Past psychical research was done with psychics, spiritualist, mediums, mystics of all kinds. By the 1930s, in the U.S. attracted the interest of some well-known scholars and institutions, a modern and more sophisticated investigation of the paranormal proceeded. Different groups did experiments on paranormal subjects, from precognition, to remote viewing, and spoon bending, to animal communication and energy field projection. Spirits and UFO’s were explored, as parapsychologists engaged with the intelligence organizations, the military and other groups. In the middle of the Cold War tensions with the Soviet and the United States government were very high so governments invested in the development of: “psychic spying.” The U.S. program was funded and tasked by the U.S. Department of Defense as well as most of the major intelligence departments like the: CIA, DEA, NSA, NSC, as well as the U.S. Secret Service.

Parapsychology was founded in different intellectual traditions, in the research worlds, and more than a few institutions and organizations. But the experiments by Mr. Joseph Rhine at the Duke University are truly regarded as the start of parapsychology as a science.

Mr. William McDougall, Rhine teamed up and went on to be known as the parapsychological pioneers. Mr. William McDougall, created forms of ESP, that included telepathy “mind-to-mind communication without known physical means”, clairvoyance “seeing things not present”, precognition “knowing things before they happen” and psycho-kinesis “mind over matter”. Mr. Rhine was a believer in that there was and is indisputable evidence of ESP as reality, and ESP it operated freely in the physical and in the living body, there is a lot to be said about the soul that will survive the death of the body, this was a proof of life-after-death in this thesis.

The “Rhine’s scientific revolution” it encompassed many elements. Mr. Rhine provided parapsychology with a systematic order of sound experiments, to show the conditions and the extent of psi phenomena and not just trying to prove their existence. In this manner, Mr. Rhine did give the field of parapsychology academic and scientific standing. Mr. Rhine dice-rolling experiments, used card-guessing as an example, he did verify statistically, scientifically, that ESP exists. Mr. Rhine proved that the human mind had far fewer limitations than one could imagine. Other than that the Duke University Laboratory, Mr. Rhine also founded the independent Rhine Research Center. Further, Mr. Rhine co-founded the prestige’s Journal of Parapsychology in the year 1937 and then the prestige’s Parapsychological Association in the year 1957, its mission was, as its written in its Constitution: (to advance parapsychology as a science, to propagate its knowledge in the field, and to mix the investigations with those of other types of science).

In the 1970s, different parapsychological organizations were founded, which included the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine (1970), the Institute of Parascience (1971), the Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, the Institute for Noetic Sciences (1973), and the International Kirlian Research Association (1975). Major U.S. universities began doing their own experiments throughout the 1970’s. Universities like: Duke, Princeton, Stanford, Virginia, some others, all started mind-blowing research with very hip names. Stanford universities top secret CIA-funded research was called: “Project Stargate”, a way to examine people from far away through (remote viewing). In New Jersey, the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research “PEAR” project looked into extrasensory perception “ESP” and telekinesis “TK”. The University of Virginia’s Department of Perceptual Studies, then, they also researched reincarnation and near-death experiences “NDEs”, and on top of that: other altered states of consciousness, as Duke University’s Parapsychology Laboratory was the start of modern parapsychology in the United States of America which was operating all kinds of tests.

Under the command of the well known cultural anthropologist Ms. Margaret Mead, the Parapsychological Association took a big step in advancing the world of parapsychology in the year 1969 when it connected with the American Association for the Advancement of Science “AAAS”, the biggest general scientific society on the planet. This connection fostered even more belief and general openness for occult phenomena and psychic phenomena in the decade of 1970s. While university research started, brought in of spiritual experts from the Asian continent, and they claimed abilities that they produced by meditation, and the altered states of consciousness, which was researched. Parapsychology experts used ganzfeld experiments for sizing ESP abilities, as an example. Ganzfeld tests did quantity telepathy by separating 2 people in isolated rooms, where one person tried to send a telepathic picture to the another. Researchers also founded that ESP abilities increased under hypnosis. Hypnosis usually includes relaxation and the power of suggestion in a comfortable setting, researchers suggested that one of these reasons, or in a combination could be responsible for higher psi results.

