Jack Hunter has a degree in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Bristol. His undergraduate dissertation took the form of an experiential investigation into contemporary trance and physical mediumship at a private home-circle in Bristol. The fieldwork involved in-depth participant observation both as a sitter in regular seances and as a developing medium himself. After a number of peculiar experiences during this research Jack concluded that spirit beliefs are best understood by examining their experiential foundations, and that these foundations are best accessed through the methods of anthropology and ethnography. Since receiving his degree, Jack has continued to write and research: studying religious experience with the University of Lampeter and contributing articles to several journals of psychical research, focusing particularly on the intersection between anthropology and parapsychology. As a means to promote further dialogue between anthropologists and parapsychologists, Jack established Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal, a free web-based newsletter with contributions from a wide range of researchers interested in social scientific, and other, approaches to the paranormal. He is also currently editing, along with Dr. David Luke, a volume of collected articles from a variety of researchers dealing with the issue of mediumship in different cultural contexts.
Jack will use the 2010 Eileen J. Garret scholarship to fund his PhD research into the role of anomalous experience in contemporary British spiritualism at the University of Bristol. This research will aim to explore the role of anomalous experiences in both bringing individuals towards the movement and in reinforcing belief in the movement’s central teachings. It will take the form of participant observation at spiritualist churches in Bristol, combined with in-depth interviews with their members and mediums. The research will not attempt to reduce such experiences through the imposition of overly simplistic rationalizing models, but rather will treat them as genuine experiences with evident social implications. Jack Hunter can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org, the Paranthropology journal can be downloaded by clicking here.
Cal Cooper, the 2009 Garrett Scholar is completing his Bachelors in Science degree at the University of Northampton in psychology. The University of Northampton is known to the field as the home of the Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes (CSAPP). Cooper’s main interests in psychology and parapsychology have focused on apparitions and hallucinations due to his long-standing interest in the investigation of purportedly haunted locations. Cooper, also a member of the Society for Psychical Research and a contributor to Paranormal Review on such topics as apparitions and eyewitnesses to spontaneous anomalous experiences, is currently working on two different projects. The first is his BSc dissertation project in which he is exploring the reliability of laboratory experiments against observational field studies in certain cases of ESP, specifically telepathy. The main focus of this dissertation study is to examine ‘the sense of being stared at’ to see if participants ‘conscious’ awareness of the phenomenon and the laboratory environment hinders any psi effect when compared to a field design in which the phenomenon can be observed in a natural environment which would suggest this particular anomalous experience to be an ‘unconscious’ process when it does occur. The second program, which has been in development since early 2008, is an adaptation of the Ganzfeld in which a portable version of the Ganzfeld is set up in a purportedly haunted location to examine participants’ clairvoyant abilities (as apposed to telepathic abilities in the normal Ganzfeld studies). The idea is to determine whether the Ganzfeld can improve participants’ ability to read the environment, its history, or pick up on the supposed hauntings that do or have occurred in the location as a psychic medium would claim to report. Although this project is still in early development, Cooper hopes that, with the help of the Garrett Scholarship award, he will be able to take it further and experiment with the Ganzfeld in other purportedly haunted locations as well as to examine participant feedback and historical records.
For the second time in its history, the Parapsychology Foundation awarded two Garrett Scholarships in 2008. They were undergraduate Bryan J. Williams and post-graduate student Renaud Evrard.
