Brian Baker

Parapsychology courses still lurk in Canada, you just have to find them

Courses in parapsychology have become as spectral as the phenomenon they teach.

But, I somehow managed to earn myself a certificate in an introductory class to parapsychology. It’s nice to see experienced organizations teaching the history of parapsychology since more traditional institutions are dropping it from their programs.

My course was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up, as I’m in the process of writing a book about the history of ghosts in Canada. Elliott Van Dusen, Corporate Director of Paranormal Phenomena Research & Investigation (PPRI), suggested I come on board as a student for a class of my choice.

As mentioned, I took parapsychology but PPRI has courses in Investigating UAPs and UFOs, Ghosts and Hauntings, Electronic Voice Phenomenon, Poltergeist Phenomenon and Demonology. Van Dusen is not the only lecturer either, as fixtures from the Canadian and American paranormal communities offer to teach courses. Chris Styles, who has written extensively about the Shag Harbour UFO crash, teaches the UAPs and UFOs course.

PPRI has three core objectives: investigations, research and education. Van Dusen admitted via email that he has witnessed a steady decline in parapsychology education, with many institutions exorcising their courses from the curriculum.

One example he pointed to was the Stratford Career Institute discontinuing its Astrology and Parapsychology diploma. The University of Glasgow ended its ancient monsters course.

The Parapsychological Education Centre was launched in September 2023, but PPRI has presented public lectures since 2019. Van Dusen is a retired RCMP officer and teaches what he’s learned through the Rhine Institute and parapsychologist Loyd Auerbach’s courses at John F. Kennedy University and Atlantic University.

“Our online learning platform caters to a global audience, emphasizing critical thinking skills necessary for ethical and responsible investigation and research of parapsychological phenomena,” Van Dusen wrote in an email. “We designed our courses to offer a flexible adult learning environment, fostering a balance between self-directed study and structured instruction.”

Upon finishing courses, students get a Canadian Association of Parapsychological Research & Investigation (CAPRI) Certificate of Completion.

For the Introduction to Parapsychology course, Nova Scotian paranormal investigator Darryll Walsh provided great dialogue and offered a skeptical voice akin to James Randi to all discussions about psychokinesis, out-of-body experiences and poltergeist phenomena. The best part of the courses was the chewing of fat before and after the class material.

Even though full programs are no longer available, our country is not entirely devoid of anything occult or paranormal. Van Dusen told me that there are courses in post-secondary institutions that cover parapsychology, including Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and the University of Ottawa. SMU offers “Ghosts: A Cultural Approach” while U of O provides students with “Witchcraft, Magic(k), and Occult Traditions“.

More lectures are on their way through the PPRI, as the 2024 Halifax Paranormal Symposium will be held at the Halifax Tower Hotel and Conference Centre on October 14. Tickets are on sale now.

As for my certificate for completing my first course, well, it’s in the mail. And I didn’t do too badly either. It makes me want to explore more of the courses.

Comments are closed.