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    SPR Council member and vice-president Guy Lyon Playfair speaks out about the Enfield investigation and the alleged involvement of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

    SPR Council member and vice-president Guy Lyon Playfair speaks out about the Enfield investigation and the alleged involvement of Ed and Lorraine Warren.

    In the run-up to the release of The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, Guy has given an interview to Darkness Radio in which he points out that apart from a casual vist to the property, the Warrens never investigated it.

    An article focusing on the interview, with supplementary information, can be found here:

    http://weekinweird.com/2016/01/07/conjuring-lies-original-enfield-poltergeist-investigator-says-ed-and-lorraine-warren-never-investigated-the-case/

     

    (Posted 8 January 2016)


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    The Houghton Library at Harvard University, which houses a significant archive devoted to William James, has an online exhibition charting transitional moments in his life. One section is devoted to his involvement in psychical research, including the SPR.

    The Houghton Library at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, which houses a significant archive devoted to William James, has an online exhibition charting transitional moments in James's life.  One section is devoted to his involvement in psychical research, including the SPR.

    The psychical research section can be found here:

    http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/exhibits/james/psychical.cfm

     

     

    (Posted 10 January 2016)


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    Luis Minero

    From the publisher’s website: Master the skills of leaving the body using logic and reason. Improve self-understanding and achieve personal growth with over a dozen exit techniques. With well-ordered, rational explanations, Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience describes how and why OBEs work. This is a groundbreaking guide for using OBEs to understand your place in the worlds that exist beyond our daily lives.

    Meet spiritual guides, loved ones who have crossed over, and even other out-of-body travellers who want to help you understand who you are and why you are here. Learn communication techniques and memory aids to get the most out of each experience, in addition to tips for creating a program of OBE mastery. Contrary to popular belief, many people have come back from “the other side” and shared their experiences. And now, you can be part of this life-changing exploration.

    Perfect for beginners and experienced seekers who want to learn about the non-physical planes in a non-mystical context and want to evolve the condition of their soul. This practical workbook for spiritual transformation is based on the research of the International Academy of Consciousness.

    Demystifying the Out-of-Body Experience. Llewellyn Publications, October 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0738730790

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    SPR member Dr Renaud Evrard has published a French-language history: La légende de l'esprit : enquête sur 150 ans de parapsychologie.

    SPR member Dr Renaud Evrard has just published a 480-page French-language history of psychical research and parapsychology in France: La légende de l'esprit : enquête sur 150 ans de parapsychologie.

    Renaud has a website with further information:

    http://psychologie-heterodoxe.blogspot.fr/

    and the French-language Amazon page is here:

    http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/2841977021?keywords=l%C3%A9gende%20esprit%20evrard&qid=1452775396&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

     

    (Posted 14 January 2016)


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    SPR member Dr Renaud Evrard has been appointed Secretary of the Parapsychological Association.

    SPR member Dr Renaud Evrard has just been appointed Secretary of the Parapsychological Association.

    His PA profile is here:

    http://www.parapsych.org/users/evrardrenaud/profile.aspx

     

    A number of SPR members occupy positions on the 2015-16 PA Board, inclduing SPR Council member and editor of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Professor Chris Roe, who is PA President.  Board members are listed here:

    http://www.parapsych.org/articles/35/389/20152016_board_of_directors.aspx

     

     

    (Posted 19 January 2016)


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    Bob Olson

    From the author’s website: Unlock the mysteries of life after death and explore the enlightening discoveries of a private investigator’s 15-year investigation. This book is a comprehensive resource answering 150 of the most crucial questions about what happens when we die.

    Now you can delve into the life-changing insights we learn from near-death experiences, after-death communications, spirit contact through mediums, past lives, past-life memories, past-life and life-between-lives regressions, out-of-body experiences, soul pre-birth planning, deathbed visions, dream visitations, shared-death experiences, and so much more.

    Whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, curious about what happens when we die, or pondering your own mortality, this book will leave you feeling less fear about death, inspired to live a more loving and purposeful life, and comforted by new thoughts about your loved ones in the afterlife.

