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194' The Journal of Para/4 pbgyed For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00.792R0007G7 O$tl4ay in the Ibero-American World 195 minished by increasing communication and collaboration with for- eign parapsychologists. Puerto Rico10 Early psychical research in Puerto Rico was strongly influenced by the nineteenth-century Spiritualist movement that had also spread to other countries. Mediumistic seances in which raps and communication with the spirits were common drew attention mostly from people with a religious interest. It was perhaps this influence that led Agapito Morales to publish in 1904 a more critical examination of these phenomena. In his booklet Breve Tratado de Hipnotismo, Magnetismo, Espiritismo y Suges- toterapia, Morales contended that all those occurrences could take place without assuming the action of spirit agencies. He interpreted possession as being autosuggestion and attributed paranormal phe- nomena to our own psychic faculties. He considered that all of the experiments made until today demonstrate that there is an invisible force in our being that is capable, for instance, of playing a guitar, lifting a table, or lifting our own bodies. According to him this force is under our control. He also believed that mediumistic communi- cation could be explained by means of telepathy between the me- dium and the sitter. Another major influence in the formation of a more empirical and critical approach to parapsychology was the work of Francisco Ponte, a dentist who became president of the Puerto Rican Feder- ation of Spiritists. Ponte visited Europe in 1912 to familiarize him- self with the work of several Spiritualistic centers, as well as psychi- cal research centers. He had had the opportunity to participate in mediumistic seances in Italy with famous mediums such as Lucia Sordi and Eusapia Palladino. During these seances he witnessed manifestations of apparent telekinesis and materializations (Alva- rado, 1987; Ponte, 1914). Later Ponte returned to Puerto Rico and tried to reproduce the same phenomena with local mediums. He reported some of his find- ings on materializations of body parts during seances to Waiter Franklin Prince, then Research Officer of the ASPR. Ponte's work was important because of the critical and empirical approach he brought to his research on seance phenomena (Alvarado, 1979a). 10 This section on Puerto Rican parapsychology partly summarizes information contained in an article by Alvarado (1979a). The theoretical ideas of Ralph U. Sierra are also interesting. Sierra, who was interested in the psychology of ESP, believed that to develop telepathy it was necessary to develop first an internal state of tranquility so that the electrical activity of the brain did not interfere with the telepathic process (Sierra, 1966). Some of the most important developments, however, took place during the last two centuries. At the educational level, it is impor- tant to note the work of Celinda Madera who, during the 1970s, offered a series of courses and lectures at different campuses of the University of Puerto Rico. Madera's courses focused on the human- istic and transpersonal aspects of psi. She herself had received train- ing at Duke University's Parapsychology Laboratory (Alvarado, 1979a). In 19'4, Nestor A. Rodriguez Escudero, a lawyer, published a series of essays about parapsychology and Spiritualism in his book Los Caminos de Dios. He discussed a great variety of paranormal phe- nomena. His main objective was to show that parapsychology dem- onstrates the spiritual aspect of man (Rodriguez Escudero, 1974). Another development in 1977 was the creation of the Instituto de Investigaciones Psicofisicas at the University of. Puerto Rico, May- aguez campus. Founded to conduct investigations in parapsychology and related areas, the Institute carried out studies of various param- eters of Kirlian photography and of the effects of hypnosis on ESP. However, these research investigations were never made available for publication. During this period Alfonso Martinez Taboas began to publish a newsletter Explorando lo Paranormal, a semipopular mag- azine later edited by Carlos Alvarado starting in 1976. Martinez Taboas and Carlos Alvarado wrote articles on parapsy- chology in Spanish for the Spanish journal Psi Comunicaci6n; they also published in other journals. Their articles covered a wide range of topics. Among these, Alvarado wrote on experimental studies of OBEs (1976), historical precedents of the so-called psychic discov- eries behind the Iron Curtain (1978), the use of historical knowl- edge (1979b), and on J. B. Rhine (1980). Martinez Taboas published a review of the problem of repeatability in parapsychology (1979), critiques of psychological and physiological concepts of poltergeist research (1977, 1980, 1984; Martinez Taboas & Alvarado, 1981), and a