Hilary Evans (1929-2011) authored books about hauntings, UFOs and other paranormal and Fortean phenomena. He was the co-founder with his wife of the Mary Evans Picture Library and a co-founder of the Association for the Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP).
Life and Career
Hilary Evans was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire and moved to India with his family in 1933 when his father was appointed the headmaster of a school there. Five years later he returned to England to attend a school in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.
Between 1947 and 1948 he served in the police force in Palestine. He read English at King’s College, Cambridge and took a master’s degree at Birmingham University. After two years of private tutoring and then a further twelve years as a copywriter for an advertising agency he became a freelance writer. He married in 1956.
Evans was an avid collector of photographs and illustrations of unusual phenomena. In 1964, jointly with his wife, he co-founded the Mary Evans Picture Library to house their joint collection of historical printed images.
Evans joined the Society for Psychical Research in the late 1960s, became a council member and served on the publications committee. Finding its ambit somewhat restricted, in 1981 he co-founded the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP), a research and educational foundation which extends its interests to anomalies such as UFOs and Fortean phenomena.1 He was also a member of the British UFO Research Association and the Folklore Society.
Evans wrote extensively about ufology and the possibility of alien visitations, developing what he called a psycho-social hypothesis. This placed the witness, instead of some ‘unknowable alien entity', at the centre of the experience, and viewed it in psychological and cultural terms,2 making it amenable to further study. He compared historical claimed encounters with fairies, demons, spirits and the like with more recent claimed accounts of encounters with extra-terrestrials.3 He also investigated subjects as diverse as the psychology of mass hysteria4 and claims that street-lights might be affected by a human presence.5
Hilary’s willingness to give credence to paranormal claims brought criticism from sceptics such as Philip Klass6 and Christopher Scott.7 Other investigators, such as the author and UFO authority Clas Svahn, were impressed with his wealth of knowledge and scholarship.8
Evans donated his huge book collection to the Archives for the Unexplained (AFU) in Sweden, whose focus is ‘on the paranormal, occultism, spiritualism, religion, mythology, folklore and behavioural sciences’.9
Beyond the Gaslight: Science in Popular Fiction, 1895-1905 (1976). London: Frederick Muller.
The Art of Picture Research: A Guide to Current Practice, Procedure, Techniques, and Resources (1979). Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
Intrusions: Society and the Paranormal (1982). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Visions, Apparitions, Alien Visitors: A Comparative Study of the Entity Enigma (1984). London: Thorsons Publishing Group Limited.
Gods, Spirits, Cosmic Guardians: A Comparative Study of the Encounter Experience (1987). London: Aquarian Press.
UFOs 1947-1987: The Forty-Year Search for an Explanation (1987, with J. Spencer). State Mutual Book & Periodical Service Limited.
Frontiers of Reality: Where Science Meets the Paranormal (1989). London: Aquarian Press.
Alternate States of Consciousness: Unself, Otherself and Superself (1989). London: Aquarian Press.
SLI Effect: Street Lamp Interference - A Provisional Assessment (1993). ASSAP.
From Other Worlds (1998). New York: Reader’s Digest Association Inc.
We are not Alone: Searching the Heavens (2000, with K. Shuker). London: Chelsea House Publishers.
The Field Guide to Ghosts and Other Apparitions (2000, with P. Huyghe). New York: HarperCollins.
Making Contact: Alien Affairs (2001). London: Chelsea House Publishers.
Coming from the Skies: Our Neighbors from Above (2001, with K. Shuker). London: Chelsea House Publishers.
Seeing Ghosts: Experiences of the Paranormal (2002). London: John Murray.
The Unexplained (2002, with K. Shuker). London: Carlton Books Limited.
Panic Attacks: Media Manipulation and Mass Delusion (2004, with R.E. Bartholomew). Stroud: Sutton Publishing Ltd.
Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior (2009). Charlottesville: Anomalist Books.
Sliders – The Enigma of Streetlight Interference (2010). Charlottesville: Anomalist Books.
Correspondence: Mr Lambert and Mr Home (1976). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 48, 419-20.
