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The Member Organization Program

In the final months of 2004, the PF welcomed its first Member Organization, Inter Psi of São Paulo, Brazil. In 2006, the Instituto de Psicología Paranormal in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at the University of Adelaide in Australia became Member Organizations. Information about the staff, facilities and work of these organizations and an update on Brazilian Member Organization, Inter Psi, will be posted to this page in 2007. In the meantime, the description of Inter Psi posted in 2004 is below.

Inter Psi and Psi Research in Brazil

Inter Psi (The Group for the Study of Semiotics, Interconnectivity and Consciousness) is a psi research center established in 1999 in the Center for Peircean Studies (named after the important 19th-century philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce) in the Post-Graduate Program of Communications and Semiotics of the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Brazil. Since then about 24 individuals have conducted research studies and engaged in educational activities.

In the area of research, among the most important have been the doctoral work of the Coordinators of Inter Psi, Drs. Fátima Regina Machado and Wellington Zangari, who are also PF International Affiliates. Machado evaluated 25 poltergeist cases from a semiotic point of view, defending the thesis that poltergeist events represent a form of expression of the psychological context in which they occur, translating, in a sense, the psychological into the physical. Machado found that the logic and objectives of these “expressions” were the same whether they seemed to be genuine paranormal poltergeist events or whether they were physical events perpetrated by fraud. Zangari, on the other hand, investigated the psychosocial dimension of spiritist mediumship as it is practiced in Brazil, using Psychosocial Role Theory to present an interdisciplinary interpretative model of incorporative mediumship, that is, of mediumship that “embodies” a spirit.

Current research includes a survey study being conducted by Machado which focuses on seemingly psychic experiences, and both a survey and an experiment related to possible precognition in mediums being conducted by Zangari. Machado’s new study is part of her second doctorate which will be completed in psychology. Zangari’s work is a post-doctoral research project being funded by FAPESP, the principal research funding agency in Brazil.

Other members of Inter Psi are also conducting academic research studies which focus on putative psi phenomena. For example, José Zacarias de Souza is completing a masters thesis in psychology that focuses on xenoglossy among the members of the Charismatic wing of the Catholic Church in Brazil.

Inter Psi also conducts educational programs, including courses and seminars for interested individuals in São Paulo, as well as maintains a “Mega-Portal” on the internet for web-based studies and networking. The Mega-Portal Program is directed by a young engineering student, Leonardo Stern, who is also the Inter Psi Secretary. In addition to “Mega-Portal” Stern is developing the “Modular Psi Program”, a computer software designed to organize visually the main models and theories of psi phenomena.

In addition, in 2002, Inter Psi sponsored the Seminar on Intuitive Communication in which PF Staff Members, Nancy Zingrone and Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado, took part. 98 people attended the conference, many traveling long distances from other states in Brazil. The Seminar on Intuitive Communication discussed the importance of a more in-depth understanding of intuitive experiences for various academic fields, such as clinical psychology. In 2003, Inter Psi conducted a course titled “An Introduction to the Varieties of Anomalous Experiences” which met for three hours every 15 days over the course of the calendar year. 42 individuals took part in this course.

As for the Mega-Portal program, (http://www.pesquisapsi.com), this is a collaborative effort among Inter Psi members to develop websites that disseminate the content and results of international psi research in a systematic manner. To this end, one of the services the Mega-Portal for Psi Research provides is a Psi Research Virtual Library. The Virtual Library is a databank that contains 3,000 abstracts in English as well as full-text articles on the topic published in speciality journals. Also available on the site is a virtual journal, Revista Virtual de Investigación Psi, which includes articles, news on the international and Brazilian psi research literature, and a forum dedicated to psi research in which more than 100 people — researchers, students and other interested individuals — meet and discuss the field.

The PF Members Organization Program was launched to invite like-minded institutions and societies to join the PF in a new category of “Affiliate.” Similar in form to our Student Affiliate and International Affiliate programs, a Member Organization would be one that shares the Foundation’s approach to the field, its goals, purposes and mission. As always, the Foundation stands ready to support all efforts to disseminate quality information that is parapsychology-related and reach out to varied populations as we seek the answers to questions raised by psychic functioning.

Member organizations are listed on the PF website, they receive a graphical version of the Member Organization logo for use on their stationery and websites, as well as a 30% discount on all our products for resale to their constituencies, among other benefits.

Organizations and societies who wish to become members may submit a proposal that includes a copy of their charter or mission statement, a representative selection of their publications, a list of their principals with copies of their curriculum vitae, and a list of the organization’s yearly events. The deadline for applications are November 1st of every year, with applicants being notified of PF’s decision on or before the following January 1st.

Membership status is awarded on a calendar year basis. Applications for renewal will be accepted on November 1st of each year, and should include updates on the organization’s goals and purposes as well as updated information on their principals, publications and events. Notification of PF’s decision regarding renewal will arrive on or before the following January 1st.

For more information on the PF Member Organization program, please write Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado, our director of programs, at office@parapsychology.org.

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