Thursday, August 13, 2009

Paranormal Thesis Abstract - Part 2

There are rules and guidelines that pertain to abstracts and these cover such things as number of words, what is to be summarized, and what is not to be included. These instructions vary between universities.

Abstract continued........

The survey gathered information on ten categories of paranormal experience, namely deja vu, apparitions, near-death episodes, out-of-body experiences, psychokinesis, premonitions, auras, mediumship, reincarnation, and telepathy. The survey gathered statistical data on the type, frequency, and age at onset of each type of experience. Respondents were also invited to reflect on the possible causes and the personal impact of their own parapsychological experiences.

Several significant themes were identified in the data. These included: variations in the levels of incidence of the different types of phenomena; gender differences; national variations; and the trend for paranormal experiences to have a marked impact on the experients, their values, and the way they lived their lives. The research outcomes also supported the notions that spontaneous parapsychological experiences are universal, and not limited to adulthood. The majority of first encounters, of eight of the ten types of paranormal phenomenon, occurred in childhood - under 18 years of age, including a small number of pre birth experiences. In addition, the narratives offered numerous references to the perceived significance that race, genetics, and the female bloodline play in the paranormal experience.

The current findings both support the existing literature and suggest new research directions. At the personal level, for those charged with the mental, spiritual, and educational welfare of the individual, particularly the young, this exploratory study highlights the need to take spontaneous parapsychological experiences, and their experients, seriously. At the broader level, the findings confirm the ubiquitous nature of the paranormal and suggest both unifying and independent themes in the nature, incidence, impact and integration of parapsychological phenomena. Additional research is indicated and a catalogue of eleven recommendations for future study is proffered.

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Paranormal Thesis Finally Catalogued!

My thesis has hit the shelves of the Monash Library. It's the final milestone in the long, drawn-out, formal process that sees an idea become a reality. That's the good news. The bad news is that the whole thesis is only available for viewing on campus. Will there ever be a day (perhaps Google will have to step in?) when all theses are available online? I hope so but it won't happen in the foreseeable future.

Anyway, I'll reprint the abstract in this and the next post. If you can't wait just click on the link above.

Anecdotal reports of paranormal experiences abound. In addition to the numerous books, films and media articles, there is a growing body of personal narratives which is readily accessed through online websites, blogs and chatrooms. By comparison, there is a paucity of documented research on spontaneous parapsychological phenomena in the academic literature. The current exploratory study sought to redress this imbalance by addressing the research problem: what types of paranormal phenomena do people spontaneously encounter, and are there unifying themes in the reports of these experiences?

This research followed the Mixed Methods Research model. Qualitative and quantitative data were gathered via an online survey instrument, which was written in English. Over three thousand (N=3194) self-selecting respondents completed the questionnaire and in total, 59 countries were represented. The majority of the paranormal experients were from the United States of America (N= 1979), Australia (N=485), United Kingdom (N=252), and Canada (N=228). More women (62%) than men participated in the survey, and while the dominant age group was the 18-35 year olds (45%), this was closely followed by the 36-55 year olds (43%).

To be continued.......

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Silver Cord

One of the first, if not the first serious book, I read on the paranormal was The Silver Cord, Lifeline to the Unobstructed by Martha Barham and James Greene. This was the book that helped me realize I wasn't alone in knowing what I knew and I wasn't imagining things that couldn't possibly happen. It was published in 1986 and because I changed jobs every couple of year I can remember reading this when it was still hot off the presses, in 1987.

This book was like a breath of fresh air to me. I was working in the business world at the time and I can remember wishing for lunch time so I could immerse myself in this book and surround myself in possibilities. It spoke to me - and though it is 20+ years since it was published - it may also speak to you. The blurb promotes this book as a spiritual work and indeed, it could be regarded as such. Equally, it could also be interpreted as a treatise on the paranormal realms. Different language - similar concepts.

According to Amazon The Silver Cord is still available and on that site the reviews use words like "wonderful", "excellent", and "very persuasive" to describe it. I agree with these superlatives and I commend this book to you. Note: there are other books with the same title but different authors.

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