Learning About the History of Parapsychology Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D.

Division of Perceptual Studies University of Virginia

One of the best ways to learn about parapsychology is to study its historical development. History can help you to understand the origin of ideas, theories, methodology, controversies, terms, and other things you may be interested in from the context of the times in which the developments took place, and considering both actual parapsychological work and the social aspects that influenced the field. The latter includes beliefs prevalent at the time, competition with other disciplines, patterns of intellectual influence, and the dynamics of professionalization, among other topics. From the point of view of doing parapsychology, the past literature can provide us resources to avoid past methodological mistakes, generate hypotheses for research, and evaluate controversies (for more information click here http://www.pflyceum.org/103.html). Furthermore, a historical perspective can do much to provide us with the human aspect of parapsychology, aspects such as information about the lives of mediums, psychics, researchers, and theoreticians. In this short essay I present some bibliographical suggestions and links to information sources that I hope will assist interested readers to become familiar with the history and past literature of parapsychology. Finding Sources: Guides to the Literature and Bibliographies In addition to a variety of modern databases covering different disciplines (click here http://www.pflyceum.org/112.html), there are some specialized bibliographies that can be of great help. Adam Crabtree’s bibliography Animal Magnetism, Early Hypnotism, and Psychical research, 1766-1925 (1988) is particularly useful to find books (and some articles) about mesmerism, spiritualism and psychical research, many of which are annotated. Also useful is George Zorab’s Bibliography of Parapsychology (1957), which includes many books as well as articles from parapsychological journals.

http://www. 2008a). R.2 Much bibliographical and other information is available in reference books such as Anderson (2006). 21. and psychical researcher Frederic W.pdf Alvarado.scientificexploration. White Plains. Frederic W.H.) (1996). Alvarado. http://www. S.I.cfm Melton.3March09. Leonora E. MI: Gale.esalenctr. Frederic W.edu/internet/personalitystudies/publicationslink s/Alvarado-Mesmerism-online. and Melton (1996). (2009a). 115-120. NC: McFarland. C. Myers online: I.S. Crabtree.healthsystem. 2009b. (Ed.woodlandway.pdf Anderson.woodlandway. NY: Kraus International. Jefferson.virginia. 2009a).woodlandway. 36.G . 607-615. G. A. 1766-1925: An Annotated Bibliography. Psypioneer. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research.org/journal/jse_21_3_alvarado. and Psychical research.org/display/animag. Barrett’s Psychical Research (1911) and Lang’s article “Psychical Research” (1911) in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica emphasize Englishlanguage developments.. (2008a). Myers online: II.H. (2009c). Bibliography of Parapsychology. 22.S. 215-227.6June09. Online historical materials about psychic phenomena. 2008b). General materials and reviews of Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death.S. C.S. 2007. 2009c).pdf Alvarado. New York: Paragon House. http://www. Zorab. 162-169. (2007). (1957). (2008b). (1991). C.). http://www. Piper (Alvarado. Psypioneer. Myers (Alvarado. Original writings. New York: Parapsychology Foundation.H. Old Introductions and Overviews A good way to obtain information about the past is through old general overviews of the field. 5. Early Hypnotism. Journal of Scientific Exploration. (comp.). Journal of Scientific Exploration. Mesmerism online: A bibliographic review. Alvarado. Australian Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis..pdf Alvarado. Berger (1991). C. Detroit. Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology (4th ed. C. http://www. Psypioneer. A. (1988). mesmerism (Alvarado. http://www. Berger. Animal Magnetism.org/PDF/PP5.pdf Alvarado.org/PDF/PP5. medium Leonora E. Psychics. 5.org/PDF/PP5. Sensitives and Somnambules. 396-407. (2006).S. C.7July09. This . 5. particularly the work of the Society for Psychical Research. A list of online materials for the historical study of psychical research and related subjects.S. (2009b). More recently I have compiled several bibliographies of online articles and books covering topics such as psychic phenomena in general (Alvarado. J. Piper online: Some Web resources. 87-92.

