American Psychical Institute and Laboratory

American Psychical Institute and Laboratory

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In 1920 distinguished British psychical research investigator and author Hereward carrington founded the American Psychical Institute and Laboratory for specialized research. Sigmund Freud was invited to become a member in 1921 but declined, saying that he wanted to keep psychoanalysis distinctly apart from the occult. Freud did, however, admit to his fascination for the field. He is reported to have said, “I am not one of those who, from the outset, disapprove of the study of so-called occult psychological phenomena as unscientific, as unworthy or even dangerous. If I were at the beginning of a scientific career, instead of, as now, at the end of it, I would perhaps choose no other field of work, in spite of its difficulties.”

The Institute existed for only two years, but in 1933 it was resurrected, reorganized, and incorporated. Originally headquartered at 20 West 58th Street, New York, by 1937 it had moved to 247 Park Avenue, New York. Carrington was Director of the Institute and his wife, Marie Sweet Carrington, its Secretary. An advisory council made up of a number of men of distinction in the field helped lead the association, which published a quarterly journal titled Bulletins.


Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
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