In his book The Amityville Conspiracy, Stephen Kaplan wrote:George Kekoris & Jerry Solfvin of the Psychic(al) Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina... The PRF is one of the most respected parapsychological research organizations in the world. It is an independent group which branched off from the original ESP department at Duke University founded by J.B.Rhine... Many people still refer to the PRF as "Duke University ESP Lab", but in actuality the university closed their parapsychology department when J.B. Rhine retired many years ago. The modern PRF is headquarted in a small cottage which they rent from the Duke campus.
In 1975, I was a full-time research associate with Psychical Research Foundation (PRF), a privately funded Duke University affiliate. William G. Roll was the Director. We had some professional links/projects with Duke Engineering Dept., but were not funded by them.
When the Lutz family called to report their case (Amityville), I took the call and proceeded to collect info from them via telephone over the next few days. Lutz was eager to obtain an "endorsement" from PRF/Duke that his "haunting" was real - he wanted me to send him a signed statement to that effect - which, of course, I did not. Since the case was of limited interest to us (no collaborative witnesses), I chose NOT to make a personal visit but, instead, sent a "field investigator", a graduate student volunteer who I knew to be in the Amityville vicinty at the time. That was George Kekoris. I asked George to visit the Lutz's house to take photos and collect other information concerning the purported anomolies. He did this, and then reported back to me.
Does that answer your questions? Please feel free to write again if you have other questions. You know, of course, that the case was later discovered to be a houx?
But I'm curious as to the recent "movie" you mentioned that has re-stimulated interest in the Amityville case. Would you be so kind as to bring me up to date on that? Thank you....
Jerry Solfvin, PhD
In his book The Amityville Conspiracy, Stephen Kaplan wrote: Soon Channel 5's Marvin Scott was introduced and they started the taped segment. Scott stood in front of the dark facade of the Amityville house, introducing the story to viewers who may or may not be familiar with it by now. The scene then changed and we were seeing the interior of the house. A group of individuals was seated around a table conducting a seance. They were introduced as Lorraine Warren, a clairvoyant; her husband, Ed, a demonologist; psychics Mary Pascarella and Mrs. Alberta Riley; and George Kekoris of the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina. Outside of the seance circle were Jerry Solfvin, also of the Psychic Research Foundation in Durham. Marvin Scott and the camera crew.
In his book The Amityville Conspiracy, Stephen Kaplan wrote: Saturday, Feb. 28, 1976 I was able to reach the Psychic Research Foundation on Thursday night and had spoked with Gerald Solfvin, one of the PRF's two investigators who was present at the Channel 5 seance. He was about to lock up the office there, and didn't have much time for conversation, but did tell me that he was rather annoyed by the Lutz case.
"It was a circus there," said Jerry. "There were so many people roaming around the house that there was no way we could conduct a scientific investigation. When the Lutzes originally called us in to investigate, they did not tell us they would be bringing in a camera crew on the very same night."
Jerry went on to say that the PRF had originally assigned George Kekoris to investigate the case for them because he was the field investigator located closest to Amityville. "I went along only because I happened to be in New York that day," said Jerry. "We have no official conclusions on the case because we were not given the proper atmosphere in which to conduct and investigation, and George Kekoris has not yet turned in his report on his interview with the Lutzes."
In his book The Amityville Conspiracy, Stephen Kaplan wrote:With Max listening on the amplifier, I immediately call Jerry Solfvin at the PRF in Durham. Luckily Jerry is in to answer the phone. He has not yet seen the Good Housekeeping article so I read the paragraph concerning the PRF and ask for his comments.
"That's wrong, we did not conduct the seance," says Jerry. "It was conducted by the people brought in by Channel 5 - the Warrens and their group. George Kekoris sat in on the circle, but I was merely an outside observer. Most of the time I was attempting to investigate the house on my own, but it was such a circus there that it was impossible."
"Do you realize, Jerry," I ask, "that the Lutzes are using the good reputation of the PRF and Duke University to add credence to their story? And this time it's in a national magazine!"
Jerry is not pleased at all by this prospect; in fact, he says he is quite fed up with the whole case. George Kekoris never did turn in his report on his interview with the Lutzes, and Jerry says that Kekoris is no longer a representative of the PRF. As far as Jerry is concerned, their involvement with the Amityville house was inconclusive and they have severed all connections to the case.
Joel Martin: Which is a fascinating point, because among those who the Lutzes suggest were contacted to verify the psychic phenomena, the apparitions, the unearthly presences in that house, the slime on the walls, the statues moving, Kathy aging, the flies on the windows, and, I don't know, the demon pigs, was a man by the name of Jerry Solfvin from the Psychical Research Center at Durham, North Carolina, sometimes misidentified as being part of Duke University but in fact it is near and not actually a part of it.
William Weber: That's correct. And the Lutzes have taken advantage of associating that Institute with Duke University.
Joel Martin: They sure have. They did it as recently as a few nights ago when they were on the "Merv Griffin Show" on whatever station runs that in the city. And they suggested that he was in there and they imply in the book, too, that he went in there to investigate. Now I had a tape recording as recently as this afternoon, in private, of an interview with Jerry Solfvin in which he says, "They called me, I took down what they said, I just made a record of the incidents, but that's all I ever did. I did not investigate. I did not confirm."
Dan the Damned wrote:You know what I truly think is going on here? I think Jerry was working in a field that people kinda laughed at under their breath. It wasn't really taken seriously by the mainstream scientific community. So when the rumors started that the Amityville case was a hoax, people like Jerry started to distance themselves from it so they wouldn't be hurt by the shrapnel.
If Jerry had treated the Amityville haunting like a real case; had come out in support of it being real - and then later it turned out to be a hoax - then Jerry would have egg on his face and his credibility (in a field that has little credibility to begin with) would be tarnished.
It's no wonder that parapsychology isn't taken seriously as a science. Too many people out there claiming to have the power...
Dan the Damned wrote:Marvin was interviewed and appears in the History's Mysteries documentary.It's no wonder that parapsychology isn't taken seriously as a science. Too many people out there claiming to have the power...
Like Sylvia Browne and how she told a couple their missing child was dead. That child was Shawn Hornbeck - the kid that was recently found alive and well in Missouri after being missing for 4 years...
And Sylvia also told a lady her husband had drowned, and tried to wriggle out of it after the lady told Sylvia that her husband was, in fact, killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center...
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