Persinger, Michael A.

Michael A. Persinger (1945– ) Professor, author, and clinical psychologist. Michael A. Persinger’s research on states of consciousness is of interest to paranormal investigators, especially pertaining to the neuropsychological correlates of religious and paranormal beliefs, delusional thinking, UFO encounters and alien abductions, Hauntings, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCES.

Tom Persinger was born on June 26, 1945, in Jacksonville, Florida. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1967, a master of arts from the University of Tennessee in 1969, and a Ph.D from the University of Manitoba in 1971. He has been a professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, since 1971, and is a registered psychologist with a focus on clinical neuropsychology.

Persinger has published more than 200 academic articles and written, co-authored, or edited seven books: ELF and VLF Electromagnetic Field Effects (1974); The Paranormal: Part I, Patterns (1974); The Paranormal: Part II, Mechanisms and Models (1974); Space-time Transients and Unusual Events (1977); TM and Cult-Mania (1980); The Weather Matrix and Human Behaviour (1980); and Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs (1987).

Some of Persinger’s work addresses the interaction between the geophysical environment, particularly magnetic fields, and human brain structure and activity. It investigates the possibility that emotions and experiences can be induced by the application of magnetic fields to the brain, in comparison to external explanations for alleged experiences of gods and other nonphysical beings.

His research shows that brain waves can be manipulated to stimulate altered states of consciousness conducive to mystical and paranormal experiences. For example, research subjects could be artificially induced to see a Ghost or have an Out-of-Body Experience. Research participants wearing specially fitted helmets that subject them to low-intensity electromagnetic waves have reported seeing Angels and other phenomena. The research is to identify the portions of the brain or their electromagnetic patterns that facilitate such experiences.

Skeptics use his research to dismiss the paranormal realm, but Persinger’s findings could also Demonstrate that humans have the brain structures and activity patterns needed to perceive paranormal events, whether artificially induced or genuine.


  • Kotler, Steven. “Extreme States.” Discover (July 2005): pp. 60–67.
  • Persinger, Michael. The Paranormal: Part I, Patterns. New York: M.S.S. Information, 1974.———. The Paranormal: Part II, Mechanisms and Models. New York: M.S.S. Information, 1974.

    ———. Neuropsychological Bases of God Beliefs. New York: Praeger, 1987.

    ———. Space-time Transients and Unusual Events. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1977.

    ———. TM and Cult-Mania. Boston: Christopher Publishing House, 1980.


The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007