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Record Type: Review   ID: 1065

Parapsychology in Retrospect: My Search for the Unicorn

McConnell, R.A.

Biophysicist/parapsychologist McConnell writes that this "is a collection of essays, memoranda, and research reports concerning parapsychology as a science in an irrational world" (p. ix). Most of the chapters have an autobiographical slant. The first part, called Light, contains seven chapters, the first being the editor/publisher's autobiographical account of why he left physics for parapsychology. The second describes his attempt to distribute 4,800 copies of his privately published books to scientists world wide; it contains an appendix on self-publishing in parapsychology. The third chapter describes his efforts to obtain opinions about one of his PK experiments (which appears as Chapter 4) by sending a copy to over 500 scientists and scholars, only three of whom made substantial replies, two of which are reproduced here (Luis Alvarez and J.S. Bell). In the following chapters, he describes what he learned from counseling persons claiming psychic experiences who sought him for help. In Chapter 5, McConnell speculates that PK may be operating in the work of scientists in other fields, and presents Neal Miller's rat experiments as an example. In the next chapter he discusses the possibility of experimenter psi effects in research in biofeedback, hypnosis, multiple personality, and Ego-State Therapy.

In Part II, entitled "Shadow," he says he "has assembled parapsychological documents of a sociologically illuminating kind. Detailed case histories [involving the author] illustrate how, in parapsychology as in life generally, by loose symbolism and false logic, all of us distort the real world for our individual gain and to our collective disadvantage" (p. x). The 8th chapter tells how the author took up self-publishing because the editors of parapsychological journals appeared to discriminate against him. The next chapter is aimed at demonstrating reality avoidance in some reviews of his books. Chapter 10 relates instances of the manipulation techniques used by administrators to mismanage the author's parapsychology funding. Chapter 11 relates self-deception within parapsychology in the reports of J.W. Levy, the assistant J.B. Rhine (rightly) reported for doctoring his research results. The following chapter is about discrimination within the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal. In the final chapter, he examines the collective future of humankind, which he considers to be quite bleak, but he closes with the hope that parapsychology might save civilization as we know it.

Publisher Information:Pittsburgh, PA: The Author, 1987. 228p. Chap bibl; 12 figs; Ind: 222-228; 4 tables
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