Seances and Science

by Rachel Baker on October 20, 2013

With Halloween right around the corner, here’s an interesting article about the science of seances – a look at the psychology of spiritualism.

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist and magician, says my response to this lucky guess is typical. People tend to remember the correct details in a seance but overlook statements or events that provide no evidence of paranormal powers.

Wiseman’s work has also shown that we are all extremely susceptible to the power of suggestion. With colleague Andy Nyman, co-creator of Derren Brown’s television illusions, Wiseman used contemporary descriptions of Victorian seances to recreate an encounter with spirits in a disused prison. Over eight seances involving 152 people, volunteers sat around a table in the dark holding hands while luminous painted bells, balls and maracas moved before their eyes. Surveyed afterwards, a fifth of the volunteers believed they had witnessed the paranormal.

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/20/seances-and-science

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