The Full Wiki

Society for Psychical Research: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Society for Psychical Research
Abbreviation SPR
Formation 1882
Legal status Non-profit organization
Purpose/focus Parapsychology
Location 49 Marloes Road, Kensington, UK, W8 6LA
Region served Worldwide
Membership Psychic researchers
President Deborah Delanoy
Main organ SPR Council
Affiliations SFRP, ASRP
Website SPR

The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom. Its stated purpose is to understand "events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and supporting important research in this area" and to "examine allegedly paranormal phenomena in a scientific and unbiased way."[1]

Contents

History

The SPR founded in 1882 by a group of eminent thinkers including Edmund Gurney, Frederic William Henry Myers, William Fletcher Barrett, Henry Sidgwick, and Edmund Dawson Rogers.[2] Its stated purpose given in the first Proceedings was "...to approach these varied problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned enquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated." [3]

Initially six committees were established: on Thought-Transference, Mesmerism and similar phenomena, Mediumship, Reichenbach Phenomena (Odic Force), Apparitions and Haunted Houses, physical phenomena associated with séances, and the Literary Committee which studied the history of these phenomena.[4] One significant undertaking was the Census of Hallucinations, in which 15,000 persons were asked to report on hallucinatory experience while awake and in good health. Some 10% of those reported such experiences, and a small number of 'veridical hallucinations' were reported - that is hallucinations that appeared to convey information not known the person hallucinating at the time, which was believed by the authors to be suggestive of telepathy.[5]

Critical SPR investigations in to purported mediums and the exposure of fake mediums led to a number of resignations in the 1880s by Spiritualist members. [6] but the Society continued to investigate mediums, studying Leonora Piper and Eusapia Palladino among others.[7] In 1885 the report of the Committee on Theosophical Phenomena expressed the opinion the founder of the Theosophical Society, Helena Petrova Blavatsky, was "neither the mouthpiece of hidden seers, nor... a mere vulgar adventuress; we think she has achieved title to permanent remembrance as one of the most accomplished, ingenious and interesting imposters in history".[8] This report which had a marked effect on Theosophy remains as with all SPR reports the opinion of the member concerned; the SPR holds no corporate opinions.[9] It gained the SPR a reputation for being scientific and highly critical. Mrs Salter recorded W.B.Yeats as saying "It's my belief that if you psychical researchers had been about when God Almighty was creating the world, he couldn't have done the job"[10]

The SPR is frequently referred to in Victorian and Edwardian literature as "the Psychical Research Society". The term psychical was adopted to distinguish the purported phenomena from those classified as psychic, (that is simply mental processes such as thought, memory, etc] and the SPR were to introduce a number of other neologisms which have entered the English language, such as 'telepathy' a phrase coined by Frederick Myers. [11]

Today

The Society is run by a President and a Council of twenty members, and is open to interested members of the public to join. The organization is based at 49 Marloes Road, Kensington, London, with a library and office open to members, and with large archival holdings in Cambridge, England. It publishes the peer reviewed quarterly Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (JSPR), the irregular Proceedings and the magazine Paranormal Review. It holds an annual conference, regular lectures and two Study Days per year [1][12] and supports the LEXSCIEN on-line library project.[13]

The SPR states its principal aim as "understanding events and abilities commonly described as psychic or paranormal by promoting and supporting important research in this area."[14] It does not however, since its inception in 1882, hold any corporate opinions: SPR members have a variety of beliefs or lack thereof about the reality and nature of the phenomena studied, and many prominent sceptics have been active members of the Society.[15][citation needed]

Notable members

Past and current notable members of the SPR include Henry Sidgwick, Frederick Myers, Alfred Russel Wallace, W.B.Yeats, C.G.Jung, William James, Arthur Balfour, Archie Roy, Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore, Dean Radin, Peter Underwood and Charles Tart.[16]

In 1893, the year that Arthur Balfour was president of the SPR the writer Arthur Conan Doyle joined the society.[17]

Investigators of spontaneous phenomena (hauntings, etc.) has included Guy Lyon Playfair and Maurice Grosse, who investigated reports of the Enfield Poltergeist.[18] [19]

Other societies

A number of other psychical research organisations use the term 'Society for Psychical Research' in their name.

