INTRODUCTION / EXPLANATION
Supernatural themes are common in some magazines and on TV. What if we
ask the public — ask educated, sober people whether they've experienced
anything that might be paranormal or supernatural?
Investigator Magazine editors lacked the means for a formal survey but in 1990 enquired of 20 people.
• Three gave no response;
• Two said they've had weird experiences but declined to share them;
• Eleven gave written responses which got published in Investigator #14;
• Five said they had never experienced anything
unusual. Of this group Ivy Woolsey described an incident which
illustrated how a ghost rumor could conceivably start.
We supplemented the 11 written reports with three additional items:
a) One editor's reasoning on how "Weird Experiences" might have natural explanations;
b) A century-old article from The Pittsburgh Post;
c) A newspaper article about a Parapsychology Advisory Centre in Germany.
(Investigator 14, 1990 September)
Weird experiences do not necessarily have a supernatural origin. If an
event can't be explained by science then its cause is unknown. It may
be of supernatural origin but there is no guarantee. The supernatural
has not been demonstrated by direct scientific tests. At best, using
evidence from the sciences of physics and mathematics it can be
inferred. (Investigator 13, pp 4, 34-35)
The paranormal — testable claims contrary to science — has not been
demonstrated either. Indeed it can't be since that would amount to
science establishing non-science which is contradictory.
The following is not a formal classification of the origins of
weird, seemingly supernatural or paranormal, experiences but is a
general discussion only. Nor do these comments necessarily apply by way
of interpretation to any of the true reports that come afterwards.
People regularly engage in exaggeration, fantasy, imagination,
lies, deception, and wishful thinking. Often the motivation is to
influence others and make a difference to them. People also try to
interpret events so as to see meaning or purpose in them and also
interpret events according to beliefs already held. Furthermore most of
us lack the training of Sherlock Holmes and are poor observers.
All these factors may influence the way a novel experience or
situation is reported.
Some people have illnesses that affect what they perceive. About 3% of
us will at some time during life experience a "psychotic break" — a
break with reality so severe we'll think we're Christ or Napoleon or
that the TV commentator is persecuting us. Various types of
schizophrenia (biochemical imbalances) are also associated with
delusion, disorientation and hallucination. Delusions may also
result from organic impairments of the brain including infections, head
injuries, metabolic disturbances and drug use. There is also tinnitus
(effecting 6 million in just West Germany) when one hears buzzing or
other sounds that aren't there, Meniere's disease (resulting in
Interpretation of what; our senses register may also be influenced by
psychosomatic disorders, memory disorders, disorders of perception and
orientation, degenerative disorders of the central nervous system,
and disturbances of emotional responses and thought content.
Persons who are straining to perceive something at or near the
threshold of their senses often "fill in" what they think might be
there. What they then "see", "hear" or "feel" will be influenced by
feelings of anticipation, fear, anxiety, imagination, etc. After-images
and mirages may also affect what we think we see. Even when we are
relaxed in bed our nervous system is still active and the neurons keep
"firing". The result may be a sudden sensation, sound, call, feeling or
sight that corresponds to nothing external to ourself.
Some people experience "hypnogogig" imagery" — vivid, sometimes
frightening visions occurring "in the nebulous state between waking and
Déjà vu — the feeling of having experienced something
before — is quite normal and results because many places, people and
experiences do resemble previous, half forgotten, ones. Deja vu
sometimes persists and becomes pathological and distressing and may
then be evidence of a temporal lobe lesion.
Psychics and fortune tellers sometimes seem accurate. The trick lies in
being vague by suggesting what applies to most people and by being
observant and picking up subtle cues and implications from the clients
clothing, mannerisms, words, responses, personality, etc.
Alleged water diviners, mind readers, psychic surgeons, levitators, UFO
contactees, prophets, mind-over-matter practitioners, aura
readers, etc, nearly always fail scientific investigation. Clients are
"taken in" by claimants of the paranormal because they want to believe.
