Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Atlantic University
The current issue of the Italian journal Luce e Ombra, entitled “Ernesto Bozzano a 150 Anni dalla Nascita” (Ernesto Bozzano at 150 Years from Birth), commemorates the 150th birth anniversary of Italian writer and psychical researcher Ernesto Bozzano (1862-1943). Bozzano, who I have discussed in several papers and in blogs (http://carlossalvarado.edublogs.org/2012/08/14/books-from-the-past-ii-ernesto-bozzanos-musica-trascendentale/; http://www.parapsych.org/blogs/carlos/entry/35/2012/2/new_article_about_ernesto_bozzano.aspx) was known for his strong defence of survival interpretations of psychic phenomena and for his writings presenting many cases from the spiritualist and psychical research literatures.
According to Luca Gasperini’s (2012) article about Bozzano published in the Journal of Scientific Exploration: “Ernesto Bozzano . . . was probably the most important Italian representative of psychical and spiritualistic studies before the 1940s, as well as one of the few to emerge on the international scene . . . He was at the center of an intense network of correspondence with Italian, European, and American intellectuals, receiving an average of 200 letters a month, and was furthermore one of the few Italian scholars to have been named an honorary member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), and the Institut Metapsychique International . . . ”
The issue opens with an unsigned editorial actually written by Cecilia Magnanensi, a member of the journal’s editorial board who I had the pleasure of meeting some years back when I visited Bologna. She states: “At one hundred and fifty years from birth, taking place exactly on January 9 1862 at Genoa, we need to remember Ernesto Bozzano, not only because we have inherited his bibliographic heritage, but it is also a figure to be rediscovered. The new generation, either of scholars or of persons interested in paranormal phenomena, do not know well his role in the history of psychical research and much less his work.” At the end of the editorial there is a useful chronology of selected events in Bozzano’s life ranging from his birth to his death prepared by historian of Italian psychical research Massimo Biondi.
The titles of the twelve papers appearing in the issue are:
*Studiare Ernesto Bozzano: Suggerimenti per Futuri Studi Storici [Studying Ernesto Bozzano] by Carlos S. Alvarado
*L’Importanza di Bozzano nella Storia della Parapsicologia [The Importance of Bozzano in the History of Parapsychology] by Giovanni Iannuzzo
*Nota su Bozzano Lettore di Spencer [Note on Bozzano as Reader of Spencer] by Luca Gasperini
*Dal Materialismo allo Spiritualismo [From Materialism to Spiritualism] by Giuseppe Vatinno
*Bibliografia Aggiornata su Ernesto Bozzano [An Up to Date Bibliography about Ernesto Bozzano] by Luca Gasperini
*Poltergeist e Infestazione: I Criteri Fondamentali di Bozzano [Poltergeists and Hauntings: Bozzano's Fundamental criteria] by Giulio Caratelli
*Oggetti con Anima: L’Enigma della Psicometria [Objects with Soul: The Enigma of Psychometry] by Silvio Ravaldini
*La Monografia La Crisi della Morte di Ernesto Bozzano [The Monograph The Crisis of Death by Ernesto Bozzano] by Luca Gasperini
*Le “Esperienze di Bilocazione” e le OBE di Oggi [The "Experience of Bilocation" and Today's OBE] by Paola Giovetti
*Le Visioni dei Morenti [Visions of the Dying] by Cecilia Magnanesi
*Visione Panoramica: Breve Storia di una Breve Ricerca [Panoramic Vision: A Brief History of a Brief Research] by Fulvia Cariglia
*Dei Fenomeni di Psicocinesi in Relazione a Eventi di Morte [The Phenomena of Psychokinesis in Relation to Death Events] by Massimo Biondi]
While all papers touch on Bozzano, a few of them are not studies about him but are discussions of issues in which Bozzano is mentioned (papers by Cariglia, Giovetti, Magnanensi). The rest are general (Alvarado and Iannuzzo) or discussions of specific issues and phenomena (Biondi, Caratelli, Gasperini [two papers], Ravaldini, and Vatinno).
Studying Bozzano is not easy for we have to deal with what Gasperini has referred to in this issue as his “large bulk of publications.” I would recommend readers new to Bozzano, and to psychical research in general, to start reading the editorial and then move to Iannuzzo’s paper about Bozzano and the history of parapsychology because he discusses general aspects of Bozzano’s work and ideas. For example, he says that Bozzano had a fair scientific education but one based on the 1800s “based on the texts of Darwin and Heckel or, in any case, on scientific works of fin de siecle.” He further states that Bozzano had an important drawback, while psychical research continued to change “influenced by the progress in other fields or research and kept always affirming an ‘interdisciplinary’ vision of parapsychology, Bozzano continued to work and study in a completely autonomous way in terms of other scholars and other directions of psychical research.”
Dr. Giovanni Iannuzzo
According to Iannuzzo: “Bozzano considered paranormal phenomena as natural objects to be classified. . . . For Bozzano the reality of a paranormal phenomenon came above all from the number of observations independent of the phenomenon itself. Already the fact of finding a psychic phenomenon in someone independent from another-also in a historical and cultural sense-demonstrated implicitly the existence of such phenomenon.”
