Sunday, August 27, 2017   6:22 PM

Online Information About the History of Parapsychology: The Psi Encyclopedia

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

In a two-part article about sources to find information about the history of parapsychology published in Mindfield, the online bulletin of the Parapsychological Association, I presented suggestions of many books and articles with useful information about the topic (The history of parapsychology: A brief bibliography. Mindfield, 2016, 8(3), 105-109; 2017, 9(1), 14-17). Here I would like present further information that has appeared in the Psi Encyclopedia.

The Psi Encyclopedia, an online project founded by the Society for Psychical Research, is edited by Robert McLuhan. Although it is still developing, the encyclopedia already has accumulated a good number of entries on various topics, as I have discussed before (click here, here, and here). Many of its entries offer useful information about the history of parapsychology, particularly as regards people in the field.

Many entries are devoted to psychical researchers. Examples of these are: John Beloff (by Melvyn Willin), Ernesto Bozzano (Carlos S. Alvarado), C.D. Broad (Stephen E. Braude), C.J. Ducasse (Stephen E. Braude), Gustave Geley (Renaud Evrard), Edmund Gurney (Andreas Sommer), Richard Hodgson (Michael Tymn), James Hyslop (Michael Tymn), William James (Carlos S. Alvarado), Andrew Lang (Melvyn Willin), Frederic W.H. Myers (Trevor Hamilton), Frank Podmore (Melvyn Willin), Charles Richet (Carlos S. Alvarado), and René Sudre (Renaud Evrard).

Mediums and psychics are also represented:

Marthe Béraud (Eva C.)
(by Benjamin Steigmann)

Rosemary Brown
(Melvyn Willin)

Uri Geller
(Guy Lyon Playfair)

Daniel Dunglas Home
(Stephen E. Braude)

Carlos Mirabelli
(Stephen Braude)

William Stainton Moses
(Michael Tymn)

Eusapia Palladino
(Carlos S. Alvarado, with material by R. McLuhan)

Leonora Piper
(Michael Tymn)

Henry Slade
(Stephen E. Braude)

Hélène Smith
(Everton de Oliveira Maraldi)

The encyclopedia also includes several cases from the old days of psychical research, among them: Borley Rectory (Melvyn Willin), Cheltenham Ghost (Robert McLuhan), Copenhagen Fire (Erlendur Haraldsson), The Cross-Correspondences (Trevor Hamilton), Raymond (Michael Tymn), Reincarnation Accounts Pre-1900 (James G. Matlock), and The Tedworth Drummer (John Newton).

The authors of several entries present information of historical interest. This is the case of Ghost Hunting (John Fraser), Human Radiations (Carlos S. Alvarado), Photography and the Paranormal (Melvyn Willin), Precognition (Robert Rosenberg), and Psychometry (Mary Rose Barrington). The same may be said about entries covering organizations (Parapsychology Foundation, Carlos S. Alvarado; Society for Psychical Research, Donald West), and developments in various countries (Psi Research in Brazil, Fatima Regina Machado and Wellington Zangari; Psi Research in France, Renaud Evrard).

I have written summaries of various classic works for the encyclopedia. Those that have been published to date are Bozzano's 'Phénomènes Psychiques au Moment de la Mort' (Psychic Phenomena at the Moment of Death), Muldoon and Carrington's The Phenomena of Astral Projection (1951), Podmore’s 'Apparitions and Thought-Transference', Richet's 'La Suggestion Mentale', and Richet’s Traité de Métapsychique (Thirty Years of Psychical Research).

There are many topics relevant to the history of parapsychology that have not been included yet, which is understandable in a work in progress. But much is available now that will help current students of the field to get useful information about past developments.

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