We all have an "image of the world" in our mind built up of accumulated
knowledge and experiences. We behave according to this "image" and
interpret things in harmony with it. Children who are regularly and
seriously told about ghosts and astrology, for example, will
interpret certain experiences as due to ghosts or influence of the
Sometimes a significant event follows after consulting an astrologer or
numerologist or after saying a prayer. The rational explanation lies in
coincidence and statistics. Billions of people each performing many
actions daily will inevitably lead to many "coincidences". It's only
Having seemingly denied the supernatural let me now bring it back.
Walter von Lucadou manages a parapsychology centre in Hamburg (Germany)
where persons who feel threatened by supernatural forces seek help. He
says that 80% of experiences there investigated have "physical
psychological backgrounds". Movements of glasses or tables at
seances, for example, are: "a consequence of participants'
unconscious muscle movements." However, "The remaining 20 percent of
Lucadou's clients come up with experiences which cannot be
explained from a physical or psychological viewpoint."
Subject to limitations expressed in my opening paragraph such
inexplicable experiences may suggest the existence of the supernatural.
Loretta Palmer — Port Adelaide
I remember the night well. Canberra. August 1966. We were in our first year of university.
Neil's parents had gone away for a couple of weeks so he held a party —
a seance. It was exciting. We wanted to know what they were, and we
knew when someone was pushing the glass. We were learning. It was fun.
I hadn't been to Neil's place before. It was dark — slightly
oppressive. I tend to find large dark aquariums in entrance hallways
depressing. His house had that too.
We sat down. There were six of us. We arranged letters in a circle and put the glass in the middle. We began.
"Are you alive or dead?".... Dead
"Are you male or female?".... Male
"How did you die?".... Road accident
We asked many other questions but I'll leave them for now. We were all trying to sense pushing and shoving of the glass.
"How old were you when you died?" .... 76
Neil left to make coffee.
"What was your name?".... O'Brien
We didn't get to the next answer. In fact to this day I can't remember
the question. The louvres rattled. We sat still and listened. It was
the louvres near the kitchen door. Neil raced in.
"What's happening? Who is it?"
"O'Brien" we said.
"That's my grandfather", he said, "My mother's father".
We took our fingers off the glass, held hands and together, locked
together, locked all windows in the house and spent the night with the
light on in the lounge-room.
SITTING ON MY LEGS
I stayed home in bed that day drifting in and out of sleep.
The weather was changing and also the light, but something was
different about this light. How could it be? This is the kind of
lighting effect you get in movies, a sort of hazy, grainy
half-light. Frowning, I looked carefully and intently around the
I sensed that I wasn't alone. My spine was behaving like an aerial
tingling with the power of the signal it was sensing. Every hair
on my body was becoming erect. I laid flat on my back trying to slow my
breathing. My pulse climbed steadily.
I thought that there must be a prowler in the house, but I couldn't
hear anything. I closed my eyes to intensify my hearing. Nothing
but increase in spine tingling, goose bumps and pulse.
I absolutely froze as I felt the weight of someone slowly sitting
on my legs. I didn't want to, but I knew I had to look. I flicked open
my eyes. Nothing. Nobody. I hoped that this experience had nothing
to do with a seance where I had challenged any spirit to enter my body
and try to possess me.
I suddenly sat bolt upright, parting my legs. The weight was gone. I laid back down and closed my eyes.
The sense of another's presence then changed, not only in
intensity but also in tone. I felt that some kind of powerful evil
force was right there with me. I started to pray, denouncing and
rejecting all evil and calling upon the unconquerable power of God. The
tingling in my spine made my whole body shiver.
As I trembled and prayed the weight returned to mylegs. I prayed more
passionately. Then, like some kind of blanket being pulled over me, I
felt a sort of dark calm moving up over my body. As it passed over
my head I fell instantly asleep.
I don't know how long I slept, but when I awoke all was back to normal.
I didn't tell anyone about this experience for a very long time. Twice
since, in different beds and houses, once alone and once not, I have
felt the tingling creeping up my spine followed by the sensation of
somebody present, sitting on my legs.
