[Fwd: 'Ghost-buster' and alien abduction skeptic dies today from CSICOP!]
- I have heard that Philip Klass passed on as well:
Subject: 'Ghost-buster' and alien abduction skeptic dies today from CSICOP!
WELL-KNOWN AND RESPECTED ALIEN ABDUCTION SKEPTIC, DEBUNKER AND
MODERN-DAY 'GHOST-BUSTER' ROBERT BAKER, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE
PSYCHOLOGY DEPT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY, HAS DIED PEACEFULLY AT
AGE 84 AT HIS HOME IN LEXINGTON, KY ?
By Jennifer Hewlett, Herald-Leader Staff Writer, Posted on Thu, Aug. 11,
[Quote] In addition, [Joe] Nickell said, "No one knew more about ALIEN
ABDUCTIONS than Robert Baker."
RIP: ROBERT BAKER 1921-2005
Robert Baker, considered an expert in the workings of the human mind and
one of America's pre-eminent ghost busters, died Monday at his home in
Lexington. He was 84.
Mr. Baker, former chairman of the University of Kentucky psychology
department, spent a good deal of his time using science and reason to
explain away things that seemed to defy natural laws for others.
He was known for saying "there are no haunted places, only haunted
Astronomer Carl Sagan sought out Mr. Baker when he was working on an
article about ALIEN ABDUCTIONS. Joe Nickell, a nationally known fellow
ghost buster with whom Mr. Baker once investigated alleged haunted
houses, often relied on Mr. Baker's expertise.
"He was just really very, very wise and understanding of how the mind
worked -- how easily we could not only be fooled ... but how we fool
ourselves," said Nickell, a former UK English professor and now a senior
research fellow for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
Claims of the Paranormal in Buffalo, N.Y.
"One of his cases involved a woman who was ... seeing a little ghost
girl," Nickell said. "Bob went and very carefully interviewed her and
her husband and neighbors, and found that only the woman would see the
ghost. He found that she wanted very much to have a child of her own and
could not. Bob steered the conversation away from the ghost and
counseled the couple to adopt a child. When they did, the little ghost
girl went away forever."
Mr. Baker also was involved in a number of more run-of-the-mill cases,
such as houses that had seemingly unexplainable noises and moving
objects in them.
In addition, Nickell said, "No one knew more about alien abductions than
Nickell said that he and Mr. Baker shared a common view that paranormal
claims should not simply be accepted or dismissed, but carefully
investigated, with a view toward solving any mystery. Mr. Baker, he
said, was sensitive to people's feelings and gentle in his dealings with
"I would say he had an international reputation, particularly among
rationalists, people who looked to science and reason to explain things,
as opposed to superstition," Nickell said.
"Whenever I had a question about some case where I was sort of guessing
at the psychology of something, I would pick up the phone and call him,"
he said. "He was very, very important to the work of our organization
and magazine." The magazine is called Skeptical Inquirer.
Mr. Baker was an organizer and had served as president of the Kentucky
Association of Science Educators and Skeptics and was a fellow of the
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal.
He also was a past president of the Kentucky Psychological Association
and a fellow of the American Psychological Association.
Mr. Baker retired from UK in 1989 after teaching humanistic psychology
for about 20 years. Humanistic psychology deals with issues of human
existence, such as love, aging, personal fulfillment, and the meaning of
life and death.
During his career he also spent many years designing training methods
for the U.S. Army, and he worked as a psychologist for the state
department of corrections. He also had been a staff scientist at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a professor at Chico State
College and Indiana University S.E.
He said he started investigating claims of the paranormal to help ease
the panic some people feel about ghosts and to protect the public from
those who claimed supernatural ability for financial gain. He taught
workshops on investigating paranormal claims.
He wrote several books, including "Hidden Memories," "They Call It
Hypnosis," "Mind Games," "Psychology in the Wry" and "Stress Analysis of
a Strapless Evening Gown."
He co-wrote a book called "Private Eyes" and contributed articles to
professional magazines. He and Nickell wrote a book called "Missing
Pieces: How to Investigate Ghosts, UFO's, Psychics & Other Mysteries."
"All areas of human thought were of interest to him, I think. He was
just very, very wise," Nickell said.
Mr. Baker was a native of Blackford in Crittenden County and a World War
II Army veteran who held bachelor's and master's degrees from UK and a
Ph.D. from Stanford University.
He is survived by his wife, Rose P. "Dolly" Baker; three sons, Michael
Baker, Robert Baker and John Baker, all of Lexington; three daughters,
Kathryn Franklin of Florence, Carol McGinnis of Bard--stown and Belinda
Dorsch of Lebanon, Ohio; and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be 6 to 9 p.m. today at Kerr Brothers Funeral Home on
Harrodsburg Road. A service will be held during those hours, beginning
at 8 p.m.