2018: Volume 18

Abstracts from Australian Journal of Parapsychology


Volume 18(1), pp. 7-22

Exploring Ostensible Poltergeist vs. Haunt Phenomena via a Reassessment of Spontaneous Case Data


Abstract: Dixon (2016) previously described the manifestation of anomalous experiences and events in a small bar in Sydney, NSW, before and after the departure of a staff member who displayed traits typical of focal persons who are hypothesized agents of ‘recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis’ (RSPK). On both occasions (before and after the focal person’s departure), bar staff were surveyed about any unexplained disturbances they may have experienced. Survey results suggested physically-oriented “poltergeist” phenomena initially occurred at the bar but, following the departure of the focal person, these disturbances ceased and appeared to be replaced by typical psychologically-oriented “haunt” phenomena. This conclusion was based, in part, on a statistically significant difference between two datasets of eye-witness responses. In this paper, we revisited the dataset to shore up the anomalous experience categories, and applied alternative and more rigid statistical analyses. Results were confirmatory: observable (poltergeist) disturbances subsided significantly, although there was no significant increase in sensed (haunt) phenomena. Repercussions of these findings for the Dixon case and implications for future research are evaluated.


Volume 18(1), pp. 23-48

Perceptual-Personality Variables Associated With Entity Encounter Experiences


Abstract: This study evaluates data from two independent samples, active paranormal believers (Study 1, N = 239) and undergraduate students (Study 2, N = 554), to find psychological variables related to self-reported Entity Encounter Experiences (EEE)—specifically, Sense of Presence, Apparitional Experience, and Spirit Possession. Sense of Presence (75%), Apparitional Experience (29%), and Spirit Possession (19%), were more frequent in S1 compared to S2 (34%, 5%, and 5%, respectively). For S1, respondents with a high frequency of EEEs tended to be extroverted, have a high propensity for unusual experiences (a schizotypy factor), and score high on ‘thin’ boundary and transliminality. For S2, respondents with a high frequency of EEEs tended to be neurotic and fantasy-prone, have cognitive-perceptual schizotypy, dissociative tendencies, and score high on absorption factors. For paranormal believers, the ‘thin’ boundary variable predicted EEE group membership. For students, EEE group membership was predicted by schizotypy, absorption, and dissociation.


Volume 18(1), pp. 49-55

Research Note: Comments on Stokes (2017) “A Murder of White Crows”


Abstract: Stokes (2017a, 2017c) argues that the existence of psi may be better established through qualitative studies of certain cases of spontaneous phenomena. In this paper, it is argued that Stokes provides no ontological or epistemological foundation within which the existence of psi can be explained with respect to either mechanisms of operation or a coherent position concerning the nature of the mind-matter relationship. It is also argued that it is difficult to see how qualitative research should be less prone to fraud than quantitative studies as scientific integrity is indispensable in both circumstances.


Volume 18(1), pp. 57-69

Research Note: Demonstrating the Concurrent Validity of Two Coincidence Measures


Abstract: Given the hypothesized relationship between paranormal belief and attribution of psychic causes to coincidences, two coincidence measures (each with five items about coincidences) are tested for their concurrent validity against Thalbourne’s (1995) Australian Sheep-Goat Scale (ASGS). The two measures significantly predict ASGS scores, and for both measures, sheep tended to give higher ratings to the coincidences than did goats. It is concluded that coincidence measures do not necessarily serve the same function as paranormal belief/experience scales, but they may be serviceable substitutes or aids in specific research situations.