It was mid January, 1974, whilst sitting in front of an open fire
place in an old castle on the Isle of Aaron, Scotland, that it all
began or perhaps ended.
The night was frosty cold, still, and preparing to snow. We were
sipping our freshly brewed coffee and exchanging small talk, when the
silence was interrupted with the sound of shattering glass on the floor
of an upstairs room.
Knowing that there was no other person in the castle we only
exchanged glances and slowly climbed the staircase towards the
Opening the ajar door, which was always kept closed, we peered into a sparsely furnished bedroom.
On the usually empty window ledge lay an old photograph of a young
woman. On the floor were several pieces of shattered glass that
was once a vase that had sat on the bedside table.
The room felt unusually cold, the window locked, but we all felt a shiver run down our spine.
Who was the woman in the photo? Why had she smashed the vase? Was she
kept captive in that room and unable to be set free? Maybe she has been
there for many years and is still waiting.
Copyright © 1990 Author named withheld
Moggy was a sickly cat and I often had to give her tablets and medicines. On one occasion this led to a bizarre incident.
One evening I became angry with Moggy because she was hiding when
I had to give her a tablet. I became upset with myself for getting
angry and decided to go to the laundrette even though it was late at
On the way back home, as I was crossing Prospect Road, there was a dead cat lying in a pool of blood.
As I am a cat-lover I went straight home and obtained a small shovel
from my bush-walking gear and went straight back to bury the poor
It was no more than ten minutes before I returned and it was late at night but the cat had gone.
It could be said that an even swifter acting cat lover removed the body
while I was absent. The following day, however, when I looked where the
cat had been there was no sign of any blood.
About 10 years ago when I was in Holland I had a strange dream.
At that time I was feeling lonely and unhappy. I had been doing a lot
of introspection and soul searching. I was reading a book called Zen
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
The day of my dream was Christmas day. I was alone in the house where I
was staying. In the early afternoon I was reading my book, which up
until now had been boring, but I reached a section that afternoon on
the "quality of life" and found it very absorbing. I read it eagerly
for a couple of hours, for the quality of life was the very thing I
felt my own life lacked.
At about 3 in the afternoon I began to feel drowsy — nothing unusual
there except it was a powerful feeling. I put down the book and climbed
the narrow staircase to my room, the attic. I lay down and fell asleep
immediately, I was so drowsy. It was more like becoming unconscious
than going to sleep. I began to dream, the contents of which I can no
longer remember except for one part of it in which I heard a male
sounding voice call my name very clearly.
For a year my name had been pronounced in a foreign way (to my ears)
whereas this voice was pronouncing my name "Andrea" in the Australian
way. It was a strong call and I felt myself getting up and going to the
door where the staircase began. At this point I felt very afraid and
clung to the stair rail. Instead of going down the staircase I felt as
though I was being lifted upwards. I didn't want to rise upwards and
fought it with a feeling of panic. Although my actual body was on the
bed I really felt I was at the staircase — so vivid was my dream.
My fear awoke me, but it was very difficult to actually open my eyes
and wake up properly. I felt as if my eyes were glued together. But my
fear was still strong and I managed to wake up. I was so frightened
that I left the house immediately.
Later I asked Dutch friends what they thought of my dream, for I had no
explanation for it myself. The answer was prompt and the same from
everyone: "You were called up, that is, your soul was. But you weren't
ready to die, so you fought it and came back to earth."
Knowing the strength of my experiences, set as it was in a period of
great emotional and mental trauma in my life, I believe this
Karyn J. Molloy
Copyright © 1990
Can dreams predict the future — or subconsciously recall the past? Or
can they be messages from God or from other outside influences?
In February, 1989, Jim Molloy, 61, became ill. A few weeks later, still unwell, he told his family about his "weird dreams"!
