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Telepathy gets academic in Sweden

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden (Reuters) -- Sweden's Lund University, one of the oldest seats of learning in Scandinavia, will take a leap into the unknown by appointing northern Europe's first professor of parapsychology, hypnology and clairvoyance.

Almost 30 candidates, including a self-professed Indian medium and an American named Heaven Lord, applied for the post, financed by a donation, whose holder the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet has joked will be a "Ghost Professor."

The first professor, to be appointed by Lund University Dean Goran Bexell, is expected to start work in 2004, faculty secretary Kerstin Johansson told Reuters.

Hypnology is the science of the phenomena of sleep and hypnosis.

Despite decades of experimental research and television performances by people such as spoonbending psychic Uri Geller, there is still no proof that gifts such as telepathy and the ability to see the future exist, mainstream scientists say.

"Verifying the existence of paranormal phenomena does not seem to be a promising field of science," said Sven Ove Hansson, professor of philosophy at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Scotland's Edinburgh University also have chairs in parapsychology.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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