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180 The Journal of Parapsyc CIA-RDP96-00792R0007(ctJy in the Ibero-American World 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 AutOnoma 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 Parapsicologfa: Introduccion a la Parapsicologia Cientffica [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 Despu6s de la Muerte: Evi- dencia Espontknea 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 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 th&African 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 (Parra 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.f., 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. Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : PIA-RDP96-00792R000700320001-5 The Journal of Parapsyjff oved For Release 2003/09/10: CIA-RDP96-00792R0007 X14 in the Ibero-American World 183 related to parapsychological phenomena, Spiritism, miracles, and psychic healing. In addition, the Center offers seminars and short courses in parapsychology during the year. The stated goal of the Center listed in a publicity leaflet' is to disseminate scientific parapsychology in order to clarify the miscon- ceptions and superstitions produced by the lack of understanding of psychic phenomena. The content of their publications, however, seems to indicate that the real objective of the Center has been to destroy Spiritism and its belief system because it contradicts the church's teachings. Consequently, the Center has been ruled by a religious ideology. Discussion of Brazilian parapsychology must focus essentially on the work of Quevedo, because his work and publications have been the major source of scientific parapsychology not only for Brazil but also for other Ibero-American countries since the 1960s. It is nec- essary also to emphasize his publications because they are well re- spected and are considered by many to be representative of the Catholic school in Brazilian parapsychology.' Father Quevedo has published several books on parapsychology, some of which have become best sellers in the Spanish language as well as in Portuguese, reaching a surprising number of editions.' Among his books are a general introduction to parapsychology (1969/1973), a discussion of ESP and other mental phenomena (1964/1974), and another about physical mediumship (1969/1971). He has also authored other polemical books on healing (1976/1977) and possession (1989). According to a well-known Spanish parapsychology journal, Quevedo has offered numerous seminars and courses throughout Ibero-America, often drawing audiences of more than 200,000 peo- ple. He has also appeared in over 200 hours of television. Quevedo's impact, spreading what is his version of parapsychology, has been astonishing in its education of the lay person (Fernandez Briones, Jimenez Visedo, & Capel, 1975). Unfortunately, however, what could have been one of the most important contributions to scientific parapsychology in Ibero-Amer- ica is overshadowed by Quevedo's zealous campaign against Spirit- 7 A promotional leaflet published by CLAP entitled "0 porque do CLAP." For further discussions of Brazilian parapsychology, see Hess (1990) and Play- fair (1975). 9 In Portuguese alone, 90 editions of 30,000 copies each, and more than 20 edi- tions in Spanish and Italian (Parra & Pedroza, 1991). ism, in which he explains Spiritist findings as fraud or psi by living organisms, and his equally strong defense of Catholic beliefs. Not only has Quevedo separated himself from the real goals and objec- tives of the CLAP, but he has also used parapsychology as an ideo- logical weapon in a fight to further his particular conceptual per- spective. As Hess (1987) pointed out: Oscar Gonzalez Quevedo reinterpreted the parapsychology of the United States and Europe in light of Catholic Church doctrine ... to challenge the scientific basis of claims of Spiritism, Umbanda, and the Afro-Brazilian religions. (p. 26) In fact, to accomplish his goals, Father Quevedo has distorted parapsychology in his books, seeking most of the time to accom- modate church dogmas. He sometimes goes to the extreme of mak- ing subtle, changes in the content of classical writings on parapsy- chology so as to support his own views (Martinez Taboas, 1978) and to deny any possible explanation that may be close to the Spiritist point of view. In doing this, Quevedo has used investigations con- ducted for many years by centers around the world, together with numerous references from classical works, including those con- ducted by the Rhines and others at the Duke Parapsychology Lab- oratory. As David Hess (1990) has further pointed out: Both Spiritists and Catholics will still appropriate PA parapsychology and the older studies of psychical research for their own purpose. They like to have the foreigners do the empirical research (the "dirty work"), while they sit back and put it into their own philosophical or theological framework. (p. 110) The system of parapsychology Quevedo developed has an en- tirely different conceptualization of the field and completely differ- ent goals from those of the parapsychological research done in other parts of the world. For Quevedo, parapsychology helps to es- tablish a dichotomy between what he considers natural phenomena and the supernatural, or phenomena that cannot be explained by any paranormal mechanisms (e.g., the miracles of Lourdes and of various saints). Quevedo divides the causes of parapsychological phenomena into three types. The natural ESP