Who Was John Beloff? (1920-2006)


One of the temptations that a biographer must resist is the use of hindsight to give a spurious continuity to the life in question and thereby ignoring the part played by sheer chance. Parapsychology is such a deviant pursuit in our society that it is nevertheless proper to inquire how someone gets drawn into it. Perhaps the two most common explanations, in this connection, are the following. The individual in question may at some stage of his or her life have had intimations of the paranormal so impressive or disturbing that thereafter the topic became a consuming passion. Alternatively, and less dramatically, an interest in the paranormal may have been so strongly embedded in that person's family background and traditions that the seeds were sown from an early age.

Neither explanation, however, fits my particular case. Never at any time, alas, have I been favoured with one of those inexplicable incidents which so many people I have met can recall from their past and which have played their part in the lives of so many of my fellow parapsychologists (Pilkington 1987). Indeed, I wonder sometimes whether I might not be specially deprived in this respect. Am I, perhaps, tone deaf to the promptings of my psyche? Has my right hemisphere - that half of the brain that is said to mediate our intuitions and our psychic functioning- become atrophied from neglect? I do not know, but I remain a stranger to such experiences. Still less can the answer be found in my family background. My family were all, without exception, stolidly impervious to what my friend, Stanley Krippner, has so aptly called the "song of the siren" (Krippner 1977). A much simpler, if less charitable, explanation in my case is my lack of success in any of the conventional pursuits. Deviants, after all, are generally misfits.



Parapsychology: A Concise History
London: Athlone Press


The Relentless Question: Reflections on the Paranormal
London: McFarland


Psychological Sciences: A Review of Modern Psychology
London: Crosby Lockwood Staples;
New York: Barnes & Noble, 1974;
Utrecht: Het Spectrum, 1976 (Dutch);
Mexico City: El Manual Moderno, 1979 (Spanish)

1962 The Existence of Mind
London: McGibbon & Kee;
New York: Citadel

Books Edited

1989 John R. Smythies and John Beloff
The Case for Dualism
Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia
1974 New Directions in Parapsychology
with Afterword by Arthur Koestler
London: Elek Science;
Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow, 1975;
Rotterdam: Lemniscaat, 1975 (Dutch);
Olten: Walter, 1980 (German),
with a new introduction by B. Bauer & K. Kornwachs;
Tokyo: Nagagami, 1986 (Japanese)


1989 Extreme Phenomena and the problem of credibility
In G.K. Zollschan, J.F.Schumaker, & G F. Walsh (Eds.) (1989).
The Rhine Legacy
Philosophical Psychology 2
, 231-39
1988 The history of psychology in one lecture
Edinburgh Review 78/9 , 65-74

Parapsychology and Physics: Can they be reconciled?
Theoretical Parapsychology 6, 23-9
1987 Comments on J.G. Pratt's
"Some notes for the future Einstein for parapsychology."
In Pratt (1987)

Parapsychology and the mind-body problem.
In R.L. Gregory (1987)

The Importance of Psychical Research
S.P.R. pamphlet

In A.V. Campbell (Ed.)
A Dictionary of Pastoral Care
London: SPCK

Parapsychology: The continuing impasse
Journal of Scientific Exploration 1, 191-6

Parapsychology and the mind-body problem
Inquiry 30, 215-25

In what way is psi anomalous?
[invited commentary on K. Rao & J. Palmer's "The anomaly called psi" and on J. Alcock's "Parapsychology: science of the anomalous or search for the soul?"]
Behavioral & Brain Sciences 10 , p.570
1986 Retrodiction
Parapsychology Review 17, No.1, 1-5

What is your counter-explanation? A plea to skeptics to think again.
In Kurtz (1986).

