The Best Evidence

One of the best things about editing this magazine is getting to
shoot the cover image and the abstract simplicity of this issue’s
cover is one of my favourite images. Typically, though, a picture
is not worth a thousand words. Pictures and words do quite different
things. Imagine the Bible as a set of postcards from the Patriarchs, with
some photographs of graffiti by a Banksy-esque Jesus. Not the sort of
thing to sustain two world religions. But then the image of Jesus on the
Cross is arguably one of the strongest representations and encapsulations
of a religion/ideology ever created. So what does this issue’s cover say? It
does not tell you that I shot it out of my hotel room window in the Golden
Nugget, Downtown Las Vegas, at five in the morning. It does not tell you
what camera and lens I used, or that I cropped it heavily. It does not even
tell you that I took the shot. But it does seem oddly appropriate to the
several themes represented in this issue.

And that brings me to another of the ‘best things’ about editing this
magazine, working with leaders in this field and encouraging them to
write, not just about their work, but about their thoughts and feelings and
life experiences. Being a ‘magazine’ there is much more room for the
human side of our subject. And it is vital. When researching the history of
psychical research, I am often stuck by how little our predecessors left of
themselves. This was a particular challenge whilst I was writing Angels in
the Trenches
about psychical research during the First World War
– so
many of the SPR’s Council stubbornly remained just names in the
Journal. They were interesting people who led full lives, with surely
something to teach us, and yet they have been buried forever under the
sands of time. Today the problem continues, whereas too much is known
about so-called celebrities – a singularly one-dimensional species – we
continue to know too little about our intellectuals – the people who stop
and think about the world and actually have something interesting to say
about it. And we particularly know too little about ourselves as this
‘society’ for ‘psychical research’. I have said it before and I will say it
again, document or disappear. It falls to us to do this because no one will
do it for us.

To this end: our President, Prof. Adrian Parker, gives us his thoughts
on the war in Ukraine; Vice-President Prof. Bernard Carr reflects on his
interest in psychical research and fifty years as a member of our Society;
long-serving Council members Dr David Rousseau and Julie Billingham
present an analysis of our Society’s leadership as we mark its 140th
anniversary; and your Editor adds a piece on the 2021 Bigelow Institute
for Consciousness Studies
essay contest which saw five Council members
being awarded prizes for their entries. Taken together, I hope to show, not
only the historical value of the Society, but also its continuing relevance in
this field. This relevance is also reflected in publishing contributions by
Michael Jawer and our long-running regular Brandon Hodge. ψ

Dr Leo Ruickbie
Editor, The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research

Contents of The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, 7

Prof. Adrian Parker, SPR President

Present Madness, Future Hope

Prof. Bernard Carr

Psychic Reminiscences

Dr David Rousseau and Julie Billingham

Hidden Motives

Michael Jawer

A Feeling for Psi

Dr Leo Ruickbie

The Best Evidence

Brandon Hodge

Ghosts in the Machines: Two Objects, Two Worlds

The Magazine of the Society for Psychical Research is a benefit of being a member of the Society for Psychical Research, see for more details.