Supplementary Lecture Notes: Chapter 9: Death

       © 2013-17 Imants Barušs

    Note about these "Supplementary Lecture Notes"

Please note that these "Supplementary Lecture Notes" consist of an Outline and a summary of some of the material covered in class that is not in the textbook. The textbook is actually the "lecture notes" (that got published). So, except for the outlines, which are usually just a list of the sections from each chapter in the book, these supplementary lecture notes cover only supplementary material that is not in the textbook.


Survival hypothesis
Out-of-body experiences
Near-death experiences
    near-death experiences of the blind
    distressing near-death experiences
Past-life experiences
    children’s past-life experiences
    past-life regression
    the Philip experiment
    the Scole experiment
    instrumental transcommunication
Evidence for survival

    The Philip Experiment

In the early 1970s, members of the the Toronto Society for Psychical Research created a fictional ghost they called "Philip" and tried to create a group hallucination in which they would see him. Following the protocols for such research in the United Kingdom, they sat around a “plastic-topped card table, with folding wooden legs, strengthened at the corners by metal stays,” engaged in conversation, told jokes, sang songs, and recited poetry (Owen, 1976, p. 30). After a while, the table ostensibly started to tilt and to slide around the floor, sometimes swiftly and violently, and sometimes outpacing the members of the group who were trying to keep up with it (Owen, 1976; 835850 Ontario Limited, 1974; Meyer zu Erpen, 2013). A rapping sound could also be heard coming from the table. The participants set up a code so that a single rap meant “no” and two raps meant “yes.” When participants asked questions, they would receive the expected answers. If they asked a question about something that had not been decided, they would get hesitant knocks or a scratching sound. These phenomena could be reproduced on demand, in good light, with witnesses present. The results were replicated by several other groups in Canada and Australia using different fictional characters. If we have time, in class, I will show part of a film made of these phenomena. The film is available in the King's library as a DVD with the title "Philip: The Imgainary Ghost" and call number BF1031.P45 1974.


835850 Ontario Limited. (Producer). (1974). Philip: The imaginary ghost [DVD]. Available from Visual Education Centre Limited, 30 MacIntosh Blvd., Unit 7, Vaughan, Ontario, Canada L4K 4P1.
Keen, M., Ellison, A, & Fontana, D. (1999). The Scole report: An account of an investigation into the genuineness of a range of physical phenomena associated with a mediumistic group in Norfolk, England. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, 58 (Pt. 220), 149–392.
Meyer zu Erpen, W. (2013). Canadian psychical research experiments with table tilting and ectoplasm phenomana in the séance room. In M. Moreman (Ed.) The spiritualist movement: Speaking with the dead in America and around the world. Volume 2: Belief, practice, and evidence for life after death. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.
Owen, I. M. (with Sparrow, M.). (1976). Conjuring up Philip: An adventure in psychokinesis. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside.