Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google Bookmarks Share via e-mail
Welcome About OWNE Social Feed Our OWNE Thoughts Research Interviews Contact us
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via e-mail

Otherworld North East
Studies in the Unexplained

Website design and content © Otherworld North East 2003-2015
unless otherwise stated

The opinions expressed on this website belong to the individual authors, who also retain copyright of their own material

North East Paranormal | Newcastle Paranormal | Durham Paranormal | Northumberland Paranormal

Otherworld North East
Studies in the Unexplained

Website design and content © Otherworld North East 2003-2016
unless otherwise stated.

The opinions expressed on this website belong to the individual authors, who also retain copyright of their own material.

North East Paranormal | Newcastle Paranormal | Durham Paranormal | Northumberland Paranormal


An Interview with Dr Caroline Watt

Interview by Lee D. MunroDr Caroline WattDr Caroline Watt is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is also a founder member of the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the university, which studies PSI phenomenon and other anomalous experiences from an academic perspective.

Dr Watt is one of the most well-known parapsychologists currently active in the field with many peer-reviewed papers, conference appearances, book chapters and media articles and appearances.

OWNE welcomes and thanks Dr Caroline Watt

Dr Watt, as one of the relatively few academics openly researching and discussing paranormal and anomalous subjects I must ask, despite being a respected academic at a respected university do you still experience the “giggle factor” from colleagues or other academics when it comes to your work? Anyone ever whistled the X-Files theme tune as you’ve walked down the corridor!

Not that I’m aware of; and no. Maybe they do it when I am out of earshot ;-)


It’s probably fair to say that there is a strong reluctance outside parapsychology to accept it as a “proper” science. What do you see as the main cause for this – Is it the lack of a theoretical framework for PSI phenomenon, or the seeming reticence of PSI proponents to reject its existence despite generally failing to reject the null hypothesis of their own studies?

I disagree with your basic premise. There are plenty of examples of parapsychology studies and meta-analyses of parapsychology studies being published in high quality mainstream journals. I think this represents recognition that it is a ‘proper’ science.


Again regarding PSI phenomenon, why the lack of clear and replicable evidence despite years of study – are the answers to the questions simply not there, or could it be researchers are asking the wrong questions?

I think there are two likely reasons: 1. psi – if it exists – is complicated; 2. there are very few researchers looking at the psi question. Sybo Schouten estimated that the amount of effort devoted to experimental parapsychology over the last 100 years is equivalent (in terms of ‘manpower’) to about 2 months of mainstream psychology effort.


Part of every ghost hunter’s toolkit is the ubiquitous EMF meter. While the connection between EMF and ghosts seems to be rooted in Persinger’s work, this research has been questioned at least in terms of replicability and suggestion.  The KPU students and staff, and in collaboration with others, have looked at EMF at allegedly haunted locations.  What are your thoughts regarding EMF and anomalous experiences in view of your research and other literature?

As you say, the literature does not seem to paint a clear picture on EMF and psi. However there may be some evidence for temporal lobe lability and paranormal *experiences*. Whether local or global EMF fluctuations could trigger such experiences is an interesting question.

 
Many haunting and poltergeist type experiences take place in people’s homes. Many amateur investigation groups seem far too ready to investigate private residences without considering fully the implications of this type of investigation.  Does the KPU investigate this type of case or do you have any policy or framework regarding them?

I’m afraid we don’t have the resources (time mainly) to do field work. Plus, as you imply, there are ethical dimensions that make such interventions potentially problematic. If we are contacted by an individual who is distressed by their anomalous experiences, with their permission we would refer them to a sympathetic but suitably qualified clinical psychologist.


Next page