THE BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF PARAPSYCHOLOGY
W(ALTER) WHATELY CARINGTON
Psychic researcher. B. 1884, London; d. March 2, 1947, Sennen, Cornwall, England. Educ. Eton; M.A., M.Sc., King's College, Cambridge. M. 1938, Hedda Enders.
Carington commenced his career in psychic research with a series of sittings with the British medium Mrs. Osborne Leonard (q.v.) in 1916-17, after which he examined the alleged telekinetic phenomena of the Irish medium Kathleen Goligher (q.v.). He became a member of the council of the Society for Psychical Research, London, in 1920, and in the same year worked with E. J. Dingwall, V. J. Woolley (qq.v.) and others on the SPR committee that investigated, with inconclusive results, the French materializing medium Marthe Béraud ("Eva C."). Also in 190 he founded the Psychic Research Quarterly, reconstituted under his editorship in 1921 as Psyche, which continued publication until 1937. Carington was one of the early advocates of quantitative experimental methods in psychical research and in 1921 suggested the application of psychological techniques such as the word-association test to the investigation of mediumistic "controls". This method was later used with Mrs. Leonard, Mrs. Eileen J. Garrett and Rudi Schneider (qq.v.)
Carington devised and carried out numberous quantitative experiments in telepathy and psychokinesis. His observation of a "displacement effect" with certain subjects (that is, scoring not on the "target" object, but on the preceding or following one), has since been confirmed by other workers, notably S. G. Soal (q.v.). Carington's best known and most controversial contribution to parapsychology is his "association theory" of telepathy, the basis of which is the concept that minds are systems of ideas and sensa (termed "psychons" by Carington). Such "psychon systems," he held, are not wholly insulated from one another, and in telepathy interaction between psychons in different minds takes place according to the same laws of association as govern the interaction of psychons in a single mind.
His books include The Foundations of Spiritualism (1920); A Theory of the Mechanism of Survival (1920); The Death of Materialism (1932); Telepathy: An OUtline of its Facts, Theory and Implications (1945); Matter, Mind and Meaning (unfinished; edited and prepared for publication by Professor H. H. Price, q.v., 1949(. He also wrote many articles for the SPR Proceedings, among them "The Quantitative Study of Trance Personalities" (1934, 1935, 1936-37, 1938-39); "Some Positive Results from a Group of Small Experiments" (with Rosalind Heywood, q.v., 1942-45); "Experiments on the Paranormal Cognition of Drawings" (1940-41, 1942-45); "Some Experiments in Willed Dice-Throwing" (with J. Fraser Nicol, q.v., 1947). Carington was know as W. W. Smith until 1933, when he changed his name for family reasons.
Taken from Helene Pleasants (1964) Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology with Directory and Glossary 1946-1996 NY: Garrett Publications