Syllabus: Special Topics in the Paranormal - Non-traditional technologies for investigations


Course Description

This 4-week course will go beyond the tools usually associated with paranormal investigations. Students will examine a wide range of technologies and applications allowing for a deeper exploration of paranormal phenomena. Emphasis will be placed on properly deploying these technologies during field investigations and how to interpret the resulting data.

The course will explore both quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (experiential) data collection techniques. Topics will include understanding and measuring human physiology and biofields, testing non-local effects on random number generators, documenting the intuitive processes of investigators, and more.

Students will come away with a new appreciation for the complex relationships between various paranormal phenomena and an expanded set of tools to use during their own investigations.


Course Outline

Week 1: Field Work in Parapsychology

In this first week, we’ll briefly review relevant phenomena, and define the roles and relationships between equipment and investigators in field work. We will also gain an appreciation for a mixed methods approach (qualitative and quantitative) to field investigations through examples pulled from real-world case reports.

Week 2: Gadgets and Gear: Beyond Beeping Boxes and Blinking Lights

Over the years, paranormal researchers have amassed a vast tool box of devices to assist them in their field work. In this class, we’ll examine some atypical investigation devices, and also explore new ways to breathe life back into your existing toolkit using new techniques. Finally, we’ll take a look at resources to help you create your own investigation tools.

Week 3: The Human Instrument: Experiencing the Paranormal

While electronics can be helpful in documenting various aspects of paranormal investigations, incorporating phenomenological (experiential), physiological, and properly controlled psi-focused techniques can provide a deeper understanding of reported phenomena. Examples include field recording and analysis of psychophysiological data (heart rate, skin conductance, body temperature, etc.), dowsing, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, mobile ganzfeld, and the use and scoring of other types of standardized research instruments (questionnaires and surveys).

Week 4: Putting it all Together: Building a Better Investigation

In the final class we’ll bring all these elements together to see how mixed methods techniques can be deployed in the field. We’ll also review some specific experiments that students can try on their own. Finally, we’ll discuss ways to report findings to a larger audience so they can help add to the body of research findings.


Course Materials

There is no specific text for this class, however, students will be provided with short readings or videos which will help them to better understand content of the lectures.


Course Activities

Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week and participate in any live discussions during class. Students will be expected to participate in weekly written discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums.

One multiple choice or short answer final evaluation will be assigned after the 4th class. This will be due 10 days after the final class is broadcast.


Evaluation and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

  • A – 90 – 100
  • B – 80 – 89
  • C – 70 – 79
  • D – 60 – 69
  • F – Below 60

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussions (4) 40%
Final Evaluation (1) 60%
Total: 100%




Syllabus: The Power of Nature - The science, folklore & practices of evoking the Divine


Course Description

How does Nature reveal the divine, the miraculous, and mystical, and what are the similarities between cultures that give us profound insight into its power?

This 4-week survey course will review paramount movements through the ages to discover how nature has enabled humans to connect with the deeper consciousness of all living things. Students will explore how the people of the world share a reverence for nature, considering it to be divine, sacred, or populated by spiritual beings, and how ancient beliefs and present-day movements are influencing attempts to use the powerful forces of Nature to conjure the extraordinary and the unimaginable.

As we critically examine a multitude of nature-based practices, such as the belief in supernatural beings and supernatural forces, we will introduce concepts used in ancient and modern movements such as animism, alchemy, astrology, biodynamics, bioenergetics, druidry, hermeticism, geomagnetism, green magic, qigong, natural healing, nature spirituality, mythology, polytheism, shamanism, Shintoism, tribal nature-based religions, wiccan, etc. This journey will enable students to gain an introduction and deeper appreciation of our connection to nature and how it governs our own psychic and conscious development, nurturing our connection to nature's more ethereal realms.


