The public reputation of parapsychology

Köningsberg, where everything was lost by the end of the war, but in Freiburg where everything remained intact. Bender was inherently extremely unreliable. He didn’t keep his promises and he was either late or didn’t turn up for appointments. I have experienced this personally. His biographer and part-time assistant Elmar Gruber reports that Bender turned up notoriously late for his lectures at the university. But to deal with the graduation papers so slovenly is incredible, if they had actually existed in the first place. Conclusion: He could not prove his medical graduation and the public prosecutor started a preliminary investigation against him for unauthorised use of a title. In this plight he found a benevolent professor that allowed him to enter a hastily produced dissertation and fast track his doctoral examination. This made him a real doctor of medicine. Bender’s opponents and the opponents of everything paranormal came (and still come) from the ranks of: The judiciary, the police, the medical fraternity and evangelical theology. Even though Bender says nothing at all about ghosts or the survival after death, ergo remains completely earthbound, they still saw his research as an attack on their atheistic and materialistic philosophy, even if they would publicly reject the very idea. They agitated against him with a fanaticism that is usually reserved for extreme sects. They suggested that he wanted to lead them back to the sinister Dark Ages and prepare a path for a new inquisition and the burning of witches at the stake. One of Bender’s main antagonist was a Dr. jur. Wolf Wimmer. He was a District Attorney and later a presiding judge at the District Court in Mannheim. He still held this position in 1993. I do not know whether he is still in office or alive. His point of attack is easily discerned from an article in the Deutschen Ärtzeblatt Heft 10/1974. This work is titled “Eine andere Wirklichkeit? – Vom Unfug der Parapsychologie.” It says in its opening credits: “In conjunction with a supporting letter by the world-renowned coroner Otto Prokop, who always stood up against any occult ‘obfuscation’ of the sciences, this article mentions the dangers of a new belief in witches and miracles. The development of a religiously coloured new occultism of many varieties is much further advanced in the United States and it is feared that Europe will soon ‘follow suit’. There are lots of signs for this. It isn’t just the swindles perpetrated en masse on the faithful in connection with the occult to fool them that is particularly dangerous. The danger lays rather in parapsychology’s claim to be a science, one that justifies an old, at times murderous mania in a modern way.” Everything paranormal, including acupuncture, is explained away as trickery and deception in this article and culminates in the statement (Page 738): “Millions have already been driven to their death by something disguised as a miracle faith once before. Similar psychic epidemics can be repeated at any time. By the crimes of the witch hunts, history’s warning signs, we can recognise that nothing remains without consequences even in science and even if it’s the greatest nonsense, some the image below depicts. Common sense actually turns into nonsense and a scourge. All insights therefore have the serious duty to become an immunisation through enlightenment and warning. The present cultural regression is hair-raising enough as it is. A reignited magical madness is the last thing this tormented century could possibly bear. – And if we look at some of the products of Psi-research we are rather inclined to accept villainousness as a folly or a simple mental disorder, what is rather more to the point.” Also in 1974, this Dr. Wimmer published a series of articles in the journal Metall (The Trade Union Metall) that stretched across seven articles (Issues 4/74 to 10/74) under the title “Parapsychology – Magic and Mass Hysteria”.