American Institute for Scientific Research
The American Institute for Scientific Research was established
in 1904 by James Hervey Hyslop (1854–1920), a former
professor of logic and ethics at Columbia University. Hyslop
was drawn into psychical research in the 1880s and within a
short time was stripped of his skepticism and came to believe
that such research was actually probing the afterlife. Shortly
after the turn of the century, his health failed and Hyslop was
forced to resign his university appointment. He then turned his
attention to psychical research full time and founded the institute
as an instrument to raise money for psychical research. He
established two branches, one that focused on abnormal psychology
and one that centered on psychical research. He received
the immediate support of such scientists as psychologist
William James and physiologist Charles Richet.
In 1905, the president of the American Society for Psychical
Research (ASPR), Richard Hodgson, died, as did his society
shortly thereafter. Previously the ASPR had existed as a branch
of the British Society for Psychical Research, but in 1906 the
ASPR was reborn through the psychical research branch of the
American Institute for Scientific Research. Afterward Hyslop
discontinued the institute and it survived as a new, independent
ASPR. For the rest of his life Hyslop headed the new organization,
through which he was able to pursue his primary interest
in mediumship and its possible use for contacting the
dead.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Hyslop, James H. Contact with the Other World. New York
Century, 1919.
———. Life after Death Problems of the Future Life and its Nature.
New York E. P. Dutton, 1918.

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