Stanley Krippner, 79, is a parapsychologist loved by believers and skeptics alike. He's been honored with lifetime achievement awards from the mainstream American Psychological Association yet ESP researcher Charles Tart says "Stan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of parapsychology." Meanwhile, James Randi respects him. In the 1960s, Krippner conducted experiments with Timothy Leary and the Grateful Dead. In fact, in 1971, he enlisted the help of the Dead's audience in trying to mentally transmit an image to a sleeping psychic 45 miles away. He also spent nearly a decade running the sleep lab at Brooklyn's Maimonides Hospital where he tested whether sleeping subjects could experience a form of dream telepathy. Irvin Child, the late former chair of Yale's psychology department, wrote in the American Psychologist journal that he believed "many psychologists would, like myself, consider the ESP hypothesis to merit serious consideration and continued research if they read the Maimonides reports for themselves." Krippner's career is mind-bendingly weird and amazing. The SF Weekly's Joe Eskenazi tells his story:
Rather than crossing swords with the critics of parapsychology, Krippner often finds himself nodding his head — "really, I agree with about 95 percent of what they say. Nothing in parapsychology is guaranteed to replicate. So, really, I understand where the counter-advocates are coming from." He does not expect to see mainstream scientific acceptance of ESP in his lifetime. Sadly, he does not even expect to see the day ESP research acquires mainstream approval as a worthwhile endeavor. "And I am not losing sleep over this." Despite spending the bulk of his life in the field, it's just not something he gets worked up over. "I don't have any great emotional investment in this. The world is not gonna stand or fall based on one experiment or another. I have done what I can to expand the boundaries of science and human capacities. If [the argument for parapsychology] falls apart — so be it. If it is established, we've done what scientists are supposed to do.""The Psychic World of Stanley Krippner: A quest to document ESP"
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.