    Further information can be found here: http://www.answersabouttheafterlife.com/

    Answers about the Afterlife. Building Bridges Press, April 2014. ISBN-13: 978-0965601986

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    Massimo Teodorani

    From the publisher’s website: A breakthrough in scientific, metaphysical and philosophical knowledge, this book – in light of the hypothesis that matter and consciousness are strictly connected into a single unity – presents an entirely new theory about the way in which information is non-locally propagated through an intelligent Universe and the way in which matter is created by consciousness.

    Quantum entanglement, synchronicity, multidimensionality, extra¬terrestrial intelligence, and the true nature of what we call “spirituality” are revisited within a completely revolutionary framework mainly based on new physics, whose goal is to make people think about the world, themselves, the Universe and the true meaning of life, and to trigger scientists of the new millennium towards a more complete understanding of the reality in which we are all immersed.

    Massimo Teodorani, Ph.D., is a well-known northern Italian physical scientist and science writer and lecturer, who has carried out professional research in several fields of stellar astrophysics, and with a particular interest for the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the rigorous study of atmospheric anomalies occurring in Nature.

    Publisher's website:

    http://elementa-selection.com/project/the-hyperspace-of-consciousness-by-massimo-teodorani/

    The Hyperspace of Consciousness. Elementà, June 2015. ISBN-13: 978-9176370308

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    A talk will be given at Cambridge University Library on Friday 18 March as part of the Cambridge Science Festival with the title 'The science and the séance: investigations into the paranormal'. it will draw on the archives of the SPR which are held in the library.
    A talk will be given at Cambridge University Library on Friday 18 March, 5.30-6.30,  as part of the Cambridge Science Festival with the title 'The science and the séance: investigations into the paranormal'.  it will draw on the archives of the SPR which are held in the library.
     
    The description of the talk reads:
     
    'In 1882, a group of eminent scientists with a shared interest in proving the existence of ghosts, spirits and psychic phenomena convened to form the Society for Psychical Research. This talk uses archives from the Cambridge University Library to provide an insight into the history of psychical research from the mid-19th century onwards.'
     
    Further details about the festival can be found here:
     
     
     
    (Posted 8 February 2016)

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    The January/February issue of the free online journal Psypioneer is out, and it reprints a 1962 article from Light by prominent SPR member Kathleen Goldney.
    The January/February issue of the free online journal Psypioneer is out, and it reprints a 1962 article from Light by prominent SPR member Kathleen M Goldney, MBE (1894-1992).
     
    Psypioneer is available, complete with all back issues, on the web site http://www.woodlandway.org
     
     
    (Posted 9 February 2016)

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    Jean Jacques Charbonier

     

     

    From the publisher’s website: An uplifting study of the scientific evidence for the afterlife from an experienced anesthesiologist/intensive care physician

    • Details meticulously recorded and hospital-verified cases of near-death experiences

    • Cites scientific research on NDEs to refute the standard objections of doubters and materialists point by point

    • Explores out-of-body experiences, sessions with mediums, electronic communication with the deceased, and other signs from the afterlife

    7 Reasons to Believe in the Afterlife. Inner Traditions, April 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1620553800

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    A researcher at King's College London is interested in talking to people who hear voices or spirits when no one is there on at least an occasional basis, or people who have never had such experiences.

    We are interested in talking to people who hear voices or spirits when no one is there on at least an occasional basis, or people who have never had such experiences.

    What is the study about?

     

    We are interested in speaking to people who report hearing voices, people or spirits talking to them when no-one is around. We know that such experiences are more common than we think, and are not necessarily related to mental illness. For some people these experiences have a positive impact and can be life-enriching. For others these experiences have a negative impact on their life and result in input from mental health services.  

