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The following well-known Psychic Explorers focus on the value of psychic exploration, as well as the practicalities involved in such a pursuit.

Parapsychology is the scientific study of what Charles Fort used to call “the damned facts”: the facts that do not fit in. These facts cannot be reconciled with the concepts we ordinarily use to explain man and his world. But if we have learned one thing from science, it is that the atypical case, the unusual incidents, is the one that—if looked at seriously—teaches us about all the others.

It is the one substance in Madame Curie’s workshop that glows in the dark that teaches us about the basic structure of all the others. It is the one Petri dish in Fleming's laboratory in which the germs die unexpectedly that leads us to the discovery of antibiotics. It is the one set of flasks in Pasteur’s experiments in which life does not appear that teaches us the source of life in the others. It is the atypical paralysis in which neurology can not find the lesion that leads Freud to the discovery of the unconscious. It is the one problem in physics (the addition of velocities problem) that cannot be solved in the usual way that leads to an Einsteinian revolution and gives us a deeper understanding of the problems we had been able to solve in the old way.

Almost all the facts agree with our picture of man but there are exceptions. There are facts that do not fit in with our neat ideas of our separateness, or with our just being ordinary matter like rocks, airplanes, and computers. There are facts we cannot reconcile with our preconceived ideas.

Lawrence LeShan
The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist
Viking Press, New York, 1974

As I look upon many researches in paranormal psychology and ESP, I am reminded of the state of affairs in physics some seventy years ago when scientists had first learned about the phenomenon of radioactivity. People might have gone around with Geiger counters or similar devices. They would have found them clicking here and there and everywhere—but just a little bit. On this evidence physicists surely could have tried to convince their colleagues that this was a real effect, and that there was indeed something important in the area of radioactivity—the emission of charged particles which was not understood by anyone at the time.

However, in those days physicists did not content themselves collecting samples and measuring them promiscuously. They did not go from one place to another making statistical studies of the intensity of the effect. Instead, they succeeded in finding circumstances under which the phenomenon became enhanced and became controllable. In other words, they were very specific, and by being specific, persistent, and judicious in their selection of experimental conditions they transcended the need for statistical arguments and probability estimates of validity; they uncovered clear evidence of the existence of the effect. My point is simply this: in order to study these obscure things, one must practise selectivity and concentrate one's attention upon instances where positive results are incontrovertible and, of course, demonstrably free of fraud. I suppose I am really doing nothing more here than echoing Dr. Pratt when he made a plea for the intensive study of high-scoring ESP subjects. I believe that as long as you go around making statistical studies everywhere and on everybody, you are not likely to be convincing for a long time to come.

Now the second thing needed, I believe is theory. No amount of empirical evidence, no mere collection of facts, will convince all scientists of the veracity and the significance of parapsychologists‘ reports. He must provide some sort of model, to use Dr. Murphy’s word; he must advance bold constructs—constructs connected within a texture of rationality—in terms of which ESP can be theoretically understood.

Henry Margenau
“ESP in the Framework of Modern Science”
Science and ESP
J.R. Smythies (Ed.)
London, Routledge & Kegan-Paul, 1967

Let us now, before the restricted view of the laboratory worker gains too firm a hold, try to realise how wide our subject is. We should try once more to see it through the eyes of Frederic Myers as a subject which lies at the meeting place of religion, philosophy and science, whose business it is to grasp all that can be grasped of the nature of human personality.

G. N. M. Tyrrell
“Presidential Address”
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
47, 1942-1945

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