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Approved For Release 2000/08/11: CIA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2 is particularly true lvarado's discussion of language rier Moreover, Alvarado, a fo Parapsychology (now the versity of Virginia, has on parapsychological Ibero-American most extensive ever to be ele "reviews (1984a, 1985) and his ems in parapsychology (1989a). of Personality Studies) at the Uni- vities in a constant flow of information ars. In addition, among the r the last eigli psychologists, he i n the English-language psychologicaAssociation. one who has published als and the only one Mexico has been known for a long time as the land of the sacred mushroom or peyotl, a plant used by the Indian shaman to induce an altered state of consciousness, which allegedly facilitates the man- ifestation of psychic powers. This country. has also been a major source for many parapsychological researchers interested in unor- thodox psychic healing practices. Famous curanderas (healers) such as Maria Sabina and Dona Pachita have been extensively investi- gated by Stanley Krippner and other famous parapsychologists (Krippner & Villoldo, 1986). Although Mexico has been a major source of study for many parapsychologists from foreign countries, psychical research has not flourished there as it has in other countries such as Argentina and Spain. Moreover, even though the country is located on the south- ern border of the United States and has been subject to very strong American cultural influence in almost every aspect of life, the dom- inance of the United States has not been a factor in the develop- ment of parapsychology. Even though in the United States there are more parapsychological research centers than anywhere else in the world, very little is known in Mexico of their research. Most of what is known about serious parapsychology comes from Latin American countries such as Brazil. For example, the writings of Quevedo are well known in Mexico, and also most of what is known generally comes from popular magazines. Early efforts to study psychical research within a scientific frame- work in Mexico began in 1919 with the isolated efforts of such re- searchers as the German-born medical doctor Gustav Pagenstecher, the first researcher to conduct serious psychical research in Mexico. Pagenstecher was a very well-known and respected physician in the Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World 197 Mexican medical community as well as in political circles. In the course of his career he delivered speeches before two presidents of Mexico, Diaz and Obreg6n (Allison, 1943)." A respected member of the medical profession, Pagenstecher said he had been a materialist for forty years when he had his first encounter with the paranormal. It was during a hypnosis treatment of one of his patients who had insomnia that he discovered the re- markable psychical gifts of Maria Reyes de Zierold. Pagenstecher be- gan a series of psychometric experiments with her in 1919. The re- sults were so striking that he brought them to the attention of the Mexican medical society, which appointed a commission to verify them. Pagenstecher also decided to write to the ASPR and send some of..the results he had obtained. The results induced Walter Franklin Prince, Research Officer of the ASPR, to go to Mexico to investigate the case. After a series of experimental sittings with Zier- old, Prince was so impressed with the results that he decided to pub- lish them in the Journal of the ASPR in 1920 (Pagenstecher, 1920). Prince later.. published another paper in which he discussed the ex- periments in which he participated (Prince, 1921b). Moreover, the ASPR published a monograph by Pagenstecher entitled Past Events Seership: A Study of Psychometry (Pagenstecher, 1922). According to William Roll (1967), Pagenstecher contributed to o rn. areas in nnrnnsvrhnlnov- ..... ------ a/- [He was], as far as I know the first investigator to use hypnosis as a means to cultivate ESP in a gifted subject.... Pagenstecher's studies were also, I believe, the first to indicate that the (parapsychological) associa- tion of objects may be governed by the same laws that govern the (psy- chological) association of ideas. (p. 238) Pagenstecher showed great courage in undertaking these exper- iments. He jeopardized his professional standing as well as his med- ical practice by trying. to substantiate the claims for Zierold's psychic abilities. The Medical Commission appointed to investigate the case was skeptical of the reported phenomena. Fortunately, however, the Commission's leading experts obtained successful results in the ex- periments in which they participated (Gomezharper de Trevino, 1990). " Obreg6n was a revolutionary military leader, later President of Mexico. Walter Franklin Prince (1921a) relates an interesting psychic experience witnessed by Ob- reg6n, about a precognitive dream Obreg6n's brother had about the death of their mother. Approved For Release 2000/08/11: C.IA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2 Approved For Release 2000/08/11: CIA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2 198 The Journal of arapsychology Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World 199 Another development in parapsychological activities in Mexico occurred in 1937. A team of medical doctors, headed by