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Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700870001-5 176 The Journal of Parapsychology Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World d under the presidency of the Count of Gimeno, member of of parapsychology, some may see little value in monito 'ng publi- created al Academy of Sciences and Medicine. The Society pub- cations and research in these countries, perhaps becau hey doubt the called Revista de Estudios Metcips{quuos (Fernandez that the material produced by such researchers wou be of suffi- fished a journal 1981b). The research orientation of the Society was to rient quality to make an important contribution to e field (Alva- Briones, rado, 1989a). study spontaneous cases and psychics, such as the famous Joaquin This s lack of attention to information abo Ibero-American Argamasilla (expert in dermo-optical perception) whose abilities parapsychology prese is a serious problem f English-speaking Houdini attempted to expose (Houdini, 1924). was lost r parapsychologists, wh ften receive invitatio to attend parapsy- Most Civil War during a period oyf isolation in which onlyea few chological conferences i ome of these cou 'es where there are Spanish groups whose commitmen o academic par sychology is doubtful researchers kept the torch burning. Familiar names from this period are Sanchez Herrero, the Marquiz of Santa Clara, J. Palmes, and M. and whose only purpose in tending thei nvitations is to legitim- ize local efforts, which are so imes a d ous mix of parapsychol- Otero y Acevedo, researchers whose independent efforts contrib- chology uted to $ new generation of investigators such as Ramos Perera Mo- ogy, spiritism, ufology, and so . A r knowledge of parapsy- in these communities cou fa fate evaluation of the goals ling, Francisco Gavilan Fontanet, and Luis Fernandez Briones. This of specific groups who identify t elves as parapsychologists. latter group, at the beginning of the 1970s, founded the first well- David Hess (1990) has pointed out t following concerning Brazil- organized society to investigate psychic phenomena in Spain. It was ian parapsychology: called the Sociedad Espanola de Parapsicolog1a (Fernandez Briones, [Since] anything "international" `first rld" in Brazil means addi- 1981b). From its inception, this Society, under the direction of Ra- tional status, the participation of A parap hologists at Brazilian con- mos Perera Molina, had as its main goal to promote the scientific study of parapsychology. To achieve this goal, the Society combined ferences that represent one gro could mea legitimating either Cath- olic or Spiritist parapsycholo t the expen f the other group. (p. the efforts of experts in experimental design, illusionism, psychol- ogy, ogy, medicine, and other fields of science and in 1976 established a ente, 1983). car center out its V Vice nte projects, the Society has been divided Although it is true that s h groups exist, it is portant to men- research tion that there are also ous groups and res chers who for into several research committees that specialize in different areas many years have carried tit important work-wo that deserves embracing eld stud recognition even thoug he language barrier has h ered its re- these committees are those concerned with the development of the- bridge Among ies as well as experimental projects. ception in the intern opal parapsychological aren Efforts to this lack of att on and to increase cooperation "th Ibero- oretical models to enhance ESP, Kirlian photography, experimental American researcher ill not only help those in the Eng -speak- research, OBEs, and the medical aspects of psi. More recently, a ing countries to bet understand cultural differences and ational new committee was established2 to investigate anomalous phenom- American styles in world research t p mpctice,rove but the also quahelplity of the their work. researchers in th There ore, bero- I ena along the lines of the Society for Scientific Exploration. Members of the Society have carried out original research pro- have selected the flowing countries for a general survey of the re- jests in experimental parapsychology as well as research on sponta- search that has en conducted in parts of Ibero-Ame: =ca:.=rge nexus cases. They have also critically evaluated miracle claims made tina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain. by the Catholic church in Spain, such as the liquefaction of the blood of Saint Pantale6n (Jordan Pena, 1983). Spain One of the most interesting investigations has been conducted by av There has never been a serious attempt organize members of the research committee headed by FGavilan a the on history Fontanet of the In this study, the committee committee investigated Francisco rancidentical of psychical research in Spain, and information is s scarce on early tozoolo religious ap? attempts to study psychic phenomena seriously. It was not until the The goal of the committee is to investigate UFOs, cryp gy> e s uicos paritions, and other phenomena scientifically. 1920s that the Sociedad Espanola dAJ0F8dao$e ase 2~0~3/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700870001-5 in the Ibero-American World 179 ADDroved For Release 2003/09/10': CIA-RDP96-00792R000 8"*f twin girls presumed to have been born with psi abilities. The case had received extensive coverage by the media in Spain. According to the reports of the case, one of the twin girls had suffered a burn on her hand while ironing. Her sister, separated from her at the time the burning occurred (16 kms away), developed a similar burn on the same hand. The Society sent a team of researchers to carry out a careful investigation of the case. They conducted a series of experiments to determine the possible existence of psi communica- tion between the sisters. One of the experiments consisted of sepa- rating the two girls into two different buildings and stimulating one of them (the sender) with different sensorial inputs (like perfume) while observing physiological reactions, such as pupillary and patel- lar reflexes, in the other twin (the receiver). Psychological profiles of the twins were also obtained from projective tests. The sessions with the two girls were simultaneously filmed to document the stim- uli as well as the perceptual pattern of the reactions. The results showed simultaneous reactions of the twins' reaction time and visual and olfactory responses. In 1978 the members of the Society conducted another impor- tant study, an international survey of the motivational factors of parapsychological researchers. Headed by Gavilan Fontanet (1978), the main objective of the study was to find out what motivates para- psychologists to investigate psychic phenomena. They surveyed 201 parapsychologists from 18 countries around the world. Among the parapsychologists were J. B. Rhine, S. Krippner, and