Come to Yourself

Parapsychology: A Career in Parapsychology

April 28, 2021 Gretchen O'Neal/Loyd Auerbach Season 2 Episode 1
Come to Yourself
Parapsychology: A Career in Parapsychology
Show Notes Transcript

Loyd discusses how he got his start as a parapsychologist

Loyd Auerbach is a leading expert on parapsychology and is on the Board of Directors of the Rhine Research Center. He earned his B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Northwestern University and his M.S. in Parapsychology from John F. Kennedy University.

Loyd has authored multiple books on parapsychology, appeared on several television shows and documentaries regarding the paranormal, and teaches parapsychology at several universities across the country. His knowledge and experience of magic and mentalism, coupled with his background in Parapsychology and broad knowledge of other sciences has led a number of researchers to consult with him, especially with regard to laboratory controls and where the potential for psychic fraud has existed. 

Gretchen O'Neal is a spiritual accountability and empowerment coach.  She owns and operates www.cometoyourself.com.  Come To Yourself provides unbiased, easily accessible information from the top scholars in the fields of transpersonal psychology and consciousness studies, coupled with personal insights from successful artists, musicians, and business professionals, to anyone looking to start their spiritual journey to discover and serve their soul's mission in life 

Gretchen:

Hi, this is Gretchen from come to yourself.com with our series facts, not fiction, featuring a discussion about Paris psychology with Lloyd our back . Enjoy Lloyd. Why did you personally choose a career in Paris psychology?

Loyd:

Well , uh, I got interested as a kid , uh, and actually started reading the science books in Paris psychology when I was about 12 or 13. Um, I was amazed at the mystery that mystery being, why doesn't science look at this more closely. I had always felt, and it's because of an influence of comic books. I think more than anything else as a kid, that human beings are more than we think we are and that we can be more than we think we are. And there's plenty of examples of that. And they're all in the psychic world. I mean, the psychic experiences that people have. So , um, when I found there was an actual science and I lucked out there was a graduate program. Um, I just decided I was going to get into the field. Uh, I did not anticipate when I first got interested in starting acquainting my education that way I didn't anticipate going towards going away from laboratory research. That was my initial interest , but very quickly I determined. I figured out that I really wanted to be out in the field and talking to real people and looking at their real experiences and not having to do statistics.

Gretchen:

So what I find interesting is I don't think most people know that pair of psychology has kind of two tracks that can be followed, you know, one in field research and one in the lab. Uh, could you describe a little bit of the differences between the two

Loyd:

And basically , um, it's, it's sort of two tracks, but in reality, there's a number of fields of number of people who do both. Okay . Who literally do both. I mean, I always knew I wanted to teach also. So that was a , the educational piece of that was very important to me. Um, so most people think of Paris psychology, especially the ghost hunters, cause they don't know any better. And our psychology as being this lab, this dry laboratory statistically minded research , uh, in the, you know, just very controlled experiments on things and having no relation to real life at all. Uh, when in fact , uh, everything got started because there were some scientists who were interested in people's experiences. A lot of which were spiritual being spiritualism was all the rage in the 18 hundreds when the fields got started, but there were all these other experiences that were reporting, including telepathy and psychokinesis and mind over matter healing, all these things and studying them out to the laboratory because so much of what happens to people is in real life. In fact, there's a lot more that happens in the real world than ever would happen in a laboratory. Um, it's uncontrolled. Uh , but we look for patterns that are there and include it in those, what are called spontaneous experiences would be what people call ghosts or apparitions and hauntings and Poltergeist , because it's kind of hard to bring those into the laboratory. Um , so laboratory work looks at extra sensory perception and variations and applications. I think it's really important. People know that it's not just, you know, doing ESP tests , um, you test for remote viewing ability, but at the same time you were applying the information that you get in that remote viewing experiment in a way that might be very practical, just like the government program did the Stargate program did. Uh, and then you can do healing research that has true relation to people's health, not just, you know, trying to heal something that's been in a laboratory controlled situation. So there's a huge, there's a relationship here. And the laboratory studies are inspired by people's normal experiences. And those of us who do field work are extremely aware of what those findings are in the laboratory, because we want to apply them to our field work and our understanding. So it's a reciprocal arrangement.

Gretchen:

Got it. But you personally chose field work because you wanted to interact

Loyd:

And , uh, education , uh, media outreach and education. My family was in television. So, and actually I kind of got interested in ghosts and things because of TV too originally. Uh, and I always felt that what was on TV was not quite accurate and , and for good reason , most of the scripted stuff, you have to make a dramatic. Yeah . But even the so-called real stuff , uh, was off , uh, and subject to pop culture and folklore and assumptions. So I really wanted to be someone who got the message out as much as possible through the media , uh , as well as for education, I'd hoped at some point to be on faculty somewhere, which I was and am. So it's a , it's a big push. But my, the very first case I had, which was my first semester in graduate school was enough to say this is a lot more interesting than a laboratory work. Uh, cause it was a mystery. It was like trying to solve a mystery.

