The Vanishers, which takes place at a New England college for aspiring Sylvia Brownes. And, of course, there’s Professor X’s School for Gifted Youngsters—Marvel’s take on Andover or Choate—where teachers read minds and students pass like ghosts through ivy-covered walls.
The Division of Perceptual Studies (DOPS) at the University of
Virginia’s School of Medicine is decidedly less fantastic than either
Julavits’s or Marvel’s creations, but it's nevertheless a fascinating
place. Founded in 1967 by Dr. Ian Stevenson—originally as the Division
of Personality Studies—its mission
is “the scientific empirical investigation of phenomena that suggest
that currently accepted scientific assumptions and theories about the
nature of mind or consciousness, and its relation to matter, may be
sorts of “phenomena” qualify? Largely your typical catalog of Forteana:
ESP, poltergeists, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences,
“claimed memories of past lives.” So yes: In 2014, there is a
center for paranormal research at a totally legitimate (and respected)
American institution of higher learning. But unlike the X-Mansion, or
other fictional psy-schools, DOPS doesn’t employ any practicing
psychics. The teachers can’t read minds, and the students don’t walk
through walls. DOPS is home to a small group of hardworking,
impressively credentialed scientists with minds for stats and figures.
Read Full Story: The Atlantic.