The Roots of Reality
This issue we turn to the problem of theory in parapsychology. Following a ‘Workshop on Psi Theories’ in Paris in 2019, SPR President Prof. Chris Roe addresses the question directly on pp. 4-5, with my report on the workshop on pp. 22-24. Dr Charles Whitehead takes the matter into his own hands with his ‘mega-psi hypothesis’, detailed on pp. 6-15, which tackles some of the possibilities thrown up by quantum mechanics.
In the summer of 2019, the Parapsychological Association Convention came to Europe, also being held in Paris, and as one of the official photographers for the event I naturally documented the proceedings. Some of these photographs have been posted on PA social media feeds, as well as their website, but you will find my own personal selection on pp. 20-21. The photograph of the staircase leading into brilliant light is my favourite, but there were many close contenders, with PA President Dr Dean Radin casting himself as Sisyphus for a memorable photo opportunity.
The City of Lights has its dark places, too, and it so transpired that my hotel during the Convention was opposite the Catacombs. Of course, I could not let this opportunity pass by, as will be seen on pp. 16-19. As regular readers will know, great fun can be had by sticking ‘para-’ onto the front of any word. We have already had parazoology and I have occasionally lectured on parasociology, so in this issue let us introduce ‘parageography’ to the world, with a feature on the Catacombs of Paris. At once, a fascinating subterranean labyrinth and a stark reminder of mortality, the Catacombs can be considered to be part of a geography of the paranormal, a mapping of places on the threshold of imagination and reality. After all, the artful arrangement of human bones in underground chambers really has no effect whatsoever, except that which we give it and we cannot help but give it that effect, it over-rides rationality. Here, among the dead, are also the ‘roots of reality’.
As I look through the back issues of the Paranormal Review under my editorship, I realize that ‘parageography’ has been a recurrent theme, with my own reports on ‘The SPR’s London’ (PR80), supposedly haunted 30 East Drive in ‘A Night with the Black Monk’ (PR83), the Institut Métapsychique International in ‘Paranormal Paris’ (PR72), and contributions from others on the ‘Incident on Kinver Edge’ (PR90) and ‘The Mysterious Paths of Versailles’ (PR86), and so on. All of which give me an idea – watch this space, as the say.
As I work on my own personal project perhaps best summed up by my rallying cry of ‘document or disappear’, these photo essays will provide a lasting testament to our work in this field, showing the personalities and places behind all the column inches we expend on trying to explain it. Every event and research project should have a photographer attached – just think how much poorer we would be if it were not for photographs of J.B. Rhine at his experiments or that classic Ganzfeld image of the glowing red face and halved ping-pong balls covering the eyes. This, then, is something unique that the magazine can additionally offer, to capture something of life, our lives, and in the process build an invaluable photo archive. ψ
Dr Leo Ruickbie
Editor, Paranormal Review
Contents for Paranormal Review, 91 (2019)
The Roots of Reality Issue
4 The Role of Theory in Psychical Research
SPR President Prof. Chris Roe considers the crisis of theory afflicting the explanation of psi phenomena.
6 The Roots Of Reality
Dr Charles Whitehead takes on two revolutions and a crisis in theoretical physics to ask what the possible implications could be for consciousness, free will and the ‘mega-psi’ hypothesis.
16 In the Empire of the Dead
The Paranormal Review’s Editor, Dr Leo Ruickbie, travels beneath Paris to explore the mysteries of the infamous Catacombs.
20 Into the (City of) Light(s)
A photo reportage of the 2019 Parapsychological Association Convention in Paris by one of the PA’s official photographers for the event, Dr Leo Ruickbie.
22 For the Love of Theory
Dr Leo Ruickbie reports on the Workshop on Psi Theories held in Paris, 2019, and part-funded by the Society for Psychical Research, which saw the SPR’s President Prof. Chris Roe and SPR Vice-President Prof. Bernard Carr taking part, with contributions from notable member Dr Rupert Sheldrake.
25 IMI Centenary
With some modern recreations of ‘spirit’ photography, Dr Leo Ruickbie covers an exhibition held in Paris in 2019 to mark the centenary of the Institut Métapsychique International.
26 Ghosts in the Machines
The Paranormal Review’s resident expert Brandon Hodge goes in search of the mysterious ‘original’ 1860 planchette.