Previous research and speculation in parapsychology has pointed towards emotion as a possible factor in mind–matter/PK interactions. Following a brief overview into some of the prominent issues of emotion research, two studies are presented that examined how the states of anger and elation mediated the outputs of a Random Event Generator. These studies provide some support for the idea that affective states might influence REG activity. The author utilised a variety of mood induction protocols including autobiographical recall, written narratives and a substantially reworked Velten procedure.
This paper describes a second study designed to explore the relationship between ESP and PK performance by testing for both using a common protocol so as to control for expectancy effects and experimental artifacts. Following earlier work (Roe, Davey & Stevens, 2003), we were particularly concerned to gauge the effect upon performance of the mild deception inherent in the study design. Forty participants completed a computer-based greyhound racing game. Races occurred in two blocks of 12. One block was presented as an ESP task and required participants to nominate which of the six greyhounds had won a race that the computer had already run silently. The program then replayed the race as feedback. The other block was presented as a PK task and required participants to ‘will’ a greyhound that was selected for them to run faster than its competitors. The greyhound’s movements were determined in real time by an RNG. However, within each block half the races were in fact ESP trials and half PK trials, presented in random order. Participants were randomly allocated to one of two conditions; in the uninformed condition participants were not aware that some trials would be disguised in this way, but those in the informed condition were accurately briefed. Performance was non-significantly below chance for both ESP and PK trials, and for both true and disguised trials. There were no significant relationships between performance in the four conditions, although the effect sizes were of a similar magnitude and direction to those found previously. Participants who had been accurately briefed performed significantly worse than did those who were subject to mild deception (Z = –2.53, p = 0.01). Only one of the individual differences measures was able to significantly predict task performance, and this seems likely to have arisen as a result of multiple analyses. Reasons for participants’ poor performance at the task are proposed, some of which will be considered in future research.
In 1933 a 16-year-old well-educated Hungarian girl, Iris Farczády, who had dabbled extensively in mediumship, suddenly underwent a drastic personality change, claiming to be re-born Lucía, a 41-year-old Spanish working woman said by her to have died earlier that year. Transformed into ‘Lucía’, Iris spoke thereafter in fluent Spanish, a language she had apparently never learnt or had the opportunity to acquire, and could not understand any other language. Lucía has remained in control ever since and, now aged 86, she still considers Iris to have been a different person, who ceased to exist in 1933. The three authors of this paper met Lucía in 1998, and a camcorder cassette of interviews with her are lodged with the SPR. Attempts have been made to locate Lucía’s claimed Spanish family, but these have not been successful. While the reincarnation aspect of the case has not been supported, there remains the puzzle of how Iris acquired her knowledge of the Spanish language, customs and popular culture, and why Iris should have willed or submitted to her ‘replacement’ by Lucía.
If uncorroborated reports of apparitional happenings are repeated over many years, people may wrongly infer that the alleged events have been substantiated. Ghostly portrayals of the Battle of Edgehill (1642) were reportedly witnessed some two months after the actual battle, and a ‘phantom army’ was allegedly seen on Souter Fell in the English Lake District on one or more occasions in the eighteenth century. These are possibly the best-known phantom army cases in the UK, and authors have tended to treat the reported events as if they were historical happenings. However, early written accounts (two in each case) give partially conflicting descriptions of what supposedly occurred, and the present writers have not come upon any independent confirmation of the narratives they relate.
Emanuel Swedenborg, the eighteenth-century Swedish scientist, philosopher, theologian and seer, has sometimes been described as the ‘father’ of modern spiritualism. Swedenborg himself, although his own remarkable psychic powers (both admired and decried by the philosopher Immanuel Kant, a younger contemporary) were known in his lifetime, did not advertise these powers and always discouraged those who asked him about his encounters with spirits with a view to following him along that path. Swedenborg believed he had been divinely chosen to reveal the inner meaning of the Bible and the nature of the spiritual world through the written word and he refused to be deflected from that task. He believed that human beings had been endowed with the gifts of freedom and reason and that solicited intercourse with spirits would tend to destroy these. At the time of the inception of modern spiritualism in the 1850s, American and English followers of Swedenborg’s religious teachings were for a while impressed by mediums such as Andrew Jackson Davis and Daniel Dunglas Home, but the English Swedenborgian Dr James John Garth Wilkinson was later to warn against taking part in séances or otherwise invoking spirits. That warning was repeated many years later by Sir Oliver Lodge.
