The Archives of the "Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene e.V.": Premises, Problems and Perspectives

Uwe Schellinger


In 1950, the German psychologist and physician Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans BENDER (1907-1991) founded the "Institut für Grenzgebiete der Psychologie und Psychohygiene e.V." (abbreviated IGPP) in Freiburg/Br. From the very beginning the Institute was anxious to keep records of its own scientific work and to secure them for the long term. However, only when the institute moved to a new location in 1996 it was possible for the archives to be installed according to established archival standards. Due to its very specific fields of research the IGPP holds a unique position in the European scientific landscape. In the same way the archives, at present under construction, are of particular importance. The preserved record groups originate predominantly from the 20th century. For the most part the documents are the result of the research conducted in the Institute during the last five decades and concern all forms of unusual human experiences. For a long time, the research into the various types of phenomena and experiences that were ordinary understood as beyond science was called "scientific occultism". Later, the term "Parapsychology" was established. The IGPP is traditionally concerned with two research fields in "anomalies research" as it has recently been named: First, "Extra-Sensory Perception" (ESP)—this includes topics like telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition; secondly, "Psychokinesis" (PK), i.e. the purely mental influence of physical or biological systems. Accordingly, the archival processing focussed on the same topics. On the one hand the collected records consist of rather conventional record groups like, for instance, personal papers of scholars, correspondence or photographic records. On the other hand it comprises very interesting material of a unique qualitative character that comes under the extensive record group "Research and Documentation". The most important aspect to be mentioned in this field is the documentation of numerous alleged cases of apparition (RSPK) investigated by the Institute in Germany and abroad and also the rich collections of so-called spontaneous phenomena. Further the collection contains a large record group of dream-reports and extends—to refer to a very special category—up to descriptions of alleged abductions by UFOs. The archives partly consist of written documents partly of verbal reports (interrogations, interviews) from individuals who claim to have had unusual experiences. In future these records could not only become important for (para-) psychological research, but also for an intensified analyses from historical, culture-scientific or different sociological points of view. In establishing its own scientific archives, however, the IGPP has to solve some problems that originate partly from its own specific history. The issues include e.g. data security, recording and anonymising records and whether to limit public access.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0003160


parapsychology; anomalies research; estate; extra-sensory perception; telepathy; clairvoyance; precognition; psychokinesis; data protection

Copyright (c) 2000 Uwe Schellinger

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