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James Hewat McKenzie (1869-1929) was a British parapsychologist, and the founder of the British College of Psychic Science. McKenzie was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on November 11, 1869 and died August 29, 1929, in London.

Through years of study and experimentation with hypnotists and mediums, Mckenzie wrote what is considered his master work, "Spirit Intercourse: Its Theory and Practice" in 1916. a number of pamphlets on the related topics also bear his name including his 1917 work "If a Soldier Die" in and "Personal Experiences in Spiritualism" 1920.

He left his practice as a psychologist and psychoanalyst in 1900 to pursue parapsychology and the occult sciences as a result of his being disenfranchised by traditional theology and science not being able to reconcile themselves into what he called "a true and upright synthesis" he began seeking like minded spiritualists and paranormal investigators of the time, consulting with Montague Summers and several students of Max Dessoir. He soon realized that he would not find answers with occultists or philosophers and devoted his time to helping "truly gifted spiritual mediums" develop their abilities, such mediums include Gladys Osborne Leonard, Franek Kluski, Maria Silbert and Eileen J. Garrett.

He spent a number of years touring and lecturing in the united states both seeking and studying "truly gifted spiritual mediums" he also spent quite some time in the middle east, Germany, Austria, and Poland for this same purpose, finally returning home to England in 1920.

In England in the last years of his life he consulted on most of the well known cases of Haunting in England, Scotland and France, dispelling many of them but with his group of highly trained mediums from around the world he was also able to confirm many of them, but by the time of his death many mediums refused to work with Mckenzie citing that his use of hypnosis during investigations of haunting was "dangerous and irresponsible" after his death even his most devoted friends and mediums left the British College of Psychic Science.

During his years as honorary president of the British College of Psychic Science, the first real work on psychic phenomenon and psychic research was done, though sometimes considered "dangerous and irresponsible" his use of hypnotism in psychic demonstration and instruction it is a technique which is still used today in the training of mediums, though not in the field.

McKenzie's contributions to parapsychology and its coming of age in the great spiritual movement of the early 20th century can be considered his greatest legacy, paving the way for future scientific study of clairvoyance, ESP and Remote Viewing. Unfortunately allegations of fraud and mismanagement, as well as hoaxing, plagued McKenzie's research, leaving him in his time and in ours remembered as a "quack" "crackpot" and "occultist."


External links

Further reading

  • Pioneers of the Unseen by Paul Tabori


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