Re: Psychometry, et al

Matthew Hill (mhill@WATARTS.UWATERLOO.CA)
Wed, 7 Dec 1994 09:19:41 -0500

On Tue, 6 Dec 1994, Jerry W. Forstadt wrote:

> > However, the general response among "professional"
> > archeologists prompts the question, "Are we justified in dismissing
> > outright investigative procedures that seem unlikely or even absurd?"
> > I remember fondly the Psychic arecheology session at AAA in Mexico
> > City in the 70s. Many professionals dismissed it with a laugh, but
> > how many of us examined the evidence and have done follow-up
> > studies to see if there really is any empirical reality to the
> > claims?
> The NPR story mentioned that "Canada's most eminent archaeologist"
> (Emerson?) frequently used the analysis of the psychic. Any Canadian's
> out there want to comment on this guy?

I am fairly sure that Feder discusses Emerson's and other uses of
psychics and systematic tests of psychic interpretations in his
"Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology"
published by Mayfield my copy of which is hiding at the moment.

In a local case some years ago where it was necessary to locate several
historically documented burials in a confined space (a gaolyard) a local
cemetery employee who specialized in locating burials by dowsing was
brought in and directed excavation to a number of locations where no
burials were found. His explanation was that bodies and big rocks give
off the same vibrations. p.s. Archaeological testing located 2 out of the
3. The third has not been located despite having an informant who was at
the burial.

Matthew Hill, Anthropology, University of Waterloo, Canada