Gretchen:

And where did you go to undergrad in graduate school?

Loyd:

Undergrad was Northwestern university starting out actually an astrophysics. Um, that was, I had gotten advice from JB Ryan . Who's kind of the father of modern Paris psychology and writing to him that since there was no, at that point, there was no degree program in Paris , psychology anywhere. And there's not anymore any here at all today in the U S but he suggested studying hard science or soft science . So psychology, anthropology, physics. I was very interested in astronomy and physics. And , uh, I ended up at Northwestern, which was the head of the department was J Allen. Hynek the UFO expert, the main guy. And I even at the center for UFO studies in his house for a year. But , um, I decided that for a number of reasons, one of which, again, the math was getting me down. I just really was not interested in it. And so I switched over to anthropology , uh, when a couple of my fellows, as astronomy students , uh , also switched to anthropology for the same reason. And , uh , we all discussed it and I felt that that was a better fit because cross-cultural studies were important. Um, and I went in to talk to someone who is going to be assigned to , to be my advisor, one of the professors, just to make sure that it was a good fit for me. And when I S I sat down in his office waiting for him to come back from the restroom and on his shelf was the journal of parapsychology. So without even having the conversation with him, it was very clear. I was in the right place. Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. So graduate students, so that was Northwestern, undergrad, a lot of courses in , uh , the anthropology of the supernatural, because there's an awful lot of cross-cultural stuff. And I was very fortunate that there were several professors at Northwestern who had studied this or, and were teaching it. Uh, and then I went to John F. Kennedy university , uh , while I was in college, undergrad, they had just started the program, the graduate program. So I was able to get into that graduate program , uh, which unfortunately shut down in officially, I think in 1987, I think we finished our last student a couple of years later.

Gretchen:

So what's interesting to me though, is that even though some of these universities or any university, as you said in the U S doesn't have a particular pair of psychology major that you can look up, sometimes it's really helpful to maybe to research some of the faculty and see what their background is or what their interests are, and maybe, you know, seek them out into , in as entry into the field, if that's your interest.

Loyd:

It's absolutely true. The only problem is that since the seventies and since the advent of the skeptics organizations , um, academia has gotten to be a toxic environment, even for faculty members. So many of them don't like to admit , um, in any way, shape or form outside, maybe personal relationships, they don't want to admit that they're interested in the subject.

Gretchen:

So then if you were interested, if you were a person who's, you know, a teen about to start college or a graduate program, what would you recommend might be the best resources for them to seek out some , um, opportunities to learn?

Loyd:

Well, if you really want to get into the field down the line , uh , having a good general background in science. So you could actually even be, you know, a liberal arts student, although that degree is not always useful in other ways, but you could do a real sampling of science across the board, both physical and social sciences. I'd say that , uh , physics is really important. Quantum physicists actually tend to be more open to Paris , psychological concepts. Um, you could do psychology , uh, certainly a third, a third or more of the members of the parish , psychological association. They have a background in psychology. The problem is you have to have a thick skin because in most psychology programs undergraduate also , um, most psychologists, the majority of them are prejudiced against psychic concepts and spiritual concepts, unless they're teaching transpersonal psychology or at least humanistic psychology. I even had a run in with a professor , uh , at the site for the intro to psych class at Northwestern because I correct. I offered a correction to something that was in the psych text , which was incorrect, and apparently wasn't happy about it. And I had to switch the PA pass fail because the TA buys me to do that. Um, he said, you're not getting an a, you're not getting a B , so you might as well switch to pass fail. Uh , and I could have reported that to the administration, but I didn't. Uh, but that's the kind of the attitude you run into. So , uh, I'd say that for me, I , from my personal experience, anthropology was wonderful and the reason it was such a good background is not even just because of there may be specific courses studying people's magic and supernatural beliefs, which do relate to psychic functioning, but generally because anthropologists cultural anthropologists, especially , uh , looking cross culturally , they are much more open to different ideas, even if they don't believe them. And you can find anthropology books where they're describing , um, telepathy between indigenous peoples. There's a well-known anthropologist who studied Australian Aborigines. And there's a couple of sections and a couple of his books on about Aboriginal telepathy. He just threw them in there. It wasn't like, let me explain whether I believe in that . It's like, here's, what's , here's what we're seeing. And that's what I found with a lot of the professors , uh , in anthro. And that's not always the case, but that for social science, I think that, or sociology is another possible good one, unless you're going into psychology as a profession.