Traité de métapsychique. (1960). Paris: Payot. 358-369). A. F. R. Barrett. The 19th Century (pp. W. vol. (1918). New York: E..). Sudre. Psychical research of the century. H. 1926. Holms. On the Threshold of the Unseen. 1960). New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. (http://survivalebooks. http://books. Psychical research. R. whose books include developments from many countries originally published in languages such as French and German (Richet. 1922 & 1923. A. (1926). New Hyde Park. London: George Allen & Unwin (Original work published in French 1956). The Story of Psychic Science. C. La Ricerca Psichica [Psychical Research] Rome: Cremonese. For examples in terms of theory and the issue of survival of death.google. C. F. Treatise on Parapsychology. Studies in Psychical Research. A. (1911). E. C.com/books?id=OT7WAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA15&dq=william+ barrett+psychical+research&as_brr=1 Carrington.F. http://books.org/#Thirty%20Years%20of%20Psychical%20Research) Servadio. http://books.+The+19th+Century#v=onepage&q=&f=false Lang. Putnam’s. Dutton. F. New York: Holt. Thirty Years of Psychical Research. Introduction à la métapsychique humaine [Introduction to Human Metapsychics]. The Facts of Psychic Science and Philosophy Collated and Discussed. Munich: Von Ernst Reinhardt.com/books?id=YQw7AJqyBoC&pg=PA933&dq=oliver+lodge+psychical+research&lr=&as_brr=1 Moser. New York: G. London: Rider.P. http://books. two important works were Aksakow’s Animismus und Spiritismus (1890) and Myers’ Human Personality and Its . (1969). Lang. (1935). NY: University Books. putnam’s Sons. Paris: Félix Alcan. Encyclopedia Brittannica (11th ed. Podmore.com/books?id=_SESAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq= podmore+studies+in+psychical+research&lr=&as_brr=1 Richet. (1897). (1911). Classics There are many books today that are considered to be classics in the field for a variety of reasons.google. 544-547). Der okkultismus: Tauschungen und Tatsachen [Occultism: Deception and Fact] (2 vols.com/books?id=xo8FAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=ri chet+traite+de+metapsychique Richet. (1923). New York: G. (1930).google. 22.com/books?id=on4MAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA358&dq=Psychic al+research+of+the+century. pp.google. Sudre. http://books. (1901).P. and the work of others. Sudre. (1930). (Original work published 1925).3 is not the case with Moser’s Der okkultismus: Tauschungen und Tatsachen (1935).google. W. Psychical Research. The ones listed below represent different areas and approaches. (1922). Barrett.P. New York: Macmillan.

(Vol 1: http://books.M1. E.f613.com/books?id=bNc0AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq= morselli+psicologia+e+spiritismo&lr=&as_brr=1#PPR3. 609–674. (1900).F. (1874).W. Glasgow: William Collins.esalenctr. Extra-Sensory Perception. (1908). The Soul of Things: Or. E.google. Leipzig: Oswald Mutze. Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death (2 vols). London: Trübner.com/books?id=RsoVAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq =editions:0gtmgPlCYyYpl0U5_r) Flournoy. (http://books. (1934). (1903).com/books?id=ldg0AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq= editions:0NV_vVSOEXpuglKCrw) Myers.W.com/books?id=0BgHAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq =Researches+in+the+Phenomena+of+Spiritualism&as_brr=1&ei=9YzESKzdG6 W0zATtwZSODg) Denton. Psicologia e “Spiritismo. Boston: Walker. T.).l angFR) Richet.. Aksakow.). Supernormal Faculties in Man.. London: Longmans.html Morselli. Wise. Green.google.org/details/traitdemtaps00rich) . Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism. Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étrangere.cfm Osty. & Denton. Richet’s (1922 & 1923) book. E. (http://books.google. http://www. while basically a general review of the field.google. Phantasms of the Living (2 vols.H. (http://books. E.com/books?id=fxlWAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq =inauthor:geley&lr=&as_brr=1&ei=Yo7ESKbUG43kywT374GSDg) Gurney. (1920).r=revue+philosophique. W. (1922). C. Psychometric Researches and Discoveries. Paris: Félix Alcan. Vol.org/display/hp_ctr. is a classic in the sense of its great impact in parts of Europe. C.org/display/phantasms/index. F. (1884).M1) Richet. (http://gallica.H.4 Survival of Bodily Death (1903).image. A.google. Richet’s article “La Suggestion Mentale et le Calcul des Probabilités” (1884). 2: http://books.M. F. Myers. London: J. Burns. Traité de métapsychique.bnf.com/books?id=tjJLDZwQjlYC&printsec=frontcover&dq=ed itions:ISBN1606802550#PPP3.archive.B. La suggestion mentale et le calcul des probabilités. (1863). F. particularly in France. (1890). & Podmore.google. (http://books. From India to the Planet Mars. New York: Harper & Brothers. (1886). London: Methuen.M1) Geley. W. (1923).esalenctr. Rhine. Turin: Fratelli Bocca.com/books?id=WdkRAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&d q=editions:0es7DIuzDCRUerk0FeNjIU#PPR1. G. Crookes.google. and Morselli’s Psicologia e “Spiritismo” (1908) covered more specific phenomena. Boston: Boston Society for Psychic Research. (http://books. Animismus und Spiritismus. 18. http://www. J. Others such as Crookes’ Researches in the Phenomena of Spiritualism (1874).” (2 vols. From the Unconscious to the Conscious. (http://www.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k171573.

