Seriously Strange – UK Paranormal/Parapsychology/Scepticism Event, September 2011

I have been meaning to mention this for  a very long time! Back in 1981 a new UK parapsychology group, ASSAP, was founded. ASSAP stands for the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, and they today describe themselves as a “paranormal education and research charity”, and are very active. I was a member for a while in the 1990’s and am rejoining after a long period of poverty enforced my absence, and I hope to get more involved in ASSAP matters.

ASSAP logo

Anyway from 1981 to 2011 is thirty years, and ASSAP are putting together what looks to be a truly fantastic conference to be held this year at the University of Bath, on the 10-11th September.  The anniversary conference is entitled Seriously Strange, and looks perfect for both the really hard-core paranormal research types who are interested in Ganzfeld experiments & Bem’s precognitive habituation, through the most ardent ghosthunter, and certainly given ASSAP’s always critical and sceptical approach Sceptics.  Forteans will love it too, from what I can see of the line up.

Seriously Strange conference logo

So where is Bath, and how do I get there?

It’s in the Southwest UK, but within easy reach of London, Bristol, Cardiff,  Oxford and the South Coast, and only an hour from Birmingham. If you are further north then it may be a long drive, but certainly worth it! Travel details on conference site here.    All contact details are here, but you can book online  or by calling 0845 652 1648

However note that the SPR’s  35th  International Psychical Research Conference is in Edinburgh the weekend before ( I may well blog on this when I have more details) and if you are in North America Atlantic University is hosting a Parapsychology & Consciousness conference in October.

So how much does Seriously Strange cost?

Always my first question! For non-ASSAP members it is £15 for the whole weekend, which is an amazing bargain. If you happen to be a member, it is still possible you might get a free ticket, if you act fast. So a good reason to join ASSAP?  There is also some rather nice accommodation very reasonably priced for Bath at the venue – click here for details

Who is giving talks?

Well 19 of the most respected researchers in the field, and one less respected, namely me! Here is the line up from the web page…

Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe
Stephen Volk
Paul Devereux
Mark Pilkington
Alan Murdie
Rev Lionel Fanthorpe
Dr Hugh Pincott
Paul Vella
CJ Romer
John Fraser

Dr Simon Sherwood
Val Hope
Trystan Swale
Dr Hannah Gilbert
Steve Parsons
Ann Winsper
Cal Cooper
Jack Hunter
David Taylor
Dr Sean O’Callaghan

Looks great!

What is the BIG announcement that will change the future of Paranormal Research in the UK forever?

I don’t actually know what this announcement that is due to be made at the conference involves, but I do know it will be big, and potentially effect all ghost groups and paranormal investigators in the UK. Us poor speakers won’t be told till anyone else!  Shall I speculate? Why not!

I doubt that Dave Woods and Nicky Sewell have caught a ghost in a bottle, or have managed to set up an ITC channel to the Other Side and we will have a live discussion with the ghosts of Elvis and Einstein. I don’t think this is a scientific breakthrough, or I think we would be awaiting a journal publication. So what is it? My guess would be something regarding the ethics and “best practice” of UK paranormal investigation. ASSAP have for many years run a training course for would be paranormal investigators, and grant a type of “kitemark” standard to those who pass it who become Accredited Investigators.  I suspect something seriously big along those lines?

Or it could be something organizational like a merger with the SPR I guess; that would certainly be huge, as I think it was fair to say that ASSAP was a split off  from the SPR at a time when the latter organization was more focused on experimental lab psi research and less on spontaneous cases. Perhaps a cooperative programme to set up research units across the country? Who knows!

Finally I can only think of either a new Parapsychology undergrad degree (the first in UK since Edinburgh shut theirs  in 1981), or some kind of national reporting system like the SPR Spontaneous Cases Committee, which processes appeals for help from the public.

The truth is, I don’t know, but if you are in to “ghost culture” and live in the UK you will probably want to be there to voice your opinions of whatever it is and react!

Book Seriously Strange tickets

Hope to see you all there!

cj x


About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
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5 Responses to Seriously Strange – UK Paranormal/Parapsychology/Scepticism Event, September 2011

  1. Tom Ruffles says:

    I should hope that if the announcement involved a merger with the SPR I would have heard already, so I don’t think that is it. I am intrigued by this as well, and hope that non-attendees will be told afterwards by ASSAP asap.

  2. Chris Jensen Romer says:

    Well we can rule that one out then. 🙂 Are you coming Tom?

  3. psychicdeli says:

    > a new Parapsychology undergrad degree (the first in UK since Edinburgh shut theirs in 1981)

    Did Edinburgh actually dish out degrees in para..? I can’t believe I didn’t know that (though I can believe most anything some days)

    • Chris Jensen Romer says:

      I’m not sure. I saw a reference to undergrads at Edinburgh back in 1986, but it could have been a mistake in the article: the article said the undergrad closed in 1981. I guess I’ll have to check this!

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