     

    This research will attempt to identify what distinguishes people whose voices are positive from those whose experiences become distressing, and how these groups compare to members of the general public who have no such experiences. We are interested in gaining a fuller understanding of the different ways in which people respond and adapt to hearing voices or spirits. We are hoping that this understanding will help us in the future to find the best way to help people who find their experiences distressing.

     

    If I take part, what will it involve?

     

    If you are interested, we will chat briefly on the telephone so we both have a chance to ask questions and to decide together if this study is appropriate for you. If we both agree you are able to take part we will fully assess your eligibility and discuss the study procedure. As part of your participation we will meet for two or three research sessions depending on whether you are currently receiving mental health care or not. Each research session should take about 1-2 hours. We will ask you to complete a set of questionnaires including questions about self-esteem, anomalous experiences, current mood and stressful life experiences. These questions are chosen to help us understand why some people become distressed by their experiences and to find ways to help. All of our questions will be asked in a sensitive, non-judgemental and empathic way.

     

    We will also ask you to complete two measures of your physiological stress function. One includes holding your hand in a container of ice water for a brief period, whereas for the other you will be asked to take a single dose of a medication that activates parts of your body’s stress system on a single occasion. Both procedures are completely risk-free, and help us understand your bodies stress reactivity. All information given in this study is strictly confidential and stored following strict data protection guidelines and only the researchers will be able to identify your details.

    If you would like to take part in the study or if you have any questions please contact us:

    Email: david.baumeister@kcl.ac.uk Tel: 0207 848 5718

    Participation in the study is entirely voluntary and we offer £10 for each session plus travel costs you may incur in attending.

     

     

    (Posted 12 February 2016)

     


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    John Grant

    From the publisher: Skeptics of the supernatural will enjoy this humorous jaunt through the long history of scientific inquiry into paranormal and psychic phenomena. Life after death, spirit communication, the astral plane, reincarnation: on the relatively rare occasions when scientists have tried to apply their methods to the paranormal, they've often ended up embarrassed – fooled by obvious charlatans, deluded into making irrational and unsubstantiated claims, or frustrated in their attempt to find something that just isn’t there. John Grant – author of Discarded Science and Corrupted Science– investigates the pseudoscience of spooky stuff to fascinating and often hilarious effect.

    Tom Ruffles

    In Spooky Science John Grant (Paul Barnett) examines a number of topics relating to life after death.  These include mediumship, hauntings, poltergeists, electronic-voice phenomena, the possible existence of the soul, out-of-body and near-death experiences and reincarnation.  The key to his approach is in the uncompromising subtitle: his core position is that definite support for the paranormal has not been forthcoming, but the will to believe helps to maintain conviction in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in a field beset by fakes and wishful thinking.  Psychical research to his mind has nothing in common with proper science and is doomed to failure.  He states:  ‘This is a wonderful defence mechanism for psychic research: Unless and until every single relevant report has been revealed as a farrago, the mantra runs, there’s no reason to believe that the supernatural is bunk’ (p. xv)

    There are several problems with this assertion,  Leaving aside the issue of ‘the supernatural’ as a poor term for psychical research’s objects of study, Grant seems to not to have met any serious psychical researchers.  The areas which can be grouped under the umbrella of ‘the paranormal’, or even survival research, are not monolithic and individuals can have varying attitudes to different aspects according to their estimate of the evidential soundness or weakness of each.  Belief shouldn’t come into it (which is why the ‘sceptics versus believers’ characterisation is so unhelpful), and he appears to think that the psychical research community is somehow in denial about what is obviously rubbish, desperately holding on to whatever is as yet undebunked while the forces of rationalism whittle away their cherished but erroneous theories.  That the section the quotation comes from is titled ‘Why do we fall for it?’ indicates his attitude is that it is unlikely any report will escape the fate, if not now then later, of being described as a ‘farrago’ [of nonsense].