While Iannuzzo criticizes Bozzano for uncritical acceptance of cases in his analyses disregarding quality of evidence, he praises him for presenting massive bibliographical overviews of many topics. In Iannuzzo’s view no one else has presented such a synthesis of the psychical research literature, “in practice the most gigantic review ever done.”
Readers will find Gasperini’s short updated bibliography of works about Bozzano useful. He presents two lists of secondary references consisting of studies and comments about Bozzano. I was glad to see that he listed eight of my papers in the first list and 12 in the second one (it is always nice to see that someone is following your work that closely, particularly in this highly specialized literature).
Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado
I was pleased, and honored, to have been invited to contribute to the issue. This was particularly the case because I was the only non-Italian author in the issue. In my paper I offered suggestions for the historical study of Bozzano. Regardless of the valuable work of such authors as Gasperini, Iannuzzo, and Ravaldini there is more research to do about personal and intellectual aspects of Bozzano, Bozzano’s studies of specific phenomena and topics, the guiding conceptual principles of his work, his use of rhetoric, his analytic method, and the reception of his work. I wrote: “This will not only increase our knowledge of Bozzano’s work and of Italian psychic studies, but would also contribute to a more complete perspective of the history of psychical research.”
Some of the things I suggested in my paper are discussed in some of the articles. An example is the article of Dr. Massimo Biondi (pictured at the right), with whom I correspond frequently and write papers. He focused on Bozzano’s writings about psychokinetic phenomena around the moment of death). Other authors were Giulio Caratelli (hauntings and poltergeists), Luca Gasperini (mediumistic communications about the experience of death), and Silvio Ravaldini (psychometry).
Other authors have interesting contributions such as Bozzano as a reader of Herbert Spencer (Luca Gasperini). They present general discussions about specific phenomena that are not strictly studies of Bozzano, but that are also valuable because they put Bozzano in context and help us remember the richness of the psychical research literature. These are discussions of out-of-body experiences (Paola Giovetti), deathbed visions (Cecilia Magnanensi), and panoramic visions when close to death (Fulvia Cariglia).
The articles in this issue of Luce e Ombra will help readers learn more about Italian psychical research in general, and about Ernesto Bozzano in particular. Bozzano was described by Giuseppe Vatinno as “an organizer, a naturalist classifier, sort of a Carl Linneus” of a new science. My congratulations to the Director of Luce e Ombra, Silvio Ravaldini, as well as to others who contributed to the crafting of this issue (mainly Cecilia Magnanensi, Massimo Biondi).
Some Writings About Ernesto Bozzano (for a bibliography of Bozzano’s writings see http://www.bibliotecabozzanodeboni.it/bibliografie/bibliografia_bozzano.htm)
Alvarado, C.S. (1987). The life and work of an Italian Psychical Researcher: A review of Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e L’Opera by Giovanni Iannuzzo. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 81, 37-47.
Alvarado, C. S. (2005). Ernesto Bozzano on the phenomena of bilocation. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 23, 207-238. http://atlanticuniv.academia.edu/CarlosSAlvarado/Papers/318846/_2005_._Ernesto_Bozzano_and_the_phenomena_of_bilocation._Journal_of_Near-Death_Studies_23_207-238
Alvarado, C. S. (2007). Remarks on Ernesto Bozzano’s La Psiche Domina la Materia. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 25, 189-195. www.medicine.virginia.edu/…/Alvarado-Bozzano-La-Psiche-Domina-2007-JNDS-Bozzano.pdf
Biondi, M. (1984). Pagine di appunti di Ernesto Bozzano [A page of notes about Ernesto Bozzano]. Luce e Ombra, 84, 156-164.
Bozzano, E. (1924). Autobiographical sketch. Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, 18, 153-155.
Di Porto, B. (no year). Ernesto Bozzano. In Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Vol. 13, pp. 578-580). Rome: Treccani.http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/ernesto-bozzano_(Dizionario-Biografico)/
Gasperini, L. (2009-2010). Ernesto Bozzano: Tra Spiritismo Scientifico e la Ricerca Psichica [Ernesto Bozzano" Between Scientific Spiritism and Psychical Research]. Laurea thesis, University of Bologna.
Gasperini, L. (2010). L’annosa disputa Bozzano-Morselli [The age-old dispute Bozzano-Morselli]. Luce e Ombra, 110, 290-306.
Gasperini, L. (2011). Ernesto Bozzano, i “popoli primitivi” ed Ernesto de Martino (Ernesto Bozzani, “primitive people,” and Ernesto de Martino]. Luce e Ombra, 111, 17-25.
Gasperini, L. (2011). Criptestesia o ipotesi spiritica? Ch. Richet ed E. Bozzano a confronto [Cryptesthesia or spiritistic hypothesis? The confrontation of Ch. Richet and E. Bozzano]. Luce e Ombra, 111, 113-126.
Gasperini, L. (2012). Ernesto Bozzano: An Italian spiritualist and psychical researcher. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 25, 755-773.
Iannuzzo, G. (1983). Ernesto Bozzano: La Vita e l’Opera [Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work]. Verona: Luce e Ombra.
Ravaldini, S. (1993). Ernesto Bozzano e la Ricerca Psichica: Vita e Opere di un Pioniere della Parapsicologia [Ernesto Bozzano: Life and Work of a Pioneer of Parapsychology]. Rome: Mediterranee. (For a review see http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2320/is_n4_v59/ai_18445604/)
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