University of West Georgia: Author of First Sight delivered annual Bill Roll Lecture

Perspective Online

Department of Psychology Honors Life of Parapsychology Professor with Lecture Series

by Taylor Bryant

The University of West Georgia Department of Psychology held its Bill Roll Lecture on Thursday, October 24, at 7 p.m. in the Technology-Enhanced Learning Hub’s Lecture Theater. The lecture was preceded by a reception at 6:30 p.m., which was held in the TLC foyer. Dr. Jim Carpenter, clinical psychologist and professor at the University of North Carolina, spoke on “How ESP Works: Theory and Fact.”

Department of Psychology Honors Life of Parapsychology Professor with Lecture Series The lecture series is a tribute to the late Dr. William Roll, who taught at the University of West Georgia from the ‘80s until his retirement in the 2000s. Dr. Roll was born in Denmark in 1926, and he was a liaison for the Danish Resistance during World War II. His interest in the paranormal began when he had his first out-of-body experience at 16. After receiving his Ph.D., he studied psychic phenomena at Oxford in 1950. In 1957, he moved to North Carolina to join the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University. He was a founding member of the Parapsychological Association’s council. He was prolific in writing about parapsychology, and many popular shows about the paranormal invited Dr. Roll to be a consultant.

Dr. Carpenter, who is now the president of the Parapsychological Association, followed a similar path to Dr. Roll. As a student, he met Dr. Roll and later worked with him. He began his lecture by recalling some of the interesting people the two of them worked with, such as a man who could shoot a falling coin with a BB gun and a woman plagued by mysterious psychokinetic events in her home. As the audience became more intrigued, Dr. Carpenter spoke about the current scientific theories of Extra-Sensory Perception, or ESP, and how researchers study the phenomenon.

“Many studies have been combined with meta-analysis across experiments to try to determine how reliable the phenomenon is,” he says. “And in all these cases, the meta-analyses are really quite convincing. The effect is real; it’s robust. It’s consistent across laboratories, across countries, across experimenters, across subjects. These things do seem to occur.”

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