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Loyd Auerbach has forwarded on the sad news that pioneering researcher into the paranormal, William G. Roll, has passed away at 85:

Just received very sad news that Bill Roll, a luminary in the field of Parapsychology, the man who truly fleshed out the human agent model for poltergeists, and one of our greatest field investigators passed away this morning.

Roll moved from Denmark to the United States in 1946, aged 20, and enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in psychology and philosophy. Following this he spent a number of years at Oxford University doing parapsychology research, where he received his M. Litt. degree for a thesis entitled “Theory and Experiment in Psychical Research”. In 1957, Roll joined the staff of J.B. Rhine’s Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke University, where he spent seven years conducting psi experiments and investigating cases of haunting and RSPK/poltergeist activity, which he is perhaps most well-known for. In 1989, Roll received his Ph.D. from Lund University, Sweden, for a thesis entitled “This World or That: An Examination of Parapsychological Findings Suggestive of the Survival of Human Personality After Death.”

During his career Roll wrote more than 100 scientific papers, authored four books, was President of the Parapsychological Association, and in 2002 was awarded the Dinsdale Memorial Award by the Society for Scientific Investigation.

Roll remained active in paranormal research right up till his passing – in fact, on the date of his passing the journal Neurocase posted the abstract for a new article that he was lead author on, “Case report: A prototypical experience of ‘poltergeist’ activity, conspicuous quantitative electroencephalographic patterns, and sLORETA profiles – suggestions for intervention“:

People who report objects moving in their presence, unusual sounds, glows around other people, and multiple sensed presences but do not meet the criteria for psychiatric disorders have been shown to exhibit electrical anomalies over the right temporal lobes. This article reports the striking quantitative electroencephalography, sLORETA results, and experimental elicitation of similar subjective experiences in a middle-aged woman who has been distressed by these classic phenomena that began after a head injury. She exhibited a chronic electrical anomaly over the right temporoinsular region. The rotation of a small pinwheel near her while she ‘concentrated’ upon it was associated with increased coherence between the left and right temporal lobes and concurrent activation of the left prefrontal region. The occurrence of the unusual phenomena and marked ‘sadness’ was associated with increased geomagnetic activity; she reported a similar mood when these variations were simulated experimentally. Our quantitative measurements suggest people displaying these experiences and possible anomalous energies can be viewed clinically and potentially treated.

Vale Willam Roll…may you be discovering the truth of it all as we speak.