Murphy, Gardner (1895-1979)

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Murphy, Gardner (1895-1979)

Distinguished psychologist and pioneer figure in parapsychology. Murphy was born on July 8, 1895, at Chillicothe, Ohio. He studied at Yale University (B.A., 1916), Harvard University (M.A., 1917), and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1923). At Harvard he was the Richard Hodgson Fellow concerned with psychical research. While completing his doctorate he became a lecturer at Columbia where he remained through the 1920s. He later served on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at City College of New York (1940-52). In 1952 he became the director of research at the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas, where he stayed for the remainder of his professional career. He defended parapsychology in the face of a strong vocal attack at the 1938 meeting of the American Psychological Association and went on in 1944 to be elected president of that organization. He also received numerous honors for his psychological studies.

Murphy joined the Society for Psychical Research, London, in 1917, while in England during World War I as a soldier in the United States Army. Murphy became involved in the controversy over Mina Crandon that divided the American Society for Psychical Research in the mid 1920s. Believing Crandon a fraud, he joined with others in the formation of the Boston Society for Psychic Research as a rival organization. Once that issue had lost its importance, he led in the reuniting of the two groups. He served as vice president of the ASPR (1940-62), and had a notable tenure as president. Throughout his many years in administering the most prominent parapsychological research institute in the United States, Murphy found time to author over one hundred papers and a number of books, many that are still influential in the field of parapsychology.

Murphy died in George Washington University Hospital, Washington, D.C., March 19, 1979.


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

Murphy, Gardner. "Difficulties Confronting the Survival Hypothesis." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 39 (April 1945).

. Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1925.

. Human Potentialities. New York: Basic Books, 1958.

. In the Minds of Men. New York: Basic Books, 1953.

. Personality. New York: Harper & Row, 1947.

. "Psychical Research and Personality." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (January 1950).

. There Is More Beyond: Selected Papers of Gardner Murphy. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1989.

. "Triumphs and Defeats in the Study of Mediumship." Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research 52 (October 1957).

Murphy, Gardner, and Morton Leeds. Outgrowing Self-Perception. New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1975.

. The Paranormal and the Normal. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1980.

Murphy, Gardner, and Robert Ballou. William James and Psychical Research. New York: Viking Press, 1960.

Murphy, Gardner, and L. A. Dale. The Challenge of Psychical Research. New York: Harper and Row, 1961.

Peatman, John G., and Eugene L. Hartley, eds. Festschrift for Gardner Murphy. N.p., 1960.

Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology. New York: Helix Press, 1964.

Schmeidler, Gertrude. "Some Lines About Gardner Murphy, the Psychologist's Parapsychologist." Parapsychology Review (July-August, 1976).

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Murphy, Gardner (1895-1979)

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