The Institute of Paranormal Psychology (IPP) was established in 1994 as an educational center dedicated to the scientific study of paranormal/anomalous events and experience and the experimental research. The IPP´s work is carried out almost exclusively in the Buenos Aires area. Its focus is now on experimental, clinical and empirical research, plus the collection and publication of case reports dealing with paranormal/anomalous experiences. As a non-profit research and educational institute (Res. # 1167/04) and Government of Buenos Aires (Res. # 16372/08). The IPP has been recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) since 2005. We tell this part of the history discussing the main activity of our Institute in ten sections which are our “hard work” during the last period: Educational Approaches, Publications, Library Resources & Archives, Workshops and Seminars, Clinical Approach of Psychics Experiences, Experimental research, Independent Psi-Researchers, Undergraduate Thesis on Psi-Related Topics, Books and Publishing Projects, Macro-PK Research and Spontaneous PK research.
1. Educational Approach
From an educational viewpoint, the IPP teaches a basic program in parapsychology, aimed at the general public and scholars, constituting a comprehensive introduction to the field. Enrollment is limited, and classes are small to permit individual attention. The controversies that surround psi research and the implications of its findings for science and society are also prominent topics in these programs. The IPP is mainly supported by students’ fees. There also was a lot of “study groups” concentrating on different topics in the field −historical, educational, clinical, theoretical, and experimental/methodological at the IPP.
IPP members have obtained a dozen grants from the Fundação Bial in Portugal, between the years of 1998 and 2010, which have allowed them to conduct studies of ESP in the ganzfeld, psychometry research (“token object” effect), psychomantheum, and psychological and personality measures of anomalous/paranormal experiences.
Since 1993 up to today, we organize courses, seminars, panels, and symposiums on parapsychology and related topics with more than three hundred attendees (approx. ten to twenty per year). Conferences and symposia on topics such as Kirlian effect, Transpersonal Psychology, Psychotronic, Dreamwork groups (Psychologists Zdenek Rejdak from Czech Republic and Stanley Krippner from US visited us many times), and a number of public lectures on parapsychology.
Paranormal Psychology at the academia. Although Argentinean psychology is rich in clinical matters, parapsychology lags behind due to a lack of research. Parapsychology is not, for example, included in university psychology curricula, however Alejandro Parra conducted an acredited free course called Paranormal Psychology: How to counsel people who have had paranormal experiences, during the first semester at the Universidad Abierta Interamericana aimed for scholars (psychologists) and undergraduate students since 2008 to 2011. The purpose of the course was, among others, evaluate the varieties of paranormal experiences and integrate their findings in theory, research, education and clinical practice, teach strategies for interacting with clients with anomalous experiences, and develop appropriate methods of exploration and research to areas of interest. Since 2008 to 2011, we organize four groups with more than seventy attendees.
Alternative Wisdoms: Knowledges Beyond Reason. The Institute of Paranormal Psychology imparts annually the course: “Alternative Wisdoms: Knowledges Beyond Reason” conducted by Alejandro Parra is a two-years with practical and theorical focus aimed for therapists and people interested. The central axis involved two topics: (1) Altered state of consciousness (first year), such as, Meditation, Dreamworking, Hypnagogic/Hypnopompic states: Ganzfeld and Psicomanteum, Hypnosis (as a introductory level), Out of Body Experiences, Mediumship, and Therapeutic Approach in Transpersonal Psychology; and (2) Bioenergetics Systems (second year), such as Psychic Sensitivity, Psi-Dowsing, Psi Healing, Aura and Subtle Energies, Instrumental Transcommunication, Reincarnation & Past Life Therapy, and Premonitions. The nuclear program is aimed at people interested in working in these wisdoms and techniques, review theoretical and conceptual aspects and take part in experiments designed to carry experiential practices based on these issues. The series “Alternative Wisdoms” includes pdf books (articles and books) and learning using PowerPoint presentations. Since 2012 up to today, we organize four groups with more than thirty attendees per year.
