Worlds of David Darling
Encyclopedia of Science
   
Home > Encyclopedia of Science

parapsychology




Also known as psychic research, a field of study concerned with scientific evaluation of two distinct types of phenomena: those collectively termed ESP, and those concerned with life after death, reincarnation, etc., particularly including claims to communication with souls of the dead (spiritualism). Tests of the former have generally been inconclusive, of the latter almost exclusively negative. But in both cases many believers hold that such phenomena, being beyond the bounds of science, cannot be subjected to laboratory evaluation. In spiritualism, the prime site of the alleged communication is the séance, in which one individual (the medium) goes into a trance before communicating with the souls of the dead, often through a spirit guide (a spirit associated particularly with the medium). The great disparity between different accounts of the spirit world has led to the whole field being treated with skepticism.


Related category

   • SCIENTIFIC MYSTERIES