Bryan Williams is a Native American of the Laguna tribe completing his undergraduate degree program at the University of New Mexico, where his studies have focused on physiological psychology and physics. He is a student affiliate of the Parapsychological Association and a student member of the Society for Scientific Exploration. He has previously contributed independent analyses to the Global Consciousness Project headed by Dr. Roger Nelson of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratory, and was the 2003 recipient of the Charles T. and Judith A. Tart Student Incentive Award for a project on field RNG studies of mind-matter interaction-related “group consciusness” effects. He continues to pursue this work today, focusing on mass group events of Local interest in the area around his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Renaud Evrard is a doctoral student in the University of Rouen, France, and member of the Student Group of the Institut Métapsychique International since 2004. His Ph.D. work includes a review of the literature on clinical parapsychology, focusing on the psychodynamic approach, with specific interest in the area of differential diagnosis.The purpose of his research is to develop and test a tool to be used in semi-structured diagnostic interviews for people who are living with exceptional experiences. The main issue to be addressed is he assessment of the link between exceptional experiences and psychosis which seems to be influenced by the epistemological background of traditional and modern psychiatry. With a description of hallucinations and delusions that are not exclusively associated with psychosis, it seems that the assumed relationship between exceptional experiences and psychosis is significantly weakened. This could then make room for a rehabilitation of the early studies of psychical researchers on the general population and on hysterical personalities. For more information go to: http://metapsychique.blogspot.com
Fiona Campbell is a doctoral student in the Anomalous Experience Research Group at the University of Manchester. Her Ph.D. work includes research on poltergeist and psychokinetic-type phenomena in a group environment, with specific interest in the area of Batcheldor’s table tilting studies and Owen and Sparrow’s “Philip” experiment. Ms. Campbell’s research concerns the psychological and social aspects of group-created anomalous experience, using conversation analysis to identify how anomalous events are identified and discussed in paranormal interest groups. Sbe hopes that her work will contribute to an understanding of the group experiences of anomalous events.
In 2006, the Garrett Scholarship was awarded to Yung-Jong Shiah (also known as Yun-Chung Hsia), then a doctoral student at the Koestler Parapsychology unit in the Psychology Department of the University of Edinburgh. Hsia’s research centered on the finger-reading effect and explored the training of apparent exceptional tactual abilities in certain children. He modified the finger-reading training procedures using more stringent controls and verified the validity of claims. Hsia was also interested in the possibility that ESP serves as an underlying mechanism for the phenomena at the initial perceptual stage and for experiencing a visual image of a target at the later ESP information process stage. He hoped that the study of ESP might contribute to our knowledge of brain-environment relationships or interaction.
For the first time in its history, the Parapsychology Foundation granted two concurrent Eileen J. Garrett Scholarships. The scholarship winners are doctoral student Itai Ivtzan of the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths College in London and doctoral student Richard Knowles of the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California.
At the time of the award, Itai Ivtzan was a doctoral student at the Anomalistic Psychology research unit, Goldsmiths College, University of London where he was researching the question of consciousness and its influence on the physical environment in experiments using RNG machines to measure the influence of a meditating group on the RNG data.
At the time of the award, Richard Knowles was a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology working under supervision of Charles T. Tart. His research involved the induction and objective validation of the out-of-body experience (OBE) as well as recording of several possible physiological and neurological correlates of this phenomenon.
The 2004 Garrett Scholarship was won by Ian Baker who was then a doctoral student in the Koestler Parapsychology Unit of the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. The research that Mr. Baker was conducting as part of his doctoral program examined the psychophysiological correlates of remote staring detection, and sought to determine whether there is a relationship between the possible cortical processing of remote staring detection and the activity identified during normal staring interactions. He was investigating this using a combination of electrophysiological methods, including skin conductance, event-related potentials and frequency analysis. After he obtained his doctoral degree, Ian intended to continue researching and teaching parapsychological topics, and hoped to bring together in his work cognitive-neuroscience and parapsychology.
The 2003 Garrett Scholarship was won by Aliza Hakimian who was then a graduate student completing her masters degree in the Philosophical Foundations of Physics program at Columbia University in New York City. Challenging the assertion that the veracity of precognitive claims contradicts (or at least conflicts with) current scientific understanding, in her master thesis Aliza investigated whether backward causation (or some sort of theoretical structure supporting precognition) may be based in, or bolstered by, current theory in physics. She was interested not only in investigating the relationship of precognition to the current scientific paradigm, but also in determining how precognition would factor into broader philosophy of physics questions concerning the direction of time. After completing her masters degree, it was her intention to study medicine. At the time of the award, Aliza was working at the Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at Columbia University, and intended, after obtaining a medical degree, to continue investigating questions of human capabilities and their scientific formulations through the lens of the life sciences.
The winner of the 2002 Garrett Scholarship was Nicola Jane Holt who was then a post-graduate student and research assistant, working under the supervision of Dr. Chris Roe, at University College Northampton in England. In her role as research assistant Ms. Holt was working with Dr. Roe on a ganzfeld study which explored the role of the sender as a PK agent and with Dr. Roe and Dr. Simon Sherwood on another ganzfeld study which in a 2 x 2 factorial design varied the presence or absence of a sender and the receiver’s knowledge of whether the sender was present or absent. In her own doctoral research, Ms. Holt was collecting data from a large scale survey study exploring the relationships between multiple measurements of creativity, a variety of personality characteristics and experiences of altered states of consciousness, and their relationship to seemingly-paranormal experiences.
