Erlendur Haraldsson is a professor emeritus of psychology on the faculty of social science at the University of Iceland. He has published in various psychology and psychiatry journals. In addition, he has published parapsychology books and authored a number of papers for parapsychology journals.
Erlendur studied philosophy at the universities of Iceland, Edinburgh and Freiburg from 1954 to 1958 and supported himself as a writer and journalist from 1959 to 1963. He studied psychology at Freiburg and at the University of Munich, where he obtained the Dipl. Psych. in 1969. He was a research fellow at the Institute of Parapsychology in Durham, N. C. 1969–70 and did an internship in clinical psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Virginia in Charlottesville, 1970–71. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Freiburg under parapsychologist Hans Bender in 1972.
Teaching and research career
Erlendur worked as a research associate at the American Society for Psychical Research from 1972 to 1974. In 1973 he became a faculty member at the University of Iceland, where he advanced to Professor of Psychology in 1989. He retired from teaching in 1999. He has conducted surveys of religious and folk beliefs; for example in a survey of randomly selected Icelanders conducted in 1974–75 and published in 1977 and 1978, he established that an unusually high proportion believe in the paranormal, in particular in supernatural figures such as huldufólk and draugar, research built on in the 2000s by Terry Gunnell; in a 1978 survey he examined the prevalence of belief in Iceland in precognitive dreams; and in a study published in 1985 he found proportionally more reports of encounters with dead people from Iceland than any other European country. He has also contributed to the cross-cultural standardization of psychological testing instruments.
In addition, in 1982–83 he worked with Ian Stevenson at the University of Virginia on reincarnation research, and in the early mid-seventies with Karlis Osis on deathbed phenomena in the USA and India. He spent a year with J. B. Rhine in Durham, North Carolina. He has coauthored studies of the personality, abilities and psychological characteristics of children who claim memories of a previous life in Sri Lanka, comparing them with paired children who did not claim such memories. Erlendur's book Miracles Are My Visiting Cards (1988), also published as Modern Miracles (1997) and republished in 2013 as Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet, studied the alleged paranormal powers of Sathya Sai Baba.
Erlendur received the Outstanding Career Award from the Parapsychological Association and the Myers Memorial Award from the Society for Psychical Research. His 2005 book Látnir í heimi lifenda (English translation The Departed Among the Living, 2012) describes surveys and follow-up investigations he conducted into alleged apparitions and related phenomena in Iceland.
In 1971, Erlendur co-authored with Karlis Osis the book At the Hour of Death, describing research into deathbed visions in the United States and India that they interpreted as more consistent with the hypothesis of a transition experience than with the "extinction hypothesis". Their data collection methods drew criticism from the scientific community. According to Terence Hines:
Osis and Haraldsson’s (1977) study was based on replies received from ten thousand questionnaires sent to doctors and nurses in the United States and India. Only 6.4 percent were returned. Since it was the doctors and nurses who were giving the reports, not the patients who had, presumably, actually had the experience, the reports were secondhand. This means they had passed through two highly fallible and constructive human memory systems (the doctor’s or nurse’s and the actual patient’s) before reaching Osis and Haraldsson.
In the late 1980s the philosopher of religion David C. Lane wrote that Erlendur's book Modern Miracles "approaches the alleged miracles of Sai Baba with a critical, but open outlook" and recommended it as "the most balanced book ever written" on the subject. Sathya Sai Baba refused to submit to testing in a controlled environment, so Erlendur instead interviewed witnesses. Nevertheless he debunked some of his alleged miracles, such as the resurrection of Walter Cowan.
However, the Indian skeptic Basava Premanand criticized it as a collection of anecdotes rather than an objective scientific report, and the humanist Babu Gogineni found it credulous, saying Erlendur was "more predisposed to believe than to investigate", concluding: "The only lesson one can learn from Erlendur Haraldsson is how not to study the paranormal events."
Since his retirement, Erlendur has continued to conduct research and publish articles. In 2007 he brought about the establishment of an endowment at the University of Iceland to support research "into paranormal phenomena and alleged psychic experiences in the spirit of the research [he] conducted during his career". In 2012 with Hafliði Helgason, he published a memoir, Á vit hins ókunna, in which he discusses the results of his interviews with children who believe they recall past lives. He is a frequent speaker at professional meetings, such as the convention of the American Psychological Association in Orlando, Florida, in 2012.
- Erlendur Haraldsson (1964). Með uppreisnarmönnum í Kúrdistan. Hafnarfjörður: Skuggsjá. OCLC 63214083.
- Osis, Karlis & Haraldsson, Erlendur (1977). At the Hour of Death. New York: Avon. Rev. ed. New York: Hastings House, 1986, repr. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books, 1993. ISBN 9780809481255.
- Haraldsson, Erlendur (1987). 'Miracles are my visiting cards': an investigative report on the psychic phenomena associated with Sathya Sai Baba. London: Century Books. ISBN 9780712615143. US edition: Modern Miracles. An investigative report on psychic phenomena associated with Sri Sathya Sai Baba. New York: Fawcett Columbine. Rev. ed. Mamaroneck, New York: Hastings House, 1997. ISBN 9780803893849.
- Haraldsson, Erlendur; Grof, Stanislav; Fenwick peter; Grosso Michael; Tart, T. Charles & Woolger Roger (2003). Wir wissen mehr als unser Gehirn. Die Grenzen des Bewusstseins überschreiten. Freiburg: Herder, Freiburg. Rev. ed. 2008 ISBN 9783451058486. (Translation of Thinking Beyond the Brain)
- Erlendur Haraldsson (2005). Látnir í heimi lifenda: niðurstöður rannsóknar um reynslu Íslendinga af látnu fólki. Reykjavík: Háskólaútgáfan (University Press). ISBN 9789979546627.