George Zorab and "Katie King."
In F.W.J. Snel (Ed.)
In Honour of G.A.M. Zorab
Amsterdam: N.V.P

Killing or letting die: Is there a valid moral distinction?
Euthanasia Review 1, 208-12
1985 Science, religion and the paranormal
Free Inquiry 5, 36-41

Parapsychology and radical dualism
Journal of Religious & Psychical Research 8 , 3-10

The meaning of psi: the Western perspective
Journal of Indian Psychology 4 , 1-12

Parapsychology and the expectation of progress
European Journal of Parapsychology 6, 71-9

Robert Henry Thouless: an appreciation
Journal of Parapsychology 49, 221-7
1984 The reality of psi
New Ideas in Psychology 2, 51-5

Hypnotism and the paranormal
Changes 2, 45-7

Research strategies for dealing with unstable phenomena
Parapsychology Review 15, No. 1,1-7
[reprinted in Parapsychology Foundation (1(185)]
1983 B. Markwick & J. Beloff
Dream States and ESP: A distance experiment with a single subject
Research in Parapsychology 1982, 228-30 (abstract)

Arthur Koestler, Psychologist
Encounter 61, 28-31

Three open questions
Parapsychology Review 14, No.1, 1-6.
1982 Why we need a commission of inquiry
Research in Parapsychology 1981, 129-31 (abstract)

M. Thalbourne, J. Beloff & D. Delanoy
A test for the "extraverted sheep versus introverted goat hypothesis"
Research in Parapsychology 1981, 155-6 (abstract)

Die Fingerabdrücke von Psi [transl.]
Zeitschrift für Parapsych etc. 24,13-23
Reprinted in E. Bauer & W. von Lucadou (Eds.)
Spektrum der Parapsychologie: Hans Bender zum 75 Geburstag
Freiburg: Auru. 1983

Psychical research and psychology
In Grattan-Guinness (1982)
1981 Das Paranormale: kan die Kontroversie beiglegt werden? [transl.]
In H.P. Duerr (Ed.)
Der Wissenschaftler und das Irrationale
Frankfurt: Syndikat. Vol.2

J.B. Rhine on the nature of psi
Journal of Parapsychology 45, 41-54
Reprinted in Rao (1982)

J. Beloff, D. Emmet, M. Morgan, R. Sheldrake, I. Thompson
Discussion on memory
Theoria to Theory 14, 187-203
1980 I. Stevenson & J. Beloff
An analysis of some suspect drop-in communications
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 50, 427-48

In Colliers Encyclopedia
New York: Macmillan

Dr. J.G. Pratt: An obituary
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 50, 294-6

Coming to terms with parapsychology
Encounter 54, 86-91

Is normal memory a "paranormal" phenomenon?
Theoria to Theory 14,145-61

Could there be a physical explanation of psi?
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 50, 263-72

Seven evidential experiments
[with invited commentaries from 13 contributors and a reply by the author]
Zetetic Scholar 6 , 91-120
1979 Current directions in European parapsychology: Great Britain
Research in Parapsychology 1978 , 1-2 (symposium)

Changing concepts of mind and matter: in defense of the psychobiological paradigm
Research in Parapsychology 1978 , 11-12 (symposium).

In Dirionario Enciclopedico.
Milan: Unedi

The categories of psi: the case for retention
European Journal of Parapsychology 3, 69-78.

Voluntary movement, biofeedback and PK
In Parapsychology Foundation

The importance of parapsychology: a reply to H.B. Gibson
Bulletin of the British Psychology Society 32, 244-6.
1978 Is mind autonomous?
[essay review of Popper & Eccles (1977)]
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 29 , 265-83.

Why parapsychology is still on trial
Human Nature 1, 68-77.

R. Broughton, B. Millar, J. Beloff & K. Wilson. A
PK investigation of the experimenter effect and its psi based component
Research in Parapsychology 1977 , 41-8 (abstract).

The limits of parapsychology
European Journal of Parapsychology 2 , 291-302.

The inevitability of dualism
[invited commentary on Puccetti & Dykes'
"Sensory cortex and the mind-brain problem"]
Behavioral & Brain Sciences 3 , p. 347.
1977 The Geller controversy: the current state of play
Research in Parapsychology 1976 , 199-200 (symposium).

Backward Causation
Parapsychology Review 8 , No. 1, 1-5
[reprinted in Parapsychology Foundation ].

Psi phenomena: causal versus acausal interpretation
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 49 , 573-82.
1976 Mind-body interactionism in the light of the parapsychological evidence.
Theoria toTheory 10 , 125-37.

On trying to make sense of the paranormal
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 56 , 173-95.
1975 I sogni che annunciano il futuro
European Journal of Parapsychology 1 , 14-22.

