Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

RSPK and consciousness/RSPK Y consciencia/RSPK et conscience/RSPK (SPUK) Und Bewusstsein

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

RSPK and consciousness/RSPK Y consciencia/RSPK et conscience/RSPK (SPUK) Und Bewusstsein

Article excerpt

RSPK primarily consists of movements of household objects and furniture, that is, objects weighing a few ounces to several pounds. In other words, the occurrences are energetic displays involving material objects that ordinarily are constrained by inertia and gravitation. As a rule, couches and tables move shorter distances than lighter objects, which is to be expected if the light and heavy objects are both subject to energies of the same intensity. At the same time the events reflect the psychological relationship between the agent and others in the area, including investigators.

The first poltergeist case one of us explored (WGR) (Pratt & Roll, 1958) was "the house of flying objects" in the town of Seaford on Long Island. Detective Joseph Tozzi, who was in charge of a police investigation, said that he and another police officer had witnessed some of the occurrences and could not explain them away as trickery. At first Tozzi suspected Jimmy, the 12-year-old son in the family, because he was usually at home and awake when things moved. Pratt and WGR subsequently spent several days in the home during which time there was an incident in the basement when they were with the family upstairs.

Similarly to most other psi researchers, Pratt and WGR thought the incidents were due to unconscious PK by the person who was at the center of the activity, in this case Jimmy. They named the phenomena "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" or RSPK. The things that were affected usually belonged to the parents and the events often happened in their living space. For instance, two porcelain figurines, a male and a female, broke in the sitting room, which was reserved for the adult members of the family (Roll, 1968). Psychological studies of the boy suggested that he had strong feelings of anger, especially towards his father.

Jimmy was evidently the source of the energy because the incidents clustered around the boy and then became less frequent with increased distance. Such attenuations are also shown by known forms of energy. Unlike inanimate forces, however, the activity in Jimmy's home was confined to the living space he shared with his family. There were no incidents at his school nor, as far as Pratt and WGR knew any occurrences in the yard outside the home. The energy seemed to have had a psychological component that was confined to the space Jimmy shared with his family.

WGR made similar observations at other RSPK sites. For instance, in the Newark case (Roll, 1969), the disturbances occurred in an apartment occupied by the 12-year-old agent and his grandmother. The neighbors knew about the incidents but none of them reported anything out of the ordinary in their own apartments. The incidents did not extend beyond the boy's psychological space.

The six cases we investigated all showed a significant attenuation with distance. At this time, we were collaborating with a colleague of one of us (WTJ) from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Duke University, Dr. John Artley, through the Psychical Research Foundation where WGR was project director. This collaboration was extended to include Dr. Don Burdick of the Department of Mathematics at Duke, and we four examined similarities between the RSPK attenuation and known physical forms of attenuation.

But was the effect real? There seemed to be genuine RSPK incidents in all six cases, as attested to by WGR and other witnesses. Objects that moved in close proximity to the agent often did so when the agent was unobserved, such as when the agent was preparing to go to sleep. It was possible that some of the incidents close to the agent were due to normal throwing of nearby objects and that this resulted in the clustering of occurrences close to the agent. There were three cases in which this could not have been the explanation. In the Miami case (Roll & Pratt, 1971), the Olive Hill case (Roll, 1972, Ch. 11; Roll & Stump, 1969) and the Resch case (Roll, 1993), the incidents used for our analysis took place when the agent was being observed by outside witnesses, usually by WGR or his colleagues. …

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