Written by: John G. Kruth, Executive Director of the Rhine Research Center
Parapsychology is a field that is often misunderstood. Many people think of parapsychologists as ghost busters, bigfoot explorers, or psychics, but Parapsychology doesn’t include any of these things. This blog was created to answer questions to help people to learn more about the field of parapsychology. By posting a question to Ask A Parapsychologist on the website at the Rhine Research Center (www.rhine.org), your question will be reviewed and possibly answered by a scientist who works as a professional in the field of parapsychology.
So What Is Parapsychology?
Parapsychology is the scientific study of 5 specific phenomena:
- Telepathy – communication between people
- Clairvoyance – getting information about objects or places
- Precognition – getting information through time, particularly from the future
These first 3 phenomena together are called Extrasensory Perception or ESP. They involve the ability to perceive information that is not available through the traditional physical senses.
- PK or Psychokinesis – mind to matter interaction. Moving objects without physical intervention.
- Survival Issues – This includes any phenomena that can provide evidence of the existence of personality, character, spirit, or soul outside of the physical body or after death. Survival Issues include:
- Mediumship – communications with non-physical beings
- Near Death Experiences (NDE)
- Out of Body Experiences (OBE)
What is Psi?
Psi is a word used to represent the first 4 categories of phenomena studied by parapsychologists. It includes ESP (Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Precognition) and PK. Psi is not an abbreviation or initials. It is just a Greek word used to represent these four phenomena.
Are ghost hunters parapsychologists?
Though some parapsychologists work in the field, collecting data about haunted locations or strange phenomena, it is nothing like what you might see on TV shows about the paranormal. Parapsychologists work mostly in a laboratory setting, running controlled experiments to learn about the nature of psi.
Some paranormal investigators, very few actually, have training in the scientific method and apply critical methodology to their investigations of reported hauntings or apparitions. Actual parapsychologists don’t rely strictly on instrument and technology, and they search for physical explanations before they seek alternative theories.
Follow this blog to see answers to more questions about parapsychology and to learn more about this intriguing and interesting field. Don’t forget that you can submit your own questions to Ask A Parapsychologist at the Rhine Research Center website. I look forward to your questions!