Parapsychology: A Tribute to Bill Roll

In the field of science, many topics have been discovered and some are unknown. Small mouth noises called language, vibrations under the earth’s crust and animal hierarchies are all among the scientific phenomena we can identify. According to Stanley Krippner, professor of psychology at Saybrook University, the phenomena most people consider paranormal is merely among the plethora of the universe discoveries we have yet to uncover.

William G. Roll, former professor of psychology at the University of West Georgia, was a noted parapsychologist. Roll is known for his work as the lead investigator in the “Columbus Poltergeist” case, which examined alleged telekinetic events in an Ohio household. UWG Alumni may remember Roll by his lectures from the parapsychological course he instructed less than a decade ago.

In lieu of Dr. Roll’s death in 2012, Stanley Krippner delivered the Bill Roll lecture. Krippner is an accomplished psychologist and he also found his niche in the realm of the unexplainable.

“As a child, I loved to read,” said Krippner. “I was an avid reader, and as a child I noticed that the paper would rarely provide articles about psychology.”

This curiosity led Krippner to psychology and ironically the audience gathered with some enthusiastic curiosity. The previously mentioned unknown in sciences refers directly to parapsychology. The Bill Roll lecture attempted to convey the knowledge in relation with Native American philosophy, in a manner that would remove the element of mystique from these topics. The information presented is all based on theoretical work done by Roll.

The first of many parapsychological topics is an element imperative for human life—dreams. Dreams are difficult to quantify and examine because they do not lend themselves easily to researchers. Psychologists have struggled with the aspect of parapsychology. However, Native American philosophy makes references to dream in respect to what they dub as the “long body.”

The long body is a being or body that transcends time and space. The long body, in Native American or Iroquois philosophy, according to Krippner, includes the clothing, places and people associated with that long body. In other words, in theory, the long body is a conglomerate of consciousness that takes all interests into account.

Now, from one perspective the Iroquois are just aiming the dark as to what dreams and this entire life means. But according to Dr. Krippner’s description of their philosophy, the Iroquois are pioneers of the dream world and have parallels that pre-dates Sigmund Freud’s findings. The Iroquois philosophy also has been compared to quantum physics, which is basis of science and how the world works.

The mere fact that there parallels exist, especially considering that the Iroquois were not given today’s technology to use, is astounding. Whether or not these parallels mean that there are alternate dimensions remains to be proven, it does create a path for understanding these phenomena.

Exploring parapsychology is closely related to efforts in biology, explaining how and what the body is doing, whether that body belongs to an animal or human being. Understanding the inner-workings of this complex universe is the first step to understanding ourselves as a species. Bill Roll’s work has taken us further into the future, but learning from his work and making nuanced decisions for more research is how we make new discoveries.



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