Murphy, Gardner (1895–1979)
Distinguished psychologist and pioneer figure in parapsychology.
Murphy was born on July 8, 1895, at Chillicothe,
Ohio. He studied at Yale University (B.A., 1916), Harvard University
(M.A., 1917), and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1923). At
Harvard he was the Richard Hodgson Fellow concerned with
psychical research. While completing his doctorate he became
a lecturer at Columbia where he remained through the 1920s.
He later served on the faculty of the Department of Psychology
at City College of New York (1940–52). In 1952 he became the
director of research at the Menninger Foundation, Topeka,
Kansas, where he stayed for the remainder of his professional
career. He defended parapsychology in the face of a strong
vocal attack at the 1938 meeting of the American Psychological
Association and went on in 1944 to be elected president of that
organization. He also received numerous honors for his psychological
studies.
Murphy joined the Society for Psychical Research, London,
in 1917, while in England during World War I as a soldier
in the United States Army. Murphy became involved in the
controversy over Mina Crandon that divided the American Society
for Psychical Research in the mid 1920s. Believing
Crandon a fraud, he joined with others in the formation of the
Boston Society for Psychic Research as a rival organization.
Once that issue had lost its importance, he led in the reuniting
of the two groups. He served as vice president of the ASPR
(1940–62), and had a notable tenure as president. Throughout
his many years in administering the most prominent parapsychological
research institute in the United States, Murphy
found time to author over one hundred papers and a number
of books, many that are still influential in the field of parapsychology.
Murphy died in George Washington University Hospital,
Washington, D.C., March 19, 1979.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Murphy, Gardner. ‘‘Difficulties Confronting the Survival
Hypothesis.’’ Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research
39 (April 1945).
———. Historical Introduction to Modern Psychology. New
York Harcourt, Brace and World, 1925.
———. Human Potentialities. New York Basic Books, 1958.
———. In the Minds of Men. New York Basic Books, 1953.
———. Personality. New York Harper & Row, 1947.
———. ‘‘Psychical Research and Personality.’’ Journal of the
American Society for Psychical Research (January 1950).
———. There Is More Beyond Selected Papers of Gardner Murphy.
Jefferson, N.C. McFarland, 1989.
———. ‘‘Triumphs and Defeats in the Study of Mediumship.’’
Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research
52 (October 1957).
Murphy, Gardner, and Morton Leeds. Outgrowing SelfPerception.
New York Basic Books, Inc., 1975.
———. The Paranormal and the Normal. Lanham, Md. Scarecrow
Press, Inc., 1980.
Murphy, Gardner, and Robert Ballou. William James and Psychical
Research. New York Viking Press, 1960.
Murphy, Gardner, and L. A. Dale. The Challenge of Psychical
Research. New York Harper and Row, 1961.
Peatman, John G., and Eugene L. Hartley, eds. Festschrift for
Gardner Murphy. N.p., 1960.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.
Schmeidler, Gertrude. ‘‘Some Lines About Gardner Murphy,
the Psychologist’s Parapsychologist.’’ Parapsychology Review
(July–August, 1976).

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