(1923). C.B. A. J. including developments in specific countries. J. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues. S. (1988). Cerullo. The First Psychic: The Peculiar Mystery of a Notorious Victorian Wizard. London: Little Brown. Gregory. NC: McFarland. Podmore’s overview Modern Spiritualism (1902). Berger. New Haven: Yale University Press. The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult. Inglis. Biondi. A. Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History. Metuchen. Other countries are covered in the studies of Biondi (1988). (2004). Lamont.. London: Hodder and Stoughton. With some exceptions. Science and Parascience: A History of the Paranormal.org/#Thirty%20Years%20of%20Psychical%20Research) History Books Several modern books have presented overviews or specific studies of aspects of psychical research. Dorset: Prism. Natural and Supernatural: A History of the Paranormal from Earliest Times to 1914 (rev. (1968). 1850-1987. CT: Yale University Press. A. The Secularization of the Soul: Psychical Research in Modern Britain. M. Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death. From Mesmer to Freud: Magnetic Sleep and the Roots of Psychological Healing. & Schmit. Crabtree. Brief general overviews appear in Beloff (1993). P. (2006). (1982). as well as in Inglis (1984. .5 Richet.. Monroe (2008). Rhine and colleagues. The Founders of Psychical Research. and Treitel (2004). D. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.. N. New York: Penguin Press. P. ed. & Maillard. (2005). (1984). New Haven. and in Gutierez and Maillard (2004). Inglis. Beloff. Thirty Years of Psychical Research. B. G. D.). Les aventuriers de l'esprit [The adventurers of the spirit] Paris: Presses du Châtelet.. with material about psychical research. (2004). Parapsychology: A Concise History. (1993). Gauld. Chéroux. Gutierez. Apraxine.S. Fischer. C. London: Athlone Press. 1992). B. 1914-1939. A. Rome: Gremese. I have not included those books that emphasized mesmerism and spiritualism. (1985). J. (1992). Parra (1990). The Strange Case of Rudi Schneider. New York: Macmillan. Gauld’s The Founders of Psychical Research (1968) is essential reading about the early work of the Society for Psychical Research in England. Jefferson. as is Mauskopf and McVaugh’s The Elusive Science (1980) for American developments with emphasis on the work of J. is still very useful. Canguilhem. Blum. Tavoli e Medium: Storia dello spiritismo in Italia [Tables and mediums: A history of spiritism in Italy]. (1988). NJ: Scarecrow Press. (http://survivalebooks. (1994). A..

