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The Desk Defines Parapsychology

and almost everything else too

©03 The Media Desk

[NOTE: This article drove the Desk's spellchecker absolutely nuts.]

       In its official obituary for Mrs. Desk, the Desk said it studied Parapsychology. Some time later, OK, actually it happened a couple of times, one of which was the day of the memorial service, but the other was yesterday and that is what prompted this examination of the topic.
       The questioner also wanted to know how that was different from things like bigfoot (cryptozoology- although the Desk's friend didn't know the word for the science) or the search for ET (xenoanthropology, etc) or even religious studies (metaphysics, apologetics, etc.)
       The Desk promised them a study of the matter in language that wouldn't prompt a migrain.
       This is the result of that effort.

       Just exactly what IS Parapsychology. And equally importantly, what is it NOT?

       In its short story 'Dear Diary' the Desk introduces the diarist a 'xeno-parapsychologist' as one who:

"deals with the powers of alien races that don't fall neatly into standard science and even not-so-standard science."
Dear Diary, Web Published by The Media Desk- (c)2000 Levite

       By Definition, Parapsychology revolves solely around psychological phenomena. And those, by their very nature, fall outside the realm of hard sciences like Biology and Chemistry. And really even outside the scope of mainstream Psychology. Even though certain aspects of Chemistry and Psychology can influence Parapsychological events.
       Under that small umbrella, a traditional haunting is NOT something to be studied by a Parapsychologist. Yet almost everybody that wears that nametag in general circulation will at least read an account of a haunting, if not sit in the middle of a haunted house with a thermos of coffee waiting for the spirits to come out to play.

       "That's about three quarters of paranormal research. Drinking lukewarm coffee, and watching. No fancy psi-energy detectors, no super sensitive microphones, nothing that you can put in a dish and run through a mass spectrometer. Just sitting and watching, and in my case, a forty-nine dollar camera around my neck."
Investigations, also by the Desk.
       Neither is UFOs, the search for the Loch Ness Monster, and a lot of other pseudo-science. Nor is metaphysics and other mystical pursuits. Although a great number of those who are looking into those phenomena would consider at least some of what they do to be Parapsychology, once again, by the strict definition. They are not.

Now for a list of things that ARE without too much argument Parapsychology.

What is NOT Parapsychology -

       Now a bit about deliberate Hoaxery. Out and Out FRAUDS. Shysters. And the like.
       Oh yeah. They are out there by the score.
       Some get on TV, others think they are good enough to fool those that are seriously researching this stuff. And for awhile they get away with it. Then some sharpie figures out the gag and blows the whistle on them. James Randi has made a career out of exposing phony mediums.
       As long as people don't know what is really out there, and they are afraid of it, there will be those willing to act the huckster, exploit that fact and separate the gullible or the ignorant from their money. For an example, see above entries for discussion of Pet Psychics.

       For the Desk's take on all this, we'll simply say this.
       The Desk has been around a long time. It has investigated many things. It has seen a lot as well. Can it explain it all and remain in the mundane world. No. It's not even going to try. Is it willing, however, to attribute most things that happen to the paranormal, no. Most likely the truth is somewhere in between.
       Which is just fine by the Desk.

       Besides, if even only a tiny percentage of these things are real even on very few occasions, it makes the world a whole lot more interesting that if None were Ever True or Possible.


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