Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Roundable: Parapsychology and Children Revisited; Children in the History of Parapsychology

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Roundable: Parapsychology and Children Revisited; Children in the History of Parapsychology

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT: Children have played an important and interesting role in the development of parapsychology. Cases such as those of supposed clairvoyant Leonide Pigeaire and the Fox Sisters did much to construct and maintain ideas of psychic functioning and of the validity of certain explanatory concepts, namely, animal magnetism and communication with the dead. The first major experimental work on thought transference conducted by the Society for Psychical Research focused on the supposed abilities of the Creery sisters, who were caught using a code to fraudulently produce the effects.

Nonetheless, the Creery sisters gave impetus to early efforts to conduct experimental research. Similarly, early ESP card testing with children at the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University by Bond, Price, Pegram, and L. E. Rhine addressed some of the main concerns of the workers at the laboratory, mainly the distribution of ESP ability.

A great number of children have provided parapsychologists with cases that were influential in developing the ideas regarding different phenomena. Much was learned about poltergeist phenomena from the child cases of Angelique Cottin, Florrie C., Esther Cox, Eleonore Zugun, and James Herrman. The same may be said about reincarnation-type cases (e.g., Shanti Devi, Eduardo Esplugus-Cabrera, and Alexandrina Samona). Children have also provided parapsychologists with many important cases that are generally considered exemplars of specific phenomena. …

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