Looking Back, First

Teaching Book by Dr Beverley Jane Paranormal Research

My most recent journey into the realms of the paranormal began about five years ago and only ended earlier this month (April 09) when I completed my masters degree at Monash University. The topic of my thesis was the paranormal and the basis of my study was an online survey into parapsychological experiences. Even today this study is still referred to on Wikipedia.

Anyway, by way of introduction to me and this research topic here is a copy of the Press Release that was circulated by the University at the time to alert the media and interested people to the existence of this internet-based questionnaire. (Dr Jane was my Supervisor.)

Surveying the Paranormal

Monash University is investigating the paranormal using an international, online survey. The poll titled, ‘The Nature Incidence and Impact of Spontaneous Paranormal Experiences’, is asking people about their experiences of premonitions, out-of-body and near-death episodes, telepathy and apparitions.

The supervisor of the research study, Faculty of Education senior lecturer, Dr Beverley Jane, said the aim of the research is to gather information about people’s experiences of paranormal events that cannot be explained using the current laws of science.

“This includes out-of-body and near-death experiences, premonitions, telepathy, and ghosts ,” she said.  “We are interested in knowing more about what people are experiencing, how frequently these phenomena occur, at what age they start, and the impact they have on those who experience them. In particular, we would like to survey people who have had paranormal experiences but have been reluctant to talk about them, until now.”

Dr Jane reported that nearly number of people from all over the world have already responded to their questions online. “They are sincere and they want to report what they have experienced,” she said.

The survey forms part of a research study into the paranormal by Monash Masters student, Ms Rosemary Breen.  There has been an explosion of interest in the paranormal in recent years, so much so that it is now considered mainstream and part of everyday contemporary life for many people,” Ms Breen said.  “It is also the central tenet of most cultures, and some of the earliest reports of paranormal phenomena are found in ancient scriptures including the Talmud, the Koran, Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible and the Kabbalah.”

A recent Gallup poll indicated that three out of four Americans hold at least one paranormal belief, and a UK newspaper poll showed that 60 per cent of Britons accept the existence of the paranormal.  However, little is known about contemporary spontaneous experiences, and official surveys are rare.

“The potential benefits of participation in this study include adding to the volume of academic literature on spontaneous paranormal events, and helping raise the level of understanding about the immediate and long term effects of such phenomena on the individual and on society,” Dr Jane said.

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