Guest Blog: An Interview with Prof. Emeritus Daniel Kortenkamp, Ph.D.

Guest Blogger: Rusty Woehrle, Steven’s Point, WI

“… my interest [in the paranormal] really started when a couple of years ago my cousin gave us some old family photos. Cause it was after that, our house became haunted. Since getting those old wedding photos of my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents, we hear music coming from the basement (and there’s no music source down there), and we hear a man and woman talking…” [Since those photos came into her house, Rusty’s hand has been squeezed by an unseen force, she has heard strange sounds (footsteps and whistling), and seen shadowy apparitions.]

A Note from Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts: The ghost investigators of today owe a debt of gratitude to those who have gone before. Among those pathfinders who have lead the way are parapsychologists, psychical researchers, and academics like Daniel Kortenkamp from UW-Steven’s Point. At the risk of professional backlash, these brave men and women still stepped into the unknown. I believe these explorers are very relevant to modern ghost hunters, who can find valuable insights to inform their practice in the work of these important individuals. Thank you Rusty for bringing us this intriguing interview!

An Interview with Prof. Emeritus Daniel Kortenkamp, Ph.D.

Q: How have you explored the paranormal in your career and/or personal life?

A: I have only explored the paranormal by studying the research being done in parapsychology, and teaching a course titled “Parapsychology”.

Q: Were you involved in paranormal research?

A: I have not done paranormal research. But, I have discovered that the research in parapsychology is as good as the research in any area of psychology. I have discovered that there is good, controlled, statistical, laboratory evidence for ESP and PK. However, these research results are not incorporated into psychology or science because the results cannot be explained by any accepted scientific theory. And, parapsychologists do not have a clue how to explain their results. There will have to be a paradigm shift in science before these results can be incorporated into an accepted theory of reality.

Incidentally, there are many phenomena in quantum mechanics which are just as contradictory to common sense as ESP or PK. For example, the reality that light is both a particle (photon) and an electromagnetic field. Or, the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox. Or, the double-slit phenomena.

Q: Have you or someone you know ever had any personal paranormal experiences?

A: The most common “paranormal” experience is a pre-cognitive dream. I have had several dreams that predicted the future. However, everyone has around 6-7 dreams per night. That’s about 2,000 dreams per year, and about 150,000 in a lifetime. It is not hard to imagine that several of these dreams will be related to future events just by chance, even if there is no such thing as ESP. I don’t know if my pre-cognitive dreams were due to ESP or coincidence.

Q: Have you ever seen a ghost?

A: I have never experienced a ghost. People who have seen a ghost usually see the ghost wearing clothes. If the ghost is the spirit of a dead person, then do clothes also have spirits? Having said that, there is some very good research (done by Dr. Gertrude Schmeidler) comparing spirit mediums with control groups that produced significant results supporting a belief in ghosts.

A Note from Allison Jornlin of Milwaukee Ghosts: Many share Kortenkamp’s enthusiasm for Schmeidler’s work. According to Is there Life Beyond Death? by Hans J. Enysenck and Carl Sargent Schmeidler’s medium experiment has significant implications:

“An interesting recent advance, which promises greater progress in the experimental study of apparitions than hitherto, has been made by Gertrude Schmeidler and her colleagues. After investigating allegedly ‘haunted’ premises, they compiled lists of what ‘ghosts’ had been seen doing in the places in the house where they had been seen. Small groups of ‘psychics’ and sensitives were then asked to visit the houses and check off ‘correct’ actions and locations from a list which contained both true and false items randomly intermixed. Schmeidler found that some of the psychics were able to pinpoint, some to a highly significant extent, what the ‘ghosts’ had done and where they had been seen, claiming to have picked up this information from the ‘vibes’ in the building. A control group of sceptics scored uniformly at chance on this task, a particularly interesting result for rather complex reasons. If we suppose that sceptics would tend to explain ‘ghosts’ in terms of hallucination and tricks of the light, and if we suppose that this really is the explanation for ghosts, then one might have expected the sceptics to score well, since they would naturally select precisely those shady corners, nooks or crannies which would favour optical illusion. But they did not. The psychics may, of course, have succeeded by ordinary ESP, but their claim that they directly picked up something from the buildings themselves cannot be discounted.”

For further reading, see the following:


~ by mkeghosts on May 3, 2010.

One Response to “Guest Blog: An Interview with Prof. Emeritus Daniel Kortenkamp, Ph.D.”

  1. I agree with Dr. Kortenkamp’s assertion that there has been good scientific research conducted on ESP and PK that has never been accepted by the scientific community and that fundamental shift will need to occur before any paranormal research is taken seriously.

    I am a firm believer that paranormal events, specifically those including ghosts or hauntings, are intimately related to how the human brain interprets stimuli. As most know, we use a small percentage of our brain in every day life and very little is understood about how the human brain really works. It is very conceivable to me that portions of the human brain that are not ordinarily used may be tapped into in the case for ESP, PK, mediumship, or even when someone sees a ghost it could be the ghost of the type of energy the ghost consists of that taps into that portion of the brain. Depending on how accessible that portion of the brain is will determine how likely you are to experience a paranormal event or not and the accessibility may depend on life experience and upbringing along with education and personal viewpoints on the physical world.

    I would answer one comment Dr. Kortenkamp made regarding how most people see ghosts clothed and that clothing probably doesn’t have a ghost form (implied). I would argue that the ghost when seen by someone is not being shown in it’s actual form, but how the entity envisions itself. Most people will not envision themselves naked, and as such the ghost presents itself how it sees itself. There is a theory that a ghost can even present itself as a younger version of itself than the age it was when it died. This again would back up this theory, along with the theory of being able to manipulate the senses of the witness so that the ghost is seen as it wants to be seen.

    Now this theory will only work for intelligent haunts, but I believe residual hauntings are of a different nature altogether.

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