Celia Green (b 1935) is a British philosopher and psychologist who has published extensively on lucid dreams, ESP and the out-of-body experience.
Life and Career
Celia Elizabeth Green was born on 26 November 1935 in East Ham, London to a Polish father and British mother who were both teachers. She was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Ilford and later Woodford High School for Girls. She won a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford taking mathematics as her main subject, later stating that she would have chosen physics if she had known she could have switched.1 In 1960, she was awarded a degree by the Oxford faculty of Literae Humaniores for a thesis entitled ‘An Enquiry into Some States of Consciousness and their Physiological Foundation’. In 1996 she received a DPhil degree at the same faculty for a thesis on causation and the mind-body problem. She is an honorary research fellow at the University of Liverpool’s philosophy department.
Green was awarded a Perrott-Warrick studentship for psychical research and in 1957 was appointed research officer at the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), holding the post for three years. There she carried out a detailed analysis of descriptions of inexplicable spontaneous experiences obtained by the SPR in a public appeal.2
Institute of Psychophysical Research
In 1961, Green founded the Institute of Psychophysical Research in Oxford, aided by George Joy, an ex-president of the SPR, and Arthur Strutt, son of the physicist Robert Strutt.3 In 1964, the institute was granted charitable status under the direction of Green and psychologist Charles McCreery. It aims to encourage ‘research and experimental investigation into paranormal phenomena and related mind-matter problems in the physical and biological sciences and in particular in the fields of psychology electro-physiology and mental health’.4
Books and Studies
In 1963, Green reported an exploratory study to determine the influence of factors such as age, sex, social class and occupation on ESP ability, using subjects recruited among viewers of a television programme.5 A later study, with magazine readers as subjects, probed the possible relationship of birth order and family size with ESP ability.6
Green is best-known for her published work on out-of-body experiences (OBEs), lucid dreams and apparitions.
In Lucid Dreams (1968) and Out-of-Body Experiences (1968), Green offered anecdotal descriptions, compared the two types of experiences (which she concluded were philosophically indistinguishable), and discussed their varying characteristics.
Apparitions (1975), written in collaboration with Oxford psychologist Charles McCreery, quotes several hundred first-hand accounts of encounters with ghostly figures, animals and even objects. The authors conclude that some, or even all, apparitions are ‘metachoric’ - meaning that not just the apparitional figure, but the whole of the visual field, is ‘temporarily hallucinatory’.7
The Decline and Fall of Science (1977), as described on its cover, is an ‘attack on the attitudes of the contemporary scientific and intellectual establishment to psychical phenomena and their investigation’.8 In 1998 Green founded the Oxford Forum, an association of independent academics, to oppose what she believed to be an increasing ideological bias in mainstream academia, and to be a centre for the expression of dissenting ideas in philosophy, psychology and other academic fields.
Green continues to publish articles and posts comments in her blog Celia Green – notes from an exiled academic.
Out-of-the-Body Experiences (1968). London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
Lucid Dreams (1968). London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
The Human Evasion (1969). London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
Apparitions (1975, with C. McCreery). London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd.
The Decline and Fall of Science (1977). Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research.
Advice to Clever Children (1981). Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research.
Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep (1994, with C. McCreery). London: Routledge.
The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem (2003). Oxford: Oxford Forum.
Letters from Exile: Observations on a Culture in Decline (2004). Oxford: Oxford Forum.
Traité de Parapsychologie by René Sudre. (Translated as Treatise on Parapsychology) (1960). New York: The Citadel Press.
Analysis of spontaneous cases (1960). Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 53, 97-161.
A new use for mass media in parapsychology (1963, with M. Eastman and S. Adams). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 114-24.
The effect of birth order and family size on extra-sensory perception (1965). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 43, 181-91.
Ecsomatic experiences and related phenomena (1967). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 44, 111-31.
Waking dreams and other metachoric experiences (1990). Psychiatric Journal of the University of Ottawa 15, 123-28.
Are mental events preceded by their physical causes? (1995, with G. Gillett), Philosophical Psychology 8, 333-40.
Book and Report Reviews
Spiritualism as Seen by a Christian Scientist by C. Cunradi (1961). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 41, 211-12.
Fundamental Physical Theory and the Concept of Consciousness by J.H. Greidanus (1962). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 41, 321-23.
Prophezeiungen über Ausbruch und Verlauf des Dritten Weltkriegs: Eine Kritische Űbersicht Europäischer Visionen by E.G. Retlaw (1962). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 41, 370-72.
Unconscious perception of meaningful sounds during surgical anaesthesia as revealed under hypnosis and What does the surgically anaesthetized patient hear? by D.B. Cheek (1963). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 135-38.
Testing for extrasensory perception with a machine by W.R. Smith et al (1964). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 259-61.
Dream Telepathy: Experiments in Nocturnal ESP by M. Ullman, S. Krippner and A. Vaughan (1990). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 56, 175-77.
Green, C. (1960). Analysis of spontaneous cases. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 53, 97-161.
Green, C. (1963, with M. Eastman and S. Adams). A new use for mass media in parapsychology Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 42, 114-24.
Green, C. (1965). The effect of birth order and family size on extra-sensory perception. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 43, 181-91.
Green, C. (1977). The Decline and Fall of Science (1977). Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research.
Haynes, R. (1982). The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982. A History. London: Macdonald & Co.
Whiteman, J.H.M. (1969a). Book review: Lucid Dreams by C. Green. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 45, 21-25.
Whiteman, J.H.M. (1969b). Book review: Out-of-Body Experiences by C. Green. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 45, 172-78.