1953 Utrecht Conference

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In 1953, Eileen J. Garrett and Frances P. Bolton convened the “First International Utrecht Conference on Parapsychology” at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

While many of the participants were already known to each other through the appearance of their work in technical journals, the opportunity to meet for a week under University auspices —to “keep the contact alive” as Garrett had put it — marked a crucial step in the history of modern parapsychology.

The field of parapsychology itself, was re-defined at Utrecht (and would continue to be redefined at PF conferences to come). The old split between “quantitative” and “qualitative” research, laboratory work and “spontaneous phenomena” was both recognized and, to some significant degree, transcended. The extraordinary range of perspectives presented was matched with detailed resolutions and plans to give fuller attention in future conferences to what had not been sufficiently addressed at Utrecht.

In retrospect, the Conference at Utrecht set the agenda for the years ahead. Subsequent PF conferences built on the specific findings and resolutions, and, as new areas of research opened up, the PF also acted on the Utrecht precedent by convening other state-of-the-art meetings.

A partial list of conference participants of the 1953 Conference at Utrecht follows:

Robert Amadou (France)
Hans Bender (Germany)
John Bjorkhem (Sweden)
Wilfred Daim (Austria)
Eric Dingwall (England)
Jan Ehrenwald (USA)
Jule Eisenbud (USA)
Haakon Forwald (Sweden)
Hornell Hart (USA)
Betty Humphrey (USA)
Sven Krohn (Finland)
William MacKenzie (Italy)
Gabriel Marcel (France)
Marcel Martiny (France)
Robert McConnell (USA)
Joost A. M. Meerloo (Holland)
C. A. Meier (Switzerland)
Gardner Murphy (USA)
J. Fraser Nicol (England)
H. H. Price (England)
William G. Roll (then from England)
Gertrude Schmeidler (USA)
Emilio Servadio (Italy)
S. G. Soal (England)
Rene Sudre (France)
W. H. C. Tenhaeff (Holland)
R. H. Thouless (England)
S. W. Tromp (Holland)
Montague Ullman (USA)
Rene Warcolier (France)

Re-released in 2003 in honor of the 50th anniversary of this ground-breaking conference, the bound proceedings are available from the Parapsychology Foundation’s on-line store, http://www.psi-mart.com. Click here for more information.