PRF News & Events
Online Presentation on the Psychology of Poltergeist Agents - February 16th
On Sunday, February 16th, PRF Research Director Bryan Williams will be giving a talk entitled "Unsettled Objects, Unsettled Minds? Exploring the Possible Psychological Aspects of Reported Poltergeist Cases" as part of the 2020 Parapsychology Research and Education massively open online course (ParaMOOC 2020) devoted to the theme topic of "Parapsychology and Psychology," being hosted by the Alvarado Zingrone Institute for Research and Education (AZIRE) via the WizIQ online education portal. A summary of the presentation is as follows:
Traditional interpretations of the anomalous physical disturbances generally referred to under the term "poltergeist" have tended to invoke some form of discarnate spirit agency as a means of possibly accounting for them. However, many parapsychological findings gathered from case surveys and field investigations conducted over the past century seem to point toward an alternate interpretation - namely, that such disturbances may represent brief and sporadic displays of macroscopic psychokinesis occuring on the part of a living human agent. This presentation will generally examine the underlying basis for this latter interpretation, offering a concise overview of the various psychological and neuropsychological aspects that have been found to be associated with the living agents suspected of being at the center of reported poltergeist outbreaks. Some possible implications for certain cases in which poltergeist and haunt phenomena seem to dually occur in tandem will also be discussed.
The Annual Roll Lecture at the University of West Georgia - October 25th
On Thursday evening, October 25th, the Psychology Department of the University of West Georgia will be hosting its annual lecture in honor of the late Dr. William Roll. This year's lecture will be given by Dr. Sally Rhine Feather of the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, who will be talking about the steady research partnership that existed between her parents, Drs. J. B. and Louisa E. Rhine, who are generally considered the patriarchs of modern parapsychology. In addition to being the emeritus executive director of the Rhine Center, Dr. Feather is also the author (along with writer Michael Schmicker) of the book The Gift: ESP, the Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2005), which offers intriguing accounts of the various kinds of spontaneous psychic experiences that people have reported to Rhine Center over the years. This event will offer a fascinating look into the lives of two of the most important people in the history of the field.
PRF President Jerry Conser at the 2018 BookExpo in New York - June 2nd
The Psychical Research Foundation's president, Jerry Conser, will be making a public appearance at the 2018 BookExpo New Title Showcase at the Javits Center in New York City on Saturday, June 2, 2018, from 11:00 A.M. - 12:00 noon Eastern Time. Mr. Conser will interact with attendees and sign copies of his book Proof of God 2012, which chronicles his own life-changing spiritual journey aided by the guidance of the late psychic Richard Ireland, a journey which eventually led him to become a long-time benefactor of parapsychological research - and ultimately, the PRF's current president. Additional information can be found at this link: https://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=218815
Halloween Lecture on Apparitions, Hauntings, & Poltergeists - October 21st
To mark the Halloween season, PRF Research Director Bryan Williams will be giving a public presentation entitled "Seeking a Sensible Understanding of Spirits: Current Parapsychological Perspectives on Apparitions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists" at the Placitas Community Library, located at 453 Hwy. 165 in Placitas, New Mexico, on Saturday, October 21st at 2:00 P. M. Mountain Time. There will be no cost to attend the presentation, although the Placitas Library does ask the attendees to consider making a small donation to help support its operation and reading programs (as this small library subsists largely on private donations). A summary of the presentation is as follows:
There have been many people who say that they've had encounters with disembodied spirits throughout the ages, leading one to wonder: Do they really exist? And if so, how might we come to better understand the nature of their existence? In an attempt to provide some answers to these intriguing questions, parapsychologists have made a number of efforts over the course of the past several decades to scientifically study three types of psychic phenomena which have been traditionally associated with spirits: apparitions (or "ghosts"), hauntings, and poltergeists. This presentation will provide a concise, lay-oriented overview of what they've managed to learn so far about these phenomena, offering illustrative examples of certain notable cases and summarizing some of the key findings from survey studies and investigations conducted out in the field. The possible implications that these findings may have regarding the broader question of life after death will also be briefly considered.
Public Lecture on Poltergeists - April 15th
PRF Research Director Bryan Williams will be giving a free public presentation entitled "Minding the Matter of Poltergeists: Current Parapsychological Findings & Perspectives" at the April meeting of the New Mexico UFO & Paranormal Forum, which will be held at the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center (7521 Carmel Ave. NE) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday, April 15th at 12:00 P. M. Mountain Time. A summary of the scheduled presentation is as follows:
Few psychic occurrences are as mysterious - or as disruptive - as objects spontaneously flying across the room on their own, or knocking noises emanating from the walls when no source is clearly making them. These are the occurrences which commonly characterize the type of phenomena traditionally labeled as "poltergeist." What are we to make of them? How are they to be understood? One long-held interpretation is that they are caused by the pestering and malicious actions of a disembodied spirit or demon. But a number of findings gathered over the past century seem to suggest that poltergeists may actually have a purely human side to them - one which ties into the possible link between mind and matter. A general summary of these findings - coming from various case surveys, experimental studies, and field investigations conducted within the scholarly domain of parapsychology - will be given in this presentation, which may be helpful in the effort to better understand, and maybe even deal with, this particular type of phenomena.
