Two Scottish giants

Prof Archie Roy
Prof Archie Roy

If I could acquire just one paranormal ability it would be bilocation – the ability to be in two places at the same time. Then I would be able to fulfill an existing commitment here in Birmingham as well as travelling up to Scotland for a very special occasion.

Tonight, the Scottish Society for Psychical Research (SSPR) is celebrating its 21st anniversary at the Hilton Grosvenor Hotel in Glasgow – an event which is being held in honour of its founding president, Prof Archie Roy.

Although I won’t be present at the Glasgow celebration, I shall certainly be toasting these two Scottish giants of parapsychology.

I have known Archie – who will be celebrating his 85th birthday soon after the event – for many years. As well as being good company with a great sense of humour, he also has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the paranormal. His research, lectures and books have made an enormous contribution to our understanding of mediumship and spirit communication: just two of the topics in which he has specialised.

In addition to his extensive paranormal research Prof Archie Roy is an Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Glasgow University and a visiting professor at Glasgow Caledonian University where he conducts research into celestial mechanics with Dr Bonnie Steves.

These twin interests explain why, on a list of books he has written, you will find A Sense of Something Strange: investigations into the paranormal rubbing covers with Long-term Dynamical Behaviour of Natural and Artificial N-Body Systems.

He was also the recipient in 2004 of the Myers Memorial Medal, presented by the Society for Psychical Research, of which he is a past president (1993-95), for his outstanding contribution to parapsychology. He even has an asteroid named after him – an honour bestowed by the International Astronomical Union.

For over three decades, Archie has given classes on psychical research to extra-mural students at Glasgow University and continues to do so. It was largely as a result of the interest they showed that he founded the SSPR in 1987. Having been invited to speak twice to its members, I can testify that its monthly meetings are lively and very well-attended.

Much of the credit for that must go to Tricia Robertson, the SSPR’s energetic honorary secretary and immediate past president, who has partnered Archie in numerous projects.

These include the 20-week “In-Depth Study in Psychical Research” for Glasgow University’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education, already referred to, and PRISM (Psychical Research Involving Selected Mediums) which has produced impressive results. Together, they have also investigated numerous spontaneous cases of hauntings and other paranormal phenomena.

So, I have no hesitation in sending my congratulations to both Archie and the SSPR on their outstanding achievements, and long may they continue. Although I won’t be able to join them in person, I will certainly be there in spirit (which will be bilocation of a sort, I guess).

And if my spirit can raise a glass, I’ll join everyone in the traditional Scottish toast to these two parapsychological giants: “Lang mae yer lum Reek”.

Prof Archie Roy and Tricia Robertson
Prof Archie Roy and Tricia Robertson (photo: Roy Stemman)

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