Book Review -The Invisible College – 2003

Research Item

The future of that Trojan horse is now, again, in the balance. In the United States, parapsychology is to some extent in decline, despite the doubtless accurate claims of a growing “invisible college ” of academics interested in psi phenomena. This is because in the United States psi private benefactors have primarily funded research. But as these individuals die off, or lose interest and divert their funding to other areas, para-psychological researchers are being left somewhat high and dry. On the other hand, parapsychology in Britain is booming – numerous universities there now have parapsychology units (largely due to Bob Morris’s stratagem of seeding academe with dozens of PhD’s in parapsychology) and this pattern is expanding as these places produce more PhD graduates. But some psychic researchers in Britain are unhappy with this development, complaining that university – based parapsychology is essentially reductionist in attitude, seeking to embed itself within mainstream paradigms. They fear a sell-out at Edinburgh, a fear exacerbated by rumors that the Koestler Chair has been renamed the Robert Morris Chair and that the shortlist of candidates for the Chair contained mainly psi – skeptical psychologists. But lobbying of Edinburgh by the concerned PSI researchers seems to have had some effect because the shortlisted candidates were rejected as of 8 December 2005. At the time of this writing, the whole selection process appears to be in limbo because of this unexpected outcome and the subsequent advent of the holiday season. The final conclusion is therefore in doubt. It could come to pass that Koestler’s name might be effectively written out of the history of para-psychology, with a career psychologist quite possibly inherently hostile to the idea of psi phenomena sitting in the Chair he founded. On the other hand, wiser counsel might prevail. By the time readers see this page, it is possible all will be revealed.

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