Abstracts from Australian Journal of Parapsychology
Vol. 1(1), pp. 2-8
Parapsychology as a Career
ABSTRACT: Many young people become fascinated by the subject matter of parapsychology and are moved to consider the prospect of becoming a professional parapsychologist. This article offers some considered observations in relation to such an aspiration.
Vol. 1(1), pp. 9-29
Mrs. Piper Revisited
ABSTRACT: This paper looks at the pioneers of psychical research, with special reference to Leonora Piper of Boston, who seems undeniably to have had some sort of paranormal faculty. The author believes that the failure of her phenomena to arouse the interest of the broader academic community is a mystery in itself, and one well worth investigating.
Vol. 1(1), pp. 30-55
Paranormal Aspects of the UFO Phenomenon: 1975-1999
ABSTRACT: A comprehensive examination of the UFO literature in the period 1975 to 1999 was undertaken to review research into, and comments about, the possible association between UFOs and the paranormal.
Vol. 1(1), pp. 56-60
Broken Relationships and Claims of Psychic Phenomena
MICHAEL A. THALBOURNE
ABSTRACT: The usual definition of a broken relationship is one where the person is bereaved, separated or divorced. It has been found in at least six studies that persons coming from broken relationships are more likely to believe in and allege experience of the paranormal. It is suggested that we have here a parallel with those studies which show that childhood trauma is related to adult paranormal belief, and that the common factor is the occurrence of some kind of trauma, albeit at different stages of the person’s life. Such trauma is likely to evoke paranormal belief and experience (real or imagined) as a kind of defence mechanism.
Vol. 1(1), pp. 61-71
Psychic Detection: The Use of Psi in Criminal Investigation
HARVEY J. IRWIN
ABSTRACT: This paper surveys the putative phenomenon of psychic detection, that is, the use of psi abilities in criminal investigation. Police attitudes to psychic insights into the solution to a crime, theories of the possible bases of successful psychic detection, and controlled scientific investigation of the efficacy of psychic detection are addressed. Although the empirical literature is not encouraging for the validity of the phenomenon, a constructive suggestion is made for further research.
Vol. 1(1), pp. 72-85
The Paranormal and its Place in Human Relationships: Some Hypotheses
MICHAEL A. THALBOURNE
ABSTRACT: Part 1. There exists a minority of individuals who report that they have never, in their lifetimes, formed an extremely close personal and emotional relationship with another human being. Psychological research indicates that, compared with persons who report that they have at some time entered into such a relationship, these “non-close-relaters” tend to be more shy, more lacking in trust, more introverted and more lacking in social skills. In addition, non-close-relaters are less likely to believe in ESP or to report personal experience of paranormal phenomena; that is, they are more often than not intellectual and experiential “goats”. This paper explores a number of possible explanations-normal and paranormal-for this attitudinal difference: it is suggested that while ordinary psychological processes do play a rôle, the difference can best be understood if one additionally postulates the bidirectional operation of the paranormal: in particular, it is proposed that certain “extraverted” personality types will manifest hitting, in order to further the development of desired relationships; while certain “introverted” personality types will miss, with the effect of reducing intimacy in their dealings with other people. If it is assumed that instances of “negative ESP” in everyday life usually fail to be recognized as constituting ESP, then this would account for the non-close-relater’s failure to report paranormal experiences. Part 2 explores possible instances of significant missing in everyday life. It is concluded that invocation of the paranormal hypothesis will enrich our understanding of the mechanisms on interpersonal interaction.
Vol. 1(2), pp. 103-116
Shamanism and Alien Abductions: A Comparative Study
ABSTRACT: Some UFO researchers (ufologists) claim that being abducted by aliens can be compared with shamanic initiation experiences in traditional societies in that both types of experience may be similarly transformative, leading to a more spiritual or animistic world-view, a deep concern for the environment and the development of paranormal abilities such as healing. This qualitative study was designed to test the validity of such claims by investigating whether the experiences and subsequent world-view of eleven alien abductees (eight women and three men) from a Western Australian abduction support group were similar to those of the typical shaman. To do this, material gathered from in-depth interviews with the abductees was compared with the anthropological literature on shamanism, especially shamanic initiation experiences, from various parts of the world.
Vol. 1(2), pp. 117-126
Examining the Evidence for Psi in the Context of Scientific Revolution
ABSTRACT: This paper is concerned with the representation of psi in current philosophy texts. It undertakes an analysis of the current status of evidence for psi according to a Kuhnian scientific revolution. This is based on an analysis of the nature of the dispute between those who maintain that psi does not exist (the dominant one expressed in most modern philosophy texts), and those who believe that science will eventually be able to cope with the anomalous phenomena associated with psi effects. An appeal is made for a more even-handed representation in future philosophy texts using this interpretation to help ameliorate the representation of psi phenomena.
Vol. 1(2), pp. 127-132
A Layperson’s Guide to the Theory of Psychopraxia
MICHAEL A. THALBOURNE
ABSTRACT: In this brief article, the author argues that use of the terms “ESP” and “PK” often leads to ambiguities as to which of the ostensibly two processes is occurring. A particularly clear case of this is the “telepathy” situation, where ESP (of various types) or PK or both could be involved. It is argued that the paranormal process is not dual but unitary in nature; the author calls this single process “psychopraxia” (“the self accomplishing ends”), and discusses it in the context of a new theory of the paranormal.
Vol. 1(2), pp. 133-170
Technical Paper No. 1
Paranormal Effects Using Sighted and Vision-Impaired Participants in a Quasi-Ganzfeld Task
LANCE STORM & MICHAEL A. THALBOURNE
ABSTRACT: An experiment on exosomatic psychopraxia was conducted in which 42 wholly or partially blind participants were matched for age and sex with 42 sighted participants. The experimental task was to describe, paranormally, a randomly selected drawing concealed in aluminium foil and a manila envelope. Every second participant was assigned to a relaxation treatment (audio tape). Following their attempted description of the target, participants were required to rank-order 4 drawings (1 the target, and 3 the decoys). For the whole sample, based on the rankings by participants (but not those of an independent judge), the sum-of-ranks statistic was significantly positive (z = -2.98, p = .002, two-tailed), as it was also for the sighted participants (z = -2.41, p = .016, two-tailed), whereas results for the vision-impaired were not significant. The relaxation tape appeared not to induce relaxation, at least as indicated by the heart rate measure, but the ‘relaxed’ groups (the whole sample, and the sighted group, but not the vision-impaired group) scored marginally better than the respective non-relaxed groups. Belief in ESP did not affect scores in the expected direction. We refer to the significant and marginally significant effects as evidence of exosomatic psychopraxia (the latter effects indicating that relaxation might have been conducive to psychopraxia). However, a specific mode of psychopraxia–compensation–was not found in the vision-impaired group.