History of Psychic Phenomena Part 2
About the various forms of psychic phenomena, an introduction with history, definitions and a look at the controversy surrounding it.
Again, spiritualists are excited by the Raudive tapes, recordings made in silence yet which appear to contain scattered words, messages, voices from, it is alleged, the spirit world. The controversy between believers and non-believers rages bitterly.
These are the dramatics. Seldom publicized are the handful of scientists who devote themselves to making sure that some research is properly conducted in spite of the lack of funds and time (most parapsychologists have full-time jobs in other fields). Representative of this caliber of research is the Parapsychological Association, an international body of qualified investigators. In 1969 the PA was, after several previous rebuffs, accepted as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). A major breakthrough for the PA, this acceptance indicated that the AAAS considered the methods used in parapsychology to be based on proper scientific principles.
Nearly 90 years before this event the 1st scientific group, the Society for Psyshical Research, was formed in England in 1882, headed by famous scholars and scientists of their time, among them F. W. H. Myers, William Crookes, and Henry Sidgwick. Psychical research has come a long way since then; researchers believe there is now sufficient proof that some form of ESP and PK does exist--but they are often divided as to exactly what form and in which instances. Accusations of sloppy experimentation and outright fraud are still made, sometimes with good reason. Nevertheless, when all the chaff has been winnowed out, we are still left with something. Elusive though they may be, it seems almost impossible that psychic phenomena are a total illusion.
In the articles which follow we will, for the most part, deal with the various subjects from the point of view of those who work with them. Obviously people do not work on something unless they believe it exists. However, there is still doubt in some quarters about the reality of psychic phenomena, in spite of much spontaneous and experimental evidence.
Though psi and science are now firmly linked by parapsychology, psi retains its other, older connections. Psychical researchers, who read the life stories of the saints or of the gurus, recognize many proclaimed miracles as being similar to events that they have sought, and sometimes found, in the laboratory. Psi seems often to be a side effect of spiritual discipline, something that happens naturally when one has purged oneself of ego. Yet all spiritual teachers are emphatic that psychic gifts are not to be sought for themselves; for the most part, in fact, they must be put aside, ignored, lest they distract the disciple from his spiritual path.
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