On the Origin of Spectres: The Burden of Proof for Psychical Research (available from Kindle/Amazon)
The general subject of psychic phenomena, and specific possibility of the survival of death, has endured since the 4th century BC when Socrates conversed with what he called his Daimon. The Bible, like all of the world’s major Scriptures, discusses its own examples placed within a religious, and of course subsequent, framework which was continued by hagiography into later times. As Spengler so brilliantly chronicled, this development was, slowly but surely over centuries, a movement from an Arab world nexus into a western phenomenon via the Mediterranean and its trade routes. To those of a world perspective, the logistics of its pervasiveness may be as surprising as so-called Renaissance art that was originally only the preserve of a small elite class of Florence. But religion is just one element of the equation.
The subject of what’s termed supernatural (or just supra-natural)continued throughout the Middle Ages whether in a religious context or outside it. Shakespeare and Spencer discussed it, the Enlightenment wrestled with it, and the dawn of Science fell into two clear camps: the mockers proud to ignore or ridicule, and those who ran the risk of forfeiting their careers simply to examine it in scientific terms. Today, the world of science and its media have returned to the former position, prefering to ignore the evidence that was examined and (for the most part) meticulously recorded in as scientific a way as the times allowed. Their claim that there’s no evidence is simply laziness.
The reasons and background of this position today need to be also examined for what is clearly a regressive position of choice, which goes against the grain of the methodology that science apportions to itself, namely objectivity and open-mindedness. It may be that science has simply fragmented into ever more narrow (but still deep) fields of specialisation, and thus remain unsure what science is the appropriate one to be applied to the subject. Or that science has taken on the mantle of a religion itself, with its own priests and theologians setting the doctrine to be followed by pilgrims without dialogue except as orthodox and heterodox (‘mavericks’).
In crude, but appropriate terms, Science simply expects non-scientists to agree with them that something doesn’t exist because they say so. But that (alleged) scientist invariably has not studied other scientists who say the contrary, that they have proved the opposite. And proved it to be beyond or outside telepathy t’boot. Can one prove something that is not supposed to exist? Can one claim to be an expert–to give an expert opinion–on something they say doesn’t exist? Here lies the burden of proof whatever the subject may be.
Over 800 pages on the history with the best cases, foremost researchers and leading responses then and later. The history of the Society of Psychical Research, American Society of Psychical Research and other national organisations are carefully examined and compared. Separate chapters look at researchers, mediums, famous interested figures (Arthur Conan Doyle; Houdini; Freud; Jung; actors etc), haunted sites across the world, nuclear physics, photography, near-death experience, Electronic Voice Phenomena and technology among other subjects.
The work, based on many hundreds of texts as well as personal experiences, builds up to what is a tentative theory based on all that has been studied, including the anomalies that even exist in the anomalous (e.g. still-mortal living people communicating at seances; reincarnation; xenoglossy; bi-location; poltergeists as separate from ghosts or spirits). The point of focus is: why do spirits, ghosts, poltergeists do what they do, and the manner of what they are doing. Why do they react or not react, communicate or watch or just continue banal activities as if indifferent to being witnessed or not. Are they being intercepted or by-passed? Can they see us?!
Judge for yourself at last based on as full a compendium of the important material as space permits. Fear of the subject is certainly with us only since Hollywood, and may be as irrational as a fear of spiders, over which humans tower as trees. If nothing else, there may be comfort here for the sadness of loss. And so far, neither all religions or sciences have been able to attain that to any degree of certainty. I welcome feedback on this subject.