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American Institute for Scientific Research

American Institute for Scientific Research

The American Institute for Scientific Research was established in 1904 by James Hervey Hyslop (1854-1920), a former professor of logic and ethics at Columbia University. Hyslop was drawn into psychical research in the 1880s and within a short time was stripped of his skepticism and came to believe that such research was actually probing the afterlife. Shortly after the turn of the century, his health failed and Hyslop was forced to resign his university appointment. He then turned his attention to psychical research full time and founded the institute as an instrument to raise money for psychical research. He established two branches, one that focused on abnormal psychology and one that centered on psychical research. He received the immediate support of such scientists as psychologist William James and physiologist Charles Richet.

In 1905, the president of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR), Richard Hodgson, died, as did his society shortly thereafter. Previously the ASPR had existed as a branch of the British Society for Psychical Research, but in 1906 the ASPR was reborn through the psychical research branch of the American Institute for Scientific Research. Afterward Hyslop discontinued the institute and it survived as a new, independent ASPR. For the rest of his life Hyslop headed the new organization, through which he was able to pursue his primary interest in mediumship and its possible use for contacting the dead.

Sources:

Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York: Paragon House, 1991.

Hyslop, James H. Contact with the Other World. New York: Century, 1919.

. Life after Death: Problems of the Future Life and its Nature. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1918.

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