McDougall, William

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William McDougall (1871–1938) a professor at Harvard from 1920 to 1927 and at Duke University from 1927 until his death in 1938, psychologist William McDougall is credited with bringing the German term parapsychology to the United States to describe what was once called psychical research. He had received his degree in England, where he authored a book called Body and Mind (1911), in which he insisted that a full understanding of human nature would never be achieved without a thorough study of psychic phenomena. At Harvard, where he was allowed to develop his own curriculum, he consequently placed a heavy emphasis on the study of psychic phenomena. As a result, he greatly influenced future academic work on the subject. In fact, one of his students, J.B. Rhine—who eventually became the most prominent parapsychologist of his time—later credited McDougall’s Body and Mind with having a lasting impact on his thinking in regard to the paranormal.


  • Rhine, J.B.
  • Physical and Mental Mediums


The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning

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