Supernatural Magazine

Paranormal Review Editorial 81 SPR (Winter 2017)


The year begins with the sad news of the death of Gerd H. Hövelmann. A long-standing member of the Society for Psychical Research, Editor of the Zeitschrift für Anomalistik and a prolific author, he was one of the leading experts in parapsychology and will be greatly missed. As well as a profound thinker, he was also a witty conversationalist – talking to him was always as amusing as it was instructive. His friend and colleague, Dr Gerhard Mayer, chairman of the Gesellschaft für Anomalistik, has written a moving obituary for this issue and later this year we will be able to publish an interview Hövelmann gave for the Paranormal Review.

In our regular features, Prof. John Poynton concludes his two-part discussion of Henry Sidgwick; Dr Peter Hewitt takes on the Permanent Paranormal Object challenge for this issue, introducing us to an unusual WWI-era exhibit from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall; and Brandon Hodge presents Pine’s Spiritual Telegraph from 1874.

Prior to publishing my first issue of the Paranormal Review in July 2014 on the theme of WWI, I had an interesting experience in the shape of a WWI postcard appearing apparently out of nowhere. According to Mary Rose Barrington, objects that mysteriously appear, or disappear and re-appear, often dismissed as ‘Just One of Those Things’, may hold the secret to the problem of psi.

Ann de Jersey’s experience was less easy to dismiss, but also involved a leap of faith in trusting apparently paranormal evidence. Prof. Adrian Parker talks to Brian Millar in the first of a two-part interview. New research by Wim Kramer and Iris van der Knaap inspired by an earlier issue of the Paranormal Review has unearthed some secrets of the past. Robert Charman joins us again, this time to look at the phenomenon of ‘telesomatic twins’.

In this issue we also launch the Paranormal Review’s first photography competition to capture the ‘spirit’ of the paranormal. With a high-powered judging panel and a fantastic prize from Olympus, plus the opportunity to have your photograph on the cover of the Paranormal Review, this is a competition to get your flashbulbs firing.

Finally, just as the magazine was about to go to press we were fortunate to get confirmation from Prof. Bernard Carr of the line-up for the next SPR Study Day on 29 April 2017. The full details are given [in this issue]. I hope to see many of you there. Ψ

Dr Leo Ruickbie




4 President’s Letter

The President of the SPR, Prof. John Poynton, concludes his two-part article on the SPR’s first president, Henry Sidgwick.

6 Obituary

Dr Gerhard Mayer pays tribute to the late Gerd H. Hövelmann.

7 Permanent Paranormal Object

Dr Peter Hewitt presents an unusual exhibit from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall: a piece of chocolate with a history.

8 From Jott to Cosmic Control

Mary Rose Barrington asks whether ‘Just One of Those Things’ could solve the problem of psi and paranormalize our understanding of ‘normal’.

11 The Occult Life of an Extraordinary Ex-Parapsychologist

In the first of a two-part interview, Prof. Adrian Parker talks to Brian Millar about his interrupted career as a parapsychologist.

16 It Happens When You Least Expect It

Ann de Jersey describes the time a mysterious, perhaps paranormal, communication saved the life of a friend.

19 Photography Competition

Find out how to enter the Paranormal Review’s first photography competition for a chance to win a great prize from Olympus and the opportunity to have your picture on the cover of the magazine.

20 Dutch Members of the SPR in 1915

Wim Kramer and Iris van der Knaap present the results of their research into the SPR’s Dutch members in 1915 and discover interesting new historical evidence.

22 Telesomatic Twins

Robert Charman analyzes the research on telesomatic experiences reported by twins.

26 Lucid in Leeds

Dr Leo Ruickbie reports on the SPR’s 40th conference at the University of Leeds last year, including an impromptu ‘lucid light’ demonstration.

32 Ghosts in the Machines

Brandon Hodge presents Pine’s Spiritual Telegraph.

34 Letters

Dr Fotini Pallikari

34 Contributors

35 Conference

The group photograph from the SPR’s 40th conference in 2016.

36 Help Build Your Society


Paranormal Review is sent free to members of the Society for Psychical Research. It is also available to non-members for a yearly subscription of £20.00, including post and packing in the UK. Contact

Back Issues

Members have access to previous editions of the Psi Researcher and Paranormal Review via the online library. Some back issues are also available for purchase at £5.00 per copy, including post and packing within the UK (outside the UK additional postage costs apply). Contact under ‘publications’.


The SPR welcomes members of the general public, as well as students and researchers in all disciplines, to join. Membership does not imply acceptance of any particular opinion concerning the nature or reality of the phenomena examined, and the Society holds no corporate views. The minimum age for joining is 1 6, with reduced subscriptions for students, couples and senior citizens. To renew or apply for membership please visit the website at, telephone the Secretary, Peter Johnson, on 020 7937 8984, or email


Features, articles, letters, experiences, notices, reports and reviews should be sent by email to Dr Leo Ruickbie at Material can also be posted to the editor at 1 Vernon Mews, London W1 4 0RL. Please mark envelopes ‘Paranormal Review’. Full submission guidelines can be found on the SPR website at under ‘publications’.

The Society for Psychical Research

The SPR was the first organisation established to examine allegedly paranormal phenomena using scientific principles. Our aim is to learn more about events and abilities commonly described as ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ by supporting research, sharing information and encouraging debate. The SPR is a Registered Charity, established in 1882.

Leo Ruickbie

Leo Ruickbie

Dr Leo Ruickbie specializes in controversial areas of human belief and experience. An elected member of the Royal Historical Society with a PhD from King’s College, London, he is the author of six books on the history and sociology of witchcraft, magic and the supernatural. His work has been mentioned in the media from The Guardian to Radio Jamaica, and is cited in the current student book for A-Level Sociology in the UK. He is the editor of the Paranormal Review, the magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, and can be found at