This exploratory project used large scale survey data to investigate the contemporary incidence of a range of psi related experiences (PRES) in the UK population. Drawing on existing socio- and geo- demographic data bases, an attempt was made to identify the spatial and geo locational properties of reported PRES, thereby supplementing existing studies of the psychological and sociological correlates of ostensible psi phenomena.
Questions relating to five forms of paranormal experience (telepathy, precognition, extra sensory perception, contact with the dead, and mystical/transcendent experiences) were included in two face-to-face IPSOS/Mori omnibus surveys conducted in January and February 2009. In total, a weighted, representative sample of 4, 096 adults (16 years+) was collected from 203 sample points in the UK.
11% of the respondents reported at least one telepathic experience; 24% of the respondents reported at least one experience of precognition; 13% of respondents reported at least one experience of extra sensory perception; 10% of respondents reported at least one experience of after after-death communication; and 12% of respondents reported at least on mystical/transcendent experience. Over a third of all respondents reported one or more of these five experiences. With very few exceptions, there was little evidence of significant correlations between reports of experiences and traditional sociological or geodemographic variables (perhaps the most notable exception being the confirmation of the finding from previous studies that women overwhelmingly report more experiences than men). Spatial analysis showed a statistically significant regional skew towards the south west of England. By contrast, the north of England and London showed a statistically significant low level of reports of these psi related/anomalous phenomena.
It is argued that the relative absence of correlations between reports of experiences and traditional socio demographic and sociological variables suggests that experiences of psi or anomalous phenomena may be structurally under determined compared to other social practices (for example, political beliefs, shopping habits, choice of where to live, and so on.) The finding that the south west of England yields significant level of experience reporting merits further investigation; but it may be that individuals more open to the possibility of anomalous phenomena are drawn to the west country because of the influence of a range of broader cultural and historical factors (traditional Arthurian myths, new age literature that identifies the 'magical' or mystic properties of the south west, the proximity of Stonehenge and Glastonbury, and so on).