The PF International Affiliates Conference: New Faces in Parapsychology

PF International Affiliates Conference

PF was very proud to sponsor on January 29th, 2017 what has come to be an annual endeavor, our PF International Affiliate Conference:  New Faces in Parapsychology. We have revamped our International Affiliate program that was instituted in 2001 and very much appreciate the work of our International Affiliates as they help propel parapsychology’s progress in their native lands and in the world at large. Our International Affiliates roster stands as follows which we hope in time to enlarge:

Argentina: Dr. Alejandro Parra
Australia: Prof. Harvey J. Irwin
Austria: Prof. Peter W. Mulacz
Brazil: Dr. Wellington Zangari & Dr. Fátima R. Machado
Canada: Mr. Walter Meyer zu Erpen
Chile: Mr. Sergio Schilling
England: Prof. Chris A. Roe
France: Dr. Mario Varvoglis
Germany: Mr. Gerd H. Hovelmann
Greece: Mr. Nikolaos Koumartzis
Hungary: Dr. Zoltan Vassy
Iceland: Prof. Erlendur Haraldsson
India: Dr. Satwant K. Pasricha
Israel: Dr. Joseph Glicksohn
Italy: Dr. Massimo Biondi
Japan: Hideyuki Kokubo
Mexico: Dr. Sergio A. Rueda
The Netherlands: Dr. Hans Gerding
Norway: Mr. Olav Brennsund
Portugal: Dr. Mario P. Simões
Romania: Dr. Adrian Patrut
Scotland: Prof. Caroline Watt
South Pacific: Dr. Robin Taylor
Spain: Oscar Iborra
Sweden: Prof. Etzel Cardeña
United States: Dr. Dean Radin

This meeting exemplified two of the Foundation’s missions, first that of the support and dissemination of quality information and education within our complex and regretfully often misunderstood field, and second, our emphasis on global research directives to better facilitate and invigorate the truly international platform of parapsychology’s research progress. This conference, like the many we have sponsored internationally over the past 65 years, welcomed and invited researchers and students from around the world to present their research and participate in an exchange of views.

PF has always sought to reach out across the globe to bring together students of psychic phenomena who can demonstrate and share the national variations that may appear in their studies. Psychic functioning is no doubt part of our human condition and therefore the science of parapsychology is truly universal. Our established principles and protocols for scientific study worldwide are only enriched when we have the opportunity to come together over the conference table—or in today’s fashion—via the internet.

My late mother, PF’s second President, Eileen Coly, opened our 20th International Conference in 1971 entitled “Parapsychology Today:  A Geographic View” with the following statement which still rings true for us in 2017:

“I think it fair to say that parapsychology is one of the great unifying forces that overcome national boundaries and national frictions with ease.  All of you here today symbolize that unity.”

Special thanks are due to the PF International Affiliates who brought these deserving “New Faces” to our attention. Professor Caroline Watt of the Department of Psychology at the University of Edinburgh nominated her post-graduate student (herself from Portugal) Ana Flores, Dr. Zoltán Vassy of Hungary nominated his former student Csongor Matyi, and Dr. Wellington Zangari and Dr. Fátima R. Machado nominated Dr. Zangari’s post-graduate student and InterPsi member, Gabriel Teixeira de Medeiros.

Ana Flores talked about the problem of replicability in parapsychology and her experiment which tested the theoretical model proposed and developed by IGPP physicist and psychologist Walter von Lucadou using the Correlation Matrix Method. Csongor Matyi, a counselor and university instructor in the history and methodology of scientific parapsychology, reviewed an auto-ganzfeld experiment he conducted for his Masters degree that explored the impact of emotionally-laden target materials. Finally, Gabriel Teixeira de Medeiros reviewed his research into the similarity and differences of the phenomenology of experiences that were identified by some experiencers as OBEs and by others as not OBEs. The recordings of their presentations, their PowerPoints and other materials are still available in the Parapsychology Foundation Lyceum Academy on the online teaching platform, WizIQ. Enrollment in the event is open until February 24th and is free. Interested individuals need only go to WizIQ and create a free learner’s account and then click here to enroll. Enrollees can watch the recordings of the sessions at their leisure and download the additional materials provided.