A book published in 1997 and claimed to be an account of a past life is found to have striking similarities to an autobiographical work published in 1907. Examples of similarities in and differences between the two texts are given, and the question of the authenticity of the later work is discussed.
This paper presents the results of two experiments investigating how emotional states can influence micro-psychokinetic functioning. These studies involved the induction of negative and positive mood states through music and video-based protocols, and positive results from both approaches suggest that affect, in particular its dissipation, may help facilitate mind–matter interactions. Speculations and interpretations are subsequently provided.
In this investigation the focus was on the correlations between belief in, and alleged experience of, the paranormal (the so-called sheep–goat variable) and two measures of history of depressive experience. Ten studies were examined. Out of 19 analyses, 15 were positive, and 10 were positive and significant, suggesting that sheep were more likely to have a history of depressive experience. However, the median correlation was r = 0.11, accounting for just 1% of the variance, and so the effect is very small.
n late summer 2001, we were invited by David Fontana and Montague Keen to join an investigation into what appeared to be a remarkably reliable and consistent case of post-mortem communication. The communication manifested through anomalous spelling suggestions made by a computer’s spellchecker. During our technical investigation, we discovered a software bug that accounted for many of the reported phenomena, but did not entirely defuse the mystery. Rather, the questions to be answered became more subtle, and the research situation more complex. Although the initial hope of a straightforward survival case has been deflated, there remains an interesting case that reiterates and sharpens many of the questions posed by more familiar types of survival cases. In this paper, we describe our methods and discoveries. We discuss the case’s loose ends and characterise the assumptions that would be necessary to support a non-paranormal explanation. We also evaluate various paranormal interpretations, and consider the potential for a form of ITC involving computers in this way. We discuss the type of evidence that the ongoing research would need to produce in order to make the case for paranormality more compelling.
An Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) experiment is described which took place in a laboratory screened against e.m. radiation and also acoustically isolated. The subsequent treatment of the results through sound-processing is outlined, and the final analysis of the results through the use of a unique multiple-choice system is described. Comparative spectrograms of one EVP utterance and the same thing spoken in normal speech are provided to assess the physical basis of the results. The conclusion is drawn that voices of no natural origin were received in the screened laboratory.
The lack of robust, controlled replication of psi phenomena is one of the most severely criticised aspects of psychical research. In this survey researchers and academics in the field were invited to put forward their views on potential means of increasing hit rates in free-response ESP research. A total of 45 suggestions viable in the current research trends were compiled. In a second phase of the survey, respondents were asked to assess their degree of confidence in each of the items suggested, and state how often they used them. The set of suggestions as a whole was viewed as ‘likely’ to increase the hit rate of a given free-response ESP study by the community of respondents surveyed. Strikingly, the overall rating of use of the strategies in previous research was near ‘seldom’. This fact, however, could be accounted for by a dominant interest in process-oriented research. A correlation of 0.45 (p < 0.05, one-tail) between level of confidence and usage of each strategy in previous research suggests that researchers tend to use more frequently those practices and procedures which are most generally believed to contribute to experimental success. It is concluded that many interesting ideas are latent in the research community and that the use of these procedures could contribute to the successful replication and acceptance of ESP.
The two authors have been the principal users, in their research, of the theory of psychopraxia (‘the Self accomplishing’), as well as developers of its four basic theoretical concepts, viz., the Self, the pro attitude, necessary conditions, and the final goal-state. The theory does not require any changes to be made to what is normally called psi research, but rather emphasizes some aspects of it and de-emphasizes other aspects, bringing about an alternative look which the authors hope will be useful and thus catch on in the science at large. In this paper, the advantages and disadvantages of the theory are listed, followed by all the research that has used the psychopractic viewpoint, and then finally, as an example, by a re-description of a recent experimental approach by Roe and colleagues. It is concluded that research is only at a very early stage, and that much more needs to be done before we can accept or reject the theory.