“I see what the killer sees”: An examination of Psychic Criminology (w/ Ciaran O’Keeffe @ciaranokeeffe)

March 5, 2019 @ 6:10 pm – 7:10 pm
Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Whitehead Building, Goldsmiths University of London
8 Lewisham Way
New Cross, London SE14 6NW
Prof. Christopher French

There is a disconnect between the proliferation of psychic detectives throughout media who claim successful involvement in criminal investigations and the experimental work on psychic detection that consistently finds little evidence that would warrant their involvement. There is, however, a paucity of scientific work in this domain, with the main sceptical rebuttals being confined to arguments around cold (or hot) readings or florid exaggeration of the claims. Critical evaluation of psychic detection, then, must come from detailed post-hoc investigations and in recognising how different police forces respond to volunteered information from a psychic. This talk encapsulates all of the above points, highlighting key famous cases in the domain, and bringing together two normally disparate sub-disciplines of Psychology: Investigative Psychology and Parapsychology.

Dr O’Keeffe is Associate Head of School at Bucks New University where he is responsible for Psychology, Sports Science, Social Sciences, Education and Sports Therapy. He is also programme leader for two crime degrees, BSc. (Hons) Criminological Psychology and BSc. (Hons) Psychology & Criminology, which build upon his professional and research experience in Forensic Psychology (risk assessment of violent young offenders; Investigative Psychology consultancy; anti-FGM campaigner, RJ advocate). His parapsychology research, however, has focused on testing mediums and psychics in the lab and also fieldwork examining ghostly experiences. Additional research has included psychic criminology, UFOs, Alien Abduction and ‘Christian’ parapsychology (i.e. exorcism, miracles & stigmata). It has been reported in The Psychologist, The Times, The Independent, in addition to various TV documentaries, and docutainment programmes, on a number of channels (BBC, ITV, C4, C5, Living TV, Yesterday, Travel Channel, Discovery etc.). He has also provided accounts of his daily activities in order to inform the lead (Andrew Lincoln, now on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) in a popular ITV paranormal drama, Afterlife. Ciaran also provides a sceptical voice to various paranormal shows (e.g. Living’s Most Haunted, and Jane Goldman Investigates) in addition to providing expert input on Applied Psychology. He has been involved in many unusual projects: physiological effects of infrasound (Royal Festival Hall); ghost investigation of Hampton Court Palace; an exorcism ‘training day’; and lie detecting for the film Spy Game.

All APRU talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. Attendance is free and there is no need to book in advance. You are strongly recommended to register (at no cost) with the APRU’s “Psychology of the Paranormal” email list to ensure that you are informed of any future changes to the programme as well as news of related events. You can also follow @chriscfrench on Twitter for announcements (including news of last-minute cancellations, changes of venue, etc.). Visit: http://www.gold.ac.uk/apru/email-network/