abilities, classified as paranormal, are manifestations of the soul, which was created per- fect and possessed unlimited psychic abilities but was restricted when the first man sinned. Such abilities, Quevedo says, are occa- sionally manifested by people during mental disturbances such as a trance. Another category is those phenomena that are beyond such Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700320001-5 The Journal of ParapsAA1 Fg1Ved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000703 4Q?gY in the Ibero-American World 185 human abilities, that is, the phenomena are supernatural. According to Quevedo, when a parapsychological explanation cannot account for the manifestation of certain psychic phenomena, the explanation should be left to the theologian. Quevedo also includes another in- teresting category that for many would not be considered parapsy- chology-what he calls "extraordinary normal phenomena," phe- nomena that can be explained by normal or unusual psychological and physiological processes. For example, Quevedo uses the term pantomnesia (unlimited unconscious memory) as a mechanism that can explain some types of xenoglossy phenomena. When someone manifests this phenomenon, Quevedo believes it means that the per- son once heard the language and is merely repeating previously learned phrases. Another phenomenon classified under this cate- gory is indirect hyperesthesia. According to Quevedo, all our thoughts have an equivalent physiological reaction and are reflected in our bodies. For example, if I am thinking about something, I produce very subtle physical movements or signals that other per- sons near me can decode unconsciously. The information obtained unconsciously can then be transformed into actual knowledge. Quevedo (1964/1974). uses this concept to explain most of the phe- nomena exhibited by mental mediums. Moreover, according to his system, Quevedo (1969/1973) views the excessive manifestation of psychic phenomena in individuals as a pathological problem that should be treated with psychotherapy. Although he considers such manifestations to be natural, an excess of them denotes pathology. Consequently, the manifestation of ESP abilities should never be encouraged or developed. That sets his tra- dition completely apart from the one that seeks to develop psi and to understand conditions that enhance its manifestation. Quevedo's conclusions, however interesting, are not derived from empirical research. Rather, his procedure is to review the writ- ings of different authors, especially those from the classical works, and use the material to develop his own conclusions. In a thorough review of three of Quevedo's books, the Puerto Rican psychologist Alfonso Martinez Taboas (1978) identified numerous contradictions, omissions, distortions of the evidence, and dogmatic statements by Quevedo. Quevedo's book Las Fuerzas Flsicas de la Mente alone had 70 problems of this sort. One example of his exaggerated statements appears on page 289 of his book El Rostro Oculto de la Mente. In this passage Quevedo concludes the following about precognition: Very few established facts about Chemistry and Physics and other branches of science have been so well established as precognition in parapsychology.... And the most important thing is that thousands of laboratory experiments have scientifically proved without any doubt that man posseses this ability. (1964/1974, p. 289) Without any empirical evidence to support his theory, Quevedo limits the operative range of precognition to two centuries. He does this to prove that man possesses limited temporal abilities, a conclu- sion supporting the Church dogma that only biblical prophecy is un- limited by time, for it is divine in nature and is the result of God's intervention; that is, it is a miracle. The CLAP also used to publish a magazine called Revista de Parapsicologia, which summarized the activities of the Center and contained mostly theoretical articles. More recently, however, the Center closed down, apparently because of a prohibition imposed by the Church as a result of a polemical book published by Quevedo (1989) entitled Antes Que Os Demonios Voltem [Before the Demons Re- turn]. In this book Quevedo, ironically, uses parapsychology to make skeptical commentaries on Catholic dogmas concerning de- monic possession; he also tries to explain demonic possession through parapsychological mechanisms. He criticizes the traditional Church use of the Rituale Rumanum in determining the causes of demonic possession. Essentially, Quevedo points out the shortcom- ings of the Rituale Romanum, which does not include psychic phe- nomena as an alternative explanation that might account for most of the cases of demonic possession. There is no doubt that in developing his system Quevedo has extensively surveyed the whole field of parapsychology. In a review of some of his books, George Zorab (1971) states: These three volumes, comprising nearly 1000 pages, fully inform the reader about all the various aspects of modern parapsychology. It is at the same time a fair and reliable guide. In a sense it is unique in the present day literature of the subject, for since Richet's Traite de Mitapsy- chique (1922) and F. Moser's Okkultismus (1935) no such comprehensive work covering the whole extensive field of modern parapsychology has been put on the market. (p. 142) I certainly would agree with Zorab's opinion on the astonishing amount of work carried out by Quevedo, work that certainly de- serves recognition. I would not, however, characterize