A New Monograph Examines the Relation Between Psychic Phenomena & Brain Functioning
The Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research (AIPR) has just released a monograph by PRF member Bryan Williams entitled Psychic Phenomena and the Brain: Exploring the Neuropsychology of Psi. It is edited by Dr. Lance Storm and contains a foreword written by Dr. Edward F. Kelly of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia. A synopsis of the monograph is as follows:
"We typically perceive the people, objects, and events in the physical world around us through our five familiar senses - sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. But there have also been a number of instances in which a person claimed to have momentarily perceived (or suddenly become aware of) other people, objects, and events located some distance away, out of sensory range. What are we to make of these unusual reports? Do humans have the capability to perceive without using the five ordinary senses? And what about the claims that some people have made of moving objects with their minds? Are humans capable of exerting some form of 'mind over matter?'
Debates over the existence of these and other related psychic phenomena have persisted for quite some time. But over the past eighty years, a considerable amount of anecdotal and experimental evidence has been gradually accumulating which seems to indicate that these phenomena could be real. Yet this raises a perplexing question: If psychic experiences really do occur, then how do they fit into our knowledge of the human brain?
In this monograph, Bryan Williams examines some of the latest scientific findings to emerge from the efforts that parapsychologists have made to explore how psychic phenomena may be linked to the workings of the brain. While these findings do not yet lead to a fully working theory, they do point to possible brain correlates that could be a focus for further study."
The monograph is now available to order online at the AIPR website. Listed price is AUD $35.00 (approx. US $25.17).
The Annual Roll Lecture at the University of West Georgia - November 5, 2015
On Thursday evening (Nov. 5), the Psychology Department at the University of West Georgia will be hosting its annual lecture in honor of the late Dr. William Roll. The lecture for this year will be presented by Dr. Edwin May, who is well-known for his involvement in the extensive remote viewing program that was carried out at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) from the 1970s through 1995, under the auspices of the U.S. Government. Dr. May's recent anthology Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2014) provides a good overview of the studies conducted as part of this RV program. Also appearing as a special guest is Joseph McMoneagle, one of the top remote viewers in the program. It should be an interesting event!
A New Exhibit at the University of West Georgia on the Life & Career of Dr. William Roll
The Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia has just opened an exhibit which takes a look back at the career of the PRF's first research director, the late Dr. William Roll (1926 - 2012). From 1986 up until the time of his retirement in 2000, Dr. Roll had served as Professor of Psychology and Psychical Research at West Georgia, and had taught classes in parapsychology while continuing to maintain the PRF's activities from there. This exhibit displays archival materials from a number of notable moments in Dr. Roll's life and career in the field. It is free and open to the public, running until January 8, 2016.
Additional details on this exhibit can be found on the webpage for The Perspective, the online alumni magazine for the University of West Georgia: http://www.uwgperspective.com/around/stories/roll15.html
One of the displays contained in the exhibit on the life and career of Dr. William Roll. (Source: UWG Perspective website)
New Website: Mark Ireland's Certified Medium Program
Mark Ireland, son of the late psychic Dr. Richard Ireland and author of the book Messages from the Afterlife (North Atlantic Books, 2013) has recently created a new website to help bereaved people locate evidential mediums who have demonstrated potential for producing detailed after-death communications under basic testing conditions. Each of the profiled mediums offers personal readings to their clients at reasonable cost, for those who would like the opportunity to possibly reconnect with their deceased loved ones once more.
Mr. Ireland's new Certified Mediums website can be found at http://www.findacertifiedmedium.com
A Special Event: Dr. Eben Alexander on the Afterlife at the Durham Convention Center - Feb. 28th!
The Psychical Research Foundation will be co-sponsoring a special event with Dr. Eben Alexander, author of the best-selling book Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012). The event, hosted by the Rhine Research Center, will be held at the Durham Convention Center, located at 301 West Morgan Street in downtown Durham, North Carolina (only minutes away from the Durham Transportation Center and the Amtrak station).
Dr. Alexander will discuss his new book The Map of Heaven: How Science, Religion, and Ordinary People Are Proving the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster, 2014), in which he shares some of stories he's received from various people who've reportedly had profound afterlife-related experiences, and examines how these stories may tie into what science and the world's spiritual traditions have to say about the possibility of life after death.
This special event will be held Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 7:00 to 9:00 P.M. General admission is $35.00, with two additional seating options available:
Reserved Seating (Rows 3 - 5): $50.00
Preferred Seating (Rows 1 - 2): $100.00
Advance tickets can now be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets.com. For additional information about this event, please visit the Rhine Research Center website, or call the Rhine Center at (919) 309-4600.
A New Anthology Reviews Research on Psychic Phenomena (Including Studies by the PRF!)
A new parapsychological anthology entitled Evidence for Psi: Thirteen Empirical Research Reports has just been published by McFarland & Company, a leading publisher of academic and nonfiction works. Edited by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel, the anthology reviews the current scientific evidence for psychic (or psi) phenomena coming from several different lines of research, including studies of physiological responses to future events, experiments in remote viewing, and tests of psychokinesis (aka. "mind over matter") using random number generators.
Included among the chapters of the anthology are two written by PRF member Bryan Williams. The first chapter reviews and statistically assesses the data that has been gathered from experiments on extrasensory perception (ESP) using the ganzfeld (a sensory reduction technique), and the second takes a detailed look back at the various experimental tests that Dr. William Roll and several other members of the PRF had conducted in the 1970s with the psychic Sean Harribance.
Additional details and ordering information can be found on the publisher's website, along with a brief table of contents. The anthology is also available for purchase on Amazon.