Transpersonal Psychology. Organized by the Department of Universidad Abierta Interamericana (UAI) Parra started since 2014 a course “Transpersonal Psychology: Theoretical Models and Applications of Counseling and Spiritual Practices”. The purpose of this program is to assess among others the varieties of spiritual experiences and integrate their findings in theory, research, education and clinical practice, analyzing the findings and interpretations of the psychology of spiritual practices and their incorporation into the body mainstream clinical psychology, have a variety of experiences that can occur in individuals without being accompanied by indicators of psychological or medical dysfunction, teach general strategies for interacting with patients describing religious/spiritual experiences, and to develop methods of exploration and research. Some of the items on the agenda are: Spirituality in the therapy session, spirituality as a process of change, cognitive-existential aspect of spirituality, religious experience and anthropological theories of religion, psychiatric disorders and spirituality, spiritual religious coping with grief integration of religion and spirituality in psychotherapy, psychoanalytic approach of mystical experiences and/or religious, emotional abuse and psychological manipulation in pseudo-spiritual groups, cognitive models in religious traditions, Buddhism and mindfulness, and spiritualist mediumship obsession, and practices and enabling tools of spiritual development.
Between 1990 and 2004, the IPP published fifty-four issues of a peer-reviewed quarterly journal, the Revista Argentina de Psicología Paranormal [Argentine Journal of Paranormal Psychology]. The journal’s impact on many young parapsychologists in several Spanish-speaking countries was really impressive. Since 1990 up to 2000 the RAPP was quaterly, but 2000 to 2004 the RAPP become semestral. It was distributed to about two hundred universities, public libraries, institutes and centers of psychology in Argentina and internationally. RAPP was our Argentine “embassador”, which had a political exchanges with over fifty parapsychological journals around the world. Experimental research, theoretical papers, historical and philosophical essays, book reviews, and activities were published. Some of them collaborate disinterestedly with the RAPP, among others, the valuable contribution of Jorge Villanueva, a distinguished writer and reader who is our book reviewer and English translator.
In fact, until then, Argentina parapsychology was little known to many outside our country, except the contributions of Canavesio (in 1955), Musso and Novillo Pauli in the 60s and 70s. The RAPP began as a publication distributed among students of our courses of parapsychology and a few interested subscribers in Argentina, mainly in Buenos Aires. However, perseverance allowed us to survive and joined, albeit slowly, adherents in Argentina and Latin American readers. Most of subscribers were psychologists and other social scientists as well as engineers, architects, or language teachers. Wisely, always we maintained distance and rejection experienced by those who sought in our journal “amazing” parapsychological findings, conspiracism, psychic powers, mystical or spiritual revelations, and contacts with extraterrestrial. There were also, in return for manipulating and diverting its editorship, advertising offers and proposals to improve the printing quality.
RAPP also published literature reviews and historical items, which included biographies of psychics and parapsychologists, technical and conceptual notes where many authors dealt methodological problems, experimental and empirical research, and studies on various topics, theoretical and philosophical perspectives, bibliographical essays. It included a section of book reviews and a compilation of the titles of the articles in the leading journals of parapsychological research. We published 86 book reviews and 33 Letters to the Editor in the Correspondence section.
We also initiated a series of monographic issues, such as the life and work of the pioneer J. Ricardo Musso. Later, coordinated by Carlos S. Alvarado, we published a debate on the situation of parapsychology in Latin America with the participation of twelve parapsychologists. Other less specific, were a review of the work of six of the leading laboratories of parapsychology in the world, a special issue on research Ganzfeld, PK and the memory of past lives (cited by the skeptic Carl Sagan as matters of interest inquiry that deserve further investigation), and a special edition where five parapsychologists reviewed the situation of parapsychology in the 90s.
However, the RAPP was discontinued for financial reasons in 2004. Subsequently, in 2006, the IPP re-inaugurated a new low-cost on-line publication, the E-Bulletin Psi, of which thirty issues have been published to-date (see http://www.alipsi.com.ar/publicaciones_ipp.asp) including 152 articles published by 93 authors. Although E-Bulletin Psi emerged to do known many studies conducted at the Institute of Psychology Paranormal, as well as translations and books review, we started step-by-step to receive many unpublished papers and at the same time, geometrically increased number of free-of-charge adherents (or subscribers, but not in a financial sense) to reach about 12,000 readers in 2009. Now although the number has decreased, however these contributions has improved qualitatively and quantitatively.
3. Library Resources & Archives
The IPP’s main source of pride is its library of parapsychology, which contains around 4500 books, 12,000 issues of parapsychological journals and related topics in English and non-English language (including forteen languages) and popular magazines, and thousands of files of articles in non-parapsychological journals in the scientific mainstream. The IPP maintains SIPsi v.3.0, which is a computerized bibliographic database on parapsychology and related consciousness disciplines. The main aim of the SIPsi v.3.0 is to include a bibliographic citation and/or abstract of all books or articles (scholarly or popular), theses, chapters, conference proceedings papers, or separate reports or monographs on parapsychology or related consciousness studies. The “ALIPsi Bibliographical Guides” can be downloaded from the web, and they are annually uptodated.