discussion of the concept of parsimony applied to parapsy- chology (1983). The work of Martinez Taboas and Alvarado has been very im- portant in the effort to bridge the language barrier between the Spanish researcher and the non-Spanish-speaking researcher. This Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700750001-8 196 The Journal of Parapsychology is particularly true of Alvarado's book reviews (1984a, 1985) and his discussion of language-barrier problems in parapsychology (1989a). Moreover, Alvarado, a former research assistant at the Division of Parapsychology (now the Division of Personality Studies) at the Uni- versity of Virginia, has maintained a constant flow of information on parapsychological activities in Latin America to research centers in the United States for the last eight years. In addition, among the Ibero-American parapsychologists, he is the one who has published most extensively in the English-language journals and the only one ever to be elected a member of the Board of Directors of the Para- psychological Association. Mexico has been kn mushroom or peyotl, a p an altered state of conscio ifestation of psychic power source for many parapsychd thodox psychic healing practid as Maria Sabina and Dona Pa gated by Stanley Krippner an (Krippner & Villoldo, 1986). Although Mexico has been a in parapsychologists from foreign county Spain. Moreover, even though the ern border of the United States American cultural influence in inance of the United States ment of parapsychology. E more parapsychological world, very little is kn countries such as well known in comes from p Early ef work in searcher, the fir Page Approved For Release 2003/09/10 C'IA-RDP96-00792R000700750001-8 for a long time as the land of the sacred t used by the Indian shaman to ess, which allegedly facilitate This country has also Famous curande to have been ther fam ice of study for many sychical research has not such as Argentina and located on the south- subject to very strong ect of life, the dom- tor in the develop- d States there are here else in the Most of what tin American uevedo are generally has b ost every not been a though in the Uri arch centers than an in Mexico of their resea parapsychology comes from zil. For example, the writings o ico, and also most of what is knd Jar magazines. to study psychical research within a scien co began in 1919 with the isolated efforts o the German-born medical doctor Gustav Page esearcher to conduct serious psychical research in uce a major ed in unor- (healers) such ensively investi- parapsychologists Mexican me course of his Mexico, Diaz a A respected said he had been encounter with the of one of his patient markable psychical gif gan a series of psycho sults were so striking th Mexican medical society, them. Pagenstecher also Franklin Prince, Research investigate the case. After old, Prince was so impres lish them in the Journal Prince later published periments in which h ASPR published a in Seership: A Study of P According to W two major areas in Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World ical community as well as in political circles. In the reer he delivered speec ObregOn (Allison, 19 mber of the medi aterialist for for ranormal. It w ho had inso f Maria ric exp he br, hic ther articipate ograph by cchometry (Page iam Roll (1967); arapsychology: [He was], as f as I know the first inve S means to culti a EP in a gifted subject... also, I believ the first to indicate that the tion of obje may be governed by the same chological) sociation of ideas. (p. 238) Pagens iments. H ical prac abilities was sk Com Perim 1990): Approved For Release 2003/09/10 CIA-RDP96-00792R000700750001-8 er showed great courage in and eopardized his professional standin e by trying to substantiate the claims f he Medical Commission appointed to i tical of the reported phenomena. Fortunat sion's leading experts obtained successful r is in which they participated (Gomezharp s before two presidents of 11 profession, Pagenstecher years when he had his first during a hypnosis treatment is that he discovered the re- es de Zierold. Pagenstecher be- ents with her in 1919. The re- ght them to the attention of the ppointed a commission to verify d to write to the ASPR and send tained. The results induced Walter cer of the ASPR, to go to Mexico to s of experimental sittings with Zier- the results that he decided to pub- R in 1920 (Pagenstecher, 1920). r in which he discussed the ex= (Prince, 1921b). Moreover, the enstecher entitled Past Events echer, 1922). agenstecher contributed to gator to use hypnosis as a agenstecher's studies were arapsychological) associa- ws that govern the (psy- taking these exper- s well as his med- Zierold's psychic stigate the case , however, the lts in the ex- de Trevino, very well-known and respected physician in the mother. region, about a precognitive dream Obreg6n's brother had about the death of their