© Darryl Dyck/The Globe and Mail
UBC Cognitive Systems student Mahtab Borhani, left, and Simon Garret are photographed with a Ouija board being used in an experiment to explore how the boards can be used to unlock subconscious memories.
Scientists at a University of British Columbia lab examining human unconsciousness using Ouija boards are taking to the Internet to look for research funds.
Docky Duncan, a research assistant with UBC's Visual Cognition Lab, said in an interview Tuesday that the project is "off the beaten track" and there has been "incredible difficulty" getting even the modest $2,000 in funding it needs.
"The research methodology is so strange, using the Ouija board and all, that it might be a little too controversial for most grant organizations," he said.
Without an obvious organization to back the project, Mr. Duncan said researchers had to look to crowd-sourcing as an alternative.
"Grant organizations do great things for a lot of projects, but they definitely have a certain view of what a psychology project should be, and you throw Ouija boards into the mix and a lot of people either think they're possessed or they're a total sham and that they have no place in science," Mr. Duncan said.
Using crowd funding for an academic endeavour isn't unique: There are websites dedicated specifically to crowd funding science research, such as Experiment (formerly known as Microryza). And UBC is currently working on a UBC-specific crowd-funding tool.
The Ouija project previously launched a six-week funding campaign on Microryza that fell short of its goal. This time, though, Mr. Duncan is hoping the campaign, to be launched at the end of this month, will achieve its desired $2,000 mark.