4/26/10 ASHLAND, Ohio --Metaphysics, a branch of philosophy often referred to as the study of "What Is?," is becoming more popular for philosophy degree students these days, especially as it relates to the study of the paranormal, according to Dr. Jeffrey Tiel, associate professor of philosophy at Ashland University.
Dr. Tiel teaches metaphysics at Ashland University, and students in his metaphysics class this spring have spent much of this semester investigating paranormal activity. The students will hold a public event, titled "Ghostwatch 2010," on May 4 at 4 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium to report on their findings.
"We have eight teams of mostly upper level students who have been involved in the investigation of such well-known paranormal phenomena as ghosts, demons, remote viewing, near death experiences, alien abductions, spiritualism and esoteric knowledge," Tiel said. "These teams of students will report their findings during this 'Ghostwatch 2010' event, which is sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and free and open to the public.
"We hope that this event will encourage open discussion about people's experiences of paranormal phenomena, as well as offer some substantive evaluation about what these events might be pointing to," Tiel said. "Maybe the universe is larger than we've thought."
Tiel said he has seen America's interest in paranormal matters rise and fall through the years.
"The magician Harry Houdini exposed fraud in spiritualism (contact with the dead), and the scientific culture emerging from the Second World War classified interest in these matters as rather odd," he said. "But people still had experiences of what seemed like ghosts or the demonic or psychic capabilities."
With the loosening of the ties of materialist science now, Tiel said Americans are again opening to the possibility that there may be spiritual or immaterial dimensions to human experience.
"The entertainment industry is riding this wave to success offering entertainment programming on the demonic, ghost hunting, alien abduction, psychic powers, and communication with the dead," he said. "We just never seem satisfied with the notion that our lives are reducible to biology and physics. And we won't know until we look."
The paranormal project topics and teams will include:
Apparitions (non-interactive) -- Keith Darsee of Bellville and Tyler Millhouse of Ashland.
Spiritualism (Communication with the Dead) -- Nicholas Granitz of Mason and Rebecca Civittolo of Cleveland.
Alien Abductions -- Michael Byrne of Columbia Station and Molly Fratianne of Painesville.
Near Death Experiences -- Sarah Delaney of Westerville and Cara Smith of Norwalk.
Demons & Exorcism -- Ryan Marks of Broadview Heights and Kara Mitchell-Mumea of Mansfield.
Esoteric Knowledge (e.g., Scientology) -- Josh Ventura from Ashland and Joshua Risner of Ashland.
Remote Viewing (with special application to espionage) -- Yin Peng of Haidian District, Beijing, and Douglas Jessup of Geneva.
Apparitions (interactive) -- Emily Homoelle of Mount Sterling and Devin Bezeredi of Hanoverton.
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.