Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena

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"ASSAP was founded on 10 June 1981. Founders included well known authors Hilary Evans and Jenny Randles as well as Fortean Times editor Bob Rickard and scientists Drs Hugh Pincott and Vernon Harrison." [1]


"The first chairman was Alan Hughes, who soon stepped down and was replaced by Maurice Townsend.

"Maurice Townsend was ASSAP Chairman for 16 years. He has also served as Secretary, Treasurer and Research Officer as well as editing Anomaly for many years.

"Maurice (above) served for so long, without anyone volunteering to take over, that in 2006 we are still only on our fifth chairman. In 1983 he was made Treasurer pro tem - no one ever volunteered to relieve him of that either! He also combined the roles of chairman and treasurer with that of research officer for a while.

"Phil Walton succeeded Maurice as chairman after 16 years, bringing in some fresh ideas to kick-start our third decade. After nearly four years he left us to pursue life outside ASSAP.

"Hugh Pincott stepped into the breach while we reorganized, then handed over to Mike White. Val Hope was selected to take over in November 2006 and would have been the first woman at the helm in ASSAP’s 25-year history.

"However, she was replaced in the deputy role by Dave Wood in October 2006 after her resignation from the Executive. Dave remains chairman to this day." [2]

"The BP bar in the City was one early venue, but many meetings were held in the London office or flat of the late Mostyn Gilbert, founder member of the Survival Joint Research Committee Trust (SJRCT). While never actually a member, Mostyn helped us not only with premises but also with advice on becoming a registered company. His loss to cancer in 1992 was sorely felt...

"Michael Bentine, comedian, author and psychical researcher, became ASSAP’s first president in 1989. He suggested that ASSAP’s role might be to develop standards for assessing the effect of paranormal phenomena on observers. Ill-health meant that he was unable to be as active as he had hoped to be, and he sadly died in 1996 after a long struggle with prostate cancer. In 1997 Phil Walton went along to the memorial service for Michael in St Paul’s church, in London’s Covent Garden, and reported on this celebration of his life in ASSAP News. With the kind backing of Michael’s widow, Clementina, who told us of Michael’s pride in his role as ASSAP President, the first Michael Bentine Memorial Shield was awarded in 1997 for the best report submitted on an ASSAP investigation. Thereafter it has been awarded almost annually, provided that a report meeting the standards is submitted. The award is in the gift of the National Investigations Coordinator (NIC), and Bill Eyre, the current NIC, won the award twice while a mere accredited investigator.

"It was hard to replace Michael as president, but inspiration finally struck Special Projects Officer Clive Seymour in 1999. At the Fortean Times UnConvention Phil Walton approached the Rev. Lionel Fanthorpe, a multimedia cleric, academic, weight trainer, martial arts instructor, TV presenter, teacher, songwriter, author, investigator and Harley Davidson fan. Have I missed anything out? Lionel brought with him his wife Pat, a fellow researcher, with the couple becoming ASSAP’s first two-handed presidential team, affectionately known as Pres and Lady One. " [3]

"ASSAP has also ventured into the world of publishing real books. 1983 saw the launch of the first in a series of ASSAP books entitled 'The Evidence for...' under Thorson’s Aquarian imprint. Hilary Evans, who edited the series, was the author of The Evidence for UFOs, and Kevin McClure The Evidence for Visions of the Virgin Mary. Several others followed, contributed by authors such as Janet and Colin Bord, Michael Goss, David Group, John Rimmer and D Scott Rogo. For many years after the books were no longer available in the UK, royalties continued to trickle in for our authors from translations sold all over the world. The titles relating to BVMs and phantom hitch-hikers were perhaps the most popular over the years, with Kevin McClure's book translated into Spanish and Portuguese for South American audiences...

"In 1999 UK-based publishers Collins & Brown published The Paranormal Investigator’s Handbook, a well-received introduction to investigation and research techniques, edited by Maurice Townsend and Val Hope with (regrettably uncredited) contributions from Hugh Pincott (Coincidences), Paul Chambers (Out-of-body experiences), Rob Stephenson (Earth mysteries), Phil Walton (UFOs), Clive Seymour (Remote viewing) and Hilary Evans (SLI). Val wrote the chapter on Life after Death, while Maurice provided the chapters entitled Introduction; Investigating; Hauntings; Fortean Phenomena; Are you psychic?; and Premonitions." [4]

"However, this is not the first time we have contributed financially to research - back in 1993 we helped to fund Andy Collins’ Orgone project, aimed at testing whether crop circles were related in any way to Wilhelm Reich’s orgone. The research resulted in a publication and a conference. We also gave small grants to a few members for Project Albion publications. And, of course, there's MADS." [1]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena About, organizational web page, accessed September 16, 2013.
  2. Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena History, organizational web page, accessed September 16, 2013.
  3. Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena History, organizational web page, accessed September 16, 2013.
  4. Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena Book History, organizational web page, accessed September 16, 2013.