Parapsychology

In the modern era, it has become popular to dismiss the scientific study of the paranormal. This was not always so. At the end of the 19th century, interest in the possibility of extra-dimensional reality led a number of prominent British scientists to take the stand in defense of a spiritualist.

However, on the whole the results of those studies have been buried in the dusty archives of history. It is perhaps time to revive them, or at least to make the general public aware that the work was pursued seriously.

Some of the researchers went by the title of mesmerist or mentalist. Others were among the great pioneers of psychology. Jung was one of the first to take an explicit interest in the paranormal. Later, Kubler-Ross, whose work on death and dying brought her in close contact with the energy focused by major life transitions, was nearly drummed out of the field when she began to investigate near-death experiences.

Up until recently, most scientists rationalized those experiences as hysteria or trauma-induced psychopathy. The complexity of the brain makes it hard to argue definitively against such interpretations.

There are, of course, those in history who have dealt fairly directly with personal energy. These are statesmen, entertainers, star athletes and corporate executives. A reflection about John Kerry, in the aftermath of his election loss, sticks in my mind. The commentator said that in the hustle and struggle of a presidential campaign, the candidate, win or lose, is forever altered. I paraphrase: "The people that you meet - they never leave you."