Free Parapsychology Class

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We’ve been promising a free parapsychology course, and we are proud to announce that it’s ready for its first round of online students. Included are fifteen sections and a hearty (optional) quiz if you want to test your knowledge.

What do I need to do?

  1. Go to www.israenet.org/classes and click the link!
  2. Read and examine the content at your own pace!

This is our first release of the class, so please feel free to provide us with feedback (constructive comments only, please). Email blaythe@israenet.org with any comments. I’ll be checking into the class periodically.

Part of the Public Service We Provide At ISRAE,

Dr. Brian Laythe

Meditating the Ghost Away

Kruth and Joines recently published an article with a very interesting premise. A poltergeist case had been reported to the Rhine Institute. The nature of the phenomena involved electronic poltergeist disturbance (EPD), where the bizarre behavior of electronics, computers, and lights occur in the target location or around the target person.

After consulting with computer experts to determine if the EPD could be explained by normal means (computing experts were used) these researchers attempted to help the family by training the members in meditation, mindful awareness, and targeted focus. The goal was not to necessarily end the PK events, but alleviate the anxiety around them.

Although not conclusive, EPD phenomena dispersed in three months. More importantly, the person the events centered around reported a calm and confident attitude when using the meditation techniques provided. Both researchers encourage further study to see if mediation can be regularly used as a method for helping families deal with paranormal phenomena.

Reference:

Kruth, J. G., & Joines, W. T. (2016). Taming the ghost within: An approach toward addressing apparent electronic poltergeist activity. Journal of Parapsychology, 80, 70-86.

Give To ISRAE

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to thank you all for keeping up with Paranormal Facts. As always, we hope you have enjoyed learning about the science behind the paranormal encounters people report. Our campaign has been very successful, with over 8000 visits to our page last month and 1200 regular viewers! Each month we see a substantial increase in our readership, and that makes us happy.

I want to remind everyone that we’re offering a free layperson’s parapsychology course on our website.  In addition, the Paranormal Experience Registry (PER) is now up and running. Yes, the PER takes some time to complete, but your donation of time will eventually help those who have had a paranormal experience.

Finally, if you like Paranormal Facts, or have taken our class, consider showing your appreciation with a donation. We have recurring donation plans that cost less than a cup of coffee per month! Our non-profit has a Guidestar Silver Rating, so you can rest assured that all transactions are secure. Every dollar helps us maintain research such as the PER, Paranormal Facts, and future services.

If there is something you would like to see from ISRAE, don’t be shy. Email us at blaythe@israenet.org. We’re open to your suggestions or requests.

Paranormal to the People!

Dr. Laythe

Paranormal Belief, Reality Testing, and Suggestion With Haunted Locations

Dagnall and colleagues conducted a study to examine how beliefs and suggestion could influence the belief that a location was haunted. More specifically, these researchers were interested in how people’s degree of paranormal belief, and tendency to see or hear the unexplained (AKA reality testing) might influence their belief that a place was haunted.

These researchers further studied how a suggestion about a location as either haunted or as having structural problems influenced participants beliefs about the location. The interesting twist of the study is that the location was entirely fictitious. Virtual pictures and a tour of the fictitious location was provided in a laboratory environment. Thus, outside rumors or beliefs about a “real” haunted location could not influence participant’s responses.

What did these researchers find? Results showed that paranormal belief and reality testing affected beliefs about a haunted location, but not the suggestion given by the experimenters about the location as haunted or not. Thus, belief in paranormal phenomena, and not the suggested history of a location seems to relate to beliefs in a location being haunted.

 

Reference:

Dagnall, N., Drinkwater, K, Denovan, A., & Parker, A. (2015). Suggestion, belief in the paranormal, proneness to reality testing deficits, and perception of an allegedly haunted building. Journal of Parapsychology, 79, 87-104.

Do You Know If They’re Looking?

Rupert Sheldrake conducted a study with 310 tests and 6200 trials. Its goal was to determine if two separated individuals could detect if one person was staring at a target object or not. The catch? Neither individual could see, hear, or detect each other using their normal five senses. Each trial with two participants involved twenty guesses for target objects such as apples.

With the law of large numbers, guessing if another person was looking at an object should have averaged out to 50 percent. Sheldrake reported 52.5%, which was a small but highly unlikely result (odds = 1:33333). Interestingly, 155 of the 310 trials produced scores above chance, while 109 trials produced scores below chance.

Overall, Sheldrake’s study reinforces a series of work where people have been able to significantly detect being stared at. These results also suggest a weak but significant PSI effect of knowing when others are staring at objects other than ourselves.

 

 

 

 

Reference:

Sheldrake, R. (2015). Linking minds through joint attention: A preliminary investigation. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 79, 193-200.

Paranormal Facts And You

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We would like to thank you all for keeping up with Paranormal Facts. As always, we hope you have enjoyed learning about the science behind the paranormal encounters people report. Our campaign has been very successful, with over 8000 visits to our page last month and 1200 regular viewers! Each month we see a substantial increase in our readership, and that makes us happy.

