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The 9 Most Convincing Parapsychology Studies Ever Conducted

Updated October 9, 2019 6.3k votes 1.7k voters 101.1k views9 items

List RulesVote up the studies that have you convinced you can live on after death and send messages with your mind.

The existence of paranormal research suggests that even the most hardened of skeptics want to believe that "there are more things on heaven and earth that are dreamt of in their philosophies," to paraphrase Shakespeare. However, accredited scientific research into the paranormal remains controversial. Even comprehensive and evidence-heavy studies are often still considered "pseudo science" by doubters, and it's difficult to know where the burden of proof actually lies.

Still, scientists ... at least open-minded ones of the Einsteinian variety ... continue to be fascinated by the unknown. Some specialists focus on children who claim to dream about and even actively remember their past lives; others test the supposed abilities of mediums and other potentially gifted individuals. The more mainstream scientific community may scoff at these avenues of research, but certain academics and scientists continue to press onwards in their studies of parapsychology. Ready to be convinced? Below are a handful of case studies that are worth considering.

  • 5

    The University Of Arizona Tested Mediums

    Gary E. Schwartz, Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at the University of Arizona, and Julie Beischel, a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration and the Society for Psychical Research, are highly respected figures in the parapsychology world. One of their most notable studies took place in conjunction with the University of Arizona's Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health (LACH). The project was designed to test the accuracy of mediums in receiving information about deceased people.

    In this experiment, eight University of Arizona students - four of whom had experienced the death of a parent and four of whom had experienced the death of a peer - were paired with eight mediums. The mediums in question didn't know the students or their deceased acquaintances, and all pairings were conducted remotely. Nevertheless, the study's findings ultimately (and convincingly) suggested that “certain mediums [could] anomalously receive accurate information about deceased individuals.”

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  • 6

    Cornell University Tested How Humans Can Anticipate The Future

    You might not associate Cornell University with psychic research, but Daryl Bem, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, has an impressive track record of his own. In 2010, the results of one of Bem's most notable studies were finally published. As the Cornell Chronicle put it, the eight year study - which spanned nine experiments and included more than 1,000 participants - ended up offering “evidence that humans have some ability to anticipate the future.”

    Bem's experiments were apparently based on people's ability to respond to events “before stimulus was presented.” In the end, “all but one of the nine experiments confirmed the hypothesis that psi [psychic phenomena] exists.” The study was subsequently published by the American Psychological Association's Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

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  • 7

    The University Of Southampton Finds Proof Of Life After Death

    In 2014, scientists at the University of Southampton unveiled the results of a trial that has been called “the largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences ever.” It involved approximately 2,060 people living in the United Kingdom, United States, and Austria ... 40% of whom described “some kind of ‘awareness" (details within the linked article) before they were revived.

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  • 8

    The Rhine Research Center Used Cards To Test People For ESP

    The Rhine Research Center is one of the oldest accredited paranormal research societies in the United States. Originally founded by Joseph Banks Rhine and his colleague, psychologist William McDougall, the organization began as the Parapsychology Research Lab at Duke University. Eventually, it broke off from the college and became its own institution. With its emphasis on everything from “postmortem survival to psychic phenomena such as telepathy and clairvoyance,” the organization has attracted attention from eminent scholars from all over the world. In the 1920s, researchers began to study extra sensory perception, or ESP. The center's most famous tests involved specially designed cards, which would be held up out of sight of a test subject. The participants would then guess the design on the card ... and many guessed in ways that were far too uncanny to be the product of mere luck. 

    The Rhine continues to be criticized by skeptics, but it also has decades of legitimate research to its name. Full case studies can be accessed here.

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