British skeptic and parapsychology researcher Chris French has announced on The Skeptic blog (with a cautionary note due to a previous ‘prank’) the extremely sad news that Australian parapsychologist Michael Thalbourne has passed away:
It is with great sadness that I write to tell you that Australian parapsychologist Michael Thalbourne has passed away. I am glad to have known Michael and to have worked with him. I will miss him greatly. He was a creative and original thinker, not to mention highly intelligent and prolific in his output. He made major contributions to parapsychology and anomalistic psychology and his ideas have certainly had a major influence on my own thinking on these topics.
Michael Thalbourne had been involved with parapsychology research for much of his adult life, and had researched and published articles on various related topics in refereed journals for the last three decades. He not only looked into the evidence for paranormal events, but was also deeply interested in the psychological aspects of the paranormal. He had also researched and written about the Eastern spiritual experience of Kundalini and also manic depression/bipolar disorder, which he was a long-term sufferer of. In 2006 he co-edited (with Lance Storm) The Survival of Human Consciousness: Essays on the Possibilities of Life After Death – hopefully the book is now redundant for Thalbourne, and he’s getting his answers direct from the source.
For a little more information about his thinking, readers might like to check out this transcript of an interview he did on ABC Radio in Australia back in 2006, and also this list of his published articles and books on the Parapsychology Association website. I had been meaning to contact Michael Thalbourne for a while now, to talk to him further regarding an article he wrote about the infamous ‘Project Alpha’, titled “Science Versus Showmanship: A History of the Randi Hoax” (PDF download). Now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t make more of an effort to talk to the man about not only that particular controversy, but also his long-term experience in the field of paranormal studies. Godspeed to him.