The Society’s visual archives (1978). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 49, 769-70.
UFOs: A slip in time or a sinister warning? (1979). Alpha 5, May-June, 14-16.
The mystery of the camera-shy ghost (1979). Alpha 5, November-December, 15-18.
Correspondence: (1982). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 51, 34, 399.
Notes: (1988). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 55, 35.
More light on Medjugorje (1991). The Skeptic 5/4, 16-17.
Street Lamp Interference Data Exchange (SLIDE): (1992). Psi Researcher 5, 4-5.
SLIDE: (1992). Psi Researcher 7, 21.
Walking the fire (1994). Psi Researcher 13, 3-6.
Censigol (1997). Paranormal Review 2, 19.
Letters: I. Stevenson’s Reincarnation and Biology (1998). Paranormal Review 5, 17.
Correspondence: Deliberately caused bodily damage phenomena (1998). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 375-76.
Abductions that never leave the ground (1999). The Skeptic 12/1, 16-11-16; 12/2, 10-12.
Correspondence: Evidence inconsistent with the Super-ESP hypothesis (1999). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 63, 253.
The ongoing Medjugjore spectacular (2000). The Skeptic 13/2, 7-9.
A case of electrical interference? (2000). Paranormal Review 15, 7-9.
Ghosts over Britain by P. Moss (1978). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 49, 842-43.
Miracles: A Scientific Exploration of Wondrous Phenomena by D. Scott Rogo (1991). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 58, 109-11.
Dying to Live. Science and the Near-Death Experience by Susan Blackmore (1993). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 59, 301-7.
Unusual Personal Experiences: An Analysis of the Data from Three National Surveys by the Roper Organization (1994). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 59, 379-81.
Dark White: Aliens, Abductions and the UFO Obsession by J. Schnabel (1994). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 60, 56-57.
Entities: Angels, Spirits, Demons and other Alien Beings by J. Nickell (1996). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 61, 179-80.
Dimensions of Enchantment by M. Cassirer (1996). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 61, 183-84.
UFO Photographs Around the World by W. Stevens and A. Roberts (1996). The Skeptic 10/3, 22-23.
Spaceships of the Pleiades: The Billy Meier Story by K.K. Korff (1997). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 83-84.
Beyond Light and Shadow by R.H. Krauss (1998). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 62, 276-79.
Psychic Wars: Parapsychology in espionage and beyond by E.R. Gruber (2000). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 64, 245-48.
Electric UFOs by A. Budden (2001). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 65, 50-54.
Captain of my Ship, Master of my Soul by F. Holmes Atwater (2003). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 67, 213-14.
Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of Fatima and the UFO Phenomena (2009). by J. Fernandes & F. di Armada. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 73, 51-54.
Celestial Secrets: The Hidden History of the Fatima Incident (2009). by J. Fernandes & F. di Armada. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 73, 51-54.
Fatima Revisited: The Apparition Phenomenon in Ufology, Psychology and Science compiled by F. Fernandes, J. Fernandes and R. Berenguel (2009). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research 73, 51-54.
Evans, H. (2009). Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior. Charlottesville: Anomalist Books.
Evans, H. (2010). Sliders – The Enigma of Streetlight Interference. Charlottesville: Anomalist Books
Grossman, W. (2011). Obituary: Hilary Evans.
Klass, P.J. (1987). The Development of a Pseudoscience. New Scientist, 22 October, 63.
Rickard, B. (2011). Necrolog: Hilary Evans. Fortean Times, 282, 26-27.
Scott, C. (1982). Intrusions by Hilary Evans. New Scientist, 27 May, 595.
- 1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obit...
- 2. Rickard (2011), 26.
- 3. Grossman (2011). https://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/aug/16/hilary-evans-obituary.
- 4. Evans (2009).
- 5. Evans (2010).
- 6. Klass (1987), 63.
- 7. Scott (1982), 595.
- 8. http://csblogg.ufo.se/csblogg3/?p=14245
- 9. http://www.afu.se/afu2/