  • Australia - In 1979 the Australian Society for Psychical Research was founded.[20]
  • Austria - Founded in 1927 as the Austrian Society for Psychical Research, today the Austrian Society for Parapsychology.[21]
  • Canada - From 1908 to 1916 the Canadian Society for Psychical Research existed in Toronto.[22]
  • Denmark - Selskabet for Psykisk Forskning (The Danish Society for Psychical Research) was founded in 1905.[23]
  • France - A society was formed in 1885 as the Société Française pour Recherche Psychique (French Society for Psychical Research).[citation needed]
  • Netherlands - The Studievereniging voor Psychical Research (Dutch Society for Psychical Research) was founded in 1920.[citation needed]
  • Poland - The Polish Society for Psychical Research was very active before the second world war.[24]
  • Scotland - The Scottish Society for Psychical Research is active today.[25]
  • Sweden - Sällskapet för Parapsykologisk Forskning (the Swedish Society for Parapsychological Research) was founded in 1948.[26]
  • USA - An American branch of the Society was formed as the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) in 1885, which became independent in 1906.[27] A splinter group, the Boston Society for Psychical Research existed from May 1925 to 1941.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b SPR website
  2. ^ Grattan-Guiness, I. (1982) Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles & Practices
  3. ^ Grattan-Guinness, I. (1982) Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles & Practices, p. 19
  4. ^ Gauld,A. (1968) The Founders of Psychical Research
  5. ^ "Report of the Census of Hallucinations." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 10 (1894): 25.
  6. ^ Gauld,A. (1968) The Founders of Psychical Research
  7. ^ Fielding,e., Baggaly,W and Carrington, H (1909) Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research:23, p.306-569
  8. ^ Report cited in Grattan-Guinness, I. (1982) Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles & Practices, p. 23
  9. ^ Harrison, Vernon (1997) H. P. Blavatsky and the SPR. ISBN 1-55700-119-7
  10. ^ cited in Grattan-Guinness, I. (1982Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles & Practices, p. 23
  11. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=telepathy
  12. ^ Edinburgh University Website
  13. ^ LEXSCIEN Library of Exploratory Science
  14. ^ Victoria Lynn Weston (2005). Akashic Who's Who: Of Psychics, Mediums, Healers and More!. iUniverse. p. 335. ISBN 9780595337422. 
  15. ^ "Join the SPR!". Society for Psychical Research. http://www.spr.ac.uk/main/page/join-spr. "Membership does not imply acceptance of any particular opinion concerning the nature or reality of the phenomena examined, and the Society holds no corporate views." 
  16. ^ Haynes, Renee (1982) The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982: A History. London: MacDonald
  17. ^ Duncan, Alistair (2010) The Norwood Author - Arthur Conan Doyle & The Norwood Years (1891-1894)
  18. ^ Playfair, G. L. & Grosse, M. (1988). "Enfield Revisited: the evaporation of positive evidence". Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 55 pp. 208-219.
  19. ^ Playfair, G.L. (1980). This House is Haunted: The True Story of a Poltergeist. Stein & Day.
  20. ^ Australian Society for Psychical Research
  21. ^ Austrian Society for Parapsychology
  22. ^ [McMullin, Stan (2004) Anatomy of a Séance: A History of Spirit Communication in Central Canada (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press), p. 87.]
  23. ^ Danish Society for Psychical Research
  24. ^ [Barrington, Stevenson and Weaver, (2005) A World in a Grain of Sand: The Clairvoyance of Stefan Ossowiecki, Jefferson, NC, and London, McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-2112-6]
  25. ^ Scottish Society for Psychical Research
  26. ^ Swedish Society for Parapsychological Research
  27. ^ American Society for Psychical Research

External links

Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message