Surveys of psi experiments: Psi Explorer

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Surveys of Psi Experiences

The next question, though, explored what proportion of these hallucinations could be classed as "crisis apparitions," i.e., as more or less coinciding, within 12 hours, with the death of the person who was "seen. It turned out that 80 - nearly 0.5% of the total sample - fit this criterion. Comparing these two figures, and taking into account the known death rate at that time in England, they found that death-related apparitions occurred nearly 500 times more frequently than would be expected by chance. Their survey suggested that we cannot dismiss death-related apparitions as just "coincidences."

But, let's turn to some more recent surveys. In the mid-70s. Dr. John Palmer mailed out a 46 item questionnaire to 300 university students and 700 adult residents of Charlottesville, Virginia, and asked respondents about the frequency and characteristics of their psychic experiences. Responses were obtained from about half the resident population, and 90% of the students. In general, it was clear that there were two distinct groups: people either tended to report no psi experiences (or very few of them) or else many of them. Overall, more than half the respondents claimed to have had at least one ESP experience, either in the waking state or through dreams. Psi experiences were more frequently reported from people who recorded and analyzed their own dreams. Insofar as Charlottesville is fairly representative of the American population (as asserted by marketing survey groups), it seems safe to say that spontaneous psi experiences would be claimed by about half the adult U.S. population.

In Europe, a similar survey was undertaken about the same time by Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson and his associates. This was a national survey based on a questionnaire quite similar to Palmer's, and involving over 1100 randomly selected people in Iceland. Around 80% of the people responded to the questionnaire, and psychic experiences were reported by 64% of the respondents suggesting that 2 out of 3 people in Iceland believe to have had at least one such experience. As in Palmer's study, higher percentages were reported by people who studied their own dream life. Additionally, it was found that experiences were reported somewhat more frequently by women than men (70% vs. 50%).

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