It is the most important collection of its kind in Argentina and even in Latin America. The IPP also hosts about five thousand hours of VHS format and DVDs on parapsychological and psi-related topics. In its origin, the archives were part of The Agencia Latinoamericana de Información Psi (ALIPsi) which is now an internet-based database of parapsychology references and on-line information related to the Spanish-speaking literature (www.alipsi.com.ar). The data reside in a computer, because ALIPsi covers the bulk of parapsychology articles in Spanish-language journals from 1900 to-date. It also offers advisory service in bibliographical investigations to undergraduate students and journalists. In fact, we were one of the first web site on internet since 1997 (when the web sites just started), for the which more than 1.5M of visits had received according our web counter up to 2014.
4. Workshops and Seminars
The IPP has a “record” number in the organizing conventions and meetings of researchers and experts along many years, bringing together researchers from many countries, such as Zdenek Rejdak from Praha, Andrei Lee from Moscow, Stanley Krippner from US, Wim Kramer from Netherlads, Erlendur Haraldsson from Iceland, Yoichiro Sako (SONY´s ESPER Lab) from Japan, and among many others.
In fact, the Institute edited three Proceedings of the “Encuentros Psi” such as Proceedings of the First Psi Encounter (1994); Proceedings of the Second Psi Encounter (1996); and Proceedings of the Third Psi Encounter (1998). The First Encounter Psi 1994: New Dimensions in Parapsychology was held in Buenos Aires (November 5, 1994), hosted by Alejandro Parra and Jorge Villanueva, planned to cover several aspects about parapsychological research in Argentina and the situation of parapsychology around the world. The second was also held in Buenos Aires (November 15-17th, 1996). Although this was the Segundo Encuentro Psi, IPP’s effort is also reflected in the expansion of current efforts to unite not only the Latin Americans who conduct parapsychology, but also those who work in Portugal and in Spain. Probably the most important of these efforts was the creation of the Asociación Iberoamericana de Parapsicologia (now declined), a new organization modeled after the Parapsychological Association. The Segundo Encuentro Psi included 23 presentations, from nine countries Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico and Spain. The Third Parapsychology Conference organized by Instituto de Psicologia Paranormal, which took also place in Buenos Aires, Argentina (November 13-15, 1998) a large variety of areas in parapsychology were covered, characterized by a notorious dominance of theoretical papers over research‑based work the latter accounting for only 25% of presented work in the first conference (1994) and 30% in the second (1996). In this Psi Encounter, 37 people from 6 different countries (Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and the USA) contributed a total of 16 papers and took part in roundtable discussions which covered eight additional topics. Thirty‑seven percent of the papers presented were research‑based, suggesting a growing tendency toward research work, in comparison to the presentations from the two previous encounters.
With a brief period, the IPP was not involved in social activitives, partially due to the economical crisis of 2001 that produced a financial crash in Argentina. However, from November 8 to 20th, 2006, the Roca Museum –National Institute for History Research, was the stage for Images of the Occult, a photographic exhibition about spiritualism, which brought together professionals –two of them from outside Argentina– who, for two weeks, attended a number of conferences and panels such as psychic/spiritist practices, psychomanteum, ITC, apparitional experiences, and mediumship, survival and super-psi discussion. These were presented and discussed by historical and cultural researchers, anthropologists, physicians, psychologists, and other paranormalists and open-minded skeptics who were invited as speakers. The exhibition was also supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. With Juan Manuel Corbetta, who is psychologist, we co-edited the e-book Imágenes de lo oculto an free-of-charge e-book published by the IPP. The paranormal photographic exhibition was also supported by Ministry of Culture of the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, The Latinoamerican Psi Information Agency ALIPsi –a virtual area of the IPP (www.alipsi.com.ar), and the oldest Kardecian spiritist society named La Fraternidad, established in 1880. Approximatly 2,600 visitors attended along two weeks, some of them also filled a “Book Visitor”. As the Museum is an institution supported by the Argentine Government, the entry was free of charge and open to all. Many Argentine and international press agencies, TV and radio programs, and three newspapers announced the exhibition.
In 2010, the Roca Museum was again the stage for an exhibition of objects and books of the Kardecian-oriented spiritualism movement, in Argentina since 1874, called “The Spiritism in the Voice of the Spiritualists” where three IPP members, Juan Gimeno, Juan Corbetta and Fabiana Savall (she was curator of the exhibition) authored Cuando Hablan los Espíritus which brought a number of spiritist photographies, and collecting many pieces for sèances and old and rare books taken from a dozen of Spiritualism societies.
Since then, a new series of panels called “Magistral Rountable” held each year under the Museo Roca forum and the Institute, the first one “Extraordinary Visions” (2009) involved three speakers, the Argentine psychic Leonor Hernández the Uruguayan psychic Marcelo Acquistapace and psychologist Wim Kramer from Netherlands, who discussed many cases where psychics have been involved in many police cases related to kidnappings, murders, and missing persons. The second one, “Other Lives” (2010) involved three speakers, the Argentine anthropologist Pablo Wright, the author Leonor Calvera and the Iceland psychologist Erlendur Haraldsson, who discussed the reincarnation-types cases from different viewpoint with enphasis on anomalous experiences. The third one, “Touched by God” (2011) involved three speakers, the anthropologists Gustavo Ludueña and Nicolas Viotti together with Patricia Arca Mena, who discussed the anthropological and neuroscientist viewpoint of the mystical and religious experience. The fourth one, “The Devil´s Scourge” (2012) involved three speakers, the anthropologists Miguel Algranti, Sociologist Maximiliano Korstanje and Psychiatrist Javier Fabrissin, who discussed the case of possessions and exorcisms and mental disorder and “negative” spiritual experiences. The fifth one “Ecology of Ecstasy” (2013) involved three speakers, the anthropologists Anatilde Ydoyaga Molina and César Ceriani Cernadas, and psychiatrist Néstor Berlanda who discussed folk-medicine, shamanism in America. The Sixth one “Intangibles Visitors” (2014) involved three speakers the psychoanalist Mauro Vallejo, the author Soledad Quereilhac and the medium Sebastian Lia, who discussed apparitional experiences and mediumship. The last one was (seventh) “Channelers from Beyond” (2015), involved three speakers psychologist Juan Manuel Corbetta, psychiatrist Sabino Antonio Luna, and Brazilian medium Florencio R. Anton Neto, who discussed mediumistic art, creativity and mental health with a seance-demonstration of art. Each year more than one hundred attendees the rountables with A&Q between speakers and people.
5. Clinical Approach of Psychics Experiences
During the 90s, the IPP appointed Daniel Gómez Montanelli, a clinical psychologist, to provide, as part of his job, information and some counseling to people who called the Institute for help. In 1998, Gómez Montanelli received a grant from the Bial Foundation to carry out a research project aimed at recording people’s reactions to disturbing psi experiences and to explore their associated emotional and intellectual processing. Parra and Corbetta continued the work in the 2010, and they served as psychotherapists in counseling and clinical area of the Institute of Paranormal Psychology up to date. The clinical counseling and research was based on cognitive-experiential and Humanistic/Rogerian-oriented approach with groups of people who have had paranormal experiences and paranormal dreams.
Two investigations were conducted to record reactions to disturbing psi experiences and to explore their emotional and intellectual processing. In the first study, thirty-two subjects participated in weekly group sessions involving humanistic group therapy. The activity involved three stages: (a) emotional support, (b) intellectual and emotional processing, and (c) group-closing and interpretation. Over three-quarters of the sample reported fear —in different forms— to be the predominant emotion; wonder, perplexity, well-being and anxiety were also reported. Scores on a measure of disturbance decreased as a consequence of the group activity (mean pre-score = 4.85, mean post-score = 1.70), which is consistent with emotional processing and integration. Group members felt able to learn to handle their own capacity for engaging in constructive personal, interpersonal and spiritual growth. The humanistic group therapy can be effective with people who have distressing experiences, such those involving paranormal phenomena, and so may be an appropriate method for the further parapsychological exploration of many paranormal experiences.
In the second study Parra and Corbetta evaluated the effects of paranormal and mystical/spiritual experiences on people’s lives and to evaluate changes resulting from such experiences. Twenty four participants attended workshops about paranormal/spiritual experiences. All of the respondents reported at least one paranormal experience, and 83%reported at least one transcendent experience. The high percentage of paranormal experiences reported may reflect the fact that respondents were recruited based on interest in parapsychology and the paranormal. Seventy percent now have a purpose in life as a result of their paranormal or transcendent experience; 62% have had paranormal and/or transcendent experiences since childhood; 54% said they became significantly more spiritual or religious as a result of their experiences; and 54% were helped to understand and accept death. The fact that anomalous experiences apparently induce positive reactions in some people provides a strong impetus for further research. This line of research also has significant implications for understanding better not only those people who volunteered to participate in parapsychological experiments but also the good results of those experiments.