    The major problem with this type of charge, and it is a common one, is that it assumes a lack of common sense on the part of the psychical researcher, able to hold on to some scrap of possibility only because the sceptics have not yet got round to exposing it for the fraud or error that it undoubtedly is.  Much of the criticism anyway comes from within the psychical research community (Grant mentions S. G. Soal as someone whose results have been exposed as ‘bogus’, and that is a very good example of an analysis by SPR researchers demonstrating his manipulation).  Yet the Soals of this world do not invalidate other areas of psychical research because they falsified results, just as a chemist or psychologist who fakes results does not thereby invalidate chemistry or psychology.

    Despite the generally negative verdict on the subject, a section devoted to the SPR is actually fairly complimentary: ‘...the SPR is no dodgy fly-by-night organization populated solely by the credulous – although it has to be accepted that, over the decades, its membership has included plenty of the credulous among the skeptics…. It’s important to note that not all the promoters of the SPR and the various related societies were convinced that the paranormal actually existed; what they supported was research to find out whether or not it did.’ (pp. 22-3)  No examples of the credulous are provided and it would be informative to know whom Grant has in mind, but the final sentence still holds, as indicated by the SPR’s ‘no corporate opinions’ stance.

    The conclusion – that it is dangerous to believe in one form of foolishness because it opens the door to belief in others (there’s that emphasis on belief again), a collective ‘brainrot’ as he puts it – reminds me of the assertion ‘When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything.’  Grant is as wrong as Émile Cammaerts was.  Our critical faculties do not automatically go out of the window simply because we choose to take such matters seriously.  It’s not a slippery slope to a new dark age of superstition and blind faith.  There are forces aplenty dragging us there at present, but I would not want to include psychical research, conducted along scientific lines, among them.  I feel a sense of déjà vu writing this because such accusations come up from time to time and are resistant to contrary views.  It seems there is a will be believe on the part of writers like Grant that is hard to overcome.

    Spooky Science is one of a series on fringe science that Grant has compiled, hence he is not a specialist in the specific areas he covers.  Lack of depth in his research is apparent, and it also leads him to make the occasional error of fact.  The book essentially plays the old pseudosceptical trick of lumping together a load of topics with varying credibility and damning them by association.  Consequently it needs to be read with caution.  However, despite the clear bias it is still useful as it warns that it is easy to accept what we read without subjecting the evidence to sufficiently rigorous scrutiny; as with all such books, those interested in the subject should dig further and not assume that there is nothing more to be said.

    Spooky Science. Sterling, October 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1454916543

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  • 02/20/16--08:13: Happy Birthday, SPR!
  • To mark the SPR's 134th birthday on 20 February 2016, Dr Andreas Sommer has written a short article for his Forbidden Histories blog.

    To mark the SPR's 134th birthday on 20 February 2016, Dr Andreas Sommer has written a short article for his Forbidden Histories blog:

    http://forbiddenhistories.com/2016/02/20/happy-birthday-spr/

     

    Dr Carlos Alvarado has also commemorated the event on his blog, including a link to a useful bibliography focusing on the Society's early years:

    https://carlossalvarado.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/134th-birthday-of-the-society-for-psychical-research/

     

    (Posted 20 February 2016, updated 21 February 2016)


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    SPR Vice-President Professor Bernard Carr will be joining Alan Wallace at an event organised by the Scientific and Medical Network to discuss the subject of Space, Time and Consciousness'.

    SPR Vice-President Professor Bernard Carr will be joining Alan Wallace at an event organised by the Scientific and Medical Network to discuss the subject of Space, Time and Consciousness'.

    The event takes place in London on 2 July 2016.  Further details are on the SMN website:

    https://www.scimednet.org/content/alan-wallace-bernard-carr-%E2%80%9Cspace-time-consciousness%E2%80%9D

     

    (Posted 26 February 2016)


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    The latest issues of the quarterly SPR Journal and the magazine Paranormal Review, have been published.

    The latest issues of the quarterly SPR Journal and the magazine Paranormal Review have been been sent to members and subscribers.  The Journal has articles by Carlos Alvarado ('Out-of-body experiences during physical activity: a report of four new cases') and  Alejandro Parra and Juan Carlos Argibay ('The boundary construct and anomalous experiences in psychics'), book reviews, letters (from Charles Tart, Donald West, Robert Charman, Ashley Knibb and Carlos Alvarado), and an obituary of Rosemary Dinnage. 

