Syllabus: Field Investigations - Investigating Apparitions, Hauntings, and Poltergeists

This course is designed as an overview to introduce students to the methodologies of parapsychologists specifically with regard to the spontaneous occurrence of psychic experiences as they occur outside laboratory settings, with a main focus on cases of reported Apparitions, Hauntings and Poltergeists. Attendees will gain an understanding of the very basic skills and needed for investigation of ghosts, poltergeists, haunted places and related psychic experiences. The class will include;

    • The conceptual models of the phenomena,
    • How the scientific and psychic approaches can mesh together, and
    • How to assess a situation, investigate it, and resolve the case to the satisfaction of the people having the experiences.

WEEK ONE:  General Overview of the course.

    • Basic concepts and spontaneous psi experiences:  the range of experiences and phenomena outside the laboratory and some commentary on field investigation of them: apparitions, hauntings, poltergeists, possession, channeling/mediumship, reincarnation, out of body experiences and near death experiences.

WEEK TWO: Scientific vs. Non-Scientific aspects of field investigation: What makes an investigation “scientific” and why this may not always be the only approach.

    • General investigative and observational skills necessary for any field case. 
    • Interviewing Skills and their application to field investigation
    • Historical and background research
    • Surveys

WEEK THREE:  Observational skills: How to look for other-than-psychic explanations. 

    • The role of skepticism in any investigation. 
    • “Normal” explanations – some considerations and examples
    • Basics of the psychology of deception and how misperception and misunderstanding can play a role in cases (the Magician’s perspective).
    • Evidence vs. Proof

WEEK FOUR: Basic discussion of detection techniques and the problems of gathering physical evidence.

    • Technology’s role in investigations (equipment, photography, etc.) and how the use of technology does and does not relate to Science.
    • Correlations between the environment and phenomena
    • What kind of technology can/should be used? What tech has been useful?
    • How does one interpret the data?

WEEK FIVE: Intuitive and Psychic Skills

    • The role of humans as “detectors” of the phenomena. 
    • The use of psychic practitioners in investigations (including assessment of their claims)
    • The phenomena: psi of the living or evidence for Survival of Bodily Death?

WEEK SIX: Categorizing phenomena: apparition, haunting, poltergeist, something non-paranormal, or a mixture?

    • Apparitions: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions
    • Hauntings: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions

WEEK SEVEN: Hauntings, continued

    • Poltergeists: Concepts, theories, methodologies and possible case resolutions
    • Interviewing and assessment of cases from start to finish. The role of counseling in the investigative process.

WEEK EIGHT: Other issues for consideration

    •  Belief-related issues (cultural and religious)
    •  Psychological/Counseling issues
    •  Legal issues for investigators
    •  Media involvement
    •  Class summary/wrap-up

Students passing the course will receive a certificate signed by Loyd Auerbach and will be entitled to be added to the network of investigators for Loyd Auerbach and the Office of Paranormal Investigators.

Syllabus: Advanced Field Investigations - Field Investigations II

See note below for those wanting to take the course without a grade.

This course is a deeper exploration of the topics covered in the Field Investigations course.

In this course, students will explore the topics of field investigations more deeply, including methods related to specific models of paranormal phenomena from a scientific perspective of a parapsychologist. In addition, this course will discuss the history of paranormal field research, provide details on dealing with clients and finding resolutions during investigations, discuss issues related to “public haunts” vs. private home cases, and provide more complex methods for exploring the evidence and analyzing data to reach a conclusion. Technology used in investigations* will be reviewed along with EVPs, and psychic, mediums, and other sensitives. The technology will be evaluated at a basic level for best use in both private homes and public site investigations.

Finally, this course will examine the psychology of perception and interpretation of activity and how non-paranormal explanations can apply in investigative circumstances. Parapsychology laboratory findings will be integrated into the course materials to explore how the laboratory studies apply to field investigations.


WEEK ONE:  General overview of the course and the importance of Parapsychology in field investigations

  • The importance of history and a quick review of the history of field investigations
  • The relationship between ESP & PK and “the paranormal” (apparitions, hauntings and poltergeists)
  • Why it’s important for field investigators to know about laboratory findings and theories of parapsychologists in general
  • Awareness of other fields of physical and social science, and why a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing for field investigators
  • The importance of knowing something about the psychology of deception (and fraud)

WEEK TWO: Dealing with Clients (living and dead) during investigations, resolutions, and follow-up.

