On This Day … 31 October [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1918 – Ian Stevenson, American psychiatrist and academic (d. 2007).
  • 1929 – William Orchard, Australian water polo player and psychiatrist (d. 2014).

People (Deaths)

  • 1939 – Otto Rank, Austrian psychologist, author, and educator (b. 1884).

Ian Stevenson

Ian Pretyman Stevenson (31 October 1918 to 08 February 2007) was a Canadian-born American psychiatrist, the founder and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

He was a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine for fifty years. He was chair of their department of psychiatry from 1957 to 1967, Carlson Professor of Psychiatry from 1967 to 2001, and Research Professor of Psychiatry from 2002 until his death in 2007.

As founder and director of the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Division of Perceptual Studies (originally named “Division of Personality Studies”), which investigates the paranormal, Stevenson became known for his research into cases he considered suggestive of reincarnation – the idea that emotions, memories, and even physical bodily features can be passed on from one incarnation to another. In the course of his forty years doing international fieldwork, he researched three thousand cases of children who claimed to remember past lives. His position was that certain phobias, philias, unusual abilities and illnesses could not be fully explained by genetics or the environment. He believed that, in addition to genetics and the environment, reincarnation might possibly provide a third, contributing factor.

William Orchard

William Henry “Bill” Orchard (31 October 1929 to 27 October 2014) was an Australian water polo player and psychiatrist. He represented Australia at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and at the 1956 Olympics in his home city of Melbourne.

Water Polo Career

He played for Australia over the period 1950-56 earning 50 Test Caps. He was studying towards his final year of medicine at the University of Melbourne whilst travelling by boat to and from Helsinki for the 1952 Olympics but nevertheless managed to finish amongst the top students of his graduating year.

Medical Career

He trained in psychiatry in the United States (on a Fulbright scholarship) and England and returned to Australia where he practised in psychiatry for over fifty years. He had special interests in the treatment of bipolar disorders and adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). At his consulting rooms in St. Kilda Road, Melbourne he conducted individual and group therapy sessions for many years. He was known for his advocacy of lithium medication.

Orchard decided to retire voluntarily in 2010, however he later applied to the Medical Board of Australia for re-registration, which was initially refused by the board, but overruled on appeal finding no grounds were made out.

Otto Rank

Otto Rank (neé Rosenfeld; 22 April 1884 to 31 October 1939) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, writer, and philosopher. Born in Vienna, he was one of Sigmund Freud’s closest colleagues for 20 years, a prolific writer on psychoanalytic themes, editor of the two leading analytic journals of the era, managing director of Freud’s publishing house, and a creative theorist and therapist. In 1926, Rank left Vienna for Paris and, for the remainder of his life, led a successful career as a lecturer, writer, and therapist in France and the United States.

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