In the dream, everything about his house was a replica of the 1950s. An
old lean-to was where the kitchen now stood (the kitchen had been built
in the early sixties). Wall colours, furniture, floor coverings
were all reminiscent of the fifties — all had been changed by the early
sixties. Outside the house the phenomenon continued. The garage and a
rose trellis, complete with vines, stood a few yards from the back
door. Even the family car of the fifties was parked in the garage.
In the dream, Jim would stand in the back yard of the fifties, and a
small child, dressed in white would float down upon what appeared to be
clouds and greet him.
Jim told his daughter: "She says she's come to get me, to take me away.
I tell her I'm not ready, that I won't go. After a while she leaves."
Jim's health deteriorated further over the next two months. During this time the dream recurred often up to three times a week.
In mid April Jim was hospitalised. On April 21st, 1989, he was diagnosed as suffering from mesethelioma.
Jim had worked with asbestos for about 8 years — 1951-1959. He died four months after the diagnosis.
Were Jim's dreams a premonition, a subconscious warning or an outside
influence preparing him for what lay ahead? I am his daughter and I
THE SUPERNATURAL MOTH
I had failed second year university biology and was repeating it while
also doing third year. The work load was crushing — 150% in first term.
Four assignments were due and an essay on animal behaviour hadn't been
A small part of the biology course was to catch, kill, pin and
identify, with full scientific name, 25 insects. One moth completely
defeated me. Time and time again I tried to "key it out" from lists of
criteria in books on entomology. It was an eye-catching moth — with
orange abdomen and black stripes. Then to my horror, I calculated I had
wasted over 8 hours on this one moth. A tiny part of one assignment of
only one subject while doing a 150% work load and I had wasted 8 hours!
Failure faced me. I decided to do what science students normally don't do — pray.
"Tell me the name," I asked regularly for a week. Then the abdomen fell off making the creature useless to me.
"I want another," I prayed. This wasn't such a sure thing as might seem
since I had never seen another specimen of that species in my life.
Saturday night and studying, my door was open for a few minutes to air
the place out. A fluttering sound — round and round the creature flew,
finally landing on the curtain a foot from my eyes. In disbelief I
recognized it. Lacking a jar I went next door and borrowed one from
Wendy. I returned, caught the creature, killed it with a chemical and
I went to return the jar to Wendy and show her what it had caught.
She was cleaning the stove and after the briefest glance called out,
"Oh, it's a tiger moth!" She looked puzzled, stopped her work, stood
up, and exclaimed, "I don't know why I said that; I know nothing about
moths! Maybe it's because of those stripes on its back."
I experienced feelings of unreality as I checked the indexes of a stack
of biology books under "T". There it was — "Tiger moth". Leafing to the
text I found a picture and full classification.
I passed that year, every exam, every essay, every assignment.
THE GHOST OF ESSEX
We were staying at Elsinore, Denmark, on holidays. Earlier in the day
we had been to see the castle and heard how "Hamlet" was re-enacted
there each year. That evening the talk turned to ghosts and someone
said, "Have any of you ever seen a ghost?"
"I've never seen a ghost, but I've been a ghost," said Laura, a District Nurse from England.
"As you know there was a great shortage of housing after the war and
many people lived in caravans. One night, after midnight, I was called
to a maternity case in an isolated caravan in the middle of a meadow.
It was very cramped there to say the least. So, after the baby was
born, I collected a few of my things and, still wearing my floor-length
white overall and my white headdress, I went across to take them to the
car. Just as I went through the opening in the hedge a late-night
reveler came along and, catching sight of me, all but flew down the
"And I laughed heartily," said Laura.
As Laura's laugh is the nearest thing to a witch's cackle I have heard, it could have done nothing to reassure him.
We wondered whether he signed the pledge next morning or whether the
people of that district are convinced that a ghost does stalk their
lanes at night.
THE RATIONALIST'S STORY
Today I have a story to tell.
It is not a frightening story although if you believe it, you may find it unnerving. No one dies and no one is in danger.
I am in it. I am a schoolgirl. Lee is in it. She is my friend. It
happens on the Main North Road at Nailsworth in 1983. We are on a bus
and we are both going to her house. The interesting things in my story
are the things that Lee says on the bus. I just make noises which are
made up of words.