    • Setting client expectations in advance (phone, email, etc.)
    • Setting client expectations from the start of the investigation
    • Assessing the client with regard to paranormal/psychic and religious beliefs, attitudes, etc.
    • Managing client expectations and reactions during/after the initial visit
    • Dealing with clients' fears
    • Dealing with unruly/difficult clients
    • Education of the client during the process
    • Managing the evidence (and psychic/mediumistic perceptions/communications) during the case with respect to the client
    • Helping the client take responsibility and become part of the solution
    • Confidentiality
    • How to keep a case confidential (where appropriate), yet still discuss it/report on it publicly

WEEK THREE:  Field investigation methodologies and models of the phenomena in Parapsychology in relation to assessment of evidence, conclusions, and resolutions.

    • Apparitions
    • Hauntings
    • Poltergeists
    • Non=Paranormal activities and explanations
    • Other psi experiences

WEEK FOUR: The investigation of Public Haunts

    • The difference between private home/locations and locations the public is aware of as ostensibly haunted
    • What makes an investigation?
    • How to approach the venue’s owner
    • How to understand the owner’s expectations, and how to manage them
    • What evidence matters?
    • What to do with collected evidence
    • What to focus on (and what to ignore) during the “investigations” run by others

WEEK FIVE: Applying tools of the investigation: from simple to technological to human

    • The importance of Interviewing Skills and Observational Skills as one’s main tools
    • How, When, and especially Why technology, including EVP recording devices, environmental sensors, and “people-tech” (witnesses, psychics, mediums, and other sensitives) fit best
      • Non-electronic tools
      • Electronic and other environmental sensors
      • EVP/ITC in an investigation
      • Psychics and Mediums
      • Potentially sensitive/psychic witnesses/clients
      • Issues of data interpretation
      • Issues of witness testimony/anecdotal evidence
      • Differences between private settings and public sites for the above

WEEK SIX: Psychology and Field Investigations: Is the client/witness psychologically disturbed, lying, or simply mistaken

    • The Psychology of Perception, Misperception, and Deception
    • Why would someone introduce Fraud into a case?
      • Witness Fraud
      • Investigator Fraud
    • Magic, Mentalism, and Psychic Fraud (and why a little knowledge is a dangerous thing)
    • The limited role of most investigators in assessing clients’ psychological condition
    • The importance of counseling

WEEK SEVEN: Hauntings, continued

    • Weighing the evidence
      • Witness testimony
      • Witnesses’ states of mind
      • Sensor data
      • Audio/visual data
      • Insights from psychics, mediums, or other sensitives
      • Observations/assessments of the physical environment
      • Potential alternative (to paranormal) explanations
    • Drawing conclusions
      • In light of what’s known in Parapsychology and Psychical Research: how the findings of lab research can provide insight
      • Considering some activity/experiences may not “fit”
    • Understanding that a conclusion may not stand if new experiences/evidence is reported
    • What to do with one’s conclusions – back to working with clients

WEEK EIGHT: Final points: Folklore, Pop Culture, Other Investigators/Researchers, and Course Wrap-up

    • The influence Folklore (including that created by psychic practitioners, and that created by religion-related beliefs/dogma) and Pop Culture on the general public (who report incidents/experiences), and other field investigators/ghost hunters
    • Assessing the methods, claims, and reports of other investigators
    • Understanding how the media reports on the Paranormal and ghost hunting
    • What’s most important in any investigation: the clients’ well-being, gathering evidence, having experiences, or Science in general?
    • Wrapping up and Your Next Steps as Field Investigators

NOTE: Students who are taking this course for a grade are required to have taken/done one of the following:

  1. Completed the the Field Investigations course from the Rhine for a grade and passed
  2. Taken the Ghost Hunting course from HCH Institute
  3. Established oneself as a knowledgeable student of parapsychology with Loyd Auerbach
  4. Passed a quiz on field investigations provided by Loyd Auerbach (email profparanormal@gmail.com)

If not taking this course for a grade (in other words, auditing the course), there are no prerequisites, though having taken the Introduction to Parapsychology course and/or the Field Investigations course is recommended.

*For an in-depth assessment of technology and field investigations, the Rhine Education Center offers a 4-week course called Paranormal Phenomena: EVP, ITC, and Other Technologies Used to Investigate the Paranormal.

Research Methods for Parapsychology Syllabus

Course Objectives

Introduce students to the scientific method and research methodologies used in psychological sciences. Specifically focus on the methods used in research of parapsychology and the methodology used to study anomalous phenomena and exceptional abilities. Include discussions of the scientific method, hypothesis testing, ethical issues in research, evaluating results, and designing experiments.