Course Outline

Week 1: The Foundation

  • Nature as Divine, Laws of Nature, Gaia
  • Cosmic forces, electromagnetic and subtle energies
  • Etheric and living forces forming our world
  • Human aura and energy fields

Week 2: Nature Based Folklore and World Practices

  • Nature and Psi through the Ages: Aboriginal practices, Egyptians and Sumerians, Mycenaens and Minoans, Socrates and Plato, Shamanism, Alchemy, Paracelsus, Hermetic traditions, Voodoo, Druidry, Wicca, Green Magic, Feng Shui, Shintoism, Tenrikyo, Pantheism, Hebraic, Hinduism, indigenous practices, biodynamics, dowsing, etc./li>

Week 3: Nature's Superbeings & Supernatural Forces

  • Elemental beings, the hierarchical order of entities and how to meet and speak to them
  • Plants as mystical portals, power of crystals, and sacred places
  • Communication with the mineral, plant, animal and fungi kingdoms
  • The role of mythical beings such as mermaids, gargoyles, unicorns, dragons, chimeras, etc

Week 4: Nature as Human Spiritual Activities

  • Phenomena of expanded consciousness, our bodies as carriers of our inner experience and as divination instruments and integrating natural sciences with Spirit.
  • The role of connecting and actively interacting with Nature for a better understanding of the Science of Psi.

Course Materials

Suggested Readings and Resources

  • Top five:
    • Hidden Nature by Alick Bartholomew,
    • The Green Fuse by Hilary Miflin,
    • The Loom of Creation by Dennis Milner and Edward Smart,
    • Beyond Supernature by Lyall Watson,
    • Primary Perception by Steve Backster
  • Additional Optional Readings:
    • Spiritual Hierarchies and the Physical World by Rudolf Steiner,
    • Divine Nature by Michael Cremo and Mukunda Goswami,
    • The Spirit in the Realm of Plants by Rudolf Steiner,
    • The Divine Code of Life by Kazuo Murakami,
    • The Faery Faith by Serena Roney-Dougal,
    • Biogeometry Signatures by Ibrahim Karim,
    • Goethe's Science of Living Form: the Artistic Stages by Nigel Hoffman,
    • The Wholeness of Nature by Henri Bortoft,
    • Shamanism and the Mystery Lines by Paul Devereux,
    • Energetic Anatomy by Mark Rich
  • Additional recommendations for further study will be available in the courseroom

Course Activities

Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week and participate in any live discussions during class. Students will be expected to participate in weekly written discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums.

Complete a final project as defined in the courseroom. A paper discussing your studies of a topic related to nature and psi.


Evaluation and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

  • A – 90 – 100
  • B – 80 – 89
  • C – 70 – 79
  • D – 60 – 69
  • F – Below 60

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussion Participation 40%
Final Project 60%




Syllabus: Presenting the Paranormal to the Public


Course Description

This course presents a practical skills approach to talking/writing about psychic/paranormal topics and parapsychology.

Students will gain an understanding of the importance of writing/speaking to general and specific audiences and how to do this. Included will be an emphasis on public speaking (including overcoming any fear of speaking in public) and media (how to be a good interview subject), as well as some basic marketing and publicity skills. Students will learn the best ways to personally come across credibly, to present the topics in an understandable way, and in a way that creates a positive impact.

Whether you are planning to write a book or articles or speak/lecture to general or paranormal-interested audiences, or even teach workshops, this course will provide the “how to” skills you’ll need to be understood and appreciated by your audiences. While the emphasis will be on psi-related topics, these skills will serve you well in a variety of contexts (maybe even your “real” jobs).


Course Outline


  • Presenting the Paranormal to the Public

    1. How to Sound (and Be) Credible When Talking About the Paranormal

      • Credibility – What does that mean?
      • What does being an expert on the paranormal actually mean, and can you be one?
      • Who are you speaking to/writing for? (Identifying the Audience)
      • Jargon/Language around the paranormal, psychic, New Age, and related phenomena, experiences, beliefs, and practice
      • How to be understood by your Audience while sounding credible (and being credible): Translating jargon into appropriate language
      • Credible communication: language, knowledge, and the ability and willingness to refer to others
    2. Speaking/Lecturing/Teaching About the Paranormal

