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Psychical EES/EHES
Record Type: Review   ID: 842

"That Must Have Been ESP!": An Examination of Psychic Experiences

Virtanen, Leea

 This work was originally published in Finnish in 1977 based on 865 reported experiences gathered in the 1970s. The author, who is Professor and Chair of the Department of Folklore at the University of Helsinki and has published several other books dealing with aspects of the folklore of the supernatural. Virtanen states: "This book demonstrates, I feel, that an individual's psychic experiences may be analyzed in light of the percipient's oral history and that significant regularities occur (e.g., the clear dependence of experiences on state of consciousness, the differences between simultaneous and prophetic experiences). I believe, as well, that results similar to the ones presented here would be forthcoming from collections made in any country whatsoever. Although this book is the work of a folklorist, the results show that the experiences are not dependent a priori on folk belief or the percipient's repertoire of traditional lore. Indeed, the results point toward a phenomenon which may alter our current understanding of humanity" (p. xvii). The phenomena she set out to study she labels "simultaneous informatory experiences," or instances of what parapsychologists would call ESP. She analyzed the experiences in several ways, with a chapter devoted to each of the following: states of consciousness, types of simultaneous experience, subjects of simultaneous experiences, percipients, objects (persons and events), the significance of the experience, and experiences of the future. A summary of findings is presented in an Epilogue. The author avers that compiling this work "has greatly modified my own outlook on the nature of life and my attitude toward other people, destroying for me the line I had drawn between the known and the unknown" (p. 152). Although Virtanen reaches conclusions similar to those of L.E. Rhine, her book is worth reading because as a folklorist, she asks slightly different questions, considers slightly different variables, and uses different terms, all of which serve to open up the subject rather than channeling it along well-worn channels.
Publisher Information:Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. 169p. Chap. bibl: 164-169; Glossary: 162-163; 18 tables
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