Spontaneous Cases of Psi

The analysis and study of spontaneous psychic experiences was one of the first activities undertaken by psi research organizations. The prototype spontaneous case collection was accomplished by the first scientific establishment for psychic investigations, the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR). In the late 19th century, SPR cofounders Gurney, Myers and Podmore undertook a meticulous analysis of thousands of cases, mailed in by British correspondents. Using quite strict criteria of authentication and independent corroboration, they separated out the evidentially weaker cases and focused on the ones which seemed to strongly suggest a psychic factor. In their monumental Phantasms of the Living, the authors included over 700 cases which illustrated the range of telepathic phenomena - from vague intuitions and sensations to full- blown communications from apparitional entities. Their work showed that apparitions are not necessarily related to disembodied spirits, but are probably hallucinations contrived by the percipient's unconscious mind in association with a dramatic telepathic message.

In France, a case collection was undertaken by Nobel laureate physiologist Charles Richet, who was director of the Institut Metapsychique International. He published a number of these in his "Traite de la Metapsychique." Another famous French scientist, the astronomer Camille Flammarion, also compiled an impressive collection of spontaneous cases, published in several books. 

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