Our thoughtful and engaging speakers did an excellent job of introducing themselves and their subject matter. There was much to consider in the aftermath of their presentations. I am eager to reach out to other “New Faces in Parapsychology” as younger researchers from every discipline are literally the future of our endeavor. If the conference was any indication our future is bright! You need not be an official PF affiliate to bring worthy individuals to our attention. I would ask those who joined us and those of you who will access our conference to spread the word that PF is looking to create a working group of newcomers to the field with an idea to lend whatever support the PF has at hand to assist in the career development of these individuals as they continue to contribute the field’s research. I welcome your suggestions.

PF’s Plans for the Future

Many of you know that PF experienced its own “Near Death Experience” with the loss of most of its financial worth within the global financial nightmare of 2008. Slowly we have literally “clawed” our way back, managing to celebrate last year in December the anniversary of the establishment of our foundation, 65 years ago. I ask naturally for donations at all times but also for your support in spreading the word of our long standing efforts to propel and augment the field of parapsychological research. Nothing lasts forever—although we are certainly trying to extend the life of the Foundation and secure our legacy—and our Board of Trustees, even if it hastens the demise of PF, has chosen to maximize our contribution to young researchers by once again offering our Scholarship and Award Program. To this end, with formal announcements to come, I am happy to announce that this year, 2017, we will definitely reinstate the annual Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship, along with the Judith A. and Charles T. Tart Student Award, scholarly incentive awards, occasional small grants and from time to time the Frances P. Bolton Fellowship. It goes without saying that if PF had more financial resources to draw on we would be able to expand our programs, so please keep that in mind. Foundation support can take many forms from donating on our YouTube channel to exploring the other options available. Literally we seek to put what little money we have on the line by—as we say in the US—“putting our money where our mouth is”!

We have occasionally mentioned our PF Lyceum courses which started in the early 2000s. We established our PF Lyceum Academy on WizIQ this past year with an eye towards providing even more online educational opportunities. In October of 2016, for example, we offered a four week PF Lyceum forum on Physical Mediumship with our own Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado and three guest speakers. I am proud that soon we will have another course on offer. Our PF Lyceum website, will be undergoing an overhaul this year, followed by the Psychic Explorers website and the Exceptional Human Experiences website, updating content and making sure our suite of sites are all mobile ready. The Parapsychology Foundation YouTube channel literally grows weekly as we convert and post the treasure trove of “classic” legacy lectures, conference presentations, and interviews that we have amassed over our long history. Newly filmed endeavors such as our soon to launch “PF on the Move” series are also in preparation. Speaking of “PF on the Move”, the first of that series will highlight a visit to the Rhine Research Center in Durham, North Carolina here in the US. The Rhine is the successor to the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University where it is said that experimental parapsychology was launched, although as past PF grantee, former Executive Director of the Rhine (when it was called the Institute for Parapsychology) and retired Senior Lecturer at the University of Northhampton, Dr. Richard S. Broughton, has reminded us that experimental research existed on the international scene long before J. B. Rhine came to Duke. Still the impact of the work of both J. B. Rhine and Louisa E. Rhine, after whom the Rhine Center was named, cannot be overestimated, especially in the American context. In any case, we have some other directives “on the back burner” that will be announced as we go along, so please don’t count us out!  Remember to follow us on social media and on this, our newly launched blog.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions or suggestions and to the rest of our PF family which includes:

PF Research Fellows

Carlos S. Alvarado, PhD
Nancy L. Zingrone, PhD
Kathy Dalton, PhD
James G. Matlock, PhD

PF Research Associate

Gonçalo Veiga

Administrative Assistant

Anastasia Damalas

Outreach Coordinator

Natasha Chisdes

Film Archivist

Susan MacWilliam

Bryan Williams, the Assistant Director of Research for the Psychical Research Foundation, while holding no specific official title other than past Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship winner often lends PF and staff his support and expertise for which we are very appreciative.  He is certainly considered one of “our gang”.

Together, as I often say, “Onwards and upwards” like our PF spiral undulating progressively upwards, we can, with your help, further our quest for explanation of the mysteries of the psychic world. Please join us and remember that the free online course Parapsychology Research and Education also known as ParaMOOC2017 is still available for enrollment with live sessions still in progress. The PF International Affiliate New Faces Conference, although now in recordings, is also still open to enrollment (until February 24th). And of course don’t forget to check out our Parapsychology Foundation YouTube channel where many of our past events are available, including last year’s PF International Affiliates Conference, with more content coming!

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