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TheJournal 0i f For Release 2000/08/11 : IA-RD P96-00792R0 ~s~X~~y ,00792 these have not been successful as yet. Since its inception, however, members of the Society have been very active in organizing numer- ous educational activities and seminars at different universities. The seminar offered by the president of the Society, Ramos Perera Mo- lina, at the Universidad Aut6noma de Madrid in 1975 drew distin- guished and prominent figures such as Prince Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife and the minister of education. Since 1975, the Society has also published a biannual journal, entitled Psi Comunicaci6n, which includes English abstracts. The journal covers both the activities of the Society and a wide range of topics in parapsychology, some of which have been mentioned. In addition, their journal includes a section for national and interna- tional news on parapsychological activities around the world. Mem- bers of the Society have published several books summarizing its re- search activities. I have already mentioned the books by Fernandez Briones (1983). Other books include an anthology, entitled La Nueva Parapsicologla: Introducci6n a la Parapsicologfa CientIfica [The New Parapsychology: An Introduction to Scientific Parapsychology] ed- ited by Fernandez. Briones (1981a), a valuable introduction to the field, and Mario Capel's La Supervivencia Despuks de la Muerte: Evi- dencia Espontdnea y Experimental [Survival after Death: Spontaneous and Experimental Evidence] (1981) reviewing some of the research and phenomena related to the issue of survival after death. Although parapsychology has been negligible in Spain until re- cent times, it is important to point out that we are now witnessing a boom in parapsychological activities in that country. Unfortunately, even though the Society seems to be the best organized, and to have the most resources in the Ibero-American world, its members have not participated in the broader international parapsychological con- ferences, such as that of the Parapsychological Association, possibly because of the language barrier. In addition, it is unfortunate and disheartening to find that such a large, productive, and well-orga- nized society has no member in the PA. At the 1990 Parapsychological Association convention, David Hess, who has made several field trips to study Brazilian parapsy- chology, presented a paper in which he described Brazilian para- psychology in the following terms: Brazil does not have a coherent community of academic parapsycholo- gists, and there are few if any people in Brazil who research and publish OrW-Ibero-American World 181 at the standards of the Parapsychological Association. Instead, what is called "parapsychology" in Brazil is largely defined by rival groups of Catholic and Spiritist (Kardecist) intellectuals. (Hess, 1990) To understand parapsychology in Brazil, we need to be familiar with the cultural milieu from which it has evolved, one that is dom- inated by Afro-Brazilian cults and Catholicism. On the one hand, we have the Spiritist tradition that came from France through the teachings of Allan Kardec; Spiritists believe that spiritual progress is effected by a series of compulsory reincarnations. They believe that mediumship provides opportunities to communicate with deceased individuals. Moreover, Spiritism is strongly influenced in Brazil by the Afro-Brazilian cults such as Umbanda and Candomble derived from thevAfrican religions brought to Brazil through the slave trade (Bastide, 1971; Giesler, 1985). This spectrum of Spiritist beliefs and Afro-Brazilian religions has crept in and mixed in Brazilian society (Hess, 1987), creating a variety of belief systems from which Brazilian brands of parapsy- chology have evolved. There are many interesting combinations of the Kardecist type of Spiritism and all sorts of Brazilian religious movements that essentially accept possession, the influence of spirits of deceased individuals, as well as the belief that divinities can pos- sess individuals and can effect healing (Para Alvarez, 1981). On the other hand, there is the Catholic tradition that has de- veloped a system that uses parapsychology as an ideology with which to fight and eventually destroy all the movements the church sees as superstition and threats to the established Catholic dogmas (Hess, 1990). This system has been developed mainly through the work of one of the most influential and respected "parapsychologists" in Ibero-America, Father Oscar Gonzalez Quevedo, `a Spanish-born Jesuit priest living in Brazil. Padre Quevedo (as he is known) and Luis Ferreira da Silva cofounded the Latin American Center of Parapsychology, CLAP, of the Anchieta College of Sao Paulo in 1970. The Center, which was closed down in 1982 and reopened in 1989 under reduced circumstances, used to offer clinical counseling for people suffering from psychological problems related to reli- gious experiences and practices (e.~., demonic possession). The Center still has an impressive library of books on parapsychology, which used to be housed in huge facilities that also accommodated an experimental and clinical laboratory and a museum of objects 6 One of the biggest parapsychology libraries in Latin America with approximately 4,000 volumes. 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