Conference about Sleep and Dreams in Portugal

Carlos S. Alvarado, Atlantic University

I recently returned from Porto, Portugal, where I attended the 9th Bial Foundation Symposium on “Sleep and Dreams,” March 28-31, 2012 (see the program here http://www.bial.com/en/bial_foundation.11/symposium.19/9th_symposium_.83/program.90/program.a189.html). For those of you not familiar with the Bial Foundation this is an organization founded in 1994 described in their website as devoted “to encourage the scientific study of Man, from both the physical and spiritual perspectives, by honouring, supporting and promoting the work and efforts of all those who seek out new paths along the route of Research, Science and Knowledge.” They accomplish this by providing research grants and by organizing conferences, both programs of which include parapsychology. 

Presentation of Carlos S. Alvarado

Similar to previous years parapsychology was represented in the conference, sections that were ably organized by Dr. Caroline Watt and Dr. Dick Bierman. This year I was invited to participate in a panel discussion about “Dreams and Anomalous Cognition.” In my presentation, “Dream ESP Studies Before Maimonides: An Overview, 1880s-1950s,” I surveyed aspects of the research on the topic prior to 1960, as can be seen in the slides I used (http://www.slideshare.net/AtlanticUniv/alvarado-dream-esp-studies-before-maimonides-bial-2012). The rest of the session had presentations by Dr. Sally Feather (Spontaneous Psi Dreams: Louisa E. Rhine’s Studies Revisited”) and Dr. Chris Roe (“What Have We Learned from Experimental Tests of Dream ESP?;” his paper was actually presented by Dr. Richard Broughton). Finally, Dr. Caroline Watt presented on “The Psychology of Precognitive Dream Experiences.” 

I was also involved in the research of a paper presented by Dr. Nancy L. Zingrone, “Absorption Experiences and their Relationships to Dreams, Imaginary Companions and Parapsychological Experiences,” authored by Nancy L. Zingrone, myself, and Natasha Agee. 

 

Dream Panel at Bial, Dr. Sally Feather, Dr. Caroline Watt, Dr. Dick Bierman, Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado & Dr. Richard Broughton

There were also many presentations about more conventional aspects of sleep and dreams. Some sessions were entitled “Neurobiology of Dreams and Cognition,” and “Sleep, Dreams and Society.” Two special addresses were delivered by Dr. Allan Hobson and Dr. Stephen Laberge. In addition there were presentations by Dr. Péter Halász, Dr.Teresa Paiva, Dr. Michael Schredl, Dr. Sophie Schwartz, Dr. Kai Spiegelhalder, Dr. Robert Stickgold, and Dr. Eus van Someren, among others.

The program was suppplemented by many poster presentations of projects funded by the Foundation. The parapsychology-related ones included Dr. Dean Radin’s “Consciousness and the Double-slit Interference Pattern: Six Experiments,” Dr. Elizabeth Roxburgh’s “An Investigation of the Prevalence and Phenomenology of Synchronicity Experiences in the Clinical Setting,” and Dr. Nancy Zingrone, Dr. Carlos S. Alvarado and Natasha Agee’s “Dreaming-Related Findings in Bial 79/08 with Comparison to Similar Findings in Bial 65/06.”

The conference was very well run and its social events, including lunches and dinners in different locations, were delightful. Particularly enjoyable was the excursion the day after the conference to the old part of Porto. We had views of this from a cable car ride. This ended with a lunch which started with Beatle songs interpreted by a student choir of  the Abel Salazar Institute for Biomedical Sciences ( University of Porto) and that continued with ports served at Taylor’s Barão Fladgate restaurant (http://www.taylor.pt/en/visit-taylors/barao-fladgate-restaurant-porto/).   

We are all grateful to the Bial Foundation for this great event, and particularly to its President Dr. Luis Portela, for its hospitality, and to Dr. Paula Guedes, who was in charge of many of the aspects of the convention. 

On Porto see http://www.portoturismo.pt/Visitar/Paginas/default.aspx

Porto Old City, Bridge Designed by Eiffel (photo by Nancy L. Zingrone)

 

 

 

Poltergeist Article by William Roll and Colleagues

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Atlantic University

Here is an abstract of one of William G. Roll’s last contributions to the poltergeist literature, co authored with K.S. Saroka, B.P. Mulligan, M.D. Hunter, B.T. Dotta, N. Gang, M.A. Scott, L.S. St. Pierre, and M.A. Persinger:

Case Report: A prototypical experience of “poltergeist” activity, conspicuous quantitative electroencephalographic patterns, and sLORETA  profiles–Suggestions for intervention. Neurocase, 2012, pp. 1-10.

William G. Roll

People who report objects moving in their presence, unusual sounds, glows around other people, and multiple sensed presences but do not meet the criteria for psychiatric disorders have been shown to exhibit electrical anomalies over the right temporal lobes. This article reports the striking quantitative electroencephalography, sLORETA results, and experimental elicitation of similar subjective experiences in a middle-aged woman who has been distressed by these classic phenomena that began after a head injury. She exhibited a chronic electrical anomaly over the right temporoinsular region. The rotation of a small pinwheel near her while she ‘concentrated’ upon it was associated with increased coherence between the left and right temporal lobes and concurrent activation of the left prefrontal region. The occurrence of the unusual phenomena and marked ‘sadness’ was associated with increased geomagnetic activity; she reported a similar mood when these variations were simulated experimentally. Our quantitative measurements suggest people displaying these experiences and possible anomalous energies can be viewed clinically and potentially treated

Translation of Book About Eusapia Palladino

Carlos S. Alvarado, Ph.D., Atlantic University

Filippo Bottazzi

In a recently published essay-review (“Bottazzi and Palladino: The 1907 Seances.” Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2012, 26, 159–167) I commented about the translation of a book about medium Eusapia Palladino (1854-1918) authored by the prominent Italian physiologist Filippo Bottazzi (1867-1941). The book, Mediumistic Phenomena: Observed in a Series of Sessions with Eusapia Palladino, was translated by Irmeli Routti and Antonio Giuditta. (Princeton, NJ: ICRL Press, 2011). While this medium belongs to the past, her phenomena are still discussed today.