6. Experimental research
Many of our well-known research projects with the cooperation of psychics and mediums were developed under a workshop setting; through regular meetings where people freely interested in their psi-related experiences. As psychoterapists, many of us applied a Rogerian-oriented procedure and how to reduce the stress under which psi tasks are performed to avoid a “cold psi lab”.
IPP members have obtained grants from the Fundação Bial in Porto, Portugal, which have allowed them to conduct studies of psi in the ganzfeld, psychomantheum, and hypnosis “token object” effect), and psychological and personality dimension of anomalous/paranormal experiences:
a. State of consciousness and psi I: Ganzfeld research using visual and musical targets
State of consciousness and psi was our main interest research focus at the IPP. The first experiment used Ganzfeld stimulation is associated to an increase of attention to internal imagery. Investigators have suggested the association to develop an “experimental–hypnagogic” technique to facilitate the study of hypnagogic imagery, an association such as the ganzfeld technique. Alejandro Parra and Jorge Villanueva carried out a ESP/telepathy–focused, non-ganzfeld condition and compared the findings to a psi conducive ganzfeld technique. One hundred thirty-eight participants attended two trials at the Institute of Paranormal Psychology, at Buenos Aires. Also, ganzfeld and non-ganzfeld condition were counter-balanced. Parra and Villanueva concluded that this experiment offered some support to the claim that ganzfeld stimulation is psi conducive; in the case we would find a significant difference between both tests condition, in a positive direction to the Ganzfeld condition (p< .016). The difference between both conditions was also significant (expected= 25%; ganzfeld= 41.3%, p< .001 vs. non-ganzfeld= 27.5). Although, we did not conclude that the “good” ESP results in our experiment using ganzfeld induction were related to a modified state of consciousness due to the fact that these results could be dependent on other variables independently of the non-ordinary state, the results were significant in that address.
A second experiment used musical clips as targets and “visual” as control-target. The ability to detect emotion in music has many educational and practical benefits, however appear few studies reported literature in which sounds have been used as stimuli in extrasensory tests. The present study is undertaken to compare auditory with visual stimuli and to explore whether psychological factors which appear to be favorable in music tests are related with ESP. Musical styles were chosen as targets in this experiment. Fifty four subjects attended two GESP sessions (one trial each). A CD–R contained 3,500 high–resolution color pictures and other CD contained 112 themes on mp3 format were used. Stimulus targets were randomly selected. Both experiments, musical- (p < .008) and visual-target condition (p= .001), in a positive direction for the visual target condition, obtained psi-hitting, but the difference between both was no significant.
b. Mirror-gazing and ESP: Psychomanteum as psi facilitator
The mirror gazing procedure termed the “psychomanteum” was developed by the world renowned psychiatrist Dr. Raymond Moody. It was designed to facilitate reunion experiences with deceased individuals, as a means of addressing the feelings surrounding bereavement. Although the modern psychomanteum is not normally employed to seek extra–sensory perception (ESP) information about the future, it may be that the psychomanteum is psi-conductive. For example, there are many similarities and differences between psychomanteum experiences and accounts of hypnagogic/hypnopompic imagery, which is conducive to ESP. Alejandro Parra and Jorge Villanueva to explore whether the psychomanteum technique encourages a psi-conducive state of consciousness, which would result in scoring that is significantly above mean chance expectation (MCE). One hundred and thirty participants (92 females and 38 males; Mean age= 47.44) were recruited by announcements in newspapers and our web site. Under psychomanteum condition, psi-hitting was obtained (30.8% above MCE); however, under no-psychomanteum (“control”) condition, 29.2% was obtained (where 25% was expected). The results differ slightly from MCE in the psychomanteum condition (p= .02, one-tailed) in comparison with no-psychomanteum condition, but no significant differences were found. A number of positive correlations were also found, for instance, participants who attained higher scores on auditory and visual hallucinations tended to demonstrate psi-hitting.
c. Exploring Psychic abilities: The “token-object” effect research project
Some psychics and healers claim to obtain impressions of body sensations, visual images of organ dysfunctions, or an “inner knowing”. However, there are few reports of quantitatively evaluated studies with psychics. They sometimes perform “psychometry”, which is defined as an anomalous cognition system, specifically the ability to get “impressions” from objects. Usually it is described as a type of knowledge which allows a psychic or sensitive to receive impressions using a physical object as an inductor or instrument. A series of psychometry-based experimental sessions was designed.
