A Parapsychological Perspective on Magic

Luke, D. P. (2007). The science of magic: A parapsychological model of psychic ability in

            the context of magical will. Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, 4, 90-119.


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Luck, Psi and Belief in the Paranormal

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Psi-verts and Psychic Piracy

Brazilian Psi and Altered States Conference: A Review


Paranormal Phenomena and Psychoactive Drugs

Species Connectedness and Psychedelics 

Parapsychology and Psychedelics

Inner Paths to Outer Space

Entheogenic Entity Encounters 

Inducing Near-Death Experiences with Chemicals

Psychonautic Misadventures in Time

Obituary: Duncan Blewett

Tribute: Albert Hofmann 

An Interview

A Preliminary Survey

Paranormal Experiences and Psychoactive Drugs

Paranormal Phenomena and Psychoactive Drugs

Parapsychology: Magic and Science:

A Magical Perspective on Parapsychology

A Parapsychological Perspective on Magic


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Death, and the God of a Thousand Eyes

Psychology and Superstition

Pagan Entheogens

Hofmann, LSD & Parapsychopharmacology

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Death and the God of a Thousand Eyes 

Death, and the God of a Thousand Eyes

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This paper describes a parapsychological model of psychic ability in terms of its intrinsically magical undercurrent, thereby providing a bridge, hitherto largely unconnected, between science and magic. Initially proposed by Rex Stanford in the 1970’s, the model seeks to explain the unconscious everyday use of ‘psi’ (precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, or psychokinesis) as a means of serving the needs and desires of the organism. The model, termed ‘psi-mediated instrumental response’ (PMIR), is based on the principles and research of cognitive, behaviourist, and para- psychology from an evolutionary perspective. Yet it is shown that, by extrapolating the inferences of this model and by subtly re-orientating it to a magical perspective, it can serve as a useful psychology of magical operation.

By drawing comparisons between Stanford’s model and the occult psychology of the chaos magic current, and with particular regard to the work of Austin Osman Spare, the essay highlights the parallels between these bodies of thought. While this demonstrates some synonymous mechanics for the manifestation of the magical desire it also offers a heuristic model for the functioning of magic that is compatible with mainstream cognitive science and which can be, and has been, tested empirically. Furthermore some consideration is given to scientific research’s magical nature, which has been unearthed in the process of searching for a science of magic. Despite objections from both magicians and scientists, by cross-pollinating the flowers of these two fields in this way possibilities emerge for the utilisation of empirical research to augment magical belief systems for those with a scientific leaning, whilst simultaneously illuminating new regions for growth in the formation of occult science.

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