      • The importance of Public Speaking/Presentation Skills in general
      • How to Be a Good Speaker (The Speak As Yourself Method)
      • Public Speaking vs. Teaching
      • Presenting the Paranormal in spoken word
      • How NOT to be Boring
      • Dealing with Q & A
      • Reflecting on the Importance of Humor
      • Speaking to a professional audience (like a conference presentation including researchers)
    3. How to Handle Being Interviewed

      • General Good Media Skills (being a good interview subject)
      • Live vs. Recorded interviews
      • Being interviewed for TV, video, and video-enabled podcasts
      • Being interviewed for radio and podcasts
      • Being interviewed for print/written articles
      • Stories/Anecdotes
      • Dealing with Pseudo-Skeptics, Skeptics, and True Believers
    4. Writing and Promoting the Paranormal (and other stuff)

      • Making your writing about the Paranormal credible, interesting, and understood
      • Promotion: Traditional Media, Social Media, and other Opportunities
      • Are you promoting a subject, a project, an organization, yourself? All of the above?
      • The importance of being knowledgeable vs. personal branding
      • The importance of being a resource for Media and others in promotion
      • Who are YOU in relation to the Paranormal?
      • How do you want to be seen?
      • Presenting the Paranormal – and Yourself – A Summary

Course Materials

Suggested Readings:

There is no specific text for this class, however, students will be provided with short readings or videos which will help them to better understand content of the lectures.


Course Activities

  • Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week.
  • Students will be expected to participate in weekly discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums. Greater participation in this area will be considered during class evaluations.
  • A Final Project will be required to pass the course, details regarding due date and length to be discussed in class:

    A detailed assessment/critique of one or more paranormal authors/experts’ appearances (lecture) or interviews (video such as YouTube, podcast or lengthy radio interview) - lecture or interview should be minimum 30 minutes. Assess how well they:

    • made psychic/paranormal phenomena concepts and terminology understandable
    • did as a speaker/presenter or teacher
    • credibility based on their delivery, appearance, voice, etc.

 


Evaluations and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed based on thier participation and performance on the assigments.

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussions (Total 40%): 10 points for each of the 4 weeks including responses to other people's posts

Final Project (60%)


Syllabus: Paranormal Case Studies


Course Description

Learn about the paranormal through the study of investigations and reports of apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists.

This 8-week course will take a deep look at a hand-picked group of professional investigations of apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists, as well as significant surveys of similar experiences. Included will be key cases (like the Seaford Poltergeist case which produced the RSPK model), important investigative methods, and a discussion of two major surveys of spontaneous psi experiences and what they say about psi in general.

Instructor Loyd Auerbach will present his own cases with details, video shot on site, and insights that have not made it into published reports or television interviews. Students will have the opportunity to ask deeper questions about Auerbach’s cases.


Course Outline


  • Paranormal Case Studies

    1. Course Overview & Discussion of Case Studies

      • Overview of the course
      • Review of definitions/labels related to phenomena
      • What to look for in case studies
      • Quick Case Examples
        • Garden Grove Apparition Case (with video from Sightings)
        • Kasicki Case, Archer, Florida (with video from Haunted America)
        • Petaluma Rock-Throwing Poltergeist
        • Martinez “Environmental Hell” Case
    2. Key First Hand Cases

      • “The Black Knight of Petaluma"
        • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
        • What was first reported
        • Backstory of the witnesses
        • First visit and witnesses
        • Further research
        • Second visit and witnesses
        • Conclusions
      • “Lois of Livermore”
        • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
        • What was first reported
        • Backstory of the witnesses
        • First visit and witnesses
        • Further research
        • Conclusions
        • Follow-up with the Family
    3. The Seminal RSPK Case: The Seaford Poltergeist (1958)

      • Background
      • The witnesses and investigators, including:
        • Police
        • Firefighters
        • Magicians
        • Parapsychologists
      • Conclusions and the RSPK Model
    4. The Moss Beach Distillery Investigation Since 1991

      • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
      • History of the Sightings and Experiences
      • First visit and witnesses
      • Further research and so many visits
      • Video testimony
      • Conclusions
      • Sightings of the Blue Lady away from the Distillery
    5. Key Surveys and Experiments with Hauntings

      • The SPR’s Census of Hallucinations (19th Century)
      • John Palmer’s Survey with Charlottesville, VA, residents (1970s)
      • The Evolution of the Haunting Methodology of Gertrude Schmeidler
      • Gertrude Schmeidler’s Initial “Experiments” with Hauntings
      • Next Steps
      • Replications (with some changes) by Schmeidler, George Hansen, and Michaeleen Maher
    6. First Hand Accounts of Investigations

      • The Living Apparition (and Haunting) in Marin, California
        • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
        • What was first reported
        • Backstory of the witnesses
        • First visit and witnesses
        • Further research
        • Second visit with a psychic
        • Additional information from locals
        • Conclusions
      • The Banta Inn, Tracy, California (late 80s into the 90s)
        • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
        • What was first reported
        • Backstory of the key witnesses
        • First visit and witnesses
        • Further research
        • Additional visits with and without psychics/mediums
        • Conclusions
    7. The USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum: Since 1999

      • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
      • History of the Sightings and Experiences
      • First visit and witnesses
      • Further research and so many visits
      • Video testimony
      • Conclusions
    8. A Reincarnation Case, A Case of Psychic Fraud, and Conclusions

      • From the files of the University of Virginia: A Case of the Reincarnation Type
        • Context of the Investigation and Investigators
        • Background of the Case and Individuals Involved
        • Interviews and Research
        • Conclusions
        • General Issues for Investigation of Cases of the Reincarnation Type
      • A Case of Psychic Fraud: Ronny Marcus
        • Background of Israeli psychic Ronny Marcus: Claimed PK Abilities
        • Background of his visit to the US: How did it happen and Who brought him?
        • Initial meeting with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
        • Demonstrations and Discussion at Rosebridge Graduate School (with video)
        • Meeting with scientists at University of California, Santa Cruz (including two magician colleagues of Auerbach)
        • End Results
      • Case Studies: Conclusions and Lessons Learned (and More to Learn)

Course Materials

Suggested Readings:

There is no specific text for this class, however, students will be provided with short readings or videos which will help them to better understand content of the lectures.


Course Activities

  • Students will be expected to view the class broadcasts or the recordings of the classes each week.
  • Students will be expected to participate in weekly discussion forums and activities. Each student will be expected to provide an original posting each week and to respond to at least one other student in the discussion forums. Greater participation in this area will be considered during class evaluations.
  • One multiple choice or short answer evaluations will be assigned after the 4th or 5th week of class.
  • Students will submit a final project based on the specifications in the courseroom.

Evaluations and Grading

Students who are taking the course for a grade will be assessed using a letter grade based on the standard letter grade format.

A – 90 - 100

B – 80 – 89

C – 70 – 79

D – 60 – 69

F – Below 60

Participation in the forums is a large component of the grading, and substantive postings are necessary to get full credit for each discussion topic.

The following activities will be considered to contribute to the courses as follows:

Discussions (Total 40%): 5 points for each of the 8 weeks including responses to other people's posts

Assessment #1 (30%)

Final Project (30%)

Syllabus: Introduction to Parapsychology

Instructor: Loyd Auerbach


Students who complete this course with a passing grade will receive a certificate of completion from the Rhine Education Center.


About the Course

This 8 week course is designed to introduce students to the field of Parapsychology and what parapsychologists study. Topics will include an overview of the phenomena (Telepathy, Clairvoyance, Precognition, Psychokinesis, and Survival Issues), history, research methodologies in the lab and for field investigation, and related issues that make up the vibrant field of scientific parapsychology. Also covered will be the major criticisms and critics of Parapsychology and a look at fraud as it applies to professionals and to consumers. The course textbook is Introduction to Parapsychology, 5th edition by Harvey Irwin and Carline Watt, and will be supplemented by additional articles.

