PARANTHROPOLOGY Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal
Century A.D. –
CatholicChurch sets down formal guidelinesfor the investigation of miraclesnecessary for sainthood.
– Swedish scientist EmanuelSwedenborg begins personalinvestigation of afterlife realms bymeans of clairvoyance and out-of-body travel, writes numerousessays on his explorations.
Mesmerism is introducedby Franz Anton Mesmer, anAustrian physician. While slow tocatch on. it was an importantprecursor of psychical research andparapsychology.
March 31, 1848 –
This day marksthe beginning of paranormalphenomena at the home of the Foxfamily in Hydesville, New York.This leads to a mediumship “epidemic” in the United States andEurope.
January 1851 –
John W.Edmonds, Chief Justice of the NewYork State Supreme Court, beginsa two-year personal investigationof mediumship. Intending todebunk the phenomena, he insteadbecomes a dedicated Spiritualist.
– The “New York Circle,” anassociation of prominent men andwomen, including Judge Edmonds,is formed to observe and report onspiritualistic phenomena. Thegroup’s first official meeting takesplace on November 14, 1851.
– The Ghost Society isformed at Cambridge in England.One of the founders is EdwardWhite Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury. In 1853, HenrySidgwick, Benson’s cousin andlater a founder of the Society forPsychical Research (SPR), joins thegroup. Seven years later,Professor Sidgwick becomes atutor at Cambridge to Frederic W.H. Myers, a co-founder of the SPR.
– A Harvard Universitydelegation, including poet WilliamCullen Bryant and Messrs. B.K.Bliss, William Edwards, and DavidWells studies the physicalmediumship of Daniel DunglasHome, concluding that he is “amodern wonder.”
– Dr. Robert Hare, a retiredUniversity of PennsylvaniaChemistry professor and renownedinventor, begins investigatingmediumship intent on showing it isall fraud. He comes to accept itas real and then becomes amedium himself. In 1855, hewrites a book, “ExperimentalInvestigation of the SpiritManifestations.”
– French author Victor Hugois exiled to the island of Jersey andbegins an informal investigation of mediumship.
– French educator HippolyteLeon Denizarth Rivail (AllanKardec) begins an investigation of mediumship. In 1857, he publishes “The Spirits’ Book,” which setsforth profound messages from thespirit world.
– American editor andstatesman Robert Dale Owenwrites “Footfalls on the Boundaryof Another World,” discussingvarious psychic phenomena.Psychical researchers in thedecades following would say thatthis book significantly influencedthem in their decisions toinvestigate similar phenomena.
– Alfred Russell Wallace, co-originator with Charles Darwin of the natural selection theory of evolution, issues his first writing onSpiritualism, “The Scientific Aspectof the Supernatural.”
– The Dialectical Society of London appoints a committee,including biologist Alfred RusselWallace, to investigatemediumship. The committeereturns a report that thephenomena exist.
The History of Survival Research
The Society for Psychical Research was formed in London in 1882, butsurvival research of one kind or another had been going on well beforethen. Below is a timeline of key events and/or turning points in survivalresearch and influences. Although much more could be added in theareas of ESP/PSI research, this list is limited to the events more directlyinfluencing the survival hypothesis.
The Fox Sisters