Can you please help? Kings College London are conducting a series of psychological tests to ascertain how different individuals respond to psychic, spiritual or just unusual perhaps paranormal experiences. I was recently approached by Ms. Raphael Underwood who is a PhD student at the college and she asked if I could help her to find volunteers in the London Area to take part in her study. I believe that this is potentially a very useful academic examination of the effects that experiencing the supernatural can have on people. I clearly recall my first encounter with the paranormal as a child when I heard a discarnate voice in the dark cellar of my grandparents 17th century cottage, it was interesting until I told my father who, being a Catholic Christian, was not amused. I went on to have numerous further supernatural encounters and later in life became a psychic medium. If you feel that your own psychic experiences have had an effect on your life, be that good, bad of otherwise and you live in the Greater London area then perhaps you could help Raphael. This is how he describes his research project:
Spiritually oriented practices such as meditation, yoga, and energy healing have become increasingly popular over the past four decades, having steadily evolved towards wider acceptance from their counter-cultural roots in the 1960s. Recent evidence shows that an increasing number of the Western population considers themselves to be ‘spiritual but not religious’, and are adopting in their everyday lives modern spiritual practices and ideas. This has sparked an interest in the varieties of spiritual, psychic, and ESP experiences within certain branches of academia, such as sociology, anthropology, and psychology.
Within spiritual groups, research has shown that many people describe having what would superficially be considered ‘unusual’ experiences like hearing voices or changes in one’s perception, or extrasensory communications or spiritual-type experiences. These types of ‘unusual’ experiences (like any other experience) can be interpreted and responded to in different ways. For some people these experiences have a negative impact on their life and result in input from mental health services. However, for those who belong to spiritual organisations or endorse psychic or ESP phenomena, these experiences appear to have a positive impact and can be life-enriching.
Our research project will attempt to identify what distinguishes between people whose unusual experiences are positive from those whose experiences become distressing. You may worry that this project might involve negative judgements of people whose experience and beliefs might be considered unconventional or unusual – this is NOT the aim of the study. On the contrary, we are interested in gaining a fuller understanding of the different ways in which people interpret and respond to unusual experiences. We hope a better psychological understanding of these types of experiences will, in the long term, help other people to accept them more readily.
We are interested in speaking to people in the London area who have unusual experiences or spiritual or mystical experiences. Taking part will involve meeting with the researcher, on one or two occasions. In total it will take approximately two hours to complete the study. Breaks will be available as needed at any point during the session.
You will be asked about some of your ‘unusual’ experiences and the strategies you use when they occur. You will also take part in some brief testing of your concentration, memory, and reasoning, using a variety of tests and puzzles. We will ask you to complete four computer-based tasks – one will look at the effect of distraction on an attention task, two will involve a simple test of reasoning, and the last will be a test of facial emotion recognition.
You will also be asked to complete a set of questionnaires. This study is interested in a wide range of factors in your life which may be of relevance, and the questionnaires will be asking about your current situation (including what it’s like where you live, your current religious practices and drug use); your current mood (including your view of the world and yourself). The researcher is fully trained in talking to people about such experiences in a sensitive, non-judgemental and empathic way. Finally, you will be compensated £20 for your time.
I am an academic researcher in psychology, part of the UNIQUE (Unusual Experiences Inquiries) team at King’s College London headed by Dr Emmanuelle Peters. Our work was recently mentioned in a popular blog covering the science of religious experiences: http://philosophyforlife.org/the-new-science-of-religious-experiences/#sthash.v5Yd21Xe.dpuf
Given the growing societal interest in spiritual practices and literature, there is an important gap in our knowledge of Modern Spirituality and the diversity of experiences people in such groups report having, which must be addressed. If you’re interested in taking part in our project, please contact me:
Department of Psychology, PO78
King’s College London
De Crespigny Park
London SE5 8AF
I feel sure that there will be many Spiritualists who will want to help others to understand the true nature of spirit communication and other aspects of the paranormal. Please, if you have any time and can help then do contact Raphael as above and mention that you have read this article in Psychic World. I am absolutely certain that you will enjoy the happy experience of working with trained psychologists who are genuinely seeking the truth.