C. Tart. Three hundred questionnaires, each having 23 questions, were prepared in five different languages3 and were mailed to re- searchers throughout the world. Among the interesting findings were that 61% of the respondents were psychologists, psychiatrists, and medical doctors, 45% considered themselves agnostics, 24% got involved in parapsychology while looking for a philosophical answer to the question of the nature of man, 31% got involved for scientific (of these intelligence,- 10% believed believed n rein- reasons, type 51% of survival after death transcendent carnation), some - in carnation), and 71% rejected astrology Another research objective of the Society was the search for a theoretical model to enhance psi abilities. For this purpose the So- ciety created the Committee for the Development of ESP4 headed by Luis Fernandez Briones. The Committee's purpose was to outline 'The languages were English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. ' A group that conducts experimental and theoretical research about ESP. a methodological model for the practical development of ESP. Once the model and the techniques were developed, the Society hoped it would be possible to train subjects to obtain positive results over an extended period of time (Fernandez Briones, 1976), thus confront- ing the replicability problem that characterizes most psi research. Although the Committee has not been successful as yet, the results obtained so far are encouraging. Fernandez Briones summarized the findings in his book entitled Desarrollo de la Percepcion Extrasen- sorial [The Development of Extrasensory Perception] (1983). Among the techniques used by the Committee to attain this goal are the inducement of altered states of consciousness and the application of learning theory principles to ESP performance, such as those pro- posed btCharles Tart (1966). Although the results have only been suggestive, Fernandez Briones was hopeful enough to emphasize the need for more research to test the proposed models sufficiently. Other research conducted by members of the Society includes investigations of poltergeist cases (Jordan Pena, 1980)5; conceptual papers related to the ability of some fish, such as the electric eel and the sturgeon of the Nile, to obtain information about their sur- roundings through electrical communication, which the authors speculated might be a primitive language of telepathy (Bardasano Rubio & Arano Bermejo, 1980a); examination of the migration of carrier pigeons and other animals to develop a model for ESP (Bar- dasano Rubio & Arano Bermejo, 1980b); and studies of the socio- logical and anthropological aspects of psychic surgery (Jimenez Vi- sedo, 1984). Moreover, other members of the Society have: speculated on the pineal gland as a possible somatic organ for ESP reception (Bardasano Rubio et al., 1981); examined neurophysiol- ogy and its importance for parapsychological research (Jimenez Vi- sedo, 1985); considered the psychophysiological correlates of hyp- nosis and its implications for parapsychology (Gonzalez Ordi, 1985); investigated perception of the laying-on of hands by a sensorially isolated subject (Prat et al., 1988); proposed three-dimensional models of RSPK studies, that is, the cases are studied within a para- psychological, psychological, and psychosociological context (De Cas- tro, Gonzalez Ordi, & Berrocal Muela, 1984); and offered theoreti- cal models to explain firewaiking (Perera, 1989). In the educational area, even though efforts have been made to include parapsychology in the curriculum of universities in Spain, 'Jordan Pena published a book called Casas Encantadas, Poltergeists [Haunted Houses, Poltergeists] (1982), in which he presented an overview of cases and theories of hauntings. For a review of this book, see Alvarado (1985). Approved For Release 2003/09/10 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700870001-5 Approved For Release 2003/09/10 C 180 The Journal of Parapsychology 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 Parapsicologia: Introducci6n a la Parapsicologia Cient f ca [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 Despuls 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 Parapsychologica on convention, David Hess, who has made several to study Brazilian parapsy- chology, presented a p which h scribed Brazilian para- psychology in the f ng terms: Ilan Kardec; Spiritists vides opportuniti over, Spiritism cults such as igions brow r, 1985). Spiritis we need to be familiar icism. On the one hand, e from France through the ieve that spiritual progress is carnations. They believe that to communicate with deceased strongly influenced in Brazil by mbanda and Candomble derived t to Brazil through the slave trade liefs and Afro-Brazilian religions ilian society (Hess, 1987), creating a which Brazilian brands of parapsy- e are many interesting combinations of the Kardecist type of Sp of deceased individuals sess individuals and On the other ha veloped a system th to fight and eventu superstition and 1990). This syste Ibero-America Jesuit priest Ii Parapsychol 1970. The C 1989 un for peoJre gious whi tism and all sorts of Brazilian religious cept possession, the influence of spirits ll as the belief that divinities can pos- healing (Parra Alvarez, 1981). there y destroy the Catholic tradition that has de- sychology as an ideology with which the movements the church sees as as been dev nfluential and ather Oscar Go tablished Catholic dogmas (Hess, ped mainly through the work of spected "parapsychologists" in alez Quevedo, a Spanish-born g in Brazil. Padre Silva cofounded CLAP, of the Anc ter, which was closed do eta College of Sao Paulo in in 1982 and reopened in to offer clinical counseling reduced circumstances, use suffering from psychologi periences and practices (e.g., problems related to reli- gists, and there are few if any people in Brazil who research and publish V1ol OI ripe oiggesc parapsycnotogy noranes in faun amenca wetn approximately f0 04 volumes. Approved For Release 2003/09/10 CIA-RDP96-00792R000700870001-5 xperimentai and clinical laboratory an at also accommodated a museum of objects ks on parapsychology, monic possession). The used to be housed in huge facilities still has an impressive library of ries of compulsory To with the inated by at the standards of the Parapsychological Association. Instead, what is called "parapsychology" in Brazil is larg defined by rival groups of Catholic and Spiritist (Kardecist) intellectua (Hess, 1990) Parapsychology in the Ibero-American World erstand parapsychology in Bra ro-Brazilian cults and Ca piritist tradition that c we have th teachings 'of effected by a mediumship p individuals. Mo the Afro-Brazilia from the'African (Bastide, 1971; Gie This spectrum o has crept in and mix variety of belief syste chology have evolved. uevedo (as he is known) and