his work as fair and reliable as far as the handling of the evidence is concerned. To a certain extent, Quevedo's position is justified when he tries to fight superstition such as that spread by the psychic healers, who are very popular in Brazil. In a sense he is a minority in a society with Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700320001-5 Approved For Release 2003/09/10 C;IA-RDP96-00792R000700320001-5 186 The Journal of Parapsychology Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World 187 Thus, he rejects the usual attributions of RSPK outbreaks to a living a high concentration of Spiritists whose beliefs threaten the estab- agency. In defense of his position he points to the fact that a psycho- lished Catholic dogmas. However, when he uses parapsychological logical examination of Noemia [a participant in the case], the most prob- evidence of certain phenomena as a scientific backup to establish able RSPK agent, was conducted by two psychologists belonging to the facts, when this same evidence is still very controversial for many IBPP team. He states, "Mrs. Noemia didn't display any form of psychi- parapsychologists, his position is untenable. Nonetheless, his work cal abnormality that could justify viewing her as belonging to the `psy- has to be seen in the cultural and ideological background from chokinetic agent of a poltergeist' category in conformity with the theo- retical patterns suggested by the current hypothesis." . . . He adds that his macro-PK tests ... of her capacities were also negative. (p. Another dimension of Brazilian psychical research is the work by researchers with Spiritist orientation. One example is that con- It is important, however, to point out that to some extent the ducted by the engineer and psychical researcher Hernani Guimar- cases investigated by Andrade and his associates seem to reflect the des Andrade, who in 1963 founded the Brazilian Institute of Psy- influence of the beliefs and culture of Brazilian society (Hess, 1990). chobiophysical Research (IBPP). The name was chosen to make it Andrade has also published one of the first systematic treatises of clear that the Institute intended to explore biological and physical s holo in Portuguese entitled Parapsicologia Experimental as well as purely psychical phenomena. One of the most significant Para96p A basic introductory manual of the quantitative method things about this Institute is that it emerged from within the Spiritist used in parapsychology, it includes a detailed description of the sta- ducted (Playfair, 1975). Andrade, a Spiritist himself, has con- tistical model ixperiments with ESP cards. ducted well-planned and detailed investigations of reincarnation There al other exu r m nts i who are interested in a more cases along the lines of Ian Stevenson's work. His poltergeist cases scientific approach to psychical research. One of these groups is the are particularly interesting-for example, the one published in a recently established ECLIPSY-Instituto de Investiga?oes Cientificas monograph entitled 0 Poltergeist de Guarulhos (1984). These cases in- em Parapsicologia. This group aims to pursue a different approach, volve very dramatic phenomena: apports, damage to furniture and orientation traditional appr most c es associated with h persons, apparitions of strange creatures, and spontaneous fires. In one separate from the more evaluating and interpreting the cases, Andrade leans toward the dis- Spiritist s typical of Brazilian sear ved rom f o Fran carnate agencies hypothesis, sometimes with possible witchcraft lits first conference in parapsychologyYheld San 1990stwhich ponents (Alvarado, 1984b; Andrade, 1984). Also, as M gee organize Amorim (1990) has remarked about Andrade's interpretation of the from included Brazil, and Mexico. The group plans to conduct cases: experimental research that will be reported in its new journal, called case [the Revista Brasileira de Parapsicologia. According to its president, Wel- Andrade interprets the different types of occurrences present in this Umbanda case] as supportive of a Spiritist world view in the lington Zangari, it will include abstracts in English as well as in Umbanda tradition. The Umbanda tradition has several million adher- ents especially Spanish. The journal will also include translations from major ex- I _ di and published in the E:~l=s1:?1a^ -' be combines relatively L ~,u be characterized African, as a relely extra- perimental aimental journals. and d theoretical articles and d Spiritist elements in the and bigger may cities. of popular Catholicism with ancient Afro Brazilian sects. (p. g There are also other groups involved in parapsychology in Brazil 199) According that are beyond the scope of this paper because of limitations of to Amorim, not only does Andrade interpret his cases space and because of our initial goal of evaluating Brazilian para- religion, the Spiritist lines but he also accepts the central beliefs of this psychology from the perspective of its impact on the Ibero-Ameri- Umulums. such as the existence of all sorts of spirits, like Exus and can countries. Umulums. He also believes that the sorcerer is able to practice magic within the terreiros (a place specialized in these procedures) to harass victims according to Quimbanda laws (the black magic side of the Umbanda religion). ~{ For many years Argentina has been the top-ranking country ir. Concerning Andrade's interprets nqr?oee Forekeleasee2003/09/10: CIA-RDP96-007 hological research of Guarulhos, Amorim (1990) also stCs: