Category: The Paranormal

Investigating the Paranormal: Part II

Parascience has so far failed to produce a single repeatable finding and, until it does, will continue to be viewed as an incoherent collection of belief systems steeped in fantasy, illusion and error. Originally appeared in Nature Vol. 320, 13 March 1986, pp. 119-124.  The first part of this article is here. Psychological Factors Many …

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The Paradox of Coincidence

The Paradox By the Principle of the Long Run, a coincidence is always deemed to be a chance event, no matter how tiny the odds. If paranormal coincidences exist, the normal scientific approach means that they would be mixed in with chance events and made invisible. Science rules out of existence the very phenomenon that it …

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Uri Geller: Self-Proclaimed ‘Psychic’

A flash-back to 1975 when Uri Geller came to town.  Super-psychic or super-charlatan? Who to Believe? On the one hand, a scientific report published in Nature verifying Geller’s psychic abilities under supposedly cheat-proof conditions, and on the other, a highly speculative but critical attack published simultaneously in New Scientist. While Targ and Puthoff’s reply … …

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Rules for Would-be Rationals

Appendix II from The Psychology of the Psychic

Psychology and the Paranormal

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy” So the well-worn saying goes. Are there? If so, what are they? And how does one obtain solid evidence? These questions have taxed human beings for millennia. A zetetic approach I approach psychology and the paranormal  in a spirit …

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Investigating the Paranormal: Part I

This post reproduces an article I wrote 35 years ago. My current position as a zetetic is less dogmatic than I was then, a died-in-the wool skeptic.   Parascience has so far failed to produce a single repeatable finding and, until it does, will continue to be viewed as an incoherent collection of belief systems …

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Improbability and Impossibility in Nature

The Science of the Impossible When the sun, moon and earth all fall into alignment, something improbable happens – a solar eclipse. A solar eclipse in improbable but it is not impossible, because it actually can happen. Not very often, of course, but on a few rare, predictable occasions. On average a solar eclipse occurs …

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Increasing Prevalence of Paranormal Belief

Belief in paranormal phenomena is widespread everywhere around the world including colleges and universities. There is evidence from the US that belief rates are increasing. According to Lindeman and Aarnio (2006) more than a third of Americans believed in psychic powers and extrasensory perception at that time. Recent figures produced by the Chapman University Survey …

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