1992). A. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes. In Search of White Crows: Spiritualism. while others focus on various researchers and other figures (e. Mulacz (1999). Treitel. M. Plas. P. Oxford: Oxford University Press. History Articles The articles listed below cover a variety of topics. Somnambulisme et mediumnité (1784-1930): 2: Le choc des sciences psychiques [Somnambulism and Mediumship (1784-1930): 2: The impact of psychical sciences]. Monroe. The Invention of Telepathy 1870-1901.. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Mauskopf. (1902). Paris: L’Hartmattan. (2000). Spiritism and Occultism in Modern France. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. the Institut Métapsychique International (LaChapelle. its approaches and its avatars (1850-1950)]. A Science for the Soul: Occultism and the Genesis of the German Modern. & McVaugh. (1999).. Parra. (1977). Kelly. Oppenheim. Laboratories of Faith: Mesmerism. The Elusive Science: Origins of Experimental Psychical Research. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press. Folie et spiritisme: Histoire du discourse psychopathologique sur la pratique du spiritisme. C. J. (1985). R. London: Methuen.g. Moore. American psychologists’ rejection of psychic phenomena (Coon. 2005). Buenos Aires: Author. (1999). Corbetta. Méheust. (1990). Naissance d’une science humaine: La psychologie: Les psychologues et le “merveilleux psychique” [The birth of a human science: Psychology: The psychologists and the “psychic marvellous”]. and Tietze (1985) discuss specific individuals studied by psychical researchers. . ses abords et ses avatars (1850-1950) [Madness and spiritism: History of the psychopathological discourse about the practice of spiritism. (2002). Modern Spiritualism: A History and a Criticism (2 vols). (2008). 1990. Parapsychology. and American Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press. The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England. 2006. R. Irwin (1987). Podmore. R.R. New York: Oxford University Press. Some topics discussed include studies of dissociation by members of the Society for Psychical Research (Alvarado. 2001).6 Luckhurst.H. W. 1850-1914. Le Maléfan. Historia de la Parapsicología en la Argentina [History of Parapsychology in Argentina]. F. 2002). J. (2004). B. and veridical hallucinations and psychopathology in the late nineteenth-century (Le Maléfan. L. (1980). 2008). S. Le Plessis-Robinson: Institut Synthélabo pour de Progrès de la Connaissance. Anderson.

Testing the limits of sense and science: American experimental psychologists combat spiritualism. Bringmann. E. 2. Cugnaschi. J.edu/internet/personalitystudies/publicationslink s/JSPR-Volume-67_pg65to95-Survival-. Dissociation in Britain during the late nineteenth century: The Society for Psychical Research. (1990). Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. 106-114. (1967). (2007).S.pflyceum. (1989). 19-43. Death-coincidences or wishful thinking? The Society for Psychical Research and the 1894 Census of Hallucinations. 5.The early history of the ASPR: Origins to 1907. Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie. (2003). 57. M. Bauer. 397416. C. 67. Revue du Praticien.edu/~hps/Ron%20Numbers%20Readings/Testing%20the%20Lim its%20of%20Sense%20and%20Science.metapsychique. (2006). Luce e Ombra. Gutierez. EBoletín Psi. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. N. Biondi. 102. (1992). 563-577.html Beloff.com/smpp/14528104187301387/content~db=all~content=a793916905 Berger. Bringmann. T. Parapsicología y psicoanálisis: La “telepatía” en la obra de Freud [Parapsychology and psychoanalysis: “Telepathy” in the work of Freud].J. History of Psychiatry.alipsi. http://www. E. Aperçu historique des activites de l’IMI [A general survey of the activities of the IMI].. Edelman. C. 79. Brown.7 Alvarado. le Nobel qui voulait comprendre se paranormal. Neurology and spiritualism in the 1870s. 47. S. http://www.pdf Corbetta. The Rhine legacy. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research.org/86. Coon. Online: http://www. S. Bauer.W.org/PDF/Alvarado_JTD_Volume_3_2002. M. 1882-1900.fsu. 37. http://www. 10. Fechner und die Parapsychologie [Fechner and parapsychology]. E. 84. D. 1880-1920.html . (1983).M. 65-95. Angelo Marzorati – Ernesto Bozzano: Prove “scientifiche” di una cosmologie “experimentale” [Angelo Marzorati – Ernesto Bozzano: “Scientific” proof of an “experimental” cosmology]. Dening.J.pdf Anderson. 103. 3. (1985). (2002). 231-239. I. 143151. 1(1)..R.parapsych. Robert Hare's contribution to psychical research. American Psychologist. Philosophical Psychology. unpaginated (Online: http://www. Bulletin of the History of Medicine. N. 9-33. 689–693. S.ar/e-boletin/eboletin-psi-vol1-N1-enero2006. (2003). (1990). 83-97.G. Abstract: http://www. Orizzonti spiritici di Jung [Jung’s spiritist horizons]. W.pdf Alvarado. Charles Richet. 33-42. J. A short introduction into the history of parapsychological research in Germany. 32.htm#tit02).informaworld. E.com. 235-262. A.org/Apercu-historique-desactivites-de. Max Dessoir und die Parapsychologie als Wissenschaft [Max Dessoir and parapsychology as science]. (1994). & Bauer.healthsystem. (2002).virginia. Luce e Ombra. 39-60. Zeitschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie. Online: http://www. The concept of survival of bodily death and the development of parapsychology. (2005). G. R.

