Clark, Walter Houston (1902–1994)
Professor of psychology of religion, who took a special interest
in parapsychology, psychedelic drugs, and religious experience.
He was born July 15, 1902, in Westfield, New Jersey, and
was educated at Williams College (A.B., 1925) and Harvard
University (A.M., 1926; Ed.M., 1935; Ph.D., 1944). While pursuing
his graduate work, he joined the staff of Lenox School in
Massachusetts as an instructor in English and the Bible. He
stayed at Lenox for 19 years, eventually becoming the senior
master and acting headmaster. In 1945 he joined the faculty at
Bowdoin College and successively taught at Middlebury College,
Middlebury, Vermont (1947–51); Hartford Seminary
Foundation, School of Religious Education, Hartford, Connecticut
(1951–62); and Andover Newton Theological School,
from 1962 until his retirement in 1967.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Clark, Walter Houston
301
As a psychologist with a religious background, and the author
of a standard textbook on the psychology of religion,
Clark became interested in religious experience. He was
among the first intellectuals affected by the psychedelic revolution
and came to feel that properly administered mind-altering
drugs were an instant source of intense religious experiences.
His own analysis was published in 1969 as Chemical Ecstasy; Psychedelic
Drugs and Religion and informed his later book, Religious
Experience; Its Nature and Functioning in the Human Psyche
(1973). His interest in parapsychology was manifest in his accepting
the presidency of the Academy of Religion and Psychical
Research at its founding in 1973. Clark died in December
1994 at Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Sources
Clark, Walter Houston. The Oxford Group; Its History and Significance.
New York Bookman Associates, 1951.
———. The Psychology of Religion; An Introduction to Religious
Experience and Behavior. New York Macmillan, 1958.
———. Religious Experience; Its Nature and Functioning in the
Human Psyche. Springfield, Ill. Charles Thomas, 1973.
Clark, Walter Houston, and M. H. Malony, J. Daane, and A.
R. Tippett. Chemical Ecstasy; Psychedelic Drugs and Religion. New
York Sheed and Ward, 1969.