    The Paranormal Review is a special issue on T. Glendenning Hamilton, his family and their seance research in Winnipeg, Canada, with contributions from Walter Meyer zu Erpen, Janice Hamilton (T. Glendenning's grand-daughter) and others - the contents can be seen below.  The issue is beautifully illustrated, thanks to the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections.

    President’s Letter
    SPR President Prof. John Poynton discusses the work of Henry Sidgwick and his thoughts on the ‘attitude of incredulity’.
     
    ‘Bring on Your Ghosts!’
    Janice Hamilton introduces us to the Thomas Glendenning Hamilton family séances, which took place from 1918 to 1944 in Winnipeg, Canada.
     
    Do Tables Fly?
    Walter Meyer zu Erpen begins his assessment with an in-depth look at the Hamiltons’ experiments with ‘psychic force’ from 1921 to 1927.
     
    Of Teleplasms and Wax Fingertips
    Walter Meyer zu Erpen continues with a look at Dr William Creighton’s role in authenticating physical phenomena at the Hamilton séances.
     
    Raymond Communicates
    Walter David Falk examines the teleplasmic appearance of Raymond Lodge at a Hamilton séance in 1929.
     
    Psychic Attraction
    Dr Shelley Sweeney introduces us to the Hamilton Family Fonds at the University of Manitoba and its role in stimulating further research and Spiritualist donations.
     
    Through the Camera
    Film-maker Susan MacWilliam discusses the teleplasmic appearances of Flammarion, Stead, Conan Doyle, Lodge and other SPR members, as well as Flammarion’s role in her 2009 film, F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N.
     
    Fact or Fraud?
    Walter Meyer zu Erpen weighs the evidence for the authenticity of the medium Mary Marshall’s teleplasms, with some challenging conclusions.
     
    What Does It All Mean?
    Walter Meyer zu Erpen and Shelley Sweeney conclude the Hamilton special issue with a consideration of the Hamilton physical phenomena as evidence for life after death.
     
    Ghosts in the Machines
    Brandon Hodge searches for London’s lost spirit communication devices.
     
    Letters
    Prof. Adrian Parker continues discussion of Kai Mügge’s mediumship.
     
    Contributors
     
    Announcements
     
    (Posted 1 March 2016)
     

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    Eric Ouellet

    From the publisher’s website: What if UFO experiences are the result of large-scale, unconscious, psychic forces?

    Parapsychology and UFOlogy are like oil and water. They just don't mix, despite the decades-long efforts of some highly respected researchers to call attention to the paranormal or parapsychological aspects of UFO events. In Illuminations, sociologist Eric Ouellet offers a novel approach to a phenomenon that has thus far resisted all other efforts to explain it, be it as extraterrestrial craft, time travellers, secret government projects, or natural phenomena.

    Combining research in parapsychology, sociology, and UFOlogy, Ouellet provides a thought-provoking reassessment of several well-known UFO cases, including the Washington, DC, UFO wave of 1952, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961, the Rendlesham UFO incident of 1980, and the Belgian UFO wave of 1989-1991. While not claiming to have the final solution to the UFO mystery, he offers much food for thought and a refreshing outlook on a stubbornly elusive phenomenon.

    "Parapsychological approaches in this field are rare: your contribution is precious, and it is very timely." -Jacques Vallée, author of The Invisible College.

    A review by Peter A. McCue appeared in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, January 2016.

    Illuminations. Anomalist Books, August 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1938398537

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    Chris H. Hardy

    From the publisher’s website: In Cosmic DNA at the Origin, systems scientist Chris H. Hardy, Ph.D., lays the foundations for a universe in which consciousness is the driving force of creation that we experience in our lives, and yet a hyperdimension of collective intelligence...all the way to the origin. This is a thought-provoking theory of the origin of the universe, called The Infinite Spiral Staircase Theory.