The study of the paranormal as an educative experience
In Parapsychology Foundation. (1975).
1974 ESP: The search for a physiological index
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 47 , 403-20.

The study of the paranormal as an educative experience
In Parapsychology Foundation. (1975).
1973 A note on an ostensibly precognitive dream
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 47 , 217-21.

The mind-body problem as it now stands
Virginia Quarterly Review 49 , 251-64.

Belief and doubt
Research in Parapsychology 1972 , 189-200.
1972 The scientist as oracle
[essay-review ofJacques Monod's Chance and Necessity ]
Virginia Quarterly Review 48 , 289-92.

In H. Eysenck, R. Meili & W. Arnold (eds.). Fncyclopedia of Psychology.
London: Search Press.
1971 J. Beloff& D. Bate
An attempt to replicate the Schmidt findings
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 46 , 21-30.

J. Beloff & D. Bate
Psi efficiency: a formal comparison of three different measures
Journal of Parapsychology 35 , 273-89.
1970 Creative thinking in art and science
British Journal of Aesthetics 10 , 58-70.

Parapsychology and its neighbours
Journal of Parapsychology 34 , 129-42.

A. Parker & J. Beloff
Hypnotically induced clairvoyant dreams: a partial replication and attempted confirmation.
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 64 , 432-42

J. Beloff& D. Bate
Research report for the year 1968/69
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 45 , 297-301.

J. Beloff, M. Cowles & D. Bate
Autonomic reactions to emotive stimuli under sensory and extrasensory conditions of presentation.
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 64 , 313-19
1969 The "sweethearts" experiment
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 45, 1-6.

Current problems in parapsychology
Synapse 20, 21-8 (journal of the Edinburgh Medical School).

J. Beloff& T. Regan
The Edinburgh Electronic ESP Tester (E.E.E.T.)
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 45, 7-13.
1968 ESP: proof from Prague?
New Scientist 10, 76-7.

God and parapsychology: reflections on Sir Alister Hardy's The Divine Flame.
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 62 , 217-22.
1967 Parapsychology as science
International Journal of Parapsychology 9, 91-8.

Report on the Maimonides Dream Laboratory
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 44, 24-7.

J. Beloff & I. Mandleberg
An attempted validation of the "waiting technique"
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 44 , 82-87.

Can paranormal abilities be learned?
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 61 , 120-9.
1966 J. Beloff & I. Mandleberg
An attempted validation of the "RyzI technique" for training ESP subjects
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 46, 229-49.
1965 J. Smythies & J. Beloff
The influence ofstereotactic surgery on ESP
Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 43, 20-4.

M. RyzI &J. Beloff
Loss of stability of ESP performance in a high-scoring subject
Journal of Parapsychology 29, 1-12.

The Identity Hypothesis: a critique
In Smythies (1965). Humanism and the paranormal.
The Humanist 80, 176-80.
1964 Matter and manner
[invited commentary on E. Girden's "A review of psychokinesis"]
International Journal of Parapsychology 6, 93-9.

What are we up to?
Journal of Parapsychology 28, 302-10.
1963 The mind-body relationship
Modern Churchman 7, 33-41.

Explaining the paranormal
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 42 , 101-14.
1962 Ratio judgment and the psychophysics of rectangles
Journal of General Psychology 66 , 71-83.
1961 J. Beloff & H. Beloff
The influence of valence of distance judgments of human faces
Abnormal & Social Psychology 62 , 720-22.

The stripe paradox
British Journal of Psychology 52 , 323-31.

J. Beloff & L. Evans
A radioactive test of psychokinesis
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 41 , 41-5.

Some comments on the Gombrich problem
British Journal of Aesthetics 1 , 62-70.
1959 H. Beloff & J. Beloff
Unconscious self-evaluation using a stereoscope
Journal of Abnormal & Social Psychology 59, 275-8.
1957 Method of serial extrapolation
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 9 , 155-68.
1956 R.B. Cattell &John Beloff
The factorial stmcture of the personality of 11 year-old children across three techniques [in French]
Revue de Psychologie Appliquée 6, 65-89.

Facts, values and moral solipsism
Journal of Philosophy 53, 541-8.
1955 R.B. Cattell, D. Blewett &John Beloff
The Inheritance of Personality
American Journal of Human Genetics 7, 122-46.