Rosalind Heywood

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Rosalind Heywood
Rosalind Heywood.png
BornFebruary 2, 1895
DiedJune 27, 1980
OccupationParapsychologist, psychic, writer

Rosalind Hedley Heywood (February 2, 1895 - June 27, 1980) was a British parapsychologist, psychic, and writer.[1]


Heywood was born in Gibraltar, the daughter of Coote Hedley and his wife Anna, and attended the University of London. In 1938, Heywood joined the Society for Psychical Research. She is most well known for her book The Sixth Sense (1959) and her autobiography, The Infinite Hive (1964).[1] Heywood would later become the Vice-President of the SPR. The psychical researcher Renée Haynes wrote that her books have "illuminated the subject matter of parapsychology for thousands of readers inside the Society and beyond."[2]

It was alleged that Heywood experienced cases of extrasensory perception (ESP). She also wrote on paranormal topics. In her book The Sixth Sense Heywood endorsed the cross-correspondences, ESP experiments, mediumship and psychic phenomena.[3] In a review, psychologist E. F. O'Doherty wrote that the clairvoyant cases that Heywood supported such as the psychic Stefan Ossowiecki were not scientific and chance guessing may explain some of the data that she believed was evidence for ESP.[4] Psychologist C. E. M. Hansel wrote that the book is superficial, uncritical and the experiments are no longer taken seriously by the majority of parapsychologists. Heywood described the case of Ossowiecki who had guessed the contents of a sealed envelope in 1933, Hansel wrote that the conditions of the experiment were reminiscent of a simple conjuring trick.[5] Ralph W. Gerard gave the book a positive review but stated the results from the experiments may be explainable by alternative factors such as misinterpretation or unintended cues without recourse to the paranormal.[6]

In the New Scientist, John Cohen wrote that although Heywood was "entirely convinced" from the results of card-guessing experiments "Heywood fails to detect the vulnerability of these studies... she has failed to see the shortcomings of the experimental procedure itself." Cohen wrote the objection to Heywood's psychical claims is that no adequate evidence had been presented.[7]

Heywood was a friend of Beverley Nichols, he interviewed her for his book Powers that Be (1966).[8]


  • Telepathy and Allied Phenomena: With a Section on Quantitative Experiments by S. G. Soal [with Samuel Soal] (1947)
  • The Sixth Sense: An Enquiry into Extrasensory Perception (1959). (Reprinted as Beyond the Reach of Sense, 1974)
  • The Infinite Hive (1964). (Reprinted as ESP: A Personal Memoir, 1972)


  1. ^ a b "Rosalind Hedley Heywood". Gale Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology.
  2. ^ Haynes, Renée. (1982). The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History. Macdonald. p. 207. ISBN 978-0356078755
  3. ^ Higgens, Humphrey. (1959). The Sixth Sense by Rosalind Heywood; The Mind Readers by S. G. Soal; H. T. Bowden. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts. Vol. 107, No. 5040. pp. 868-870.
  4. ^ E. F. O'Doherty. (1959). The Sixth Sense by Rosalind Heywood. An Irish Quarterly Review. Vol. 48, No. 192. pp. 493-495.
  5. ^ Hansel, C. E. M. (1963). Beyond the Reach of Sense: An Inquiry into Extra-Sensory Perception by Rosalind Heywood. American Journal of Psychology. Vol. 76, No. 1. pp. 170-171.
  6. ^ Gerard, Ralph W. (1962). Out, Damned Spot! Beyond the Reach of Sense by Rosalind Heywood. Challenge of Psychical Research by Gardner Murphy. The American Scholar. Vol. 31, No. 1 pp. 152-154.
  7. ^ Cohen, John (1959). The Inharmonious Choir of Psi. New Scientist. 11 June. p. 1307.
  8. ^ Nichols, Beverly. (1966). Powers That Be. London: Jonathan Cape. pp. 211-227

Further reading[edit]

  • Martha Kneale. (1949) Telepathy and Allied Phenomena by Rosalind Heywood. Philosophy. Vol. 24, No. 89. pp. 174–175.
  • L. C. Robertson. (1960). The Sixth Sense: An Enquiry into Extra-Sensory Perception by Rosalind Heywood. Philosophy. Vol. 35, No. 133. pp. 166–167.