This year we continue our “Best of” selections with a look at our favorite books, videos, published research, and online resources. 2019 was a banner year for open access to parapsychology research and education. See all our selections below.
About the Best of List
Each year countless books, videos, and other materials are published under the heading of “parapsychology.” We spend a good amount of time reviewing these materials. In 2018 we decided to start highlighting some of our favorite new contributions. Our annual ‘Best of’ list acknowledges books, published research, films, and open-access resources from other researchers and organizations that are related to the Institute’s mission. The selection process is based on our personal assessments as to how the materials further the mission of the Institute and help move the field of parapsychology forward. We do not accept any paid endorsements.
Connected: The Emergence of Global Consciousness by Roger D. Nelson
From the Publisher:
“Is There an Earth Mind?
This is the story of the Global Consciousness Project, a unique 20-year scientific collaboration of researchers recording the effects of mass consciousness in response to major global events. Its findings are consistent with the wisdom traditions of many cultures and speak of humanity’s unity and deep connections through love, compassion, and the creative impulse. ROGER NELSON runs the Global Consciousness Project (GCP), an international collaboration studying mass consciousness. He conducted psi research at the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) laboratory from 1980 to 2002 and, while at Princeton, created the GCP in 1997. Interests in psychology, physics, philosophy, and the arts facilitate his research at the edges of what we know. His focus is the subtle interconnections that define an emerging humanity.”
Séance by Shannon Taggart
From the Publisher:
“American photographer Shannon Taggart (born 1975) became aware of spiritualism as a teenager when her cousin received a message from a medium that revealed details about her grandfather's death. In 2001, while working as a photojournalist, she began photographing where that message was received―Lily Dale, New York, home to the world's largest spiritualist community, proceeding to other communities in, for example, Arthur Findlay College in the UK. Taggart expected to spend one summer figuring out the tricks of the spiritualist trade. Instead, spiritualism’s mysterious processes, earnest practitioners and neglected photographic history became an inspiration. Her project evolved into an 18-year journey that has taken her around the world in search of “ectoplasm”― the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material.
With Séance, Taggart offers a series of haunting photographs exploring spiritualist practices in the US, England and Europe. Supported with a commentary on her experiences, a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters and fourth-generation spiritualist, and illustrated essays from Andreas Fischer and Tony Oursler, Séance examines spiritualism’s relationship with human celebrity and its connections with technology, and concludes with the debate over ectoplasm and how spiritualism can move forward in the 21st century.”
Greening the Paranormal: Exploring the Ecology of Extraordinary Experience by Jack Hunter
From the Publisher:
“We are at a critical moment in the history of humankind's relationship with the Earth, and all the species that co-inhabit with us. This is a time of climate change, species loss and ecological collapse on a scale that has never been seen before. New ways of thinking will be required if we hope to overcome these global problems and develop a more harmonious relationship between the human and non-human worlds. In the spirit of creative exploration this book suggests that approaches emerging from the study of (and engagement with) the super-natural may ultimately help us to re-connect with the natural, and in so doing develop innovative approaches to confronting the eco-crisis.
Greening the Paranormal explores parallels between anomalistics (the study of the paranormal in all its guises, incorporating parapsychology, paranthropology, cryptozoology, religious studies, and so on), and ecology (the study of living systems), not just for the sake of exploring interesting intersections (of which there are many), but for the essential task of contributing towards a much broader – necessary – change of perspective concerning our relationship to the living planet. The chapters collected in this book demonstrate that we have much to learn from exploring the ecology of extraordinary experience.
FEATURING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM:
Paul Devereux, Cody Meyocks, Nancy Wissers, Amba J. Sepie, Lance M. Foster, Jacob W. Glazier, Christine Simmonds-Moore, Mark A. Schroll, Viktória Duda, Maya Ward, Simon Wilson, David Luke, Brian Taylor, Silvia Mutterle, Susan Marsh, Timothy Grieve-Carlson, Elorah Fangrad, Rick Fehr, and Christopher Laursen.”
Third Eye Spies
Director: Lance Mungia
Starring” Russell Targ, Dean Radin PhD, Uri Geller
The true story of Russell Targ and the United State's cold war psychic spies disclosed and declassified for the first time. Targ's understated mantra that “the evidence for extrasensory perception is overwhelming and shows a talent we all share and deserve to know about”, leaves us not just with a greater understanding of this unique chapter in U.S. history, but perhaps most importantly a greater understanding of who we are and our larger connection to the world.
In this groundbreaking study, our good friend and colleague, John Kruth, Executive Director of the Rhine Research Center, designed and developed a closed computer network that ran a set of interactive software-based tasks. The research participants were asked to complete these tasks within a specific amount of time. The interesting bit is that some participants were given a version of the tasks which would intentionally malfunction. The goal was to raise the level of anxiety of these participants as they attempted to complete the tasks. Turns out, the computer network generated more errors during the sessions where participants reported higher levels of anxiousness! So, the next time you are feeling upset because your electronics are misbehaving, maybe it’s time to take a quick break.
You can read the abstract of the paper HERE.
Society for Scientific Exploration
The Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE) continued efforts to release its entire video library of conference presentations publicly for free. This collection is an invaluable resource for researchers and the general public. Visit the SSE’s website to learn more about their conferences and publications. Their YouTube channel can be accessed here.
Other Open-Access Resources
The Psi Encyclopedia is a free to access, collection of articles and case studies about psi research, the scientific investigation of psychic phenomena. It’s a work in progress, being created by the Society for Psychical Research in London. [Access it here]
ParaMOOC Series: Free Annual Parapsychology Course
The ParaMOOC Series are massively open online courses (hence, MOOC), offered every January and February on the social media teaching platform, WizIQ.com, and later uploaded to a YouTube playlist. The course, Parapsychology: Research and Education, is dedicated to bringing to the public lectures by researchers, theorists, and scholars who focus on some aspect of the scientific study of psychic phenomena and related topics. In 2015 the series was organized and offered by The Alvarado Zingrone Institute of Research and Education (The AZIRE), a Parapsychology Foundation member organization. From 2016 forward the series was organized by The AZIRE and supported by the Parapsychology Foundation. For more information on upcoming ParaMOOC courses, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE)
The JSE is the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal of the SSE. Since 1987, the JSE has published original research on topics of interest that cover a wide spectrum, ranging from apparent anomalies in well-established disciplines to rogue phenomena that seem to belong to no established discipline, as well as philosophical issues about the connections among disciplines. In 2019 the JSE became Open Access, Current and back issues can be accessed here.
Threshold: Journal of Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies (TJICS)
Founded in 2017, TJICS is a free, online-only, open access, peer-reviewed journal that disseminates information focusing on interdisciplinary studies of consciousness as it relates to dying, death, and what comes next. Articles include original research, review articles, research briefs, conference presentations, education and training aids, essays, editorials, case studies, and book reviews. Specific content is tailored to meet the needs of practitioners, clinicians, scientists, and the general public. TJICS is a publication of the Windbridge Research Center and is 100% supported by donations. Current and back issues can be accessed here.