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.





WEIRD EXPERIENCES

(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 delusions), etc.

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 sleeping."

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 stars.

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 chance!

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.
(BS)




THE SEANCE

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

Cliff Skene

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 room.

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.



UNFREED SPIRIT

Pam Hobb

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 sound.

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.



THE RESURRECTION

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 night.

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 thing.

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.



THE DREAM

A. Rankin

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 interpretation. 



JIM'S DREAM

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 don't know.



THE SUPERNATURAL MOTH
(Abridged)

Anonymous

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 started.

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 pinned it.

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

Ivy Woolsey

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 road."

"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

Shanta Dennet

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 noises. 

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

Ruth M.

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 1982.

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 silly men.

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

Pamela Winters

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 distraction.

"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 leave her."





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



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 Saarbriicker Zeitung.

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. 

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 letter.

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 learning.

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 ordinary way...

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 their experiences.

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 props.

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 through explanation.

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...


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