Page 8 - The Spirit Book
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American Society for Psychical Research

Sherman, Harold: You Can Communicate With the Boston in 1885, by Sir William Fletcher Barrett of 

Unseen World. New York: Fawcett, 1974
the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR). 

World ITC Organization:
The initial directors included astronomer Professor 

Simon Newcombe, President; N.D.C. Hodges, 

Secretary; and Vice Presidents Professors Stanley 

Hall, George S. Fullerton, Edward C. Pickering, 

ILand Charles S. Minot. Renowned Harvard psy- 
chologist and philosophy Professor William James 
In 1920 distinguished British psychical 
was a founding member. The society aimed to 
research investigator and author Hereward 
investigate apparitions, hypnosis, mediumship, 
Carrington founded the American Psychical 
telepathy, and all other fields of parapsychology.
Institute and Laboratory for specialized research. 
In 1887 Dr. Richard Hodgson, the British 
Sigmund Freud was invited to become a member 
SPR’s chief investigator, came to America to act 
in 1921 but declined, saying that he wanted to 
as Secretary to the ASPR. He continued in this 
keep psychoanalysis distinctly apart from the 
position until he suffered a fatal heart attack 
occult. Freud did, however, admit to his fascina- 
while playing handball at the Boat Club in 
tion for the field. He is reported to have said, “I 
Boston, Massachusetts on December 20, 1905.
am not one of those who, from the outset, disap- 
prove of the study of so-called occult psychologi- 
In 1889, under Professor S. P. Langley’s presi- 
cal phenomena as unscientific, as unworthy or 
dency, the American society affiliated with its 
even dangerous. If I were at the beginning of a British counterpart due to financial problems. 

scientific career, instead of, as now, at the end of After Hodgson’s death in 1905, the society dis- 

it, I would perhaps choose no other field of work, solved but reemerged the following year, as a sep- 

in spite of its difficulties.”
arate entity from the British SPR. Dr. James Her- 

vey Hyslop became President and took over 
The Institute existed for only two years, but in 
where Hodgson had left off as Chief Investigator 
1933 it was resurrected, reorganized, and incorpo- 
for the society.
rated. Originally headquartered at 20 West 58th 

Street, New York, by 1937 it had moved to 247 On Hyslop’s death in 1920, Dr. Walter 
Park Avenue, New York. Carrington was Direc- 
Franklin Prince assumed the presidency and 
tor of the Institute and his wife, Marie Sweet 
served until he resigned five years later. The soci- 
Carrington, its Secretary. An advisory council ety has enjoyed active participation from a num- 

made up of a number of men of distinction in the ber of outstanding scientists and philosophers, 

field helped lead the association, which pub- among them the physicists Sir William Barrett 

lished a quarterly journal titled Bulletins.
and Sir Oliver Lodge. By 1940 Gardner Murphy 

had become a Vice President and he assumed the 

presidency in 1962. He initiated the first wireless 
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. Lon- 
electronic voice phenomena telepathic experi- 
don: Arthurs Press, 1933
ments in Chicago and New Jersey. He also focused 
Spark Online:
the research of the society on scientific experi- 

ments, especially in extrasensory perception, 

working with Dr. J. B. Rhine, and on altered 
states of consciousness and survival after death.
Today the American Society for Psychical 

The oldest psychical research organization in Research is headquartered in New York and 

the United States, the American Society for maintains one of the world’s largest libraries of 

Psychical Research (ASPR) was founded in
books on parapsychology.


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