Public Parapsychology
a web log dedicated to advancing public scholarship in the field of parapsychology

We've Moved!

Saturday, October 07, 2006
This blog has officially moved to the more aptly named url:


Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.


Research Summary: Experimenter Effects in Laboratory Tests of ESP and PK Using a Common Protocol

Friday, October 06, 2006
In the latest of a series of studies addressing the question of whether extra sensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK) are sufficiently distinct to merit separate terms, researchers from the University of Northampton and the University of Edinburgh, UK tested for both kinds of psi functioning using a common protocol, while also looking for evidence of experimenter effects.

Forty participants completed a computer-based greyhound racing game. Races occurred in blocks of twelve, and each participant completed two such blocks. One block of races was presented to the participants as an ESP task, while the other was presented as a PK task. However, unbeknownst to the participants, each block contained equal numbers of ESP and PK races in a random order.

Chris A. Roe and Russell Davey each served as an experimenter for half of the sessions, and after briefing each participant, rated the interaction for warmth, spontaneity, and positivity. The authors predicted that the sessions facilitated by Roe would be more successful because of his higher degree of experience in working with research participants and overall sense of 'ownership' of the project.

Overall, the performance of the participants on the ESP and PK games was better than what would be expected by chance alone, but not to a statistically significantly degree. However, for those greyhound races in which the ESP task was disguised, the performance of the participants was significant. As predicted, participants who had been briefed by Roe performed better than those briefed by Davey, and significantly so for the disguised ESP tasks.

Roe, C.A., Davey, R., & Stevens, P. (2006). Experimenter effects in laboratory tests of ESP and PK using a common protocol. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 20, 239-253.

Lecture Announcement from the Rhine Research Center

Thursday, August 03, 2006
ESP and Boundaries in the Mind and Brain
A Lecture Presented by: Christine Simmonds-Moore, PhD.

Dr. Simmonds-Moore will discuss the idea that ESP information is unconsciously detected by the body and brain, but usually blocked to conscious awareness by a filter. The filter may allow ESP information into consciousness when it is more permeable - in altered states of consciousness and in personality types with 'thinner boundaries". In her continuing research, Christine has focused on personalities and altered states of consciousness and their relationship to extrasensory perception and psychokinesis. This presentation will include an opportunity to assess your own personality type and sign up for an ESP test!

Simmonds-Moore earned her Doctorate in Psychology and Parapsychology from the University of Northampton in the UK. She is currently a lecturer at Liverpool Hope University where she teaches courses in both Psychology and Parapsychology. She is well known in our area, having served as an RRC Visiting Research Associate from 2003-2005, and at present, is a continuing collaborator and co-researcher on Rhine projects.

When: Friday, August 11th, 2006 at 7:30 pm
Where: The Stedman Auditorium on the Duke Center for Living Campus.
Registration Fee: $20 - $15 Students, Seniors & Members
To Register: Call 919-309-4600, ext. 201 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or click on the link below:
click here to register online

Conference on Near Death Experiences

Saturday, July 22, 2006
Registration for the 2006 International Association for Near-Death Studies conference is now open at www.iands.org. This unprecedented event at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world's largest and most prestigious medical complexes, will assemble almost all of the world's leading researchers for a comprehensive review of 30 years of research into near-death experiences (NDEs). For full details, schedules, registration, and accommodations, go to www.iands.org.

Computers Put Telepathy to the Test

Wednesday, July 19, 2006
A joint project by the University of Manchester's School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences aims to test whether telepathy may exist between individuals in the environment of a life-sized video game.

read the official press release

participate in the study

What is 'Public Scholarship'?

After a couple of evenings of tweaking this new blog, I proudly presented the template to a friend for his feedback. The first thing out of his mouth was, "why do you call it 'Public Parapsychology'?"

I pointed to the adjacent box containing my declaration that this blog was dedicated to advancing public scholarship in the field of parapsychology. I figured that was enough clear things up.

"But, what is 'public scholarship'?" he asked.

I paused. It seemed obvious to me, but I couldn't define it. After babbling incoherently for a minute or two, I gave up and said "well, an academic would understand what I was talking about..."

He laughed. "Doesn't that defeat the point?"

So, I scoured the internet for a good definition of 'public scholarship', and found that the term is so potentially confusing that universities have had to form committees just agree on just what they mean by this concept.

At their web page, the Public Scholarship Committee at the University of Minnesota states the following:

At the level of the institution, public scholarship means optimizing the extent to which University research informs and is informed by the public good, maximizes the generation and transfer of knowledge and technology, educates the public about what research the University does, and listens to the public about what research needs to be done.

The Department of Communication at the University of Washington also offers a statement on public scholarship:

Scholarship and citizenship go hand in hand. Although scholars in higher education ultimately work on behalf of their communities, their nations and the world, much of their scholarship stays within the traditional research process, subject to peer review and publication in discipline-based journals and books, although available for review and application by persons and institutions outside of the academy. Scholars also directly engage the world beyond the academy, drawing on scholarship developed in the rigor of disciplinary tradition. Productive efforts of this kind, herein called public scholarship, may take many forms, such as popularization of research-based ideas in a variety of media and formats, facilitation of deliberation about such social values as equality, justice and freedom, and explanation or appreciation of texts, concepts, values or events. Such efforts can promote constructive dialogue with and among students, citizens, diverse communities, and political and cultural leaders.

What does this mean for parapsychologists?

Every day, there is quality research being carried out on ESP, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, and other assorted parapsychological phenomena at universities and private laboratories around the world. These phenomena have fascinated mankind for ages, but so little of the research findings have been presented to the public in a responsible way. It seems that as the methodologies employed by parapsychologists become more refined, the wider becomes the chasm between the researcher and the public that he or she serves.

My particular area of research these days has to do with hauntings. Everybody likes a good ghost story, right? But sometimes when I try to describe my particular approach to this fascinating subject, I find it difficult to connect with my audience. It has almost gotten to the point where I don't discuss my research interests at all. There has to be some sort of middle ground between telling a good ghost story, and discussing the intricacies behind the scientific study in a a way that confuses readers or makes them sleepy. Honestly, I have yet to find it. For me, starting this blog is the beginning of the search for that middle ground.

I wish I could say that I'm an expert parapsychologist, but I'm something of a fledgling in the field. And as much as I would like to maintain a blog about parapsychological research that is comprehensive and objective, time restraints will prevent me from being comprehensive...and I don't believe in objectivity.

That being said, I welcome you to Public Parapsychology.