It’s holiday time once again which is hard to believe even while the old adage “time flies” rings true to most especially with the benefit of maturity. As President of Parapsychology Foundation perhaps I can be forgiven for contemplating the ghosts of PF past, present and future.
The Ghost of PF Past
The “Ghost of PF Past” 2017 was extremely busy even without many hands on deck to help with the enterprise. After celebrating the 65th anniversary of our founding on December 14th, 1951, we are now completing, somewhat in disbelief, our 66th year of operation. The PF Blog series inaugurated in September 2015 continued monthly. With enormous pride, through the offices of PF’s Research Fellows, Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado and Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone in coordination with their The AZIRE organization, PF once again was very proud to present ParaMOOC 2017 from January 16th through February 24th of that year. A blog written by Alvarado to introduce the course includes the details. Like previous ParaMOOCs (and the one that starts January 22nd, 2018 — more information coming soon), lecturers were drawn from various countries, underscoring PF’s contining support of international perspectives in parapsychology. In the midst of this very valuable effort PF presented once again one of PF’s International Affiliates Conferences devoted this year to “New Faces in Parapsychology” which, we hope, better acquainted our community with three young researchers. The PF will be following the careers of Ana Flores, Csongor Matyi and Gabriel Teixeira de Medeiros, who will no doubt go on to make valuable contributions to the field. In addition to bringing our YouTube viewers what is new and important about the field, we are also dedicated to providing our legacy film to new generations. In that vein, Anastasia Damalas has unearthed some archival never-before-viewed film of PF’s second President, Eileen Coly, describing in her own words the vision and mission of the Parapsychology Foundation. It has just been posted to the PF YouTube Channel and is available by clicking the link above or the link below. It gives me great pride to have her have the last word in our special 65th Anniversary playlist, realizing that much of what PF draws on today we owe to her dedication and work on behalf of not only PF but the science of parapsychology. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we all have.
Also this year, I was honored to be interviewed by Carlos Alvarado in a blog that focused on my own work at the Foundation which started in 1969. I find it very hard to believe that, in February, 2018, it will be 49 years—all the more perplexing as I remain the eternal ingénue…at least in my mind’s eye. More honors were afforded the PF when the Parapsychological Association, in their bulletin Mindfield, published an article about the Foundation’s 65 years of contributions to the field. From the desk of out-going editor, Dr. Etzel Cardeña (now the in-coming editor of the Journal of Parapsychology), the article included several of our dear colleagues, among them Drs. Alvarado, Kelly, Tart, and Cooper who acknowledged our anniversary and body of work.
In April, at the Eileen J. Garrett Library, we returned to our Perspectives Lecture Series, with Walter Meyer zu Erpen presenting “Do Tables Tilt, Turn and Float?” His thought-provoking lecture will be soon posted on the PF You Tube Channel for those who could not join us live.
This past May we finally managed a modest return to our Grant and Scholarship program which saw the return of the Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship, the Frances P Bolton Fellowship, the Judith A. and Charles T. Tart Student Scholarly Incentive Award and, in a recast to encompass a wider arena, the D. Scott Rogo Award for Parapsychological Media. It is our intention to offer Eileen Coly Research grants as they seem warranted and when fiscally possible.
Also in 2017, we congratulated Research Fellow Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado on his prestigious and well-deserved Parapsychological Association Outstanding Career Award. In addition, we welcomed our newest PF International Affiliate to the fold, Dr. Gerhard Mayer. He will be replacing Gerd Hövelmann, the original PF Affiliate from Germany, our beloved colleague whose untimely passing we still mourn. We are grateful to Dr. Mayer both for stepping into the void as well as being part of the 2017 ParaMOOC faculty.
The PF family was also expanded by the addition of Shannon Taggart as the 2017 Rogo Award for Parapsychological Media winner as well as by Erika A. Pratte who took her place in a long list of well-deserving students of the paranormal as the 2017 recipient of Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship.
We closed our productive year with yet another in our ongoing Book Expo series on Dec. 2 with noted authors, Leslie Kean, Dr. Ed May, and Jack Hunter (who recently completed his doctoral defense — Congratulations Dr. Hunter!) describing their books and PF’s own Carlos Alvarado presenting a session on classic books that deserve to be reintroduced to a modern audience. The conference room for PF Book Expo 2017 is still open for enrollment on the WizIQ teaching platform until December 31st. If you’re interested in watching the recordings and browsing the additional materials, click here.
Ghost of PF Present
On to the “Ghost of PF Present“: Our work continues not only with the maintenance of the Eileen J. Garrett Library in Greenport and with our ever-growing presence on Facebook, both for the PF and our Psychic Explorer Club pages, not to mention our Instagram and Twitter presence and the growth of our YouTube Project. Our PF YouTube channel was conceptualized as an opportunity for PF to maintain our legacy within parapsychology and psychical research. It underscores PF’s support of the scientific study of psychic phenomena and, we believe, provides a service to students, researchers, and experiencers the world over who are drawn to the science of parapsychology. Our playlists have been growing nearly every week since we founded the channel in May of 2015. Presently we are working on bringing out more of our famed International Conference presentations as well as our new
“PF on the Move” series which we kicked off with a most apropos first trip to visit the Rhine Research Center. In fact, that trip also yielded an interview with past-Executive
Director of the Rhine Dr. Sally Feather with whom I share a special bond, both professional and personal. We’re grateful to all our subscribers. If you’re not one, please click the subscribe button the next time you visit YouTube to view one of our videos and don’t forget to click the bell after you subscribe so that you’ll be notified of all our new postings.
Ghost of PF Future
I could go on and on as there is so much we are presently engaged in bringing to you. But what of that hulking “Ghost of PF Future”? While plans are afoot for ParaMooc 2018 very soon and another PF International Affiliates event as we have come to present them in tandem, it is only with your help that we can continue to shape PF’s future at all. Our efforts come at great expenditure both in time and effort and yes, regretfully, in money. Our funds are dwindling and where past administrations and my family have always ascribed to the “where there is a will, there is a way” ideal, the future looms more difficult. Please consider contributing to our efforts monetarily if you can. Contributions to PF are fully tax deductible for citizens of the USA. Apart from the donate button at the bottom of every page of our websites, you can usually find the link in the descriptions of our most recent YouTube videos, and of course, if you click here. I urge you to donate if you can—my hand remains continually outstretched to accept contributions of all kind and size. Starting and maintaining an endowment for the continuation of our scholarship and grant program is a long cherished hope of mine. Please also keep PF in mind during estate planning. No worries, I promise, that with age I will be tempted to “give up any of my ghosts” and not be around to administer the work of the PF, if I can help it. Apart from being too stubborn to give up, my daughter, Anastasia Damalas, PF’s fourth generation, has been serving her apprenticeship and is increasingly eager to get to the answers we all seek as to just what is psychic functioning.
Happy Holidays from All of Us to You and Yours!
I am thankful for your encouragement during the past year and literally could not have accomplished the above without the labor of love performed by Nancy Zingrone, Carlos Alvarado, Gonçalo Veiga, Natasha Chisdes and Susan Macwilliam. I know along, with our Board of Trustees and Anastasia, they join me in wishing you all the joys of the season from now through what we hope will be a bright and shiny, productive New Year. Onwards and Upwards as we follow the PF’s undulating spiral!