Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Graham Nicholls, author of Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience.
This month, as the field of parapsychology turns 130 years old, I look back its influence on me and the wider implications of the field for our understanding of reality. As a young teenager, the works of Janet Lee Mitchell, D. Scot Rogo, Charles Tart, and J. B. Rhine (one of the most important researchers of our time) all gave me a sense of the importance of this field. This wasn’t because they were simply confirming beliefs that I already held (I was always suspicious of believing too much) but because psychology could offer a piece of the puzzle to help me understand what was happening to me.
Skeptics would dismiss my out-of-body and other experiences as little more than hallucinations, despite the fact that many of them were veridical (objectively accurate) and even witnessed by others. This unengaged skeptical “explanation” left my desire for real understanding through the scientific method unsatisfied. It seemed that many skeptics would ignore the objective elements of so-called paranormal experiences, allowing them to opt for the easier conclusion that there was nothing going on.
Parapsychologists, on the other hand, were respectful and engaged with the whole spectrum of phenomena that myself and others were encountering. I found in the old journals of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) in London a kind of intellectual home. Still to this day I see in organisations like the SPR a refuge for those not content to believe we have all the answers. The more I have explored the more it seems clear that consciousness still holds many secrets, that our minds can interact with the world around us directly through changes in randomness, telepathy, perception at a distance or remote viewing, and even glimpses of future events.
After 130 years the evidence that psychic abilities are real is at least as strong as in any other area of science. Here are a few of the organisations exploring parapsychology and the frontiers of consciousness:
- The Society for Psychical Research: Founded in 1882 in London
- The Institute of Noetic Sciences: Founded by Edger Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon.
- The Parapsychological Association: First established in 1957, and affiliated with The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 1969.
- International Association of Near Death Studies: Founded in 1981 to support research into NDEs.
I hope that through these organisations those interested might find some of the openness and spirit of exploration that so inspired me first learning about science at the edge of new understandings.
Our thanks to Graham for his guest post! For more from Graham Nicholls, read his article “Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience.”