The Realm of Parapsychology
Psychic phenomena can be more clearly defined under the domain of parapsychology or the contentious science that investigates a number of ostensible paranormal phenomena, including telepathy, precognition, psychics and spirits clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation and apparitional experiences.
The term parapsychology was adopted by J.B. Rhine in the 1930s as a replacement for the term psychical research in order to indicate a significant shift toward experimental methodology and academic discipline.
Over these past decades, many studies, experiments and research have been made to prove and disapprove these psychic phenomena.
- It was in 1882 that the first systematic effort to organize scientists and scholars for a critical and sustained investigation of paranormal phenomena was formed. This organization was called the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and was founded in London. The early membership of the SPR had included philosophers, scholars, scientists, educators and politicians, such as Henry Sidgwick, Arthur Balfour, William Crookes, Rufus Osgood Mason and Charles Richet. Telepathy, hypnotism, Reichenbach’s phenomena, apparitions, haunts, and the physical aspects of Spiritualism such as table-tilting and the appearance of matter from unknown sources, otherwise known as materialization were the SPR subjects of study.
- In 1911, Stanford University became the first academic institution in the United States to study extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (PK) in a laboratory setting. The effort was headed by psychologist John Edgar Coover.
- In 1930, Duke University followed suit and became the second major U.S. academic institution to engage in the critical study of ESP and psychokinesis in the laboratory.
- The publication of the book, New Frontiers of the Mind in 1937 by Joseph B. Rhine (one of the Dukes’ psychologists who held laboratory ESP experiments using volunteer subjects from the undergraduate student body using proffered a quantitative, statistical approach using cards and dice), had popularized the word “parapsychology”.
- Recent discoveries in quantum physics (the study of the physics of sub-atomic particles) and in cosmology (the branch of astronomy that deals with the universe taken as a whole) had begun to shed much light on how mind interacts with the universe. These discoveries have shown and compelled acceptance of the idea that there is far more than just one universe and that we constantly interact with many of these “hidden” universes.
Psychic Phenomena over the Last Decade
- The Gallup Organization conducted a survey of the beliefs of the general United States population about paranormal topics in 2005. According to data, there were 41 percent of those polled that believed in extrasensory perception and 26 percent believed in clairvoyance. Whereas, 31 percent of those surveyed indicated that they believe in telepathy or psychic communication.
- According to a poll of 439 college students conducted in 2006 by researchers Bryan Farha of Oklahoma City University and Gary Steward of University of Central Oklahoma, the poll suggested that there is a more likelihood for college seniors and graduate students to believe in psychic phenomena than college freshmen. While, 23 percent of college freshmen expressed a belief in paranormal ideas. The percentage was greater among college seniors at 31% and graduate students at 34%.
- There are also some people who also believe that psychic reading abilities can be activated or enhanced through the study and practice of various disciplines and techniques such as meditation, with a number of books and websites being dedicated to instruction in these methods.
- There is also another popular belief is that psychic ability of live psychics is hereditary, with a psychic parent passing their abilities on to their children.