Alejandro Parra and Juan Carlos Argibay explored if there is a significant difference between psychics and nonpsychics. One hundred fifty participants who reported personal experiences of psi were split into two groups, persons claiming ESP experiences but no abilities, or “nonpsychics” (N= 88) and persons claiming ESP skills as well as experiences, or “psychics” (N= 62). Four adult volunteers who suffered from medically diagnosed diseases (i.e. diabetes mellitus, hernia hiatal, osteoarthritis, and varicose veins) acted as target persons (TPs). They delivered personal objects (a comb, handkerchief, hair brooch, or billfold), which were coded and recoded blind by both experimenters. Instructions asked participants to describe the symptoms in non-technical language. Each participant received four pairs of objects (target and control) to be “touched”. They performed four trials of psychic diagnosis of the TPs, who remained unidentified. Although both groups combined scored significantly above chance (p = .01), there was only slight support for the claim that the “psychics”(p = .03) scored higher than the nonpsychics (p = .08) Although neither group obtained highly significant results, high variability was found; it was in a positive direction for the psychics and the negative direction for the nonpsychics (p < .05). It appears that psychic diagnosis relates to perceptions of “information” in and around TPs, and that these may be difficult to translate into physical diagnoses. The psychics and healers were also not trained in medical terminology, anatomy or physiology, and therefore may have had difficulties providing impressions specific to anatomical structures and quantifiable in conventional terminology.
A second experiment aimed to compare a group of ordinary people (non-psychics) with selfclaimed psychics in order to determine if participants were capable of distinguishing between living and dead people from photographs of same. The sample consisted of 169 participants divided into two groups: psychics. (N = 74) and .non-psychics (N = 95) but no significant differences were found. Those participants who claimed to have psychometric ability (that is, were able to pick up impressions from an object by being in physical contact with it) neither obtained psi hitting, nor demonstrated greater variability in their psi hits.
According some traditions, there are holy places in countries such as India, Egypt, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, that represent sacred sites or power-filled energy centres to which many people pilgrimage. It has been claimed that psychics are capable of distinguishing by ESP the “sacred” nature of these sites. Juan Carlos Argibay and Alejandro Parra we sought to extend this approach by identifying another psychometry task that might distinguish between psychics and nonpsychics, and chose to focus on a task in which participants had to decide which of two token objects was originally from a sacred site. The sample consisted of 147 participants. A number of sand samples were taken from Cheops Pyramid in Egypt and water samples from a source of water (i.e. “blessed” water). The little containers were matched with control samples of sand and water from non-sacred sites. Although overall scores were slightly above chance, they were not statistically significant (for water, t (152) = 1.18, p = .12; for sand, t (152) = .54, p = .29; for both combined, t (152) = 1.07, p – .14). We analyzed whether there were differences in the number of hits overall for psychics (N = 25) and control, non-psychics (N = 122), but no significant difference was found. We also examined whether scores differed when sand or water was being used as the target, but also no significant difference was obtained (F1, 152 = .26; p = .61). The variability of the obtained scores turned out significantly greater than expected by chance (F1, 153 = 1.51; p < .01). The difference between the two groups could be due to “psychics” being better at interpreting available psi information than control.
Psychic reading is a method used to foretell the future of an individual. However, cold reading is a non-paranormal technique used by many self-claimed psychics and mediums to determine details about another person in order to convince them that the reader knows much more about a subject than he or she actually does. One of our study was to determine if the ‘psychics’ participants could give impressions while touching the objects of two sitters. The experiment was introduced to the participants by telling them that two different conditions, “face-to-face” and “remote” psychometry, were being undertaken using a physical object as psi stimuli. The sample consisted of 83 participants. Those participants who claimed to have psychometry psi ability (“Psychic” group) showed greater psi hitting than “Non-Psychics” in both conditions (“remote” and “face-to-face”). Because face-to-face readings allow for sensory cues, no firm conclusion of “genuine” psi can be justified from such an experiment.
