Carl Sargent

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Carl L. Sargent (born December 11, 1952, in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, Wales) is a British parapsychologist and author of several roleplaying game-based products and novels, using the pen name Keith Martin to write Fighting Fantasy gamebooks.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Sargent was schooled in South Wales and the West of England. He then attended Churchill College, Cambridge, majoring in the natural sciences, and graduated with honours in psychology in 1974. He received a PhD in 1979 for a work which bore on parapsychology, and went on to undertake post-doctoral research in parapsychology at the Psychological Laboratory of the University of Cambridge. Sargent was the first parapsychologist to obtain a Cambridge doctorate.[2] He taught psychology at the same university.


Sargent started playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1978 through friends. TSR UK were based in Cambridge, and they met with Sargent after he had submitted an article to Imagine magazine. The TSR UK crew later left to work for Games Workshop.

Sargent authored various Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and novels for Games Workshop from 1988-1995, some under the pseudonym Keith Martin.[3]:46 In 1989 Games Workshop spun off its sole remaining RPG line, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, into a new subsidiary called Flame Publications; Sargent was one of the freelancers that aided this new company.[3]:50 Sargent still did work for TSR, and his From the Ashes (1992) supplement pushed the Greyhawk world into a more conflictive period.[3]:25

He later worked as a freelance designer, and was brought in by TSR to work on Greyhawk. Most of his role-playing works were published between 1987 and 1996. He has authored many products for the Dungeons & Dragons (particularly for the World of Greyhawk setting), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and Shadowrun roleplaying games.


Sargent holds a PhD in psychology (or experimental parapsychology), which he earned in 1979. He is known to have performed numerous ganzfeld experiments at the University of Cambridge (a photograph of Sargent performing such an experiment appears in the Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience, page 129). His published works in this field include Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal, co-authored with Hans Eysenck. The book received a positive review in the New Scientist by John Beloff who described it as "an introduction to parapsychology that one can put into the hands of an inquiring student without embarressment."[4]

In their book Sargent and Eysenck argued that the experiments of William Crookes with the medium Daniel Dunglas Home were evidence for supernatural powers.[5] Sargent wrote a negative review for Ruth Brandon's The Spiritualists, a book which claimed Home and other spiritualist mediums were fraudulent.[6] R. W. Morrell commenting in the New Scientist on the review wrote "Carl Sargent would have us believe that D. D. Home was not caught out as a fraud. Sadly for Dr Sargent, though, he was", Morrell concluded that Sargent had displayed a personal gullibility.[7]

Sargent's ganzfeld experiments have been criticized by scientists for being open to error and fraud. Susan Blackmore, who visited Sargent's laboratory in Cambridge, detected several errors and failures to follow the protocol during an experiment. Sargent would later leave the field of parapsychology altogether.[8]




As Keith Martin[edit]


  1. ^ You are the hero, Jonathan Green, page 164
  2. ^ Nicholas Humphrey. (1999). Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation. Copernicus. p. 161. ISBN 0-387-98720-7
  3. ^ a b c Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  4. ^ John Beloff. (1982). "Explaining the Unexplained". New Scientist. 16 Sep. p. 784.
  5. ^ Ruth Brandon. (1983). "Scientists and the Supernormal". New Scientist. 16 June. pp. 783-786.
  6. ^ Carl Sargent. (1983). "A Clash of Beliefs". New Scientist. 24 November. p. 580.
  7. ^ R. W. Morrell. (1983). "True Believers". New Scientist. 8 December. p. 763.
  8. ^ Susan Blackmore. (2001)."What Can the Paranormal Teach Us About Consciousness?". Retrieved 2014-08-04.
  9. ^ Green; Jonathan (2014) You Are the Hero: A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks. Snowbooks Ltd, p. 164. ISBN 9-781909-679368

Further reading[edit]

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