I established Paranthropology shortly after the first informal workshop of the Afterlife Research Centre (www.afterliferesearch.co.uk) at the University of Bristol in 2010. At the meeting it became increasingly clear that a platform for the exchange of open-minded scholarship on what is often termed the "paranormal" (afterlife beliefs, paranormal experiences, shamanism, spirit possession, magic, witchcraft, religious experiences, etc.), would be useful in helping to promote dialogue, networking and a sense of community between similarly minded researchers in different fields.
Although there is a particular emphasis on anthropological and ethnographic approaches, the scope of the journal is fairly broad, taking a wide definition of anthropology as the study of humankind, including all of the varied disciplines that contribute to our understanding of the human condition (from ethnography, folklore, history, religious studies and philosophy, to psychology, neuroscience, parapsychology and beyond). Submissions to the journal are subjected to a process of peer-review by members of the Paranthropology review board, so as to ensure a high standard of research and to demonstrate that these subjects (often deemed off limits to serious academic study), can be investigated both rigorously and academically.
The journal itself holds no set position on the nature of these types of experiences and beliefs, but instead attempts to foster an atmosphere of free-roaming inquisitiveness and debate. It is my hope that through such an approach it will be possible to move beyond the stagnant sceptic versus proponent impasse and open new avenues for enquiry and understanding.
The journal is now in its third year of existence, and its thirteenth issue (Vol. 4 No. 3, July 2013) has just been published, featuring interviews with David J. Hufford and Graham Hancock, an article on the phenomenology of an incidence of spirit possession in the therapy room, an anthropologists account of hearing "the voice of God," and an article from Andrew Newberg exploring the neuroscience of spiritual experience, amongst other fascinating articles. Im sure that readers of Reality Sandwich will find something of interest in the pages of Paranthropology. Check it out at www.paranthropology.co.uk.