Required Text: Introduction to Parapsychology, 5th ed. by Harvey J. Irwin & Caroline A. Watt. McFarland & Company: 2007. Available from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

Additional articles will be assigned and provided in the classroom, or linked from the classroom.


Course Outline


 

Week 1: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW: What is Parapschology?

      • Definition of Terms
      • Scope of the phenomena
      • Science vs. the Supernatural: What makes psi research a science?
      • The Scientific Method
      • Popular Misconceptions and their origins: Parapsychology, the Occult & the New Age
      • The Interdisciplinary Nature of Parapsychology; where it overlaps with other fields of science

 

Week 2: A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY: An Overview

      • The Roots of Psychical Research
      • Spiritualism, Empirical Science and the Serious Investigation/Research of Psychic Experience
      • The Society for Psychical Research (and the ASPR)
      • Seances and Science in the early 20th Century
      • The Rise of Parapsychology and Controlled Laboratory Research
      • The Duke Era
      • Psi Research in the 2nd Half of the 20th Century

 

Week 3: EXTRASENSORY PERCEPTION: An Overview

      • Phenomenology of ESP: Spontaneous ESP Experiences
      • Conceptual Issues
      • Experimental Research: Methodologies and Findings
      • Theoretical Considerations

 

Week 4: PSYCHOKINESIS: An Overview

      • Phenomenology of PK: Spontaneous PK Experiences
      • Conceptual Issues
      • Experimental Research: Methodologies and Findings
      • Theoretical Considerations
      • Mid-Term Quiz Available

 

Week 5: PSYCHOKINESIS: Special Topics AND PSYCHIC FRAUD OVERVIEW

      • Experimenter Effect
      • Experimental Research: Healing / DMILS
      • Macro-PK
      • Poltergeists
      • Psychic Fraud:
      • In the “Wild”: Psychics, Mediums, Magicians, and Mentalists
      • In the Laboratory: Controlling for Potential Fraud

 

Week 6: SURVIVAL OF BODILY DEATH: An Overview of Concepts and the Evidence

      • What is Consciousness? What Might Survive?
      • What is the Evidence for Survival?
      • Concepts
      • Out of Body Experiences
      • Near Death Experiences
      • Apparitional Experiences
      • Mediumship & Research
      • The Super-Psi Hypothesis vs. the Survival Hypothesis

 

Week 7: FIELD RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATIONS

      • Applying Experimental Parapsychology to Field Research and Vice Versa
      • How Parapsychological Field Investigation Differs from Methodologies of Modern Ghost Hunters (and Why)
      • Apparitions
      • Hauntings
      • Poltergeists
      • Reincarnation
      • How Good is Evidence Gathered in Field Investigation & Research?

 

Week 8: EXPLANATIONS, CORRELATIONS, CRITICISMS, IMPLICATIONS & APPLICATIONS and WRAPPING UP

      • Are ESP & PK Two Sides of the Same Coin?
      • Key Correlates to ESP and PK: Personality, Belief, Environmental, etc.
      • Criticisms of Parapsychology
      • Implications of ESP, PK & Survival
      • Applied Psi
      • Course Summary and Wrap Up
      • Final Quiz Available

 

  



Grading for this course

All students are considered to be auditing the courses, but students may choose to take this course for a letter grade. Whether being graded or not, all students are encouraged to participate fully in this class and join in the online discussions. This provides an opportunity to get the full experience of the online class and learn the most about the topics that are presented.

Students taking this course for a letter grade will be evaluated using the following information and every student who passes the 3 assignments and completes the course will be awarded a Certificate of Completion from the Rhine Education Center.

Grading and Assessments
Discussion Participation (40% of your grade)
 

Engagement with discussion forums throughout the course

  • 5% for each discussion question for the 8 weeks of the course  (total 40%)
  • Besides answering the discussion questions, students should participat in the discussions by posting responses to the posts of other students.
Assessment I (30% of your grade)
 
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
Assessment II (30% of your grade)
 
Multiple Choice and/or short answer test (submitted online).
 
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