Mr. Uri Geller, an illusionist, showed a very interesting case study, and Mr. Uri Geller did divide the scientific community in some way. Mr. Uri Geller opened up the world of paranormal activities during the mid-1970s with his spoon-bending and telepathic abilities. Mr. Uri Geller abilities were significant, and his unbelievable mind was sufficiently powerful, and it prompted articles in Nature magazine, among other magazines, and it became a basis of study at Stanford. Considerable debate followed. The Stanford Research Institute was founded at first to do experiments for the U.S. Armed Forces, but it split from the main university after some anti-war student demonstrations at the end of the 1960s. In the year between 1972-1973, researchers experimented with Geller started to research his well known ability to bend spoons with his mind and his ESP powers. The findings were good for Mr. Geller, and they showed the misunderstood powers of the mind, but more modern Scientist were far from sympathetic.

At first, the power of suggestibility was important in the beliefs in the (paranormal). Many people were affected by the TV programs and newspaper articles, and had lost their understanding. “Who controls the media, might control the mind.” The research scientists were too (critical, skeptical, but also observant, some believe). The standards of the experiments and the responsibility of scientists appeared to be skeptical. What is important is that the historical perspective. There are millions of cases of clairvoyance and other internal powers that come from the mind, that have long histories, stretching backward into the beginnings of recorded history.

The fame of paranormal research went on throughout the 1970s and all the way into the 1980s. It was also seen in popular culture, with the authors like: Stephen King’s. Stephen King also used Telekinesis, telepathy, inspired films Carrie (1976), The Shining (1980), The DeadZone (1983), and Firestarter (1984). But ghosts and ghouls, angels and the afterlife have been popular topics since the beginning of time. Science fiction ideas, UFO’s and paranormal evidence also came together in films of the 1970s.

By around 1989, the Parapsychological Association said that it had members working in over 30 countries. On top of that, research not associated with the “P.A: The Parapsychological Association” was done in Eastern communist Europe and the former communist Soviet Union. With so much research and interest in parapsychological investigations, Religious and atheist opposition also grew and was skeptical of parapsychologists and the giving of any formal degrees in the field. This was science, but the religious and the atheist skeptics argued against it.

There was the founding of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in the year 1976, which the name was changed to the Committee for Skeptical (or denial) Inquiry (CSI), which was compromised by skeptics, non-believers and critics to stop the rise of parapsychology. this was established on April 30, 1976, at an international conference at SUNY-Buffalo and the topic was: (The New Irrationalism’s: Antiscience and Pseudoscience). (There has been an enormous increase in public interest in psychic phenomena, the occult, and pseudoscience) wrote Paul Kurtz the co-founder of the organization.

The purpose of “CSICOP” was to check these all the evidence. Among the well known “CSICOP” members was astronomer Carl Sagan, biophysicist Francis Crick, evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould, and zoologist Richard Dawkins, the science writer Isaac Asimov and psychologist Dr. Skinner acted as fellows. At the formation of the “CSICOP” organization, Kurtz, the editor of the Humanist magazine, spoke with passion on the scientific feelings towards antiscience and pseudoscience. Kurtz referred to parapsychology as nonsense, with Hate. He wanted to make it clear, but also un clear though, that the organization would not reject all documented claims. He said it wouldn’t automatically take the other side, but the “CSICOP” organization would seek to investigate, to confirm any claims about spoon bending and or reincarnation.

Some due to their religious beliefs or even atheist beliefs have a very hard time with Parapsychology, but they cannot stop Parapsychologist and the advancement of the science of parapsychology.

By: Shervan K. Shahhian

Liberty Psychological Association

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