One of the biggest disappointments to me was when a few years back I had to turn down the option to do the MSc in Parapsychology at Coventry University, because I did not have the money for the course fees. It sent me in to a long depressive period, but at least Becky and my dear friend David Curtin got to do it, both completing the taught course (sadly the only other student passed away before the end of the course). Luckily Dr Tony Lawrence and Dr Ian Hume were extremely kind and got to chat to them after lectures, and even sat in on one or two sessions — but it was a real shame.
I was in Coventry recently and I had the chance to catch up with Dr Hume, and was saddened to hear the online version of the course has been put on hold as student numbers failed to make it viable — owing mainly to nothing more than a cock up that prevented many people registering and was discovered far too late I inferred from talking to others. I did not like to press Dr Hume on the subject, but it will be back that he did say. Anyway enough rambling about my life! A PhD or subject specific MSc is certainly not necessary to make a difference in psychical research, and maybe I would never have cut the mustard, and lack the talent and drive to succeed at PHD level — who knows?
If you are still with me after that mournful digression, have you ever considered studying parapsychology? Sceptic or believer, there is a vast literature and a huge host of technical issues in the field that make it hard to get to grips with, and it can be hard work — but I have always personally found it fascinating, not least for what it shows us about all kinds of other issues, from philosophy of science to human psychology and cognition.
And the good news is that you don’t have to commit to something as big as a PhD or MSc, and the course fees. The Koestler Parapsychology Unit at Edinburgh University are offering a short online course “An Introduction to Parapsychology” that while non-accredited really does look excellent. I would do it if I actually ever had the money, and really want to, but sadly even £200 is currently beyond my means 😦
In fact, sceptic or believer, I would seriously suggest you consider taking the course. I just saw on Twitter that enrollment for the latest run has opened, so please do consider it. There is an excellent article by Sceptic Kylie Sturgess on her experiences with the course in a recent issue (and online) of the The Skeptical Inquirer you can read to see if it might be of interest.
Many years ago back in the mid-90’s in the early days of the web I ran a brief online course on parapsychology, and I did try again a while ago on my GSUK forum before we ran out of steam. This however is a professionally taught course by real experts in the field, so as Coventry’s MSc is no more, I hope some of you will enroll for this one. And maybe one day I will be able to afford it!
Hoping to meet many of you at the Seriously Strange conference at Bath Uni in just under two weeks time.