How Psychic Research Is Becoming More Mainstream
Parapsychology, the field that closely looks into psychic and paranormal phenomena, has been getting more popular with the public as the years pass. Surprisingly, the popularity of parapsychology has been such that even respectable institutions are devoting time, effort, and money into researching psychic abilities.
In this article, I’ll be presenting some of the more famous, trustworthy, and systematic institutions and organizations, which have made it a point to give the public reliable information on what psychic abilities truly are, and the application of such abilities in human life.
The Parapsychological Association
Located in Columbus, Ohio, The Parapsychological Association (PA) describes itself as “the international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of ‘psi’ (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.”
The Association further explains about the work they do, in the following terms:
PA members develop and refine methodologies for studying psi and its physical, biological or psychological underpinnings. They assess hypotheses and theories through experiments, conceptual models and field investigations, and seek to integrate their findings with other scientific domains. PA members also explore the meaning and impact of psychic experiences in human society, and assess the possibility of practical applications and technologies.
In the site’s FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), they identify the areas of study that parapsychologists focus on, and give clear definitions of each special area being studied:
ESP: Extra-sensory perception; a general term for obtaining information about events beyond the reach of the normal senses. This term subsumes telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and presentiment
Precognition: Also called premonition. Obtaining information about future events, where the information could not be inferred through normal means. Many people report dreams that appear to be precognitive.
Presentiment: This is where physiological parameters may change prior to the application of a stimulus, suggestive of the fact that on an unconscious level the person knew what was coming before it occurred (and before it was even randomly chosen).
Telepathy: Direct mind-to-mind communication.
Mind-Matter Interaction: Previously known as psychokinesis or PK; direct mental interaction with physical objects, animate or inanimate.
Anpsi: Psi in animals.
NDE: Near death experience; an experience reported by those who were revived from nearly dying. Often refers to a core experience that includes feelings of peace, OBE, seeing lights and other phenomena.
OBE: Out-of-body experience; the experience of feeling separated from the body, often accompanied by visual perceptions as though from above the body.
Reincarnation: The belief that we live successive lives, with primarily evidence coming from the apparent recollections of previous lives by very small children.
Haunting: Recurrent phenomena reported to occur in particular locations that include apparitions, sounds, movement of objects, and other effects.
Place Memory: the apparent ability of a building or location to hold recorded impressions of people and events that transpired in the past.
Poltergeist: Large-scale PK phenomena often attributed to spirits, but which are now thought to be due to a living person or group of people. Although reported in all age groups, the agent is most frequently an adolescent.
Psi: A neutral term for parapsychological phenomena, inclusive of both ESP and mind-matter interaction. Psi, psychic, and psychical are synonyms.
This site is respectable because they are thorough in their research. They also strive to increase public knowledge, and promote information about psychic and paranormal phenomena, especially psychic abilities.
Society for Psychical Research
The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) describes itself in the following way on its homepage: “Founded in 1882, The SPR was the first society to conduct organized scholarly research into human experiences that challenge contemporary scientific models.”
This means it’s been 134 years to date, and they are still going strong, researching and providing information about psychic and paranormal phenomena.
The SPR publishes Journals and Reviews – the quarterly published SPR Journal and the magazine Paranormal Review, which they distribute to members of the SPR and subscribers to the site newsletter. Lectures, study days, and a yearly conference are also offered to members, sometimes for free, and sometimes at reduced rates.
They also have a physical library, along with the SPR Online Library. Both contain a wide-ranging number of parapsychological research. The SPR is located in the United Kingdom, in the city of London, England.
I appreciate the efforts of the SPR to educate people and spread the facts of their research about psychic and paranormal phenomena. Their research has been ongoing for over a century and a half now!
I’m also giving a special nod of acknowledgement to the quotation proudly displayed on their website. The quotation is from Carl Gustav Jung, one of the most renowned psychiatrists and psychotherapists of all time:
"I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity
of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud."
University of Edinburgh
Since 1985, the University of Edinburgh has been involved in the study of parapsychology, through the establishment of a Chair of Parapsychology, in the University’s Department of Psychology.
Known as the Koestler Parapsychology Unit (KPU), the research unit has an interdisciplinary approach to parapsychology, exploring extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK). The KPU also studies belief in the paranormal, along with what happens as a result of such beliefs.
The KPU is one of the leads in modernizing approaches to psychic and paranormal phenomena research. It has used social media, notably Twitter, as a research tool in 2010, for conducting its studies on ESP and remote viewing.
Aside from research, the KPU also offers courses in parapsychology. The courses are available digitally and IRL (online and in real life). According to the KPU site, the online “parapsychology course is a non-credit- bearing course that is open to the general public. The course allows access to the KPU’s teaching and research expertise, regardless of geographical location.”
Meanwhile, for undergraduate students at the University of Edinburgh, “Students enrolled for Honours psychology degrees at the University of Edinburgh can take final year courses on Parapsychology and History of Unorthodox Psychology. In addition, psychology students can undertake research projects on parapsychological topics.”
And for the postgraduate level, “Students can study parapsychology as part of some MSc and PhD degree programmes offered by Edinburgh University’s Department of Psychology.”
What’s amazing about all the research being done is that it shows the scientific community is giving importance to parapsychology by conducting tests, along with performing historical and speculative studies.
While historical studies use past available records of psychic and paranormal phenomena, speculative studies on psychic abilities are forward looking into the future. This means that doors of understanding towards psychic abilities considered taboo or scoffed at before, are now opening wide.
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