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Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections
Rosemary Pilkington, Editor.
Esprit, volume 2. San Antonio, Anomalist Books, 2013
For many years I’ve received numerous inquiries from people who want to become parapsychologists, mainly idealistic young people. The first bit of advice I give them is to ask the question, “Are you independently wealthy?” If you are, you can have a very interesting career, but if, like the vast majority of us, you have to work for a living, then as much as I love parapsychology, as much as I think it’s vitally important, I have to tell you that it may be very difficult to make any kind of living as a parapsychologist. I don’t like saying this, discouraging idealistic young folks, but I feel I have to be realistic in my advice.
Not that I took that advice myself when I decided to devote a significant part of my career to parapsychology. I was young and idealistic (and am still very idealistic!), and didn’t think about things like the need to make a living, and I’m very glad I didn’t take my advice. Luckily the part of my career devoted to more conventional topics like dreams, hypnosis, altered states of consciousness, etc. led to enough success in a more conventional way that I’ve done all right career wise.
So who are the handful of people who work to become scientific parapsychologists anyway? Who want to find out what’s real and not real in the psychic category, how it works, what it means? This just published book is an excellent answer to that question. I’m going to advise it as necessary reading for the people who write me for advice about going into the field, and I think lots of other people will find it of interest.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m one of the people profiled in the book, and like almost all of them, I wrote my own biographical sketch. I also do not have any financial incentive to encourage people to read the book, but, in my belief that I think parapsychology is very important to give us a more noble image of humanity than materialism gives us, I have a lot of incentive to tell people about this book.
What was really interesting and surprising to me when my copy of the book came was that I expected to put it on the shelf with my reference books and perhaps look at it occasionally when I needed to find some bit of factual information about other parapsychologists. But as I started to browse in it, I got hooked! What an interesting bunch of people! And even though I knew almost all of these people professionally, I hadn’t really known about them personally, or the reasons they got into the field, and I was very touched by their stories.
Properly done, science prides itself on the objectivity and factualness of its conclusions, but in the real world, science is done by people, people with hopes and fears, strong points and weak points, needs to prove something, needs to not be fooled. If you want a quite different look at parapsychology than just the scientific publications, and enjoy learning about people, I highly recommend this book!
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