The Need for Responsibility in Parapsychology:
My Sixty Years in Psychical Research
E. J. DINGWALL
Since I gave up nearly all active work in psychical research, I have often been asked why, after more than sixty years' work in the field, I have finally lost most of my interest in it. There are two answers to the question. First, I have come to the conclusion that the present immense interest in occultism and in the grosser forms of superstition is due, to a certain extent at least, to the persistent and far-reaching propaganda put out by the parapsychologists. In this they have, I think, a very grave responsibility. With the gradual decline in the West of belief in Christianity has come not, as one might have hoped, a leaning toward the rational way of looking at the world but a decided tendency to adopt the magical way. Thus Christianity, unbelievable as it may be to the rational mind, has been supported by the occult superstitions of darker ages. One reason, therefore, for my ceasing work is that I do not wish to be associated with persons who actively support such superstitions as are today everywhere apparent. I cannot accept such responsibility.
The second reason is that, even if I wished, with increasing age I have neither the energy nor the capacity to check, substantiate, and attempt to verify the reports of cases I receive that either are already printed or are submitted to me with a view to publication. For example, some years ago certain experiments were undertaken in England under the auspices of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) into an alleged telepathic communication between a mother and her child. Year after year I pressed for a report on the results. Finally a paper was published by the Society in 1968 giving an account of the work and its results. The record started with a trial at guessing seven letters. It stated that at the first trial there were four successes; but the table showed that there were five. These learned parapsychologists could not even take the trouble to count the success or failure of seven guesses. Presumably all must have read the____________________