I wrote in the review: “Palladino showed mental phenomena such as communications said to come mainly from her spirit control John King, but her performances consisted mostly of physical phenomena such as movement of objects, imprints on clay, luminous effects, raps, touches, cold winds, and materializations.” Her mediumship was important to psychical research in various ways. “Historically speaking, the medium’s
performances were a factor that led researchers to produce methodological and conceptual developments, and the sensational character of her phenomena and the publicity around them created various images about mediumship. But such performances also provided much evidence for the reality of physical phenomena.”

Eusapia Palladino

Mediumistic Phenomena is a report of eight seances conducted at Bottazzi’s physiological laboratory. The phenomena observed are similar to those reported countless of times in the literature devoted to this medium. An example reported in the book took place with a switch connected to a lamp. The switch was placed on the table and the medium said it was moving: “We all fixed our gaze on the small object and we saw that it rose a few millimeters above the table top, oscillated and vibrated, as if invaded by an interior quiver. Eusapia’s hands, held by Galeotti and me, were at least thirty centimeters away from the switch” (from the book).

Another observation were the synchonic movements of objects and the body of the medium: “The table started moving by steps, every pull perfectly corresponding to pressures and pulls made by Palladino’s hands on our hands (mine and Pansini’s). . . . Every pull of the small table corresponded in perfect synchrony with a push by Eusapia’s leg against Jona’s knee and with the contraction of her thigh muscles” (from the book).

Several intruments were used that produced graphic recordings of presumed mediumistic forces. Bottazi wrote: “The telegraph key was struck several times. . . . We all clearly heard the typical sounds of energetic, quick hits. To certify that it was not an illusion, or a collective hallucination, the second trace from the top . . . shows three groups of signals and two isolated beats in between them” (from the book).

I wish a more complete presentation had been made of the historical context of Bottazzi’s work and of Palladino’s mediumship in general. There is a significant amount of literature about the medium’s previous history. But the translation of the book will be welcome by those interested in physical phenomena in general, as well as in the history of Palladino’s mediumship, physical mediumship in general, and Italian psychical research.

My essay is available here: http://atlanticuniv.academia.edu/CarlosSAlvarado/Papers/1558472/Bottazzi_and_Palladino_The_1907_Seances

 Books and Articles Presenting Overviews of Palladino

Alippi, T. (1962). Eusapia Palladino. Luce e Ombra, 62, 126–155, 210–240, 283–310.

Alvarado, C. S. (1993). Gifted subjects’ contributions to psychical research: The case of Eusapia Palladino. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 59, 269–292.

Alvarado, C. S. (2011). Eusapia Palladino: An autobiographical essay. Journal of Scientific Exploration, 25, 77–101.

Blondel, C. (2002). Eusapia Palladino: La méthode expérimentale et la “diva des savants.” In B. Bensaude-Vincent & C. Blondel (Eds.), Des Savants Face à l’Occulte 18701940, Paris: La Découverte, pp. 143–171.

Braude, S. E. (2007). The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (pp. 46-52)

Carrington, H. (1909). Eusapia Palladino and Her Phenomena. New York: B. W. Dodge.

Dingwall, E. J. (1950). Very Peculiar People. London: Rider. (Chapter 5)

Inglis, B. (1992). Natural and Supernatural: A History of the Paranormal from Earliest Times to 1914 (revised edition). Dorset: Prism Press. (Chapters 35 and 38)

Tietze, T. R. (1972). Eusapia Palladino: A study in paradox. Psychic, 3(4), 8–13, 38; 3(5), 40–45.

Digital Libraries with Holdings of the Old literature–.VI

Carlos S. Alvarado, Atlantic University

Internet Library of Early Journals (hup://www.bodley.ox.ac.uklilej/)  

This website has collections of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, Gentleman’s Magazine, and Notes and Qeries.

(1853). The divining rod. Notes and Queries, 8, 623-624.

(1845). A few passages concerning omens, dreams, appearances, &c., in a letter to Eusebius. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, 58, 735-751.

(1732). Of ghosts, daemons and spectres. Gentleman’s Magazine, 2, 1001-1002.

Ingleby, C.M. (1854). Death-warnings in ancient families. Notes and Queries, 9, 150-151.

(1845). Mesmerism. Blackwood’s Edinburg Magazine, 57, 219-241.

(1841). Notes on books, sales, catalogs, etc. Notes and Queries, 3, 438. (On W. Gregory’s Letters to a Candid inquirer on Animal Magnetism).

Alfred Russel Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alfred Russel Wallace Page (http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/index1.htm)

This page has biographical information about Wallace as well as some of his writings and writings about him. The following are some examples of Wallace’s writings about Spiritualism, all of which are presented as plain text files.

Pamphlet

(1866). The Scientific Aspects of the Supernatural. London: F. Farrah.

Articles

(1867). Notes of a seance with Miss Nicholl at the house of Mr. A. S_, 15th May. Spiritual Magazine, June 1, 254-255.

(1872). Ethnology and spiritualism. Nature, 7, 363-364.

(1873). Spiritualism and science. The Times, January 4, 10.

(1876). A spirit medium. The Times, September 19, 4.

(1877). Test materialisation seance with Me. W. Eglinton. The Spiritualist, December 7, 271.

(1877). Psychological Curiosities of Scepticism: Reply to Dr. Carpenter. Fraser’sMagazine, December, 694-703.