A Field of Science
The science of parapsychology began with the interest aroused by the reports of spontaneous human experiences and events that are familiarly known as "psychic." These puzzling phenomena have never been claimed by any of the conventional branches of science, and until comparatively recent decades they had been ignored by all but a few scientists. Yet records of such occurrences have come from peoples of all cultures and periods and, simply as reported human experiences, they would manifestly have some proper claim on the attention of science. Moreover, they raise some very distinct and important questions for experimental investigation. At this point, however, these odd types of experiences are mentioned only to help in identifying the subject matter of the new science with which this volume is concerned.
It should from the very beginning be made clear that the phenomena with which parapsychology deals are all, without exception, events of nature. In other words, the field of problems belongs entirely to natural science. As the next chapter will indicate, the observations and experiments are dealt with strictly in the established manner of scientific inquiry. Accordingly, whatever comes out of the investigations of this field belongs, just as in any other branch of science, to the body of organized knowledge known as natural law.
More specifically, the observations and events dealt with in parapsychology--parapsychical phenomena--are associated in some central way with living organisms, as distinguished from inanimate matter. To limit the area still further, this science deals only (as far as we know) with behaving organisms; not, for ex-