[Occultism, parapsychology and the esoteric from the perspective of psychopathology].Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr. 1998 Oct; 66(10):474-82.FN
The concepts and main themes of occultism, parapsychology and esoterics are set in comparison to religion, spirituality, mysticism. The cultural relativity of these concepts is emphasised. Occultism means dealing with phenomena, processes, and/or powers which are not accessible to "normal perception". The manipulation of such powers is effected via (white, black, grey) magic. Parapsychology, in its popular sense, deals with occult phenomena, whereas scientific parapsychology investigates them empirically. Esoterics is a complex of beliefs within a hermetic tradition about occult processes and about desting after death. Transpersonal psychology deals with these issues while calling them "spiritual". Effects of paranormal experiences and actions on the side of the actor as well as the adept are discussed: personality types, interpersonal effects, crises and psychoses (mediumistic psychoses). The concept of dissociation of subpersonalities (subselves) appears to be a viable perspective to explain these phenomena. In mediumistic psychoses, the splitting of non-ego parts of the psyche leads to a manifestation of schizophrenic symptoms. Dangers for mental health are an ego inflation by self-attribution of "superhuman" power. A personality disposition for parapsychological perception and/or action may be seen in schizotypia and similar near-psychotic "personalities up the border". Adepts of occultism may present with a "false self" in the sense of Winnicott.