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Putting the science back into Spiritualism

SNU president David Bruton

SNU president
David Bruton

The Spiritualists’ National Union is to hold a Science Day on Saturday 16th February, writes Sue Farrow.

Spiritualism has frequently been described as “a religion, a science and a philosophy”. Readers familiar with Spiritualism’s history will know that scientific investigation and research into its claims and phenomena played a significant role in years gone by. But in recent decades the science part of that trio has been conspicuously absent.

This welcome move to re-engage with credible and open-minded scientists comes after SNU president David Bruton told delegates at last year’s annual conference that he wanted “to rekindle the debate in Spiritualism, to encourage people both from within and without the movement to think seriously about what we are doing and where we are going.”

Quoting the great Albert Einstein, who said that “science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind” David Bruton told Psychic News that he hoped Spiritualists and other interested individuals would “come along and share a day of lectures, discussion and debate”.

The Science Day, which will take place at the Arthur Findlay Centre in Stafford, will feature two distinguished keynote speakers, Professor Chris Roe and Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh, both from the University of Northampton.


“Science without
religion is lame;
science is blind.”

 – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein       

Chris Roe is a psychologist and director of the university’s Centre for the Study of Anomalous Psychological Processes. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Edinburgh for research into the ways psychic effects might be simulated using conventional psychology. His subsequent research at Northampton has covered topics ranging from spirituality and well-being, psychic deception, correlates of paranormal belief and experience, to experimental tests of claimed extrasensory perception and psychokinesis.

Chris is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research, and editor of its respected Journal. He is also a board member of the Parapsychological Association.

Elizabeth Roxburgh is a chartered psychologist and senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Northampton. She was awarded her 
PhD for research exploring the phenom-enology and psychology of Spiritualist mental mediumship. She has been awarded grants by the Parapsychological Association, the Society for Psychical Research, the Parapsychology Foundation, and the Bial Foundation 
to undertake research on mediumship, synchronicity in the clinical setting, and counselling for anomalous experiences. She is a volunteer counsellor for two charitable organisations and has an interest in clinical parapsychology, spirituality and mental health.

Elizabeth Roxburgh

Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh

The third speaker will be medium Andy Byng, who has been studying the history of Spiritualism for the past ten years, and is currently writing a thesis entitled  Beaten By The Facts? Assessing the Significance and Problematic Nature of Séance Phenomena in mid-Victorian Britain. Andy will provide a critical survey of Spiritualism’s interaction with science.

David Bruton looks forward to 
re-opening the dialogue between Spirit-ualism and science. 

“Our long term aim is to further our understanding of where we are in relationship to current scientific thinking and develop both dialogue and understanding which will potentially support future research in the field,” he said. “This day promises to challenge our thinking and in turn create and share a greater knowledge which potentially could change not only our direction but the journey we share.”

• The Science Day will take place on Saturday 16th February from 10.30am to 5.30pm at The Arthur Findlay Centre, Stafford. Tickets are priced at £10, available by calling 01785 615513 or through Ticketweb at: www.ticketweb.co.uk.


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