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The Buckmaster Legacy: A Significant Donation to Advancing Psychical Research

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Tom Ruffles, the  Communications Officer for the Society for Psychical Research, has posted some thoughts on an amazing development in the field of psychical research. A donation of three quarters of a million pounds has been willed by the late Nigel Buckmaster to the SPR for use in raising public and scientific awareness. As Ruffles reports: 

“After a brief run-down of the contents of Mr Buckmaster’s will, and how much his legacy is worth, the message rightly points out that the final total is far beyond what Mr Buckmaster envisaged bequeathing to the SPR.  The sheer amount has created a bit of a problem in finding ways to spend it in keeping with the will’s spirit, which essentially was to provide information on psychical research in various ways, the rest going into a property fund.  Since the will was written there have been significant technical advances, particularly in information delivery and digital reading formats.  Bearing these issues in mind, the email goes on to outline how the SPR’s Council has decided to utilise the funds.

Some £350,000 (yes, that’s not a typo) will be spent on a programme of information dissemination, both hard copy and online.  There will be a major book and ebook containing case studies with a commentary bearing on survival issues; a free online encyclopaedia; a series of short popular books (plus ebook versions) on key aspects of psychical research; and an expanded SPR website with a stream of articles and commentaries.  There are a couple of subsidiary awards.  One is £10,000 for an upgrade to the Lexscien online library run by David and Julie Rousseau.  The online library is generally acknowledged to be somewhat creaky these days, and the content needs to be brought up to date (it currently stops at 2008).  The same amount will be spent on an online repository into which researchers can load their experimental data.”

Grant funding for psychical research has always been a significant issue. Outside of the brief periods where corporations and governmental organizations have taken an interest in monetizing various aspects of psychic potential, grants have rarely provided the needed financial base for research. Over the 130 plus years of research in this area a large portion of the funding has come from donations provided by individuals who were personally interested in the experimental findings.

While writing a guest article for the upcoming Windbridge Research Institute’s Newsletter (Click Here to sign up receive the newsletter and read the article) I took the opportunity to consolidate some of my investigations into the public presentation of psychical research over the past century, and was yet again surprised at how much has changed since the 1970’s.  As just a brief example, take note of this synopsis from the book Psychology and Extrasensory Perception, which was published in 1972 by the Mentor Books imprint of Times Mirror’s New American Library:

“Today the science of parapsychology – the study of extrasensory perception and other paranormal psychical phenomena – is gaining wide official recognition after decades of disreptue within the established scientific community.

What is still little recognized, however, is that the sciences of psychology and parapsychology were once intimately connected. Such great pioneers as Freud, Jung, and James did valuable work on extrasensory perception – work most often ignored by their latter-day disciples. This volume presents the impressive investigations of these seminal thinkers as well as the more recent breakthroughs in establishing the legitimacy and value of parapsychological study. It goes far to redress the long neglect of this fascinating area of knowledge and to open up important new vistas of knowledge of the as-yet unplumbed depths of human psychic potential.”

It was this increasingly positive reception in the 1970’s which caused a number of major corporations, such as Boeing and Sony, to fund their own research in applied parapsychology, as well as the government interest which lead to the development of Stanford Research Institute‘s programs that eventually developed the Remote Viewing protocols. With this much needed influx in funds for the SPR we can only hope that whatever amnesia has overcome the culture can be mitigated, and the advances of 40 years ago can finally begin to take root in opening the ‘new vistas of knowledge’ that once seemed so close at hand.

To read more about the Buckmaster donation head over to Tom Ruffle’s blog by Clicking Here.

 

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    Section Editor of Limitless Mind, David is a researcher, writer and multimedia specialst focusing on the interstices of art, culture, and consciousness

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