Course Outcomes

Students will have an understanding of basic experimental design principles and ethical issues related to research in parapsychology. Students will understand how experimental results are analyzed, and they will demonstrate an understanding of testing principles for ESP. Students will also understand issues related to the use of technology in testing for ESP and conditions that may affect results on ESP tests.


Course Outline

I. Experimental Methodology Overview

  • ·         Science vs. Pseudoscience.
  • ·         Research Methods
  • ·         Types of Research
  • ·         Research Process:
  • ·         Additional Consideration for Research

II. Basic Testing for General ESP

  • ·         Definitions of Telepathy, Clairvoyance, & Precognition
  • ·         Historical Testing Methods
  • ·         What is General ESP?
  • ·         Why use this term?
  • ·         Testing for GESP in the Ganzfeld
  • ·         Special Design Issues in Parapsychology
  • ·         Technology Applications

III. Testing Remote Viewing & Design Documents

  • ·         Definition of Remote Viewing
  • ·         Historical Testing Methods or Remote Viewing
  • ·         Issues with Historical Testing
  • ·         Target Selection
  • ·         Recent Remote Viewing Testing
  • ·         Practical Applications
  • ·         CRV & Teaching RV: Comparative Techniques
  • ·         Creating Design Documents
  • ·         Sample Design Document

IV. Testing PK & Survival Issues

  • ·         Definition of PK (Mind-Matter Interaction)
  • ·         Historical testing of PK
  • ·         Testing macro PK
  • ·         Testing micro PK
  • ·         The Experimenter Effect
  • ·         Categories of Survival Issues
  • ·         Issues surrounding survival testing
  • ·         Reincarnation, Past Lives and NDEs
  • ·         Apparitions & Hauntings
  • ·         Mediums
  • ·         Out of Body Experiences

V. Evaluating Results (Targets hits and Statistical Significance)

  • ·         Evaluating Target Hits
  • ·         Chance vs Performance
  • ·         Descriptive Statistics
  • ·         Evaluating the NULL Hypothesis
  • ·         P-Values
  • ·         Effect Size
  • ·         Choosing a Sample Size
  • ·         Baysian Analysis

VI. Ethical Issues in Testing

  • ·         What are ethics?
  • ·         Why are they important?
  • ·         Ethics in Testing
  • ·         Special Issues for Parapsychology
  • ·         Internal Review Boards (IRB)
  • ·         Creating a design for the IRB

VII. Technology Issues in Testing

  • ·         Types of available technology
  • ·         Benefits of testing with technology
  • ·         Random Number Generators
  • ·         Computer testing
  • ·         Testing on the Web
  • ·         Ideal Applications of Technology

VIII. Summary and special topics

  • ·         Review of research process
  • ·         Testing to a theory
  • ·         First Sight Theory
  • ·         Quantum Considerations
  • ·         Decision Augmentation Theory

Course Materials

Zener cards and the testing documentation provided by the Rhine Research Center.

Various articles selected by the instructor and provided for download throughout the course.

Course Activities

-       Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week.

-       Students will be expected to participate in weekly discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums. Greater participation in this area will be considered during class evaluations.

-       One multiple choice or short answer evaluations will be assigned after the 4th or 5th week of class.

-       The student will complete a basic design for a test for ESP which will include the components of experimental design learned in the class and will demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts of testing for ESP.

 Evaluations and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

A – 90 - 100

B – 80 – 89

C – 70 – 79

D – 60 – 69

F – Below 60

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussions (Total 40%)

-       Week 1-2 (10%)

-       Week 3-4 (10%)

-       Week 5-6 (10%)

-       Week 7-8 (10%)

Assessment #1 (30%)

Experimental Design (30%)

Testing Your ESP I: Syllabus

 

Course Objectives

Introduce students to the scientific method and research methodologies used in psychological sciences.  Specifically focus on the methods used in research of parapsychology and the methodology used to study anomalous phenomena and exceptional abilities.  Include discussions of the scientific method, hypothesis testing, ethical issues in research, evaluating results, and designing experiments. 

 

Course Outcomes

Students will have an understanding of basic experimental design principles and ethical issues related to research in parapsychology.  Students will understand how experimental results are analyzed, and they will demonstrate an understanding of testing principles for ESP.  Students will also understand issues related to the use of technology in testing for ESP and conditions that may affect results on ESP tests.

