A History of Parapsychology and Psychical Research by George Hansen
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June 15, 2013, Observatory Room Brooklyn NY, http://observatoryroom.org, http://liminal-analytics.org/ Parapsychology Double Feature! Back-to-Back Presentations with George Hansen, Author of The Trickster and the ParanormalA History of Parapsychology and Psychical ResearchThe scientific investigation of psychic phenomena will be discussedfrom the rise of Spiritualism in 1848, to the founding of the Society for Psychical Research in 1882, to the laboratory research and the U.S. government's psychic spying program of the 1970s and 1980s. Methods, findings, and applications of research will be discussed, including some examples from Hansen's own research. The rise of organized attacks on paranormal research and belief will be covered. The Decline of Parapsychology, or Whatever Happened to Parapsychology?About 1990, U.S. research in parapsychology began a steep decline. Laboratories closed, attendance at professional conferences dropped, the average age of attendees trended strongly upward, and professional journals became thinner. This failure to flourish can be understood in terms of rationalization and disenchantmentconcepts developed by sociologist Max Weber. Openness to, and engagement with, paranormal phenomena is rarely found in the large, hierarchical organizations of government, academe, business, or religion. The side effects of psi phenomena will be discussed. Those effects are often overlooked, but they lead to the paranormal's marginalization in our culture. Although parapsychology is now nearly moribund in the U.S., growing paranormal interest is found in the academic fields of religious studies, anthropology, and studies of Western esotericism.George Hansen was professionally employed in parapsychology laboratories for eight yearsthree at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, and five at Psychophysical Research Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. His experiments included remote viewing, card guessing, ganzfeld, electronic random number generators, sance phenomena, and ghosts. His papers in scientific journals cover mathematical statistics, fraud and deception, the skeptics movement, conjurors in parapsychology, and exposs of hoaxes. He has been active in a number of psychic, UFO, and New Age organizations, and he helped found a skeptics group. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.