Saturday, July 09, 2011

Best Bet: "Parapsychology and Consciousness" Conference

In this age of paranormal superstars and back-to-back episodes of ghost hunting reality shows, much of the quiet reality of academic paranormal research goes unnoticed. For the most part, hobby or amateur ghost hunters have distanced themselves from the intellectual realm of parapsychology. Some are aware that, for generations, parapsychologists had no use for them. In fact, parapsychology sought to filter out the "spontaneous phenomena" that ghost hunters crave--ghosts, hauntings, poltergeists, and others-- favoring those human psi abilities that could be studied in a proper laboratory. Today, scientists and amateurs are increasingly aware--and needful--of each other. Ghost hunters seek validation via technology more fervently every day; scientists seek to find their principles in action: in "haunted" houses, prisons and hospitals, as viewed by millions of eager fans every night on t.v.

A unique conference this fall on "Parapsychology and Consciousness" is an invitation to all with an interest in parapsychology--and the human mind that is common to all psi experience. Along with numerous stars of the world of academic parapsychology, ghost hunters will be delighted to find such presenters as Loyd Auerbach, who will present his findings from an investigation of the USS Hornet.

Following is an excerpt from conference organizer Nancy Zingrone's blog. A Chicago-area native, Nancy and her husband, Carlos Alvarado, have been working and teaching in parapsychology their whole lives--and championing the cause to the ends of the earth. For ghost hunters used to gathering at informal conventions around the nation, there may be a bit of sticker shock on this one, but I promise you: it will be the best conference you've ever attended. If you've never been to an academic conference, I daresay it will change your life. I'm just going for the hotel, situated right on the beach ;) and to get a look at amazing Atlantic University, which is working on offering a Masters in Parapsychology in the not-so-distant future. Hope to see you there!

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Monday, May 16, 2011 11:41 PM

Atlantic University is a small online graduate school in Virginia Beach, Virigina offering a Masters of Arts in Transpersonal Studies. Last year (a year and 13 days ago), Carlos S. Alvarado and I were hired by AU and started an entirely new phase of our lives.

We've been working on a number of things this year, but one of the most important is the inauguration of a new series of annual conferences to highlight various aspects of the work and interests of Atlantic University. Since 1985, when Atlantic University was a residential school, Doug Richards (known to a lot of PA members) has been teaching a course called 'Principles of Parapsychology." This year, between October 14th and October 16th, 2011, Doug, Carlos and I, and other Atlantic University faculty members Henry Reed, Bob Van de Castle, Loyd Auerbach and Christine Simmonds-Moore are taking part in our conference, "Parapsychology and Consciousness." David McMillan of the Meridian Institute and Kevin Todeschi, the CEO of both Edgar Cayce's A.R.E. and Atlantic University will also be taking part.

We're really excited about all of the folks who will be joining us to give papers: Julie Beischel of The Windbridge Institute, Dean Radin of IONs, Ed May from Laboratories for Fundamental Research, Roger Nelson of the Global Consciousness Project, Steve Braude of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, John Palmer of the Rhine Research Center, Jim Carpenter in private practice in Chapel Hill, Frank Pasciuti in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Ginette Nachman of Durham, NC. The topics range from "Biomedical Aspects of Psi" (Nachman) to "How Do the Synesthesias Relate to Anomalous Experiences" (Simmonds-Moore) and "Before the Tipping Point: Reconsidering the Nature of Consciousness" (Radin), among many others.

The conference starts at noon on Friday October 14th and continues through 6pm on Sunday October 16th. Of course we think "Parapsychology and Consciousness" brings together a unique and unprecedented mixture of some of the best speakers in the field, as well as some of the most interesting aspects of the varied research in scientific parapsychology.

The Visitor's Center at Edgar Cayce's A.R.E., where the conference will be held, has a great large auditorium and a number of function rooms we'll be using as well, plus a bookstore, a top floor meditation room with a view of the ocean and tons of parking. The campus of the A.R.E. is very unique. It's a block from the Atlantic Ocean (the reason for the great view from the meditation room). The campus also includes a meditation garden, a meditation labyrinth modeled on the one at Chartres, and the A.R.E. Heath Center and Spa. The spa is on the ground floor of the "Headquarters" Building which also houses the Cayce/Reilly School of Massotherapy, Atlantic University, and a variety of units of the A.R.E. Two other buildings complete the campus, and by the time of the conference, construction will have started on the new Educational Building. The campus backs up to First Landing State Park. (Virginia Beach is a very interesting place and we have fallen completely in love with it. More on that in another blog.)

The conference hotel, the Wyndham Oceanfront, is 10 blocks away from the "Parapsychology and Consciousness" conference venue, south of the A.R.E. on Atlantic Avenue. We have rooms blocked off for the conference there. The hotel has a great restaurant, the Surf Grille, with beautiful views of the oceanfront. The Wyndham runs a shuttle to the A.R.E. We also have rooms blocked off for the conference at the Holiday Inn Express, another oceanfront hotel down in the "strip", an area full of hotels and restaurants. The Holiday Inn Express doesn't have a shuttle but the HRT bus is close by, and if you're coming in by car, it's a quick trip up Atlantic Avenue to the A.R.E. The closest airport is Norfolk International Airport. Carlos and I love this airport (having been in a ton of airports over the years); small, easy to get around, with a shuttle.

Anyhow as time goes on, I'll write some more about the details. We're putting together the best experience possible and really looking forward to having all these great speakers in town. If you go to Atlantic University's home page -- http://www.atlanticuniv.edu -- you can find a link to the conference description, and to biographies and abstracts, plus a page for registration (there's an early bird price at the moment) as well as reservation pages for the two conference hotels.

Carlos and I have been involved in a lot of great conferences over the years, but we're really looking forward to this one and hope you'll all be able to join us this October 14th to 16th in Virginia Beach!

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