A common procedure to encourage self-claimed psychics is to use iconic representations (photographs) as inductors. The aim of this study was to compare two conditions – “mental” and “motor” – using images of the faces of persons as targets. Specifically, we wanted to determine if the scores were different based on two kinds of stimulus (diseased and healthy). Participants, who were clustered as psychics and nonpsychics. The sample consisted of 224 participants, recruited through an e-mail list, and their ages ranged from 18 to 75 (M = 44.19 years old). Eight photographs included four of subjects “sick” with a medically diagnosed disease and four of healthy persons (the “controls”). All of the images of sick persons were taken from six months to two years before the diseases were discovered. The results of the two procedures were significantly above chance: the mean “mental” score = 2.32 (p < .001, one-tailed), and the mean “motor” score = 2.15 (p = .016, one-tailed). A second analysis was carried out to determine if the mental and motor procedures led to different scores, indeed, mental scored significantly higher than motor (the mean “mental” score = 2.32 vs. the mean “motor” score = 2.15 (p < .001).
d. Psychological and personality dimension of anomalous/paranormal experiences
One of the most impressive distinction of our research projects was adopt two approaches, that are, (1) psychological variables and (2) the phenomenological exploration. They serves for two main practical reasons: firstly, it is a complementary resource to have a thoroughly perspective of variables others often observed; secondly, it help to correlate the psi-hitting (or sometimes psi-missing or no results any case) with psychological or phenomenological variables involved in psi (such as interviews-in-depth and groups/workshops with healers, mediums and psychics and ordinary people). Regard phenomenological variable, thousands of audio and tape records of our ganzfeld and psychomanteum trials and studies with psychics awaiting to be classified and analized so we hope to have enough time to cover better this approach. However, a great number of articles were published on psychometric measures in relation with our significative psi results and/or paranormal/anomalous experiences reported. We examinated perceptual variables such as transliminality, “thin” boundaries, MBTI and MIPS personality profiles, neuroticism and, extraversion, empathy, sensation seeking, visual imagery wellbeing, dissociation/absorption, thinking styles and abnormal variables (i.e. schizotypy and hallucination proneness) over many experiences, such as aura vision, apparitions and “feeling ghosts”, ESP experiences, out of body experiences, premonition, among others. There are a lot of article published about them in many English- and Spanish-speaking peer-reviewed journals.
7. Independent Psi-Researchers: Some works
At Institute of Psychology Paranormal always was the space to welcome a number of independent psi-researchers, something like the “Golden Age” of the former Foundation for Research of the Nature of Man (now Rhine Research Center) where a lot of researcher were becoming from many parts of world to work on parapsychology, with no distincion of beliefs systems. Ivan Lépes carried out since the eighties a long series of trials that continued until his death, based specifically on the study of the alleged ability psi of an insect species (Drosophila melanogaster known as “fruit fly”). Trained as enthomologist, in the early eighties, he joined the Institute of Parapsychology Buenos Aires and early nineties, became part of the Institute of Paranormal Psychology. Lepes maintained a keen interest in the issue of genetic selection to determine if psi could be transmitted transgenerationally. According Lepes, psi experiments interspecies communication have been virtually neglected in the field of research AnPsi (Psi Animal), which focused its efforts on the study of communication psi human / animal. Lepes designed more than a dozen experimental studies in cooperation with several colleagues, including Juan Gimeno and Juan Carlos Argibay. Lepes acknowledged had operated with 500 generations of Dm, from the beginning of his studies, and was hopeful of finding a genetic variable psi). Despite the specificity of their area of interest, however, they deserve continued his studies by other researchers in the future.
8. Undergraduate Studies on Psi-Related Topics
As a teacher and associated researcher at the Universidad Abierta Interamericana since twelve years ago, Alejandro Parra conducted three courses at the Faculty of Psychology at the Universidad Abierta Interamericana: (1) Psychological Theories and Systems, (2) Applied Statistics in Psychology, and (3) Psychotherapy Research. Through course of “Applied Statistics”, since 2009 up to 2012, Parra conducted several studies with hundreds of students using dozens of psychological and personality measures to relate them with spontaneous parapsychological experiences as a educational resource in orrder to teach psychometrics in psychology. Later and up to date, Parra is part of the Undergraduate and Posgraduate Thesis Commission, as part of the procedure to graduation in psychology in Argentina. During a two-year course, hundreds of students should also design and carry out short research projects under the Parra’s supervision. Although many students may –of course– choose any research topic on psychology, it is a valuable occasion to be involved in a psi-related topic as long as the student “empath” with parapsychology and transpersonal psychology, which often used to be surveys, psychological/personality correlations (but seldom experimental).
As an example, some of the topics involved had been: Hallucinatory experience and psi (Giannina Maschi), Parenting styles, child trauma and paranormal experiences in adulthood (Mariana Ugarte), Empathy and magical thinking in clinical psychologists and tarot readers (Claudia Sciacca), Unusual perceptual experiences in nursing (Paola Gimenez Amarilla), Personality measures associated to anomalous/paranormal dreams (Jesica Sosa), and Schizotypy proneness, paranormal experiences and parental stimulation to the childhood fantasy (Cristian Castro), among others.
