Osis, Karlis (1917–1997)
Parapsychologist who investigated extrasensory perception,
spontaneous psi phenomena, and mediumship. He was born
Ortt, Felix Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
on December 26, 1917, at Riga, Latvia. After World War II he
completed his graduate training in Germany at the University
of Munich (Ph.D., 1950). His doctoral thesis concerned interpretations
of Extrasensory Perception (ESP). He moved to the
United States in 1950 on the displaced persons program after
graduation and became a United States citizen in 1959.
His professional career in parapsychology began as a research
associate at the Parapsychology Laboratory at Duke
University (1951–57). Osis subsequently became director of research
at the Parapsychology Foundation in New York City
(1957–62), and in 1962 became director of research at American
Society for Psychical Research. He was a council member
of the Parapsychological Association and served as its president
for one term (1961–62).
At Duke University from 1951–1957, he worked with J. B.
Rhine and explored the relationship between ESP and psychokinesis,
precognition, and psi between men and animals. In
1958, Osis investigated the poltergeist phenomena at Seaford,
Long Island, N.Y., and concluded the facts did not support a
paranormal explanation. His report was published in the
March-April 1958 Newsletter of the Parapsychology Foundation.
Among his studies were those concerning the effect of distance
on ESP and the relationship between meditation and
ESP. Before moving to the American Society for Psychical Research
he began work on deathbed experiences indicative of
Osis died December 26, 1997.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Osis, Karlis. Deathbed Observations by Physicians and Nurses.
New York Parapsychology Foundation, 1961.
———. ‘‘ESP Tests at Long and Short Distances.’’ Journal of
Parapsychology 20, 2 (1956).
———. ‘‘Out-of-the-Body Research at the ASPR.’’ ASPR
Newsletter 22 (1974),
———. ‘‘A Test of the Relationship Between ESP and PK.’’
Journal of Parapsychology 17, 4 (1953).
———. ‘‘What Did The Dying See’’ ASPR Newsletter 24
Osis, Karlis, and Erlendur Haraldsson. At the Hour of Death.
New York Avon Books, 1977. Rev. ed. New York Hasting
House, 1986.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.

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