    In a witty and well-informed style, Hardy takes us on a grand tour of the 5th dimension, black holes, the Zero Point and vacuum, and the hottest cosmologies, to show that adding this ISS hyperdimension of consciousness (interlaced with hyperspace and hypertime) not only is very consistent with most physics discoveries, but also explains why we are endowed with consciousness. Moving beyond the materialistic or random frameworks, Hardy weaves a new cosmological paradigm in which consciousness and matter evolve in synchrony, and a part of our being is hyperdimensional.

    Cosmic DNA at the Origin. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, April 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1511530071

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    SPR Council member John Fraser will be participating in 'The Great Paranormal Event at Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, on 1 October 2016.

    SPR Council member John Fraser will be participating in 'The Great Paranormal Event at Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast, on Saturday 1 October 2016.

    The organisers' statement says:

    ‘An afternoon of discussion & lively debate with a panel of experts on the subject of 'life after death'. Hosted by BBC TV personality David Meade.

    ‘Tickets now on sale for this exciting and much anticipated event. The Great Paranormal Debate will be held in the Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast on Saturday 1st October 2016. Hosted by BBC's TV mentalist David Meade  and featuring speakers renowned in their field this event will be sure to intrigue & divide opinion.

    ‘Speakers joining us for the debate so far are Dr. Bob Curran, John Fraser of the Society for Psychical Research, Steve Mera & Don Philips,  Ciaran O'Keeffe and Edward White of Afterlife Uncovered, with our final speaker to be announced shortly.

    ‘For group bookings of 4+ we are offering a discount of 10% for a limited period. Discount code TGPD10 must be applied during checkout.’

    Further details can be found here:

    http://www.redmoonevents.org/

     

    (Posted 21 March 2016)


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    Etzel Cardeña, John Palmer and David Marcusson-Clavertz (eds.)

    From the publisher’s website:  Many people have experienced such unusual phenomena as dreams that later seem to correspond with unforeseeable events, thinking of a long-lost friend just before he or she unexpectedly calls, or the ability to “feel” the presence of deceased loved ones. What many do not realize is that these types of experiences have been researched for more than a century by eminent scientists, including Nobel laureates. Most of these researchers have concluded that some of these phenomena do occur, although we are far from explaining them to everyone’s satisfaction.

    This book is the first in almost 40 years to provide a comprehensive scientific overview of research in the field of parapsychology, explaining what we know and don’t know about so-called psi phenomena, such as “telepathy,” “precognition” or “psychokinesis.” Contributors evaluate the evidence for these phenomena, accounting for factors such as selective memory, wish fulfillment and incorrect methods or analyses, in some cases offering psychological, physical and biological theories.

    About the Authors:

    Parapsychology. McFarland, July 2015. ISBN: 978-0-7864-7916-0

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    Dr Leo Ruickbie, editor of the SPR's magazine 'Paranormal Review', appears in two segments of 'Mysteries at the Castle'.

    Dr Leo Ruickbie, editor of the SPR's magazine 'Paranormal Review', filmed two segments for 'Mysteries at the Castle' last year that are soon to be on our screens (UK and Europe):  These are:

    Dunrobin Castle, Scotland - said to be haunted by the ghost of 'Lady Margaret' - 
    Season 3, Episode 7: "Prince's Plight; Mad King Ludwig; Falling for Love" airing on May 3rd at 13:00 and May 22nd at 21:00 in Europe (this has already been shown in the US and had 635,000 viewers).

    Ruthven Barracks, Scotland - Alexander Stewart plays chess with the Devil (and loses) - Season 3, Episode 9: "Deadliest Chess Game; Gustav III Assassination; Shot in the Heart[24]" airing on May 5th at 13:00 in the UK and June 5th at 21:00 in Europe (484,000 US viewers).

    More information can be found at:

    http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/mysteries-at-the-castle

    and

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysteries_at_the_Castle

     

    (Posted 31 March 2016)


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