THE SOCIETY for Psychical Research was set up in London in 1882, the first scientific organisation ever to examine claims of psychic and paranormal phenomena. We hold no corporate view about their existence or meaning; rather, our purpose is to gather information and foster understanding through research and education.
We are a registered charity run by a council of elected members, with committees overseeing various activities. Past presidents have included philosophers William James and Henri Bergson, scientists William Crookes, John Strutt (Lord Rayleigh) and Charles Richet, and British conservative prime minister Arthur Balfour. We are always looking to increase our funding for research and education, through donations and bequests.
Our members represent a variety of academic and professional interests all over the world. We welcome active researchers and volunteer helpers, also those who wish to learn about the subject.
Today, the SPR continues to promote and support the main areas of psychical research, carrying out field investigations, surveys and experimental work. It holds no corporate view about the true origin and meaning of psi – as telepathic and other psychical phenomena are now collectively termed – and debate among its members with regard to particular subjects is often vigorous. However, it’s fair to say that from the earliest times the consensus view of its members – and of the psi research community in general – has been that psi is real, and that while the phenomena should certainly be explained in scientific terms, such a science does not at present exist.
Regular events are organised at our Head Office in Kensington ranging from lectures, demonstrations, discussion forums and study days plus an annual conference is held at a different residential venue to share and discuss a wide range of subjects.
There are different types of psychic or spiritual medium who may display various abilities that may be used in front of an audience in a public setting like clairvoyance or offered in a private setting to provide a more personal reading.
As much as I enjoy watching TV ghost shows, I have to say that I am often quite irritated when I detect that the investigators involved may be faking the supposed paranormal activity. It is soooo annoying. Sadly, such manufactured “ghostly” activity has become far too common in these shows, and this often results in my reaching for the OFF switch of my TV set with a weary sigh.
When I sit down to watch a ghost hunting show, I expect it to be GENUINE, and not just some exaggerated piece of shallow rubbish, with obviously scripted dialogue and over-theatrical behaviour when even as much as a spoon is chucked across a darkened room.
When I first started watching these shows, I did initially think that they were all genuine, especially when the presenter took you into actual haunted places and interviewed the owners and other people there about their reported “paranormal” experiences. However, the more I watched these shows, and the more I read certain devious things about them that raised questions about their sincerity, the more I began to doubt that they were all that they seemed to be. Furthermore, the antics of these TV investigators became so tiresome and predictable that I even found myself bursting out laughing, as they were just getting to be beyond a joke. Just as if you would stay in a creepy, darkened cellar whilst being repeatedly assaulted by an apparent “malevolent entity”, and just as if a spirit would immediately – and without fail – respond to your queries of “Is anybody there?” with well-timed knocks.
The fakery and theatrics in a lot of these shows has become so regular now that it is becoming increasingly difficult to know which incidents are genuine and which are staged. It’s just like the boy who cried wolf, for one day these investigators could actually experience GENUINE paranormal activity, but if they have generated a rather dogdy reputation for themselves for faking ghostly activity, then they are going to find it very difficult to convince viewers that this time it’s all for real.
Even some of the so-called “psychic mediums” that accompany the TV investigators to these supposedly “haunted” buildings can often project a rather ludicrous, questionable impression. “Is there anybody there?” they call out, and on the occasions that they DO appear to contact a spirit, they give pretty thin and vague descriptions which almost anybody who knows how to exaggerate spirit medium capability would be able to do, with no trouble. To be honest, I am quite surprised that these TV ghost shows have been allowed to get away with their exaggerated investigation antics for so long, as there must be millions of people who have sussed them out and, as a result, are switching their program off, just as I have been doing.
Just for once, I would LOVE to see a GENUINE, SERIOUS paranormal investigation show – one whose makers would not feel the need to resort to staging silly ghostly activity in order to inject some kind of “entertainment” factor into the programme to boost up ratings. I would rather endure an hour or so of little paranormal activity from a truthful investigation than be subjected to false “bumps” in the night and manufactured moans and howls from a TV crew who are just doing it to keep up their TV fame.
Come on, PROPER TV ghost hunters – where are you all?
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