Magazine and Date:

Psychic World, August 2001

Is the SPR Serious about Survival Research?

 - John Samson -

As a member of the Society for Psychical Research for some years now, it was with sinking heart that I read the 'President's Note' in the latest 'Paranormal Review' from the new holder of this office, Professor Bernard Carr. In particular his comment that, "At present. there seems to be a rather strong survivalist element in the Society, and this is a source of concern to some people". And when one links this statement with the vociferous attempts by those at the heart of the SPR who wished to suppress the Scole Report and regarded it as 'an embarrassment to the Society', then we are confronted by a most regrettable situation indeed. Indeed, one begins to wonder why some members of the SPR belong to It at all.


At the risk of sounding trite, the current ethos informing so much of SPR official policy does remind one of Coleridge's comment about the our incapability of learning from the experience of history. A recent striking example of this was the branding of Ronald Pearson as a "maverick" by Professor Carr when Mr. Pearson sought some exposure in SPR publications to present his argument for the after-life being viewed as a branch of sub-atomic physics. When this happened I was forcibly reminded of the attitude of the Air Ministry in the 1930's towards Reginald Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire. He too was described by the Ministry as a "maverick" and encountered much hostility towards his ideas. Happily, for the fate of this country, the Air Ministry changed its mind. Was it too fanciful of me, I wonder, when, on seeing a recent photograph of our new President with others at a conference, holding his familiar brolly, I instantly thought of Neville Chamberlain? And Ron Pearson in the role of Reginald Mitchell? Yes, of course it was! What an absurd notion - and how foolish of me! Coleridge was wrong, we are much wiser nowadays. Aren't we?



John Samson



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