 

Course Outline

I.              Experimental Methodology Overview

II.            Basic Testing for Telepathy and Precognition

III.           Ethical Issues in Testing

IV.           Evaluating Results (Targets hits and Statistical Significance)

V.            Remote Viewing and Clairvoyance

VI.           Psychokinesis

VII.         Evaluating Mediums

VIII.        Technology Issues in Testing

IX.           State, Personality, and Other Variables

X.            Summary and special topics

 

 

Course Materials

 

Zener cards and the testing documentation provided by the Rhine Research Center.

Various articles selected by the instructor and provided for download throughout the course.

 

Course Activities

  • Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week.
  • Students will be expected to participate in weekly discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums. Greater participation in this area will be considered during class evaluations.
  • One multiple choice or short answer evaluations will be assigned after the 4th or 5th week of class.
  • The student will complete a basic design for an test for ESP which will include the components of experimental design learned in the class and will demonstrate a basic understanding of the concepts of testing for ESP.

Evaluations and Grading

 

Students will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

A – 90 - 100

B – 80 – 89

C – 70 – 79

D – 60 – 69

F – Below 60

 

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic. 

 

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

 

Discussions (Total 30%)

-       Week 1-3 (10%)

-       Week 4-6 (10%)

-       Week 7-10 (10%)

 

Assessment #1 (30%)

 

Experimental Design (40%)

 


Syllabus: Eight (8) Important Experiments in Parapsychology


Course Objectives

Through the weekly study of eight original research studies from the field of parapsychology, the students will develop a familiarity with research writing and understand the development of the methodologies and thought processes that produced the current theories in the field.  The writings of important researchers will be studied in the context of the times to demonstrate the relevance and importance of the study to the advancement of the science of parapsychology.


Course Outcomes

Students will improve their ability to read and evaluate research articles and understand the significance of articles on multiple topics in parapsychology in the context of the original research work.  Their understanding of research methodology and critical analysis will advance as they read and discuss their ideas on how to improve research studies with other students in the discussion forums in the courseroom.


Course Outline

I. Distance ESP Experiment

  •       Origin of ESP Testing.
  •       Importance of distance studies
  •       Methodology   
  •       Analysis methods
  •       Criticisms
  •       Significance of the study

II. The Ganzfeld Controversy

  • Historical origins
  • Development of the original method
  • The controversy (Honorton & Hyman)
  • The Auto-Ganzfeld
  • Further Criticisms
  • Meta-analyses
  • Significance of the study

III. Remote Viewing Research

  • Definition of Remote Viewing
  • Methodology
  • Targeting and Judging
  • Analysis
  • Context and importance of this study

IV. The Seaford Poltergeist

  • Definition of poltergeist
  • Field investigations
  • The Seaford Case
  • Methodology
  • Evaluation
  • RSPK
  • Significance of the study

V. Psychokinesis at the PEAR Labs

  • Definitions of PK
  • Background of the PEAR Labs
  • Population, Sample, & Methodology
  • Instrumentation
  • Analysis Method
  • Criticisms
  • Significance of the Study

VI. Plants, PK, and Energy Healing

  • Affecting living systems
  • Context of the study
  • Population, Sample, and Methodology
  • Analysis method
  • Criticisms
  • Significance of the study

VII. Feeling the Future: Presentiment with Daryl Bem

  • What is presentiment?
  • Context of the study
  • Population, Sample, and Methodology
  • Analysis method
  • Criticisms
  • Significance of the study
  • Meta-analyses

VIII.  OBE, Phsyical Factors, Quantum Physics, or similar topic

  • Definition of the study
  • Context of the study
  • Population, Sample, and Methodology
  • Analysis method
  • Criticisms
  • Significance of the study


Course Materials

Various articles selected by the instructor and provided for download throughout the course.


Course Activities

-       Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week.

-       Students will be expected to participate in weekly discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums. Greater participation in this area will be considered during class evaluations.

-       One multiple choice or short answer evaluations will be assigned after the 4th or 5th week of class.

-       The student will choose a study they believe is important to the field of parapsychology and crtically evaluate the published documentation.  The evaluation will include a justification for selecting the study, an analysis of the methodology and analysis methods, a discussion of the criticisms, and original thoughts on how the study could be improved given our current knowledge of parapsychology.  This will be a 4-10 page paper due at the conclusion of the class.


Evaluations and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

A – 90 - 100

B – 80 – 89

C – 70 – 79

D – 60 – 69

F – Below 60

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussions (Total 40%)

-       Week 1-2 (10%)

-       Week 3-4 (10%)

-       Week 5-6 (10%)

-       Week 7-8 (10%)

Assessment #1 (30%)

Critical Research Evaluation (30%)