Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience (I.S.R.A.E.)


Our Mission Statement

sundial-1388070 ISRAE is a 501(c)3 Federal Nonprofit Dedicated to the fair scientific exploration of religious and paranormal experiences. We strive to provide reliable, research-based information to our local and national community while promoting internships and volunteerism.

What is ISRAE?

ISRAE started in 2009 as an undergraduate organization dedicated to the scientific investigation of purportedly haunted locations and training in research methods. It has since become a research institute formally founded in 2014. Its students, members, and academics are dedicated to the scientific study of religious and anomalous experience. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit that focuses on parapsychology, a subject that is both controversial and neglected by many scientists. Our primary goals are to conduct research studies and experiments, provide reliable education to the public, develop methods and technology for investigating paranormal phenomena, and publish our findings in peer-reviewed journals whenever possible.

What Topics Do We Research?

ISRAE currently performs research examining religious experiences and experiences often labeled as paranormal. This includes topics such as EVP (electronic voice phenomenon), haunting experiences and phenomena, and the psychological and cultural experiences of the paranormal. Our findings tend to have one thing in common. We are not here to judge people’s experiences or support our own beliefs. We let the research data tell us its story. By staying neutral and striving to conduct quality scientific research, we strive to supply the public with reliable information about paranormal experiences free of judgment.

What Separates Our Research From Others?

key-123554Uniqueness. To our knowledge, we are the only research institute in the United States actively pursuing a fair and unbiased approach to paranormal experience. We stand on the factual claim that science has not explained everything, despite what some might believe.  

dsc_0132 Honesty to the Public and Data-Driven Findings. We’re very dedicated scientists and members who donate hundreds of hours developing scientifically valid methods for assessing paranormal phenomena. When we don’t have data to support a claim, we don’t make it. When we do have data to answer a claim, we strive to present that data in a fair, impartial, and unbiased way.

technology-1587673Respectful Open Access. Our goal is to become the research institute in the United States that anyone can come to and get honest answers about paranormal experiences. We respect all beliefs but believe that honest science can help people of all backgrounds understand paranormal experiences. We understand that your experience is real to you, regardless of its possible causes (e.g., psychological, physical, or paranormal).


dsc_0145Training and Knowledge. While haunt phenomenon and parapsychology seem to be a taboo subject, our research is vetted in the same way that research on pharmaceutical drugs, psychological discoveries, and other mainstream research is performed and analyzed. We use the scientific method, account for chance, and submit our research to peer-reviewed research journals. Our researchers are trained in empirical methods of research, and all either have or are pursuing their Bachelor’s degrees and above in various fields of study.  We firmly believe that having a trained team of academics is crucial to our institution.

Belief and Skepticism of The Paranormal in One Place

dome-382125_960_720We make it a point to have members of varying beliefs about paranormal phenomena. We believe it keeps us honest. We simply ask everyone to put down their belief in favor of collecting valid evidence and educating themselves with reliable and demonstrated information. ISRAE realizes that many people have strong beliefs about paranormal phenomena. While we respect those beliefs, our job is to critically and honestly collect data and evidence that supports or further explains claims of paranormal phenomena.



Board of Directors:

Christopher Goodman, B.A. M.Ed. cgoodman@israenet.org

Bridget Cotton, B.A. bcotton@israenet.org

Brian Laythe, Ph.D. blaythe@israenet.org


Brian Laythe, Ph.D. blaythe@israenet.org

Deputy Director

Bridget Cotton, B.A. bcotton@israenet.org

Senior Members & Advisory/Field Investigations

Myranda Atkins, A.S., matkins@israenet.org

Courtney Block, M.S., cblock@israenet.org

Katie Glesing, B.A., kglesing@israenet.org

Kristen Oak,  A.S. koak@israenet.org

Development & Programming

Willy Gandy, wgandy@israenet.org



25 thoughts on “About”

  1. Where are you? Do you organize conferences on on-going paranormal research? Can one participate in any research, experiment?

    1. Stephanie,

      We are in process of creating the Paranormal Experience Registry (PER), which will be open to anyone who wants to submit their experiences. Look for the PER to be up by mid-January, and we will also be offering a free Parapsychology class for anyone who wants to learn the basics of the science. Our class should be up about the same time as the PER. Thanks for commenting!

      Dr. Laythe

    1. Dear Sean,

      We can use support from anyone. Do you have a skill set that you were thinking of using? One of the best ways of getting involved is donating. Our volunteers spend many hours providing paranormal facts and other services. Thanks for your interest!

    1. Hi, Sean,

      Probably the best thing you could do to help us is to report your experiences on the Paranormal Experience Registry when we have it up in running in the next month or two. I am sure your experiences and knowledge would lend to the database.


  2. Hello my name is Vic a paranormal investigator from AZ an I would love to help in helping u find the truth….please contact me I just moved down….

    1. Doris,

      Our website has all of our paranormal facts entries and access to our published research. Thanks for your interest!


  3. These pictures are obviously taken in England…I assume that’s your location – you don’t say WHERE you are!!! I’m in the US…

    1. Ann,

      We are based out of the US in Southern Indiana. Yes, good eye. Some of the pictures were taken from a study abroad trip in Parapsychology over Christmas.



  4. Hello, my name is Sylvia Simms Kowalska and I have a few questions. Firstly are any of your team from a religious back ground ? And have any of your team members had their own paranormal experiences ? Have you heard of the Scole Experiment ? Check them out on U Tube. They were based in Norfolk England. I wish you all well with your studies.

    1. Sylvia,

      Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, some religious some not. We don’t discriminate in that sense, and the diversity helps us approach research from multiple angles. Most of us have done active investigations for several years, so yes, many of us have had paranormal experiences. Some of those we can prove, others we can’t. Finally, yes we are familiar with the Scole Experiments. They are broadly known within the parapsychological community. In fact, were in process of publishing a scientific article on seances.

      Thanks for writing in!


  5. Hi, I’m a postgraduate Religious Studies student working in the paranormal and popular culture and would love to be involved with your research. I’m currently based in the UK – are you in need of a voluntary research assistant/copy writer/copy editor?

  6. Hello, I just sent you an email Brian, I hope you get the chance to read it soon. I had a quick question that I forgot to include in said email. I have never TRULY experienced the paranormal, does that bar me from participating in the PER?

    1. Greg,

      Absolutely not. Just fill out the registry part, and select other for your experience type. You can explain there that you have no formal paranormal experiences to report.


  7. Your coverage of the NDE is good as far as it goes. I have earlier posted on NDERF a scientific framework for interpreting the NDE that includes strong support for consciousness existing separate from brain. For example, during the OBE it has been reliably reported that time ceases to run and all entities experienced appear to be made of light; Relativity Theory predicted that photons would not experience time. In the OBE, communications are extremely fast to instantaneous, and independent of distance; this is consistent with quantum mechanics entanglement. Here is the key to Frozen Time Theory which you might also post here ( http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/Articles/frozen_time.htm )

    1. Jack,

      Thank you for the commentary! Posted per your request. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.

      Dr. Laythe

    1. Jeff,

      No need to register. Go to our classes page and start reading! You can register for the test if you want to take it, but the course and test do not require you to.


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Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience