by Tiffany Robinson
Japan Public Broadcasting Producer Eriko Rowe and three videographers visited the University of West Georgia on Friday, September 20 to film for the television show “Unexplained Phenomena.” Their interest was in UWG professor William Roll’s Seaford case files, which are located in a collection online.
The crew spent four hours filming Dr. Roll’s research and lecture notes in Ingram Library.
“The papers concern the Seaford Disturbances, a case of poltergeist activity in a house on Long Island in 1958,” explains Head of Special Collections Suzanne Durham. “Dr. William Roll, who was a psychology professor here in the 1980s, investigated the case early in his career. He and an associate were able to conclude that the Seaford Disturbances were not a hoax (based on witness interviews, police reports and physical inspection of the house), but of course they couldn't explain why furniture spontaneously overturned, or why bottle caps would unscrew from their bottles.”
In addition to teaching Psychology, Dr. Roll was a world-famous parapsychologist. He wrote prolifically about the paranormal, and in 1996, he was awarded the Parapsychological Association’s award for a Distinguished Career in Parapsychology. He received the 2002 Dinsdale Memorial Award from the Society for Scientific Investigation due to his study of “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis.”
Even after his retirement, Dr. Roll taught classes at UWG as an adjunct until his death in 2012. He left 74 boxes of his research with Special Collections after his passing.