The winner of the 2001 Eileen J. Garrett Research Scholarship was Louie Savva. At the time of his award Mr. Savva was a second-year doctoral student working under the supervision of Dr. Christopher French at Goldsmiths College, University of London in England. Mr. Savva was affiliated with the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit also under the direction of Dr. French. The working title of his doctoral thesis was “An Evolutionary Approach to Anomalous Cognition.” The thesis was an attempt to investigate some of the major findings of parapsychology from an evolutionary perspective. At the time of the award, Savva had looked at presentiment research, precognitive influences in Stroop-based tasks, conducted a questionnaire study into the relationship between anxiety and paranormal experience, and had completed a experiment looking at timing and remote staring. He hoped to continue pursuing anomalistic psychology and parapsychology after he finished his Ph.D.
The winner of the 2000 Eileen J. Garrett Research Scholarship was Elizabeth Ferguson. At the time of her award Ms. Ferguson was a doctoral student at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, California, USA. She was planning a dissertation on ESP during mutual hypnosis. Mutual hypnosis is a procedure pioneered by Charles T. Tart in which two individuals hypnotize each other at the same time in the hope of obtaining rapport during the session. Ferguson planned to obtain the participation of ten pairs of individuals and assess their hypnotizability and state of consciousness through a variety of standardized tests. The participants were to be tested for ESP once their induction had been completed with the purpose of exploring whether this hypnotic procedure was conducive to ESP. In addition, the study was to have explored the variety of alterations of consciousness involved in this hypnotic procedure.
The winner of the 1999 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Andrew Kolovos. At the time of his grant, Mr. Kolovos was a student at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, USA, completing his PhD coursework through the Folklore Department. His master’s thesis centered on the Victorian folklorist and psychical researcher Andrew Lang who attempted to integrate both fields but succeeded in alienating both. Much of Kolovos’s research projects was to have focused on the connection between parapsychology and folklore, including an examination of paranormal photographs as texts of belief and objects of veneration.
The winner of the 1998 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Nancy L. Zingrone. At the time of her award Ms. Zingrone was a post-graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland working on her doctoral dissertation, “From Text to Self: Criticism and Responses in the History of English Language Parapsychology.” Following careful analyses of the material, she was arguing for a social psychological approach to scientific texts as a complement to historical, rhetorical, and sociological approaches.
The winner of the 1997 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Cheryl H. Alexander, then a student at Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. At the time of her award, Ms. Alexander was pursuing her doctoral research at the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina, USA. Her primary interest being the neurophysiological correlates of psi, Ms. Alexander chose to test the hypothesis that participants who exhibited right hemisphere cerebral dominance would score higher in a ganzfeld experiment than those who exhibited left hemisphere dominance.
The winner of the 1996 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Michael David Benhar, then a student at Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. At the time of his award Mr. Benhar was looking forward to teaching a course at the university based on his master’s thesis, Paranormal Abilities and the Kabbalah. His studies centered on the relationship between paranormal abilities and the Kabbalah utilizing a parapsychological perspective. Through exploration of the Kabbalistic literature dealing with clairvoyance, psychokinesis, prophecy, out-of-body experiences, altered states of consciousness, and reincarnation, he planned to contrast the phenomena of the Kabbalah with the scientific experimentation conducted in parapsychology laboratories. Mr. Benhar planned to continue his research for his doctoral dissertation.
The winner of the 1995 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Morgan Haldane, then a medical student at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, England. Mr. Haldane gained the St. Mary’s prize for Biometry in his first year and, due to a successful first two years, was permitted a one year leave of absence to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology at London University’s Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. At the time of his award, Mr. Haldane was an affiliate member of the Parapsychological Association and a student member of the Society for Psychical Research. He had become interested in synchronicity and bio-PK. It was his opinion that bio-PK offers the potential to merge parapsychology with the biological and medical sciences. His firm commitment to the study of parapsychology was demonstrated by his hope to attain a PhD in the subject. Towards achieving his goal, Mr. Haldane attended the Rhine Research Center’s Summer Study Program in 1996.
