Paranormal Review 89

The Paranormal Preservers

PR89 is another ‘document or disappear’ issue, this time focusing on the Preserving the Historical Collections of the Paranormal (PHCP) conference that was held in Winnipeg, Canada, in May 2018. Following on from the first PHCP conference in Utrecht in 2014, this conference gave North American collectors, curators and experts the opportunity to join the debate. Dr Shelley Sweeney provides an overview and, from amongst the many other participants, I have selected two papers that show the value of preserving archival material through intensely interesting background stories. I would like to thank Dr Sweeney and Walter Meyer zu Erpen for additional help behind the scenes in preparing these contributions for publication.

Our regular Ghosts in the Machines column from Brandon Hodge is, of course, a perfect fit for this sort of subject, but in addition to that I am able to bring together a number of other important contributions that gel with the overall theme. Dr Matt Colborn looks at the work of the Survival Research Committee, which will itself be an important reference point in years to come for people wishing to understand the Committee’s work. Dr Callum Cooper submitted an update on archival work ongoing at the University of Northampton. Most opportunely, Dr Tom Ruffles recently visited the ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, London. Concerned with the psychology of magic, the exhibition begins with the investigation of Spiritualist mediums, with the Society for Psychical Research featuring prominently from the first board. My only criticism is that there was no indication given that the SPR was a still flourishing organisation. Whilst the curator seemed responsive to our Secretary’s suggestions in this regard, nothing further came of them.

Speaking of the SPR’s Secretary, we should also take a moment to congratulate Peter Johnson, who celebrates twenty years with the Society this year. Other noteworthy events include former SPR President Prof. John Poynton, who celebrated his 88th birthday at the Council meeting in May, Vice-President Prof. Donald West, who turned 95 on 9 June, and David Ellis, the Paranormal Review’s proofreader (amongst other things), who published his book Our Fifth-Sunday Hymn Services with colleagues from his local church. ψ

Dr Leo Ruickbie
Editor, Paranormal Review

Contents for Paranormal Review, 89 (2019)

The Paranormal Preservers Issue

4 The Value of Spontaneous Cases
SPR President Prof. Chris Roe argues for the value of spontaneous case collections.

6 A ‘Spirited’ Discussion
Head of the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections, Dr Shelley Sweeney, presents an overview of the Preserving the Historical Collections of the Paranormal conference in Winnipeg, Canada, in May 2018.

10 Science and the Paranormal
Chief Curator, Emeritus, Prof. Tom Beck delves into a special collection of Jule Eisenbud’s experiments with allegedly psychic thoughtographer Ted Serios.

14 Echoes from the Future
Patricia Cyrus gives an insight into her remote-viewing experiments with Dale Graff, a former director of the US Government’s Project Star Gate.

17 Looking for the Afterlife
Dr Matt Colborn takes us inside the SPR’s Survival Research Committee to find out about its purpose and projects.

20 William James and the Psychical Researchers
Ashley Knibb reports on Dr Dylan Knapp’s lecture to the SPR on William James and psychical research.

22 Ghosts in the Machines
Resident expert Brandon Hodge uncovers part 1 of the Spiritualist origins of the Ouija Board.

24 Smoke and Mirrors and the Society for Psychical Research
SPR Council Member and Hon. Communications Officer, Dr Tom Ruffles, visits a new exhibition on the psychology of magic at the Wellcome Collection in London.

26 Archival Work in Parapsychology
Dr Callum Cooper reports on progress at the University of Northampton to build a new archive of parapsychological research literature.

27 Contributors

28 Announcements
Research grants and psychic experiences.

28 Events