Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

An Analysis of Exceptional Experiences Involving Telecommunication technology/Un Analisis De Experiences Excepcionales Con Tecnologia De Telecomunicaciones/ Une Analyse Des Experiences Exceptionnelles Impliquant Une Technologie De Communication/ eine Analyse Aussergewohnlicher Erfahrungen Unter Verwendung der Telekommunikationstechnologie

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

An Analysis of Exceptional Experiences Involving Telecommunication technology/Un Analisis De Experiences Excepcionales Con Tecnologia De Telecomunicaciones/ Une Analyse Des Experiences Exceptionnelles Impliquant Une Technologie De Communication/ eine Analyse Aussergewohnlicher Erfahrungen Unter Verwendung der Telekommunikationstechnologie

Article excerpt

Following the completion of the study into anomalous telephone call experiences carried out by Rogo and Bayless (1979), it was requested by Schmeidler that the next step for the researchers should be to publish the study, with its full methodology and findings explained, in a peer-reviewed journal. However, this was never done.

Following an elaboration of the original 1979 study 30 years on (Cooper, 2012a), Matthew Colborn provided a positive review of the study with some important constructive criticism. In discussing the analysis chapter, Colborn (2013, p. 102) states that "Although the analysis is welcome, I must admit that I found it hard to tell sometimes whether Cooper was analysing old cases from Rogo and Bayless's archives, new ones that he had collected himself, or a mix of both. This chapter needed to be better signposted, and it might have been a good idea to have included a detailed account of the sources, methods used and results as an appendix." This criticism was also recently echoed by Boccuzzi (2013), with both reviewers sharing the opinion that telephone anomalies are a neglected area of research worthy of further study. Previously, the methods and results of this study have been presented only via conference and guest lectures (Cooper, 2012b). Rogo and Bayless (1979) mentioned that they had used a content analysis but gave very little description of what this involved. Cooper (2012a, 2012b) discussed the use of a content analysis via the qualitative method of thematic analysis. It was these methods--and outcomes-that Colborn (2013) and Boccuzzi (2013) requested further information on, regarding their application, the data used, and the findings.

Taking the suggestions of Colborn (2013) and Boccuzzi (2013) into account, and to honour the request of Schmeidler, this paper addresses the methods used for data collection, the analysis, and the findings, thus finally providing a clear published record of the process that took place in the book/study entitled Telephone Calls From the Dead: A Revised Look at the Phenomenon Thirty Years on (Cooper, 2012a).

No mention of the electronic voice phenomenon (EVP) will be given in this paper, as it is generally considered a sought experience, whereas the telephone calls are spontaneous phenomena that are rarely anticipated and subsequently digitally recorded.

When people report spontaneous exceptional experiences, we could define the event as follows, "[Appearing] as unusual to the person having the experience or in the sense that the processes involved in the experience appear to be 'non-ordinary"'(Smith, 2010, p. 1). Thus, in such situations, parapsychology is typically dealing with a variety of phenomena that could involve some form of apparition (e.g., Tyrrell, 1953), death-bed visions with sights and sounds attributed to the dying (e.g., Rogo, 1974), poltergeist activity (e.g., Roll, 1976), and hauntings (e.g., Fontana, 2005, pp. 55-90), to name but a few.

Thirty years ago few parapsychologists had heard of people reporting exceptional experiences regarding the telephone (Rogo & Bayless, 1979, p. 10), specifically incidents of receiving calls purportedly from someone known to be dead, or a strange call from a living person who was later confirmed to be elsewhere when the call was made. Nothing was published specifically on such telephone experiences--in any field of research--from the mid-1980s until 2010 (see Cooper, 2012a, p. 18). And yet, such events have been reported to occur, and more commonly than most people would care to believe.

In 1979, D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless presented what was to be the first publication of a 2-year investigation into the collecting and analysing of accounts of spontaneous anomalous telephonic experiences (Rogo & Bay less, 1979). The data came from a variety of places (worldwide): people wrote to them, some accounts were passed on to them by other parapsychologists (who weren't sure what to do with them), and some had already been published in related parapsychology periodicals and books. …

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