9. Books and Publishing Projects
There a great books production authored by Argentine authors or translated into Spanish in Argentina, although it is not enough as we want, however. The Argentine parapsychological literature dated back from 1880 (mesmerism and psychical research at the beginning of the 20th century), and the main pionneers produced at least one or more books, such as classics and best sellers Musso En los Limites de la Psicología and Novillo Pauli Los Fenómenos Parapsicologicos. Since two decades, the publishing house has not interested in technical books on parapsychology so it is neccesary to print by ourselves.
Mainly due to the “on demand” procedure of printed books now is easier and cheaper than in the past, we created our own publishing house called “Antigua” to publish many of our unpublished manuscripts. Fortunatly, some of them are Las Alas de Psiqué (two vols.) (2014) which serves as a metaphor for the current status of the field, i.e., the efforts of psi researchers to transcend and expand mainstream understandings of living systems, Mente Sin Fronteras (2014), a compilation of the selected articles previously published by the RAPP, and Ojos Invisibles (2015), a collection of chapters written by many authors on current parapsychology. We have a lot of titles negotiated to translate and publish which will see light in the close future.
A poltergeist case was explored at Rio Tercero, a little town in the province of Córdoba, Argentina. Oscar and his wife Mónica live with their four children. The movement of stones is characteristic of the phenomena; they move towards windows, often destroying the glass. Three to five holes of up to 12cm diameter have been made in plastic blinds and other holes in fabric curtains. similar hole was made in a mirror. Such activity started February to March 2004. On the night of the 26th February, Mónica, one of the principal witnesses, described an incident with stones. Later, the incidents continued at irregular intervals, but the intensity of them increased. The size of the stones, which are typical to the Cordobese hills, can be found on the road to the family’s house.
Twenty‑nine attacks with stones have destroyed windows, mirrors, and the TV set. Only on two occasions have the stones taken a ‘wrong turn’ and hit a piece of furniture or the wall, rather than glass. Andrés’s psychological report indicates that the young man manifests aggression verbally towards his family and seldom towards strangers. He can be impulsive and antisocial, which makes social relations difficult. A series of neuropsychological tests were given to Andrés. During my visit, we also conducted some projective drawing tests with him (Draw a House‑Tree‑Person Test and “Draw Your Family” Test and Andrés completed some personality scales: Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire‑Revised (EPQ‑R), the Dissociative Experiences Scale –Revised (DES-R), and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). The scores indicated emotional instability, irritability, impulsivity and feelings of inadecuacy in his environment.
During the last twenty years the IPP has achieved much. Alejandro Parra introduced parapsychology –slowly but increasingly– by using other names such as “paranormal psychology.” Some times, we receive some justified and unjustified critics to the term “Paranormal Psychology”. I should to say that, indeed there is no difference between paranormal psychology and parapsychology, but the change of terms was introduced because of the increased confusion between proper parapsychology and the activities of charlatans, many of whom have abused the term by approaching it as ‘pop’ parapsychology. However, I disagree in part with term “anomalistic” because it is usually confused with “abnormal”, as insane mental states. In Argentina, many people continue believing that the term parapsychologist is equivalent to psychic. Gertrude Schmeider adviced me years ago that paranormal is really the best term, because the “para” prefix is not associated with pathological, abnormal, marginal or pseudoscientific concepts. At the same time, it is helpful to recognize the traditional and historical relationship with “parapsychology” as regards ESP, PK and afterdeath/survival research-related topics. “Paranormal experiences” are an exciting topic for many people –in both popular and professional groups– in terms of dealing with theoretically controversial apparitional/haunting, out-of-body, near-death experiences and other paranormal/anomalous ans spiritual experiences.
Finally, one of the most advantages to research or to educate at the Institute is openness and plurality of viewpoints, all based on the work of rigorous research and de-ideologized, that is, in Argentina there is no ideological tradition in parapsychology, for example, no (or scarce) differences found in the Catholic parapsychology (i.e. Father Quevedo) vs. the current dominant Kardecian spiritualists; or “divulgative” and popular style in Spain or Mexico, to give two examples. Although Argentina is a country of rooted European cultural traditions, there is a strong skepticism mainly in the area of Buenos Aires that differentiates it from many other Latin American countries and even the interior of Argentina.
One of the most impressive achievement in 2015 is the creation of a delegation of the IPP in Santander, Spain, to operate psi research and seminars conducted by Marcelo Eremian, one of the most promising researchers of our new Argentine generation, who is an expert in spontaneous cases and haunting.