The Koestler Parapsychology Unit is a research group established in 1985 at the University of Edinburgh, in Scotland, to teach and conduct research concerning various aspects of parapsychology.[1] It hosts the only endowed chair of parapsychology in the UK, established by a bequest following the suicide in 1983 of internationally acclaimed intellectual, writer and journalist Arthur Koestler.[2] The first person to hold the chair, beginning in 1985, was Robert L. Morris.[2] John Beloff and Joshua Snyder were instrumental in setting it up.[3][4] The chair is currently held by Professor Caroline Watt.[5]

The unit interprets parapsychology events to include in its remit "what’s not psychic but looks like it" and makes no judgement about the mechanisms underlying apparent paranormal events.[2] Its focus is primarily on understanding why people believe they have psi experiences, and on how to improve the scientific rigour of studies.[6]

The unit includes the Koestler Parapsychology Library.[7]


  1. ^ "Parapsychology". School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Caroline Watt (July 2006). "20 years at the Koestler Parapsychology Unit". The Psychologist. 19. Retrieved 27 January 2012.
  3. ^ "History". Koestler Parapsychology Unit. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Former Staff". Koestler Parapsychology Unit. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  5. ^ "Home". Koestler Parapsychology Unit. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  6. ^ Wendy M. Grossman; "Searching for Rigor: Caroline Watt", The Skeptical Inquirer, 21 January 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  7. ^ Koestler parapsychology library, University of Edinburgh School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. 31 May, 2022.

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