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Paranormal Review - April 2001

PARAPSYCHOLOGY: THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY


Adrian Parker




excerpt


 ..Despite having lived in the UK for more than 20 years, it took a journalist in the form of Jonathan Margolis to make a critical evaluation of his claims of possessing a paranormal ability making an in-depth study based on childhood accounts, film records, and critical evaluations by magicians and psychologists.
 Lest I be labelled a Geller surporter, I should add that my correspondence with one of the world's leading Geller-experts, Marcello Truzzi, has given me some reservations about the final qualified positive conclusion Margolis arives at - that Geller does use a mixture of both tricks and genuine psi-effects. Nevertheless, in view of this possibility, one can only welcome recent signs that Geller may be trying to "come clean" in allowing his name to be included in a list of top 100 magicians.
 To my knowledge no UK-university based researcher has shown an active interest in gaining Geller's co-operation with a view to investigating his continuing, highly vocal, claims of producing, at least on some occasions, genuine PK effects. A possible exception is Dr. Susan Blackmore, who visited Geller, swam in his pool, went out in his boat, then apparently without further ado wrote a scathing dismissal of him as a mere trickster (Paranormal Review, January, 1999). According to Geller, this episode ended naturally any goodwill on his part to work with the SPR (with which he identified her). My view is that it would be damning if in this age of technical equipment the Geller case is left as enigmatic as that of Daniel Home.
 The reason for at least some of this hostility amongst academics towards investigating became obvious when I arranged a visit to Geller's home acompanied by Dr. John Beloff. I was then warned by several colleagues that I risked not only ending up myself as a digitalised exhibit on his web-site but even leading an esteemed figure in the field to the same ignominious fate. Although John Beloff has had the courage to submit an article on Geller to the European Journal of Parapsychology, needless to say this fear has proved to be ill-founded. Like clinicians having to deal with psychotic people, parapsychologists may have to acceppt that part of their subject-matter has to be dealing with the narcissistic need of psychic claimants.


© Society for Psychical Research & Dr. Adrian Parker - reproduced with permission



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