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The Journal O~pPT f y or Release 2001/03/07 : CIA-RDP96-00792R0W76PRRi of parapsychology, some may see little value in monitoring publi- cations and research in these countries, perhaps because they doubt that the material produced by such researchers would be of suffi- cient quality to make an important contribution to the field (Alva- rado, 1989a). This lack of attention to formation about ro-American parapsychology presents a sen s problem for glish-speaking parapsychologists, who often rec e invitations attend parapsy- chological conferences in some of ese count ' where there are groups whose commitment to acade 'c parap hology is doubtful and whose only purpose in extending eir i tations is to legitim- ize local efforts, which are sometimes a bi s mix of parapsychol- ogy, spiritism, ufology, and so on. A be nowledge of parapsy- chology in these communities could facili a evaluation of the goals of specific groups who identify them s as parapsychologists. David Hess (1990) has pointed out the 11 ing concerning Brazil- ian parapsychology: [Since] anything "international" or tional status, the participation of P ferences that represent one grou olic or Spiritist parapsychology 110) Although it is true that tion that there are also s many years have carried recognition even thoug ception in the inter bridge this lack of at ing countries to styles in research have selected search that h 'rst worl ' in Brazil means addi- 'parapsych. ogists at Brazilian con- ould mean timating either Cath- the expense the other group. (p. groups exist, it is ous groups and rese rut important work-wo the language barrier has hi Tonal parapsychological arena. Efforts to don and to increase cooperation with Ibero- will not only help those in the English-speak- r understand cultural differences and national actice, but also help the researchers in the Ibero- improve the quality of their work. Therefore, I following countries for a general survey of the re- en conducted in parts of Ibero-America: Argen- tina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain. Spain There has never been a serious attempt to organize the history of psychical research in Spain, and information is scarce on early attempts to study psychic phenomena seriously. It was not until the 1920s that the Sociedad Espanola de Estudios Metapsiquicos was PiwIbero-American World 177 created under the presidency of the Count of Gimeno, member of the Royal Academy of Sciences and Medicine. The Society pub- lished a journal called Revista de Estudios Metapsfquicos (Fernandez Briones, 1981b). The research orientation of the Society was to study spontaneous cases and psychics, such as the famous Joaquin Argamasilla (expert in dermo-optical perception) whose abilities Houdini attempted to expose (Houdini, 1924). Most of the work of this society, however, was lost after the Spanish Civil War during a period of isolation in which only a few researchers kept the torch burning. Familiar names from this period are Sanchez Herrero, the Marquiz of Santa Clara, J. Palmes, and M. Otero y Acevedo, researchers whose independent efforts contrib- uted to ,& new generation of investigators such as Ramos Perera Mo- lina, Francisco Gavilan Fontanet, and Luis Fernandez Briones. This latter group, at the beginning of the 1970s, founded the first well- organized society to investigate psychic phenomena in Spain. It was called the Sociedad Espanola de Parapsicologfa (Fernandez Briones, 1981b). From its inception, this Society, under the direction of Ra- mos Perera Molina, had as its main goal to promote the scientific study of parapsychology. To achieve this goal, the Society combined the efforts of experts in experimental design, illusionism, psychol- ogy, medicine, and other fields of science and in 1976 established a research center (De Vicente, 1983). To carry out its research projects, the Society has been divided into several research committees that specialize in different areas embracing field studies as well as experimental projects. Among these committees are those concerned with the development of the- oretical models to enhance ESP, Kirlian. photography, experimental research, OBEs, and the medical aspects of psi. More recently, a new committee was established2 to investigate anomalous phenom- ena along the lines of the Society for Scientific Exploration. Members of the Society have carried out original research pro- jects in experimental parapsychology as well as research on sponta- neous cases. They have also critically evaluated miracle claims made by the Catholic church in Spain, such as the liquefaction of the blood of Saint Pantalebn (Jordan Pena, 1983). One of the most interesting investigations has been conducted by members of the research committee headed by Francisco Gavilan Fontanet (1976). In this study, the committee investigated identical 2 The goal of the committee is to investigate UFOs, cryptozoology, religious ap- paritions, and other phenomena scientifically. Approved For Release 2001/03/07 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700880001-4 The Journal o p#ap9A For Release 2001/03/07 : CIA-RDP96-00792R)0e7c@.q88000?1W4 Ibero-American World 179 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 reasons, 51% believed in a transcendent intelligence,-50% believed in some type of survival after death (of these 10% believed in rein- 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 bt Charles 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 firewalking (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 Cases 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 2001/03/07 : CIA-RDP96-00792R000700880001-4 Approved For Release 2001/03/07 : ~IA-RDP96-00792R000700880001-4 180 The Journal of Parapsychology Parapsychology 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 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 Parapsicologfa: Introduccion a la Parapsicologfa CientIjica [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 Despues 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 Hess, who has made several chology, presented a p which psychology in the f rig terms: on convention, David to study Brazilian parapsy- scribed Brazilian para- 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) To with the inated by we have th teachings 'of effected by a mediumship p individuals. Mo the Afro-Brazilia from th&African (Bastide, 1971; Gie This spectrum o has crept in and mix variety of belief syste chology have evolved. the Kardecist type of Sp movements that essen of deceased individuals, sess individuals and c On the other ha veloped a system th to fight and eventu superstition and 1990). This syste one of the mos Ibero-America Jesuit priest h Luis Ferrei Parapsychol 1970. The 1989 un for peo gious whi erstand parapsychology in Bra tural milieu from which it h ro-Brazilian cults and Ca piritist tradition that c llan Kardec; Spiritists ries of compulsory vides opportuniti over, Spiritism cults such as igions brow r, 1985). Spiritis there destroy as been dev nfluential and ather Oscar Go g in Brazil. Padre a Silva cofounded CLAP, of the Anc Approved For Release 2001/03/07 Cl 4-RDP96-00792R000700880001-4 , we need to be familiar volved, one that is dom- Iicism. 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 tism and all sorts of Brazilian religious cept possession, the influence of spirits healing (Parra Alvarez, 1981)_ ychology as an ideology with which tablished Catholic dogmas (Hess, ped mainly through the work of spected "parapsychologists" in alez Quevedo, a Spanish-born uevedo (as he is known) and e Latin American Center of eta College of Sao Paulo in in 1982 and reopened in to offer clinical counseling problems related to reli- monic possession). The ks on parapsychology, ter, which was closed do e suffering from psychologi periences and practices (e.g., still has an impressive library of used to be housed in huge facilities r- xperimental and clinical laboratory an a museum of objects Brazil does Il~Chave a coherent community of academic parapsycholo- One of the biggest parapsychology libraries in Latin America with approximately to volumes. h gists, and there are few if any people in Brazil who research and publish