Poland’s history of staunch Roman Catholic beliefs has offered
an interesting perspective on that country’s interest in
parapsychology and the paranormal. For observers, the belief
in miracles and other spiritual phenomena alone might have
qualified as testimony to belief in the supernatural. In 2000 the
country’s Roman Catholic population was estimated at 80 percent
of all Poles. Eastern Orthodoxy shares the majority of the
remaining population but remaines isolated to the eastern
frontier, representing approximately one percent-still making
it second to Roman Catholicism. Other communities of Protestants
and Buddhists exist on a small scale. Prior to World War
II, psychical phenomena not necessarily related to religion
could be found throughout Poland. In the nineteenth century,
Poland was the home of psychical researcher Julien Ochorowicz
(1850–1917). He investigated the medium Eusapia Palladino
who visited Warsaw from 1892 through 1894. Ochorowicz
testified to the levitation of Palladino. He also
experimented with the medium Stanislawa Tomczyk. His
1887 book, Mental Dominance-Classics of Personal Magnetism and
Hypnotism was considered by experts to be the most comprehensive
work on mental suggestion to appear in the nineteenth
After World War I, in the 1920s, a Metapsychical Society was
founded in Crakow with approximately one hundred members,
including authors and lecturers. The medium Stefan Ossowiecki,
born in Moscow to Polish parents, served as the honorary
chairman of the society. He also ‘‘demonstrated’’ telepathy,
clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and the projection of the astral
body (also known as out-of-the-body travel).
Ossowiecki was investigated by researchers such as Charles
Richet, Gustave Geley, and Baron Schrenck-Notzing. His psychic
abilities were also investigated by the Polish Society for
Psychical Research. Ossowiecki was murdered by the Nazis in
the final days of World War II.
Also active in the 1930s, was the Psycho-Physical Society in
Warsaw. Its president, P. de Szmulro, edited the journal Zagadnienia
As Poland began to recover from World War II, psychical research
reappeared with an informal parapsychological network
in Western Europe and North America. Psychical research in
Poland has developed its own terminology.
Research on radiesthesia, hypnosis, and clairvoyance was
conducted by the Bio-Electronic Section of the Copernicus Society
of Naturalists, whose president was Dr. Franciszek Chmielewski.
The section’s activities included investigations of electric
phenomena in living organisms, higher nerve activity in
connection with parapsychological phenomena and hypnosis,
and the influence on living organisms of cosmic and earth radiation.
Psychotronika embodies the papers of the proceedings presented
at the biennial symposium of the Society of Radiesthesists
held annually in Poland. Address Towarzystwo Psychotroniczne
w Warszawie, ul Noakowskiego 10 m 54, 00-666
Warszawa. The Polish monthly journal Trzecie Oko (Third Eye)
is published by Stowarzyszenie Radiestetow, ul Noakowskiego
10 m 54, Warzawa.
In a country that can boast of a cultural life especially in literature
and music that has crossed several centuries, and with
Pohl, Hans Ludwig Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
education a top priority, Poland is shaping its future in the
twenty-first century with the political freedom for which its people
have fought. An economy and lifestyle that will open to
more Western and American influences could broaden the
landscape in a way yet to be determined.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Dydyriski, Krzysztof. Krakow. Melbourne Lonely Planet
Publications, 2000.
Materialy z Konfernecji Parapsychologów ‘94. Warsaw Polskie
Towarzystwo Psychotroniczne, 1994.
Ochorowica, Julien. Mental Dominance-Classics of Personal
Magnetism and Hypnotism (1887). httpwww.tranceworks.com
history.htm. 2000.
Swick, Thomas. Unquiet Days. New York Ticknor & Fields,

Previous articleOmphalomancy
Next articleParsons, Denys (1914– )