Dr. En- rique Aragon, formed a special commission to investigate an alleged case of poltergeist activity surrounding a thirteen-year-old Mexican boy named Joaquin Velazquez Villavicencio. As part of the investi- gation, the team tried to measure the level of RSPK energy, using a special apparatus called a sthenometer designed by the French psychical researcher Paul Joire to detect PK forces (Gomezharper de Trevino, 1990). Aragon's contributions were important to parapsy- chology in Mexico because of his prestigious position and his aca- demic attainments. Aragon was at one time president of the Uni- versity of Mexico and was also founder and Director of the Instituto de Psiquiatrfa y Psicologia there. He conducted field research on haunting cases, precognitive dreams, and fraud in Spiritism. In 1939, Aragon founded the Circulo de Investigaciones Meta- psiquicas de Mexico.12 The aim of the Institute was to conduct a scientific investigation of a case of alleged materialization produced by the most famous medium in the history of Mexico, Luis Marti- nez. The medium started his activity when he was six years old and allegedly could produce incredible phenomena, such as lights, ap- ports, direct writing, direct voices, levitations of objects, and so forth. The attention drawn by the case led to the participation of medical and political men in the sessions. Two ex-presidents of ii - s LL_ 1r, --- r-... IVICx1CV WCUC 5MU tV 11AVC paruiipatcu in u1c 5ca11Cc3 waiviauv, 1988). Other work worth mentioning is that conducted by the Jesuit priest and psychical researcher Carlos Maria Heredia. He recorded several observations and experiments in which odors (or other stim- uli)-associated with forgotten experiences were presented to the sub- ject, theoretically causing an imbalance in the subject's subconscious memories associated with the odor which, in turn, induced a tele- pathic transmission of the forgotten experience to a nearby perci- pient (Heredia, 1931/1945). For Heredia, telepathy and spontaneous case occurrences were fairly acceptable; however, phenomena of the seance room were to him anathema. Having developed some skills as an illusionist, he used to tour the country demonstrating mediumistic manifestations, 1Y This research group later changed its name to Instituto Mexicano de Investi- gaciones Siquicas, which also published a detailed account of the seances with the medium Luis Martinez which lasted for over ten years. The publication was called Una Ventana al Mundo Invisible [A Window to an Invisible World] (Instituto Mexicano de Investigaciones Siquicas, 1960). Another interesting dimension of this case is the participation in the seances of two well-known Mexican psychical researchers, Gustav Pagenstecher and Carlos Maria Heredia. Approved For Release 2000/08/11 as he supposed, by his methods of nonspiritual conjuring. He wrote a book along these lines debunking the mediumistic phenomena claimed by Spiritists; it was called Los Fraudes Espiritistas y los Fen6- menos Metapsiquicos (1931/1945). Unfortunately these efforts to or- ganize serious centers and societies to study psychic phenomena from a more empirical approach never led to a more formal type of organization; most of these centers and investigations were short- lived. Since the 1930s, very little is known of any other serious efforts to introduce scientific parapsychology to Mexico. After 1940, as I mentioned at the beginning of this section of the paper, the best known studies have been conducted by anthropologists and para- psychologists interested in nonorthodox practices of healing, partic- ularly those of the shamanistic variety. Among the healers was the famous Oaxacan shaman, Barbara Guerrero, best known as "Pachita," who practiced as a psychic sur- geon and who in the 1960s became the subject of enormous atten- tion. Pachita was studied by Krippner and Villoldo (1986) and oth- ers. Another healer, perhaps the best known of all, was Maria Sabina, who drew worldwide attention because of her use of hallu- cinogenic mushrooms in her unusual healing practices. It was not until 1974 that the first Mexican parapsychological so- ciety was created, the Sociedad Mexicana de Parapsicologia, headed by Carlos Trevino, a psychiatrist and an Associate Member of the Parapsychological Association. The Society at the present time rep- resents the most critical approach to parapsychology in Mexico. It trains researchers and provides education both to the Church and to lay persons concerning alleged cases of demonic possession and other manifestations of psychic phenomena. The Society also offers courses in parapsychology to the general public in an attempt to correct misconceptions about the nature of scientific parapsychol- ogy. For example, in Mexico the common belief is that parapsychol- ogy is a mixture of magic, demonology, and sorcery. A parapsy- chologist is thought to be a person who reads Tarot cards and coffee grounds and prepares horoscopes. Under these circum- stances an average Mexican tends to dismiss such beliefs, particu- larly since they are deeply rooted in their tradition and cultural her- itage (Gomezharper de Trevino, 1990). Along with courses for the general public, the Mexican Society is the only organization that offers an officially required course for candidates to the priesthood studying at the Instituto de la Arque- diocesis de