I want to remind everyone that we’re offering a free layperson’s parapsychology course on our website.  In addition, the Paranormal Experience Registry (PER) is now up and running. Yes, the PER takes some time to complete, but your donation of time will eventually help those who have had a paranormal experience.

Finally, if you like Paranormal Facts, or have taken our class, consider showing your appreciation with a donation. We have recurring donation plans that cost less than a cup of coffee per month! Our non-profit has a Guidestar Silver Rating, so you can rest assured that all transactions are secure. Every dollar helps us maintain research such as the PER, Paranormal Facts, and future services.

If there is something you would like to see from ISRAE, don’t be shy. Email us at blaythe@israenet.org. We’re open to your suggestions or requests.

Paranormal to the People!

Dr. Laythe

The Paranormal Culprit: Hypnogogic Episodes

 

 

Sherwood in 2012 examines the studied, yet bizarre condition known as a hypnagogic (HG) or hypnopompic episode (HG). Not too well known among the public, these near-sleep episodes are a cross between waking and dreaming states. As such, people are prone to hallucinations when HP/HG events occur. These episodes can be frightening, as most people are unaware that they are hallucinating and can mistake an episode for a paranormal encounter.

 

Sherwood conducted a study to examine the type of hallucinatory content among people who have had HP/HG episodes.  Sherwood found hallucinations such as falling, visual imagery, and a sense of a presence as the most common features of these episodes (> 70%). Auditory and touch sensations occurred with greater than 50% of the HP/HG participants.

 

The author further divided these experiences into themes, although there are far too many to list here. The summary of these themes shows that hallucinations can be both relatively simple or very complex.  Furthermore, some events were frightening or negative in their themes. Thus, for many years, HG/HP episodes have been a common explanation for sleep-related paranormal experiences.

 

Reference:

Sherwood, S. J. (2012). A web survey of the content, sensory modalities, and interpretation of hypnogogic and hypnopompic episodes. Journal of Parapsychology, 76, 27-56.

 

Conspiracy Theory and Paranormal Beliefs

 

Drinkwater and colleagues conducted a study to see if people who believed in conspiracy theories also believed in the paranormal. In addition, they examined if having such beliefs indicated poor reality testing. For these researchers, reality testing was measured by the degree to which subjects endorsed traditional explanations for events such as the World Trade Center, JFK, and other popular mysteries.

 

Their results showed a small relationship between people who both believe in the paranormal and endorse conspiracy theories and a reduced degree of reality testing. However, it is worth noting that their measure of reality testing may be problematic. A closer examination of the measure shows that reality-testing questions actually appeared to endorse the degree to which a person agrees with culturally endorsed or popular explanations.

 

Although we rarely comment on research here at Paranormal Facts, we would like to emphasize to the reader that a large body of research supports the idea that cultural truths often become true as a function of popularity or belief, not necessarily evidence or facts. Thus, this particular reality-testing measure would represent more of an endorsement of culturally popular or government-endorsed explanations for mysteries than it would reality or facts. 

 

Reference:

Drinkwater, K., Dagnell, N., & Parker, A. (2012). Reality testing, conspiracy theories, and paranormal belief. Journal of Parapsychology, 76, 57-78.

Parapsychology Online

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We’ve been promising a free parapsychology course, and we are proud to announce that it’s ready for its first round of online students. Included are fifteen sections and a hearty (optional) quiz if you want to test your knowledge.

What do I need to do?

  1. Go to www.israenet.org/classes and click the link!
  2. Read and examine the content at your own pace!

This is our first release of the class, so please feel free to provide us with feedback (constructive comments only, please). Email blaythe@israenet.org with any comments. I’ll be checking into the class periodically.

Part of the Public Service We Provide At ISRAE,

Dr. Brian Laythe

Paranormal Belief and Those Who Have Haunt Experience

Research in 2012 examined people who had reported haunting experience in contrast to previous research that paranormal belief is associated with deficits in thinking and mental illness. Known as the cognitive deficits hypothesis and psychodynamic functions hypothesis of paranormal belief, a wide body of previous research has shown weaknesses in thinking, analysis, and connections to mental illness and belief in the paranormal.

 

The current work demonstrated that despite previous research, those who had reported haunting experiences did not differ in thinking styles or mental illness measures compared to those who did not report a haunting experience. However, those who had experienced a haunting did have higher degrees of paranormal belief.

 

These researchers concluded from their own work that those who have experienced haunting phenomena, and the beliefs that result from the experience, are not adequately measured in paranormal belief measures. It was also concluded that the types of paranormal experiences that people report are important when examining paranormal beliefs in general.

 

Reference:

Laythe, B., & Owen, K. (2012) The strange case of haunt experiences: Evidence of a neglected population. Journal of Parapsychology, 77, 79-108.