R. Abstract: http://www. http://www.31 9-338. 82. P. I. Irwin. Wolffram. E. 63. History of Science. (1985). Supernormal biology: Vitalism. 23.8 Hacking. (2003). H.info/history. Tietze. Revue d’Histoire des Sciences Humaines.uk/noakes-barrett.php?ID_REVUE=RHSH&ID_NUMPUBLIE =RHSH_004&ID_ARTICLE=RHSH_004_0145 Mulacz. A.info/article. (1988). parapsychology and the German crisis of modernity. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. (1994).pdf Shamdasani. H. History of parapsychology in Austria. J. 100-131. 4. (2000). (1976). 42. The “bridge which is between physical and psychical research”: William Fletcher Barrett. Rhine's Extra-Sensory Perception and its background in psychical research. L’hallucination télépathique ou véridique dans la psychopathologie de la fin du XIXe siècle [Telepathic or veridical hallucinations in psychopathology at the end of the XIXth century]. P. 79. 339-379. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. LaChapelle. 59-68. 67. Princeton: Princeton University Press. The “Margery” affair. 1890–1933. .W. Spring. and spiritualism. (2001). 65-90. Charles Bailey: A biographical study of the Australian apport medium. (1999). 54.wiley. H. In T. & Mauskopf. 41.em-consulte. No. 160-189.org. Attempting science: The creation and early development of the Institut Métapsychique International in Paris. Irwin. Métapsychique et psychologie en France (1880-1940) [Metapsychics and psychology in France (1880-1940)]. From astronomy to transcendental Darwinism: Carl du Prel (18391899). (2001). Myers to psychology.. xi-li). Mulacz. Isis.survivalafterdeath. S. Encountering Hélène: Théodore Flournoy and the genesis of subliminal psychology. 427-251. From India to the Planet Mars: A Case of Multiple Personality with Imaginary Languages (pp. (2008).interscience. Isis. 145-171.com/journal/109862059/abstract?CRETRY=1&S RETRY=0 Le Maléfan.com/article/148934 Marmin N. (1987).htm McVaugh. Telepathy: Origins of randomization in experimental design.uk/articles/shamdasani/flournoy. Automatic writing and the discovery of the unconscious.co. The European Legacy. (2004). 73.htm Sommer.1-24. http://www. (2009). S. Parapsychology in Australia.J . (1988). F. H.cairn. Flournoy. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. Eleonore Zugun – The re-evaluation of a historic RSPK case. Shamdasani. (1993). Kelly. 149–163. c. 54. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Abstract: http://www3. H. 419-464. Noakes. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. http://www. M. (2005). P. 8. L’évolution psychiatrique. 97-118. 70. R. sensitive flames. The contributions of F. J. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. 15-39. Journal of Parapsychology. 1919-1931. 15-45. S. 65. T. Online: http://parapsychologie.shpltd. B.H.

C. http://findarticles. N. H.9 Wolffram. Controversy and the problems of parapsychology. L. . (1987). 42. Parapsychology on the couch: The psychology of occult belief in Germany. 237-260.. c. Historical aspects of parapsychological terminology. Journal of Parapsychology. S. (2006). 1870-1939. & Alvarado. Zingrone. Journal of Parapsychology.L. 49-74. 3-30. 66.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_1_66/ai_84547066/ Zingrone. 51. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences. N. (2002).

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