What is the deal with the ASPR?

While I was researching my book about the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory I repeatedly tried to explore the ASPR archives (American Society for Psychical Research) but I was never granted access. For a year and a half they put me off and I finally accepted that they just didn’t want me to see anything. They wouldn’t even tell me what they had. I’ve since learned I’m just one in a long line of people who had similar experiences with the ASPR.

Why? What a shame it is, because I imagine they house a valuable treasure trove of parapsychology history. Why don’t they want anyone (or few people?) to actually use their collections? Maybe there’s a problem. When I wrote about the NYPD’s cold case squad it also took a long time to be given access to the Property Clerk Division warehouse, and when I finally got inside I could see why. Much of what was supposed to be there was missing, and some of what was there was poorly maintained.

My dealings with the ASPR is so contrary to every other experience I had researching parapsychology. The people at the Rhine Research Center, the Parapsychology Foundation, the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, and of course the Special Collections Library at Duke, couldn’t have been more professional, encouraging and helpful. They want people to use their collections.

What is going over there at the ASPR? Their website looks like it hasn’t been updated in years. Perhaps someone who has made it inside or who used to work there can explain why the ASPR is so determined to prevent researchers from accessing their archives?

This is me at the Special Collections Library at Duke doing what I love best.

Stacy Horn at Duke Special Collections Library

Rhine Research Center is Looking for Research Volunteers

Title of Study: ESP and Motor Automatisms.

“Our aim in this study is to explore ESP in dissociated states of consciousness. The word ‘dissociation’ is often linked to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality), but all of us experience milder versions of it in everyday life. A simple example is keeping your car on the road while talking to the person sitting next to you. It is this more normal type of dissociation that we are interested in for the study.” For more information go here.

In other news: Segments of Eileen J. Garrett’s 1954 Haitian Diary have been published in the October issue of Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal and can be downloaded for free here. The Diary describes her experiences with practitioners of Vodun in Haiti.

From the Paranthropology website About section: “The journal aims to promote an interdisciplinary dialogue on issues of the paranormal, so as to move beyond the sceptic vs. advocate impasse which has settled over the current debate, and to open new avenues for enquiry and understanding.”

And, ICRL Press has just published,  Mediumistic Phenomena.  “This is a  fascinating account of the investigations performed by the distinguished Italian physiologist, Filippo Bottazzi and a number of his professional colleagues, with the famous medium, Eusapia Palladino.  Originally published in Italian in 1906, it has now been translated into English for the first time by Prof. Antonio Giuditta and Ms. Irmeli Routii.”