George Nugent Merle Tyrrell

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George Nugent Merle Tyrrell
George Nugent Merle Tyrrell.jpg
Died29 October 1952(1952-10-29) (aged 72–73)
Occupation(s)Mathematician, Parapsychologist

George Nugent Merle Tyrrell (1879 - 29 October 1952), best known as G. N. M. Tyrrell, was a British mathematician, physicist, radio engineer and parapsychologist.[1][2]


Tyrrell was a student of Guglielmo Marconi and a pioneer in the development of radio.[1][3] In 1908 he joined the Society for Psychical Research. He conducted numerous experiments in telepathy and was interested in apparitional experiences. He attempted to explain ghosts by a psychological theory.[4]

Tyrrell proposed that ghosts are a hallucination of the subconscious mind of a person, to explain collective hallucinations for more than one person, he proposed it as a telepathic mechanism.[2][5] Tyrrell was the president of the Society for Psychical Research 1945-1946.[1]

Although a believer in telepathy, Tyrrell was a critic of physical mediumship. He stated that it has been the "happy hunting ground of tricksters and charlatans."[6]

Tyrrell created the term out-of-body experience in his book Apparitions.[7]

A review in Nature for Science and Psychical Phenomena praised Tyrrell for his "obvious sincerity" but suggested the book was "full of flaws" which aroused suspicion of Tyrrell's critical faculties.[8]

Published works[edit]

  • Grades of Significance (1931)[9]
  • Science and Psychical Phenomena (1938)
  • Apparitions (1943)
  • The Personality of Man (1946)[10]
  • Homo Faber: A Study of Man's Mental Evolution (1951)
  • Man the Maker: A Study of Man's Mental Evolution (1952)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Past Presidents of the Society for Physical Research". Archived from the original on 28 March 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Blom, Jan Dirk (2009). A Dictionary of Hallucinations. New York: Springer. pp. 109. ISBN 978-1441912220.
  3. ^ "George Nugent Merle Tyrrell". Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology.
  4. ^ Drury, Nevill (2004). The Dictionary of the Esoteric: 3000 Entries on the Mystical and Occult Traditions. United Kingdom: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 314. ISBN 8120819896.
  5. ^ Willin, Melvyn (2005). Music, Witchcraft and the Paranormal. United Kingdom: Melrose Books. p. 99. ISBN 1905226187.
  6. ^ Tyrrell, G. N. M. (1954). Physical Mediumship: Is there Anything Besides Fraud in the Physical Séance Room? In The Personality Of Man. Penguin Books. p. 217
  7. ^ Tyrrell, George (1943). Apparitions. London: Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd. p. 149. ISBN 9781446358269.
  8. ^ Anonymous. (1939). Academic Psychical Research. Nature 143 (3615): 223.
  9. ^ Russell, L. J. (1931). Review of G. N. M. Tyrrell Grades of Significance. Philosophy 6: 273-273.
  10. ^ Finger, Frank. (1948). Reviewed Work: The Personality of Man: New Facts and Their Significance by G. N. M. Tyrrell. The Quarterly Review of Biology 23 (1): 93-93.