The winner of the 1994 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Sharon-Rose Taylor. Ms. Taylor is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with an honors degree in psychology. She received her masters’ degree in Death and Immortality in Western Thought from the University of Wales, Lampeter, Dyfed, Wales where, at the time of her award, she was working on her doctorate. Having been trained as an undergraduate in general crisis counseling, she has worked closely with persons experiencing medical emergencies and healthcare professionals. Ms. Taylor intended to continue this research by concentrating on the phenomenology of the near-death experience and its relation to out-of-body experiences.
The winner of the 1993 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Mary S. Stowell, then a psychotherapist and doctoral candidate at the Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, California. Ms. Stowell had done extensive research on dreams and her dissertation was an outgrowth of that work —“Precognitive Dreams: A Phenomenological Study of Adults Who Repeatedly Experience Dreams About Events Which Later Occur.” She hoped to write a book based on her dissertation and pursue the implications of parapsychology for clinical practice.
The winner of the 1992 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was James P. Houran, then a recent graduate of Illinois Benedictine College, Lisle, Illinois, USA and interested in pursuing psychology and parapsychology in his later academic career. His research interests at the time included haunting phenomena as it related to historical sites and to witness phenomenology and psychology.
The winner of the 1991 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Sergio Antonio Rueda, who was then at the Institute for Parapsychology (now the Rhine Research Center) in Durham, North Carolina, USA and interested in continuing his training in experimental parapsychology, and working on a proposed masters thesis entitled “Dissociation and ESP.” Mr. Rueda was also working on an historical investigation of the poltergeist case on which William Blatty’s book, The Exorcist was based.
The winner of the 1990 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Kathy Dalton, then a graduate student at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, Calfornia, USA. She was pursuing a masters thesis project involving the relationship between psi and creativity in an exceptional population, Martial Artists. Subjects from four different disciplines of martial arts were to participate in her study, a Ganzfeld experiment. Since receiving her award, Dr. Dalton obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, conducted successful ganzfeld research, helped to develop the ganzfeld laboratory at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden with Dr. Adrian Parker and the ganzfeld laboratory at UNIBEM in Curitiba, Brazil with Dr. Fabio da Silva.
The winner of the 1989 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Chuck Millar, then a PhD candidate in counseling psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in Palo Alto, California, USA, where he was working on a doctoral dissertation entitled A Descriptive Analysis of Psychic Opening. His dissertation research explored the subjective experience of becoming psychic from a psychological perspective and with an emphasis on the potentially disturbing aspects of this process.
The winner of the 1988 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Daniel P. Wirth, then a masters’ degree student in the parapsychology program at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California, USA. His thesis examined the dynamics of the healing encounter, focusing on the healer’s and the healee’s phenomenological experiences and the respective correlates to the communication model.
The winner of the 1987 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Douglas S. Perron, then a master’s degree student in parapsychology at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California, USA. His thesis centered on autonomic nervous system correlates of ostensible telepathy, physiological measures to look for unconscious communication between spouses.
The 1986 winner of the Eileen J. Garrett Research Scholarship was Jonathan J. Koehler. Then twenty-six years old, Mr. Koehler had a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and was pursuing a doctorate at the same university. His Ph.D. dissertation drew on the history of parapsychology and used examples of parapsychological research results to demonstrate the nature and extent of bias in the scientific community.
The 1985 winner of the Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award was Etzel Cardeña, then a doctoral candidate in social and personality psychology at the University of California-Davis in California, USA, where he was working on a literature review of the theoretical and empirical considerations of immediate and delayed feedback as part of a research project he was conducting with his professor, Charles T. Tart, on Tart’s learning-by-feedback paradigm for psi performance. Since receiving the award, Dr. Cardeñna has had a successful career in psychology in the United States and in Europe. He is now the Paul Thorson Professor of Psychology and Hypnology at Lund University in Sweden.
The winner of the first Eileen J. Garrett Research Scholarship Award given in 1984 was Shari Cohn, then a master’s degree student at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, USA where she was conducting an independent research project investigating psychic experiences within families, using family histories and cognitive style data for the purpose of investigating whether psychic ability has a genetic basis. Since receiving her award, she obtained her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Edinburgh, published important work on Second Sight, was a researcher in the Department of Scottish Studies at the University, and is now a clinical psychologist in Edinburgh with a private practice in integrative therapy.