Parapsychology: Investigating the Paranormal


Parapsychology is the study of unusual events associated with human experience. It focuses on three types of events, ESP or extra-sensory perception, mind-matter influence, and survival. In these three focuses there are a few primary areas studied: clairvoyance, precognition, presentiment, telepathy, NDE (near-death experience), OBE (out-of-body experience), reincarnation, haunting, place memory, and poltergeist.

Parapsychology: Investigating the Paranormal

Telepathy is defined as mind to mind communication through methods other than standard and “normal” means of communication. Clairvoyance is knowledge of objects, people and events that are hidden. Precognition is the knowledge of something that has not happened yet and similarly presentiment is the feeling that something is going to happen. NDE are the experiences reported by those who have been brought back from the edge of death while an OBE is the experience of being separated from the body. Reincarnation is the belief that we have lived other lives with young children being the primary focus of study. Haunting is the recurrence of activity that includes apparitions, sound, movement of objects and other things in particular places while poltergeist is often attributed to spirits but is now thought to be a person or group of people. Place memory is the ability of a location to hold impressions of people and events.

What is Parapsychology?

Parapsychology operates on the belief that you cannot simply diagnose unusual events using a subjective and objective paradigm, but on a spectrum, making them difficult to track using current scientific models. Many parapsychologists believe that further research into these areas will reveal lots of new information but it will require our current knowledge to be expanded and our methodologies to be changed in order to figure out ways to properly test parapsychological phenomena (which we cover in more depth here).

Despite frequent attempts to discredit the study of parapsychology through misinformation, parapsychology is not the study of the “paranormal”. It is not the study of ghosts or UFO’s. It is not interested in astrology, witchcraft or anything related to those areas. Though many have falsely represented themselves as “paranormal specialists” who study parapsychology, this is inaccurate. Parapsychology is devoted to gaining a scientific understanding of ESP, mind-matter influence, and survival. True parapsychologists are not entertainers or paranormal investigators. They are seeking to explain these natural phenomena in a way that our science currently makes impossible. The Parapsychological Association works to help parapsychologists achieve scientific understanding of psi or psychic events by endorsing the use of rigorous scientific and scholarly inquiry into these fields.

There are five main methods of conducting research used by parapsychologists:

  • Scholarly Research
  • Analytical Research
  • Case Studies
  • Theoretical Research
  • Experimental Research

Hard evidence of psi or psychic phenomenon is discovered by using controlled laboratory experiments. Using these experiments, parapsychologists have managed to build a database of psi information. These experiments are then performed by other parapsychologists in other parts of the world either by replicating the original experiment exactly to try and achieve the same results, but more often by repeating an experiment in spirit. They may change the controls of the experiment or what questions they attempt to address in order to see what new information in the field of parapsychology can be discovered.

Parapsychology Studies

There are currently five predominant studies being performed by parapsychologists today, and no, they are not the well-known and often over-played in film, ESP cards. They are:

  • PK on Random Number Generators
  • PK on Living Systems
  • ESP in the Ganzfeld
  • Remote Viewing
  • Presentiment Studies


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