre Subconscient. Paris: Felix Alcan.

Hartmann, E. von (1885). Der Spiritismus. Leipzig: W. Friedrich.

Mesmer, F.A. (1779). Memoire sur la Decouverte du Magnetisme Animal. Paris: P. F. Didot le jeune.

Mesmer, F.A. (1785). Aphorismes de M. Mesmer Dictes a l’Assemblee de ses Eleves et dans lesquels on Trouve ses Principes, sa Theorie, et les Moyens de Magnetiser. Paris: M. Quinquet l’aine.

                                                               Mesmer

Puysegur, A.M.J.C. (1811). Recherches, Experiences et Observations Physiologiques sur l’Homme dans l’Etat de Somnambulisme Naturel et Dans le Somnambulisme Provoque par l’Acte Magnetique. Paris: J. G. Dentu.

De Rochas, A. (1906). L’Exteriorisation de la Motricite (4th ed.). Paris: Chacornac.

Articles

Flournoy, T. (1899). Genese de quelques pretendus messages spirites. Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger, 47, 144–158.

Janet, P. (1886). Note sur quelques phenomenes de somnambulisme. Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger, 21, 190–198.

Janet, P. (1886). Deuxieme note sur le somneil provoque a distance et la suggestion mentale pendant l’etat somnambulique.Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger, 22, 212–223.

                                                             Pierre Janet

Richet, C. (1884). La suggestion mentale et le calcul des probabilites. Revue Philosophique de la France et de l’Etranger, 18, 609–674.

                                                             Charles Richet

Paulham, F. (1892). Les hallucinations veridiques et la suggestion mentale. Revue des Deux Mondes, 62(s. 3), 65–100.                                                                

Sudre, R. (1927). Revue de la quinzaine: Metapsychique. Mercure de France, 198, 692–697.

Sunday, January 22, 2012   5:00 PM

William G. Roll (1926-2012)

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D. 

Atlantic University (Carlos.alvarado@atlanticuniv.edu)


Parapsychology has lost an important pioneer and worker, William George Roll (1926-2012). Bill, as he was generally called, had a rich life, as you can see in biographies:http://archived.parapsych.org/members/w_g_roll.html;http://www.parapsych.org/articles/37/129/obituary_dr_william_g_roll.aspx,http://www.pflyceum.org/379.html, and in an online autobiographical sketch (http://www.psychicalresearchfoundation.com/about.html) available in the Web.

 

                                                                               

Like many in parapsychology, I was influenced by Bill’s work. I still remember the excitement I felt reading his bookThe Poltergeist when I started reading about the field during the early 1970s. I last saw him at Utrecht during the conference “Utrecht II: Charting the Future of Parapsychology” (http://www.pflyceum.org/451.html), to which he was invited as one of the few surviving participants of the original 1953 Utrecht meeting sometimes referred to as the First International Conference of Parapsychological Studies (http://www.pflyceum.org/432.html). There he was invited to present a paper entitled “Parapsychological Concepts.” Bill was 27 years old at the time and he may have been the youngest parapsychologist in the program. There he was talking about conceptual issues related to psychic phenomena to an audience mainly composed of older and far more experienced and distinguished scientists and scholars, among them C. J. Ducasse, Marcel Martiny, C.A. Meier, Gardner Murphy, H.H. Price, S.G. Soal, Robert Thouless, and René Warcollier.

Many newcomers and young workers in parapsychology think mainly of Bill in terms of his poltergeist work. While there is no doubt that his contributions to this area were very important—from his first paper on the Seaford case (Pratt, J.G., & Roll, W.G. (1958). The Seaford disturbances. Journal of Parapsychology, 22, 79-124) to his last published contribution in 2012 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22229671) –his career included much more than that. Rather than present a detailed overview of Bill’s life and career I would like to honor his memory by presenting some highlights of his early days in parapsychology.

In addition to his field studies, Bill contributed to parapsychology in many other ways. One of them was conducting ESP experiments. His initial work, before he had published in the field, was referred to in the Journal of Parapsychology as follows: “The Committee of Advanced Studies at Oxford University has quite recently made a year’s grant to Mr. William G. Roll for the establishment of a small parapsychology laboratory at Oxford. Mr. Roll is a graduate student working on a thesis which deals with the philosophical implications of ESP . . . He will work under the supervision of Professor H. H. Price . . .” (Bateman, F., & Soal, S.G. (1953). Science and ESP research. Journal of Parapsychology, 17, 275-297, see p. 295). This work, also funded by the Society for Psychical Research and by the Parapsychology Foundation, took place between 1952 and 1955 and was reported in his thesis Theory and Experiment in Psychical Research(1959), for which he received a Masters in Literature from Oxford University (published later by Arno Press in 1975). In this work he included a great variety of experiments, as discussed in headings such as: Experiments with the Bernreuter Personality Inventory, ESP Experiments with Hypnotized Subjects, Neurophysiological Relations, and The Effect of Dissociation, among others. Later work included studies of psychometry (Roll, W. G., & Tart, C.T. Exploratory token object tests with a "sensitive." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1965, 59, 226-236).

The thesis also included much conceptual and theoretical material, which was another area in which Bill distinguished himself. Some of his early conceptual writings included “The Problem of Precognition” (Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 1961, 41, 115-128), “The Psi Field” (Proceedings of the Parapsychological Association, 1964, 1, 32-65), and his widely cited “ESP and Memory” (International Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 1966, 2, 505-552). In a paper presented in a Parapsychological Association Convention (PA) in 1959 Bill argued that “very little attention has been paid to the stimulus that evokes psi, since it became apparent that psi is probably not dependent on known physical laws . . . . It was suggested that there may be external conditions that do not fall within the scope of present-day physics on which the transmission of ESP stimuli may depend. The theory, which involves the postulate of new constituents of material objects with new causal properties, is also intended to provide a unified description of the various types of psi phenomena, such as ESP, PK, and precognition” (Towards an Explanatory Model for Psi Phenomena. Journal of Parapsychology, 1959, 23, 288).

Bill also contributed to methodology and to survival research, among other topics. The latter includes his frequent defenses of studying the transcendent phenomena of the living consciousness, such as out-of-body experiences, as opposed to obtaining evidence of the continuation of consciousness after death.

 

                                               

Furthermore, he devoted much time to editorial and administrative work, contributions that tend to be forgotten. Bill worked hard to develop the PA. In fact, he was the last survivor of the first PA council, formed in 1957. He held office together with Robert McConnell (President), Gertrude Schmeidler (Vice-President), Rhea White (Secretary), Remi Cadoret (Treasurer), and Council Members Margaret Anderson, and Karlis Osis. Bill served in the council in different capacities during the forming years of the PA, through the late 1950s and the 1960s, and he was PA President in 1964.

These brief comments are only highlights of Bill’s early work. As such they are not adequate to convey the beginnings and even less the later developments and contributions of a man who devoted most of his life to parapsychology. Plans are on foot to discuss his contributions in more detail. One of these is a panel I am organizing for the next PA Convention (http://www.parapsych.org/section/41/2012_convention.aspx), in which I hope some of Bill’s colleagues with discuss his contributions to various areas, and over his long and productive life.

                                                            
 

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