Lee's first interesting words start three stops before ours when we first see the ambulance lights in the distance.
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" she repeats over and over again.
Everyone else on the bus is showing mild curiosity about the lights in
the distance. Lee is freaking out. She is very pale and looks
terrified. I am making confused and concerned noises.
"It's my sister! It's my sister! It's Mandy!" she responds.
My noises become judgmental and disapproving. We are closer and can see
the ambulance but no bodies. My noises become rational and I remind her
that her sister is at the dentist with her mother.
"It's my mum! It's my mum! It's my sister! It's my sister!" she repeats
over and over while I make more and more rational and soothing
I must be good at these noises because by the time we get to her place,
she believes me. I have convinced her it was a car accident and they
have no car. I am wrong.
The only car in the accident is the one that hit her Mum and her
Sister. After the hospital calls, I try to make more soothing noises
but I feel stupid.
MY VISIT TO A FORTUNE TELLER
In 1958 I went with four girlfriends to see a fortune teller in
Adelaide. She was Dutch, about 40 years old, and called herself a Dr of
Astrology. She charged us ₤5 each. This was a lot of money in those
days — about one third of a week's income. None of us had met the
fortune teller before.
She saw us individually and I went in first. She used cards, read my palms, and studied my eyes.
She told me I would have three children. In fact I've only had two. The
first she said would be very clever and do good at his studies.
Regarding the second she kept rearranging the cards time and time
again. She asked for a clue which I wouldn't give. She kept saying
there was something wrong with my daughter but couldn't work out what.
She said my daughter would die at the age of 32. This prediction
worried me for 25 years, but my daughter is now 38. The non-existent
third child, she said would be normal and average.
The fortune teller said I would be married three times. This was partly
right if one counts the first "marriage" which was annulled immediately
after it occurred because the Nazis arrested the man as a Communist
spy, and I never saw him again.
The fortune teller said I would make a number of overseas trips. The
nearest I've come to this is two visits to Kangaroo Island in 1970 and
She said I would have a long, healthy, life. In actual fact I've been sick now for over 20 years.
The fortune teller told me that many of her clients were businessmen
who wanted help to make financial decisions. Considering her poor
results in my case I think that such businessmen must have been very
I don't know what my four friends were told except that each of them would make overseas trips — which has come true.
A CALL FROM THE GRAVE
I last saw my mother in 1982 when my husband and I visited the United Kingdom.
A few years later, back in Adelaide, I had a strange experience.
I had gone alone to a dance one evening. On the way home I heard a
female voice in the car — something that has happened neither before
nor since. When I reached home I told my husband about the voice, also
telling him that I was worried that I might be having hallucinations.
My husband rang my mother's telephone number in the U.K. and it was
disconnected. He then obtained the number of my brother in Perth
(Western Australia) and I rang him.
My brother told me that my mother had died. The time of her death coincided with the time when I had heard the voice.
I had neither contacted my mother nor my brother for several years and therefore I had no knowledge whatsoever of her death.
This evidence is, I know, anecdotal and uncheckable but the event is nevertheless real.
A WAVE OF SUPERSTITION
A report found in a religious magazine (April 1, 1908) which got it from The Pittsburgh Post (USA) date not supplied:
Superintendent Bell, of the Humane Society, made the startling
statement that he is daily besieged with requests to arrest and punish
supposed sorcerers who have cast "spells" about their victims and are
driving them to the verge of lunacy.
It is to be expected that with such a great cosmopolitan population as
Allegheny enjoys, superstitions transplanted from faraway lands would
flourish among the foreign and negro elements.
The negro and Latin races will probably always be inclined to
superstition. Traces of the doctrines of the voodoos or witch-doctors
of Africa, the legends and folklore of Europe and the fantastic
superstitions of the Orient are to be found within the very shadows of
our churches and in the midst of our civilization. Even educated
Italians are to be found who believe profoundly in the influence of the
"evil-eve," and almost every race has its pet superstition, but it is
neither the negroes nor foreign classes who have alarmed the officials
by appealing from the evils of superstition, as the many cases which
have been brought to the attention of Superintendent Bell are almost
without exception native-born white persons.
