A few months ago, The Bent Spoon, released a Ghost Hunting Issue which included an interview with parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach. Loyd requested that he review his interview to make sure everything he said was sufficient. We printed the transcribed version without revisions. This is the interview that should have been in the magazine. – Bobby Nelson
Parapsychology is the study of psychic phenomena, of phenomena and experiences of the human mind, of consciousness, and how it relates to the world around it — which includes apparitions and hauntings and such. We deal with consciousness-related phenomena that seem to transcend or go beyond what we consider the normal senses and perceptions; whether it be bringing information in through non-normal channels, affecting matter and energy without direct intervention of the body, or survival of consciousness beyond the death of the body, keeping in mind that what’s considered “normal” changes as knowledge expands and society and Science accept new information.
Parapsychology differs from ghost hunting in many different ways. First of all, people in the field do controlled scientific research in a laboratory. The field research that so often seems that it has been taken over, or seemingly supplanted, by ghost hunting is done in a very measured way with controlled conditions as much as possible but also with including the processes and methods of science as much as possible. The biggest difference between parapsychology and ghost hunting is that ghost hunting seems to be focused specifically on certain phenomena and happenings, often leaving out the human experience which is at the root of all of this phenomena. Ghost hunters often ignore the history of research and how it relates to what they’re doing and to the phenomena.
So, I think the biggest divide is that ghost hunters tend not to even know that there is a field of parapsychology, or think that there is anything that parapsychology has to say about these phenomena, when we’ve been studying them for 130 years and clearly what’s studied in the lab has much to do with what’s investigated outside the lab.