- Erlendur Haraldsson (2012). The Departed among the Living. An investigative study of afterlife encounters. Guildford: White Crow Books. ISBN 9781908733290. (Translation)
- Past Lives: Stories of Reincarnation. Storyhouse Productions, Washington D. C. Producer Andreas Gutzeit. Broadcast in the United States on April 1, 2003 on The Learning Channel (Discovery Communications). Aired on Discovery International 29. 12. 2003.
- Reinkarnation – nur ein Mythos? Storyhouse Productions for Learning Channel and Spiegel TV. Spiegel TV in VOX and XXP, October 2002. (German version of Past Lives: Stories of Reincarnation.). A Tamil version was broadcast in Asia.
- Children's Past Lives. A Zenith North Production for Channel Four, UK. Producer Laura Granditer. October 2000.
- In Search of the Dead. BBC Wales in cooperation with PBS, WXXI-T Rochester, New York. Producer Jeffrey Ieverson. 1992.
- Með Kúrdum í Irak (With Kurds in Iraq). Icelandic State Television. January 1967.
- Hafliði Helgason. Á vit hins ókunna: endurminningar Erlendar Haraldssonar. Reykjavík: Almenna bókafélagið, 2012. ISBN 9789935426406. (Icelandic)
- "Erlendur Haraldsson: Brief curriculum vitae". University of Iceland. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- "Dr Erlendur Haraldsson" (in Icelandic). University of Iceland. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
- Swatos, William H., Jr. (March 1984). "The Relevance of Religion: Iceland and Secularization Theory". Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 23 (1): 37. JSTOR 1385455.
- KDK (23 December 2007). "Trú á álfa og drauga lifir" (PDF). Fréttablaðið (in Icelandic). p. 1.
- "Draumasetrið Skuggsjá". Skuggsja.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- Pálsson, Gísli; Durrenberger, Paul (Summer 1982). "To dream of fish: The causes of Icelandic skippers' fishing success". Journal of Anthropological Research 38 (2): 240. JSTOR 3629599.
- McClenon, James (Spring 1990). "Chinese and American Anomalous Experiences: The Role of Religiosity". Sociological Analysis 51 (1): 54. JSTOR 3711340.
- Eysenck, Sybil B.G.; Haraldsson, Erlendur (1983). "National differences in personality: Iceland and England". Psychological Reports 31: 999–1003.
- Haraldsson, Erlendur; Eysenck, Sybil B. G. (1987). "A Cross-Cultural Study of Personality: Icelandic and English Children". Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 31: 123–27.
- Konráðs, Sölvína; Haraldsson, Erlendur (1994). "The validity of using US based interest norms of the Strong Interest Inventory for a Nordic population". Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 38 (1): 65–76.
- Haraldsson, E. (1995). "Personality and Abilities of Children Claiming Previous-Life Memories". Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 183 (7): 445–51.
- Haraldsson, Erlendur (2003). "Children who speak of past-life experiences: Is there a psychological explanation?" (PDF). Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice 76: 55–67.
- Haraldsson, Erlendur (1988). Miracles Are My Visiting Cards. Sai Towers Publishing. pp. 25, 26, 63, 173. ISBN 81-86822-32-1
- Haraldsson, Erlendur (2013). Modern Miracles: The Story of Sathya Sai Baba: A Modern Day Prophet. White Crow Books. pp. 359-365. ISBN 978-1908733252
- Pilkington, Rosemarie (2013). Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections. Esprit 2). San Antonio and New York: Anomalist Books. p. 161. ISBN 9781938398018.
- Heaney, John J. (Summer 1983). "Recent Studies of Near-Death Experiences". Journal of Religion and Health 22 (2): 117–19. JSTOR 27505727.
- Monaghan, Charles (November 9, 1986). The Washington Post. pp. X23.
- Hövelmann, Gerd (1985). Evidence for Survival from Near-Death Experiences? A Critical Appraisal in Kurtz, Paul. A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books. pp. 645-684
- Hines, Terence (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 102. ISBN 1-57392-979-4
- Kurtz, Paul (2000). "The New Paranatural Paradigm: Claims of Communicating with the Dead - CSI". Csicop. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
- "The Shadow of a God-Man: Exposing Sathya Sai Baba". Retrieved 2014-04-28. Note: originally written by David C. Lane in the journal "Understanding Cults and Spiritual Movements", 1988.
- "Modern Miracles An Objective Scientific Investigation?". Indian-skeptic.org. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
- "Satya Sai Baba Retelling the Story". Retrieved 2014-04-26.
- "Nýr styrktarsjóður við Háskóla Íslands - Styrktarsjóður Erlendar Haraldssonar" (in Icelandic). University of Iceland. 2 May 2007, updated 4 November 2010.
- "Styrktarsjóður Erlendar Haraldssonar" (in Icelandic). University of Iceland. 8 August 2013.
- "Rannsakar börn sem telja sig hafa lifað áður". Vísir (in Icelandic). 2012-12-18.
- "Frá útrásarvíkingi í dulsálarfræði - 'Hrifinn af fólki sem heldur sínu striki' - Ný bók" (in Icelandic). Pressan.is. 6 October 2011.
- Journal Publications by Erlendur Haraldsson
- Other Publications by Erlendur Haraldsson
- Who is Erlendur Haraldsson?
- Erlendur Haraldsson Photograph Archive Legend