Mr. Bell said:
"It seems almost ridiculous to talk of persons being literally ruined
by 'hoodoos' and evil 'spells' cast upon them by mysterious conjurers
in these enlightened times; and if I had not the evidence of my own
eyes I would doubt the truth of many of the cases which are to be found
upon our records. Never before in my long experience in the Humane
Society have I known evil superstition to be so prevalent and to have
such alarming results. The epidemic is growing worse every day and it
is time for some radical action to be taken.
"One of the first cases called to my attention seemed to me to be
particularly distressing, as I had known the victim of the delusion
before she came under the 'influence' of some alleged evil spirit. An
attractive young woman and exceedingly capable stenographer who had
been employed for years by a well-known alderman came to me and told me
that she had been forced to give up her employment, as she could not
work on account of a 'spell' having been cast upon her; she said that
voices came to her while she was at work, calling upon her to 'come,
come, come,' and whispering strange things in her ears, driving her to
"I laughed at the girl when she asked me to stop the people who were
hounding her, but she came back again and again, and as she seemed to
be a nervous and mental wreck from harping on the one subject and
brooding over the ever-present spirit voices, I resolved to investigate
the case and if possible arrest and make an example of the person who
had so worked upon her mind as to wreck her life. She said that she had
been to spiritualistic circles and a certain medium had cast the spell
upon her. My investigation secured no evidence, as every person she
mentioned professed entire ignorance of the matter.
PUZZLING CASES COME TO LIGHT
"The affair puzzled me, as I saw that the girl was really seriously
affected by the delusions. She was unable to keep any position, not
even where only the simplest housework was involved, and she is today
sinking lower and lower in the social scale. Other cases which have
been brought to my notice in great numbers during the past few months
are just as puzzling. Although such investigations are really outside
of my jurisdiction, I am willing to make every effort to have a test
case of the prosecution of the persons responsible for this deplorable
condition of affairs if I can secure the evidence. Positive proof must
be secured, however, that some person is responsible for the wrecking
of a life in this manner. An attempt to try a case with little evidence
would only result in failure, as such a case is sure to seem ridiculous
to the skeptical. In no one of the many cases has such evidence been
introduced, but still the victims come with their complaints and they
are increasing in number every day.
"Not only women, but men come to. me, and one and all complain of being
mesmerized, hypnotized or enchanted in some manner by persons who wish
to persecute them.
"Just last week a nice little woman and her husband came to me and
asked that I stop the people who had cast a spell over them and were
hounding them to death by sending spirits constantly about with them
wherever they went. The man was a big, husky fellow, and I inquired
particularly if he drank. I thought it might be some other kind of
spirits which was annoying him, but they stuck to their story and
seemed to believe firmly in the delusion.
"Persons of all walks of life are among the complainants but the
majority of them have been attending spiritualistic circles and
associating with mediums before the 'voices' begin to bother them. One
man who was a solicitor was forced to give up his work, as a 'voice'
constantly whispered to him, and it apparently was not the 'still,
small voice' of his conscience.
"Probably the saddest of these cases which I have had called to my
attention was that of a young girl whom I had aided years ago when she
came under my jurisdiction. She was a healthy, strong girl then, but
when she came to my office the other day she was a physical wreck,
nervous, shivering, with fear depicted in her every expression. I was
told by the people whose home she was leaving that they did not care to
have her there any longer, as she Imagined that some-one was talking to
her all the time. In her tearful story she told me the 'voices' never
Hotline to deal with a devil of a problem
|Extracted from an English translation in The German Tribune (No. 1405 -
28 January 1990) of an article by journalist Bernd Harder in the
Saarbrueker Zeitung, 30 December 1989
A 41-year-old Hamburg man was told at a seance that, 22 days later, a
house would go up in flames. From the description the medium gave,
the man realised that the house was his.