Mexico. Members of the Society have also conducted ex- CIA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2 Approved For Release 2000/08/11 The Journal of Parapsychology perimental research with Kirlian photography (Trevino, 1975) and field investigations of haunting cases and poltergeists. Some parapsychological conferences have been organized in Mexico-for instance, the Congreso Internacional de Parapsicologia held in 1984 in Mexico City. The Society also organized the Primer Simposio de Parapsicologia Cientifica held in 1984. At this meeting a number of PA members presented papers, among them Marilyn Schlitz and Stanley Krippner (Gomezharper de Trevino, 1990). Another conference worth noting is the one organized by the newly created Sociedad Mexicana para la Investigacion Esceptica. The first Latin American skeptics' conference was cosponsored by CSICOP and convened in Mexico City in 1989. The conference in- cluded speakers such as Ray Hyman and James Alcock, as well as several psychologists from the University of Mexico. The new Mex- ican society of skeptics headed by Mario Mendez has launched a journal called El Investigador Esceptico, which will be made available throughout Latin America for Spanish-speaking readers. An example of the attention to parapsychology given by high- ranking political figures in Mexico was the visit of the wife of the former president of Mexico, Carmen Lopez Portillo, who visited the Institute for Parapsychology in North Carolina to participate in some testing demonstrations of ESP. It is also interesting to note that the president's sister, Margarita Lopez Portillo, prepared a video about the life of the famous Mexican healer "Pachita." There are also some isolated researchers in Mexico such as Jacobo Grin- berg who in 1977 conducted research in dermo-optic perception. It is unfortunate that one can find no serious parapsychological publications in Mexico at the present time. There are only some popular magazines on the topic, such as Duda [Doubt].ls So far, I have surveyed the past and present positions of para- psychology in several Ibero-American countries. But what does this conglomeration of names, societies, and research centers mean? First of all, as I have pointed out, my purpose was to familiarize the English-speaking parapsychologists with the work of their colleagues from other countries, especially those researchers who have been in 's Duda is a magazine that is widely published nationally. It includes sensational articles on mixed topics such as UFOs, ESP phenomena, cryptozoology, and so on. Approved For Release 2000/08/11 CIA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2 Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World 201 the field of parapsychology for many years but whose work and publications have been neglected in the major English-language journals. Second, I have reviewed a variety of parapsychological ac- tivities so as to provide the reader with insight into the different approaches to psychical research in different countries as well as into the cultural, geographical, and historical factors that have col- ored parapsychology in those countries. Some of the information provided is new and, may I say, very interesting. The different re- search methodologies pursued by the parapsychologists in these countries range from the empirical quantitative approach of the Ar- gentinian group, who follow the Rhinean School, to the theoretical and Spiritualistic approach shaped by the influence of ideological and cultdi-al constructs of the Brazilian Spiritists and Catholic re- searchers. However, in a way, these different approaches to the study of psychic phenomena are reflections of the cultural milieu in which the research has evolved. Another important feature that emerges from an examination of the developments of parapsychology in these countries is that most Ibero-American researchers are in the main plagued with the same practical and theoretical problems common to most other countries involved in psychical research. Common problems are the struggle to gain recognition in their own scientific communities and the lack Of _ ans to suipport research. Vl Gl.VilvliuV Still another unfortunate pattern is the isolation of individual re- searchers in these Ibero-American countries from their counterparts in the English-speaking parapsychological community. Some of these researchers, such as J. Ricardo Musso and Naum Kreiman from Argentina, have been doing research and publishing exten- sively since the 1950s but remain virtually unknown outside their own countries. Very few of the researchers from those countries have ever belonged to the Parapsychological Association. A brief re- view of the most recent list reveals that even at the present time there are very few Ibero-American members in the PA, an organi- zation that claims to be international.14 It is my hope that this brief summary will bridge the gap created by the language barrier and will remedy the previous lack of infor- mation, thus fostering communication between Ibero-American re- searchers and their English-speaking colleagues. The increase of communication with parapsychologists in the Ibero-American coun- Ibero-American members account at the present time for less than 8% of the Parapsychological Association members (Parapsychological Association, 1991). CIA-RDP96-00792R000700080001-2