ohn Beloff was a psychologist who was so taken with
B. Rhine’s landmark book, “Extrasensory
Perception” which documented painstaking efforts
to obtain experimental evidence for psychic functioning,
that he used his fascination with parapsychology to produce
his first book,
“The Existence of mind”
a philosophy of the mind and its concepts, and was a
reaction against the now largely discredited behaviourists
and positively favoured Dualism, and he used the paranormal
to defend his literary position.
The famous J.B. Rhine was so
impressed with the book that he invited John Beloff to visit
his laboratory in North Carolina in 1965.
Beloff had already been conducting
experiments since 1961, in particular the use of will power
over radio active random waves, which was a big step up from
the falling dice and coins of previous tests, and is still
used today and is still called, “Mind over Matter testing” (
M & M ).
Over the years I have witnessed
much of this stuff, and I have seen false readings declared
genuine, and some genuine dismissed as false, but John was
very good at disproving the paranormal, which was largely
his intention. As a psychologist he was hardly impartial;
using psychology to investigate the paranormal is like
asking an electrician to look at a plumbing job.
John was famous for his off
putting manner which can disrupt experiments, but in 1983
Arthur Keostler left his entire estate to establish a chair
of parapsychology, and largely due to his friend John Beloff,
it went to Edinburgh and is there to this day.
In 1973 Beloff wrote the
Sciences” with a disappointing last chapter on
Three more books followed,
containing more and more on the paranormal as he saw it. He
was over many years a member of the Psychical research
society, and editor of its SPR Journal. He became president
A gentle studious man, he clamed
he found no evidence of psychic functioning.
Yet he epitomised the scholar who
wears 2 hats. In his role as a psychic investigator he
denies its validity, yet being from a family of strict Jews
he would be aware that the books of the Old testament are
full of astrology, gematria, palmistry, necromancy etc, yet
all this was O K and perfectly valid for his religious life.
In fact he even secretly believed
he had been born before.
Einstein was a lot more honest in
these categories, and his powerful intuition meant he
believed strongly in the paranormal, which he said was part
of his religious background.
But the paranormal world is full
of cross dressers, of the 186 scientists that condemned
astrology recently, a large number of those believed that
Christ was born in a stable to a virgin, was crucified on a
cross and rose from the dead, and that it was right to eat his
body and drink his blood in the communion rites.
Until we can get proper unbiased
experts to examine the fields of the paranormal who do not
come with a pre-determined outlook, the whole arena of the
paranormal sciences will be a playground to the biased and