Walter von Lucadou has established a parapsychology centre to help
people who say they are in the grip of supernatural powers. Von
Lucadou, 43, says he doesn't correct the beliefs of people who contact
him. He founded the centre because, he says, there were few other
places people could turn to. Bernd Harder reports for the
He rang the Parapsychology Advisory Centre in Freiburg, Walter von
Lucadou got the man to tell him about his life and managed to unearth
an unhappy experience. The man had failed his law exams in 1974 —
15 years to the day before his house was meant to be burnt down.
Herr von Lucadou said the medium had been able to detect hidden
anxieties and to reflect these as a "message." The man rang off, much
relieved, and the day when the fire was supposed to take place was just
like any other. The house was unscathed.
Von Lucadou graduated from two universities and is a lecturer at
the universities of Princeton in America, Utrecht and Stuttgart. He has
written a number of books and has been for some time an assistant
at Freiburg institute for the twilight zone of psychology. In the first
few months after the establishment of the "Parapsychology Advisory
Centre" he" had" more than 1,000 telephone calls or enquiries by
More and more people imagine themselves to be in the grip of
sinister powers, haunted by voices in the night, woken up by
inexplicable sounds in the dark or thrown into panic by the moving
glass which makes statements such as "You have Aids."
The Dortmund-based Forsa Institute made a survey of a representative
block of people in 1986 as to whether they believed there was more
between heaven and earth than we could dream of with our school
Three-quarters of those who took part in the survey agreed there was
and 45 per cent, no less, volunteered the information that they
themselves had experienced something, which defied explanation in the
But some people do not rid themselves of the ghosts which call to them.
For them the anxiety of not being able to explain what they have
experienced is a dominating problem.
There is often a loss of a sense of reality allied to these
anxieties. Many believers in the occult see signs of superior
powers when there is a sound in the hallway at night or a decrepit
electric-light bulb bursts.
There is rarely any professional help available for people tormented in this way...
Von Lucadou's ... modest office was set up by the Scientific Society
for the Promotion of Parapsychology, close to Freiburg Town Hall. This
association of 40 natural scientists, sociologists and experts in
human affairs was set up in 1981...
Portraits decorate the walls of the centre, including one of Hans Bender, the doyen of German parapsychology.
In 1950, Bender set up in Freiburg the "institute for the twilight
zones of psychology and psychological hygiene", known as the
Eichhalde Institute. This was a privately-funded institution
which would never have been able to have functioned without the
generosity of the foundation set up by Fanny Moser, who died in. 1953.
She was a Swiss biologist who had done research work on the occult.
Bender struggled to get parapsychology established and ... was
able to get set up an associate professorship at Freiburg for this
"twilight zone of psychology." This was promoted to a full
professorship in 1967...
Von Lucadou is an open-minded and understanding listener to those who
have anxieties about unexplained phenomenon. He is able to assure
quickly a good 80 per cent-of the people who write to him or ring him
up. He places before them the physical and psychological backgrounds of
He explains, for instance, the movement of the pendulum, glasses
and small tables at a seance as a consequence of participants'
unconscious muscle movements.
Practioners of the occult use the suppressed depths of the
structure of their clients' personalities and bring them to the surface
as "aspects of the unconscious" so-called "messages" which are
converted into certain letters or numbers through the use of occult
This is similar to the scribbling of signs or words which one
unconsciously does on a writing pad during boring conferences or
telephone conversations. This, then, is help not through refutation but
The remaining 20 per cent of Lucadou's clients come up with experiences
which cannot be explained from a physical or psychological viewpoint.
They are for Lucadou "clearly paranormal phenomena." They are phenomena
which come from outside our understanding of the world...
Lucadou said that it was "in no way the responsibilities of a scientist
to correct the beliefs of another person." He himself is not bothered
by "spirits" but he concedes that in many cases the spiritual theory,
the belief that spirits have an influence on our World is infinitely
more plausible than the parapsychological explanation...