Fonds MSS 373, PC 328, EL 38 (A11-61) - A.R.G. (George) and Iris M. Owen fonds

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A.R.G. (George) and Iris M. Owen fonds

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Fonds

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CA UMASC MSS 373, PC 328, EL 38 (A11-61)

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Date(s)

  • ca. 1959-2011 (Creation)
    Creator
    Owen, A.R.G. (George)

Physical description area

Physical description

1.33 metres (including 0.70 metres of textual material, 17 books, 6 oversized photos and sketches, 1 VHS tape and 2 DVDs)

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1919-2003)

Biographical history

Alan Robert George Owen, known to his friends as George Owen, was a British immigrant to Canada who made significant contributions to the field of psychical research, particularly concerning table tilting and group psychokinesis (PK). Owen was born in Bristol, England in 1919 and was educated in the fields of mathematics, physics and genetics. Dr. Owen obtained a B.A. in mathematics and physics in 1940, an M.A. in 1945 and his doctorate in mathematical genetics in 1948. During the Second World War, Dr. Owen played a large part in the development of Radar technology. Following the war, Dr. Owen became a research fellow and lecturer in mathematics and genetics at Trinity College. He married his wife, Iris May Pepper, in 1952 and had a son, Robin, in 1955. Both George and Iris were interested in researching psychical phenomena, particularly concerning psychokinesis and poltergeists. In 1964, Dr. Owen published “Can we Explain the Poltergeist”, which was a collection of his research into poltergeist phenomena that attempted to separate hoaxes from cases he believed to be genuine. One case in particular featured prominently in his research: that of the “Sauchi” poltergeist, which manifested around 11 year old Virginia Campbell in 1960-61, leading Dr. Owen to conclude that some poltergeist phenomena were indeed real. A second case that began in 1966 would occupy Dr. Owen on and off again for several years: that of 11 year old Matthew Manning, who later visited Dr. and Mrs. Owen in Canada in 1974. Research such as this led in 1969 to the Owens being offered the job of directing parapsychology research for the Toronto based New Horizons Research Foundation (NHRF) for five years. They accepted the offer and came to Canada the following year. The New Horizons Research Foundation was a non-profit organization that dealt in psychical research and Dr. Owen came on as the Foundation’s Vice President as well as the editor of its journal, “New Horizons: Journal of the New Horizons Research Foundation”, published from 1972-1978 and incorporated the “Transactions of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research”. The Toronto Society for Psychical Research (TSPR) was another organization dedicated to psychical research with Iris Owen as its Secretary-Treasurer. It was under the TSPR’s auspices that the Owens’ famous Philip experiment was conducted. Headed by Iris, the Philip experiment sought to recreate the table tilting experiments of British psychical researchers such as Kenneth J. Batcheldor, who determined that group psychokinesis was possible. To do so, an imaginary ghost named Philip was created as a way to guide and focus the sitter group’s psychical energy as questions were posed to and responses sought from the imaginary Philip. Dr. Owen continued researching and writing papers for the NHRF right up until his and Iris’ retirement in 1994, when they moved to Calgary. Dr. Owen passed away in 2003.

Name of creator

(1916-2009)

Biographical history

Iris May Owen, born Iris May Pepper, was a British immigrant to Canada who made significant contributions to the field of psychical research, particularly concerning table tilting and group psychokinesis (PK). Owen was born in Meldreth, in Cambridgeshire, England, in 1916. In the Second World War, she served in the armed forces as a radio intercept officer, helping to decode German “Enigma” messages. Following the war, Owen worked as a nurse in a cancer radiology clinic. She married her husband, A.R.G. (George) Owen in 1952 and had a son, Robin, in 1955. Both George and Iris were interested in researching psychical phenomena, particularly concerning psychokinesis and poltergeists. With her husband, Iris Owen spent much of the 1960s analyzing case studies of poltergeist phenomena and came to conclude that some poltergeist phenomena were indeed real. A particularly famous case began in 1966 and would occupy the Owens on and off again for several years: that of 11 year old Matthew Manning, who later visited Dr. and Mrs. Owen in Canada in 1974. Research such as this led in 1969 to the Owens being offered to direct parapsychology research for the Toronto based New Horizons Research Foundation (NHRF) for five years. They accepted the offer and came to Canada the following year. The New Horizons Research Foundation was a non-profit organization that dealt in psychical research and Dr. Owen became the foundation’s Vice President as well as the editor of its journal, “New Horizons: Journal of the New Horizons Research Foundation”, which published from 1972-1978 and incorporated the “Transactions of the Toronto Society for Psychical Research”. The Toronto Society for Psychical Research (TSPR) was another organization dedicated to psychical research, with Iris Owen as its Secretary-Treasurer. It was under the TSPR’s auspices that the Owens’ famous Philip experiment was conducted. Headed by Iris, the Philip experiment sought to recreate the table tilting experiments of British psychical researchers such as Kenneth J. Batcheldor, who determined that group psychokinesis was possible. To do so, an imaginary ghost named Philip was created as a way to guide and focus the sitter group’s psychical energy as questions were posed to and responses sought from the imaginary Philip. Iris published the experiment’s results in a 1976 book, “Conjuring up Philip: An Adventure in Psychokinesis”, where she concluded that table tilting is the result not of deceased spirits tilting the table, but of group psychokinesis – she firmly believed that the imaginary Philip only responded the way the group desired and provided no information that they as individuals or a group did not already possess. The Owens retired in 1994 and moved to Calgary, where Iris passed away in 2009.

Custodial history

The material was donated by Robert Owen to the Survival Research Institute of Canada, which in turn donated the material to the Archives in 2011, with Walter Meyer zu Erpen, the institution's President, acting as the transferring agent.

Scope and content

The fonds was arranged in part by the transferring agent according to specifications he provided. This particular fonds consists primarily of a typescript of Batcheldor’s “Macro-PK in Group Sittings: Theoretical and Practical Aspects”, as well as a brief biographical description created by Walter Meyer zu Erpen and a DVD containing a digitized version of the typescript.

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Immediate source of acquisition

Acquired by the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections in 2011

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English

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Associated materials

This fonds is one of a series of fonds and collections transferred to the Archives by Walter Meyer zu Erpen, President of the Survival Research Institute of Canada, related to survival and parapsychology research. Other such fonds and collections transferred by Meyer zu Erpen are the Survival Research Institute of Canada fonds (MSS 372; A11-60), Survival Research Newsletters and Periodicals Collection (MSS 374; A11-62), Debra Barr and Walter Meyer zu Erpen Research and Publication Collection (MSS 375; A11-63), Jenny O'Hara Pincock fonds (MSS 376; A11-64), Spiritualist Hymnals and Manuals Collection (MSS 377; A11-65), Kenneth J. Batcheldor fonds (MSS 378, EL 39; A11-66), Mary Olga Park fonds (MSS 380; A11-71), Albert Batten fonds (MSS 379, PC 329, EL 40; A11-67), Howard Reed fonds (MSS 381, EL 41; A11-107). Also related, but not transferred by Meyer zu Erpen, is the Hamilton Family fonds (Mss 14, Pc 12, Tc 70; A.79-21, A.79-41, A.79-52, A.79-56, A.79-65, A.80-08, A.80-25, A.81-09, A.86-56)

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Created by Jarad Buckwold on 11 February 2013.
Quality checked by Mary Grace Golfo-Barcelona on 08 June 2017.

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