Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(1) The Paranormal


After living in Southern California for so many years, it was
obvious that my blood had gone "thin." Here I was, in the
beginnings of Summer, strolling down Princess Street in
Edinburgh, Scotland. Here I was, a Brit, shivering, with teeth
chattering, in my homeland! Well there was nothing to be
done but to re-adapt.

My sabbatical was to be spent working at the Koestler
Parapsychology Unit (KSU), which is based in the Psychology
Department at the University of Edinburgh.

So totally different from Oxford, I still managed to fall in love
with the place. Nestled within the city, the University of
Edinburgh looked really old--what with many of its buildings
boasting the slate gray stones that matched much of the
old city as well. Not far from the North Sea, the city could be
damp and brisk. So the climate kept one moving! Still it
was a lovely place, with a parkland and gardens aside
Princess Street that looked up at that steep cliff where
Edinburgh Castle was situated. Quite spectacular, and it
made me pause to wonder when I was told that climbers
occasionally attacked the cliff's nearly sheer wall.

All in all, I found Edinburgh to be a really elegant city--and I
was not surprised to learn that's it nickname was the "Athens
of the North." This Scottish city was plumb full of culture, whether
museums, concert halls, good theatre, fine restaurants, festivals,
and old history. Consequently, I was determined to enjoy this
sabbatical year as I began my research at the KSU.

The major interests of KSU researchers mainly involved extra-
sensory perception (ESP), psychokinesis, out-of-body experience
(OBE), and near-death experience (NDE). The latter two categories
interested me as well as my own chosen research area: prayer.
I felt that the OBE and the NDE definitely could have some
meaningful application with our sense of God and Spirit. As
for prayer, I took the opportunity while at Edinburgh to move
into those few scientific studies that were examining prayer in
terms of mental fields.

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