D. Scott Rogo, (1950–1990) was a prolific American author and lecturer on the paranormal with close ties to academic parapsychology. His wide and varied interests included Poltergeist and Haunting phenomena, Out-of-Body Experiences, Psychokinesis, Extrasensory Perception, Fortean anomalies, UFOs, and Reincarnation.
D. Scott Rogo was born on February 1, 1950, to Jack and Winifred Rogo of Los Angeles. He earned a bachelor’s degree at California State University in Northridge in 1972. After doing graduate work in the psychology of music, he elected to devote his professional life to parapsychology. His first book, NAD: A Study of Some Unusual “Other World” Experiences, was published in 1970 (NAD is a Sanskrit term for transcendental music). Before his death in 1990, Rogo had authored nearly 30 books and numerous articles, most of them on the paranormal and related subjects.
In 1973 Rogo was a visiting research consultant for the Psychical Research FOUNDATION (then at Durham, North Carolina), and in 1975 he served in the same capacity for the Maimonides Medical Center’s division of parapsychology in Brooklyn, New York (now defunct). He was director of research for the former Southern California Society of Psychical Research. He also lectured and taught on parapsychology at colleges and universities in California, including the University of California, Whitman College and John F. Kennedy University. In 1978, Rogo became a consulting editor for Fate magazine, a position he still held at the time of his death.
In the area of Apparitions, hauntings, and poltergeists, Rogo’s best-known works are An Experience of Phantoms (1974), The Poltergeist Experience (1979) and On the Track of the Poltergeist (1986). His research included numerous first-hand investigations. His examination of the phenomenon known as Phone Calls from the Dead, in which individuals apparently receive calls from or place calls to persons no longer living, was published as Phone Calls from the Dead (1979), coauthored with Raymond Bayless.
Rogo took issue with the repressed hostility theory as the leading cause of poltergeist outbreaks. He contended it could be a factor in some, but not all, cases. He believed that different poltergeist cases emerge from different psychological roots, and that some that occur in non-Western cultures could have legitimate causes that Westerners would consider offbeat, such as fear of witchcraft and black magic. He also accepted the possibility of Survival After Death, and believed survival could be a factor in some cases.
Rogo never married and had no children. He was an active homosexual. In the last years of his life, he had been involved in AIDS research and had become an expert on the immune system, the subject of his final book, New Techniques of Inner Healing, published posthumously.
On August 16, 1990, a neighbor noticed that Rogo’s lawn sprinkler had been running for two days and notifi ed the police. They found his bloody body in the den, where he had been stabbed to death. The deputy district attorney said later that the murder was one of the most vicious he had ever come across.
As soon as the murder became public, psychics began to phone the police with leads to the assailant, or assailants. The consensus was that there were two, one of them blond, the other dark-haired and tattooed. The police took notice of these leads, while proceeding with routine investigative procedures. In the course of their interviews, they found a bartender who gave them the description of a man who had been in Rogo’s company the night of August 14, a description that fit closely to that given by the psychics for the dark-haired killer.
This man was later convicted, partly on the basis of a fingerprint found on a glass in Rogo’s apartment, evidence also pinpointed by the psychics. After the jury hung in his first trial, the man was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to a term of 15 years to life. No accomplice has been found.
- Berger, Arthur S. Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850–1987.Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1988.
- Clark, Jerome. “D. Scott Rogo (1950–1990).” Fate 43 (December 1990): 45–48.
- Hansen, George P. “D. Scott Rogo and His Contributions to Parapsychology.” Anthropology of Consciousness 2, nos. 3–4 (1990): 32–35.
- Smith, Scott S. “Leaving the Body: The Life and Death of D. Scott Rogo.” Fate 45 (November 1992): 62–69.