Celia Green

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Celia Elizabeth Green (born 26 November 1935) is a British psychologist and philosopher, best known for her work on lucid dreaming.


Celia Green's parents were both primary school teachers, who together authored a series of geography textbooks which became known as The Green Geographies.[1]

Green won the Senior Open Scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford aged 17.

In 1960 Green was awarded a B.Litt. degree by Oxford University for a thesis, supervised by H. H. Price, on the physiology of altered states of consciousness. From 1957 to 1960, Green held the post of Research Officer at the Society for Psychical Research in London.[2]

In 1961, Celia Green founded and became Director of the Institute of Psychophysical Research. The Institute痴 principal work during the sixties and seventies concerned hallucinations and other quasi-perceptual experiences in normal subjects. Its main benefactor, from 1963 to 1970, was Cecil Harmsworth King, then Chairman of the IPC group, which owned the Daily Mirror.

In 1996 Green was awarded a DPhil degree by Oxford University for a thesis on causation and the mind-body problem. Green is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool.[3]



Celia Green's empirical work, some of it undertaken in collaboration with an Oxford psychologist, Charles McCreery, has focussed mainly on hallucinatory experiences in ostensibly normal people.

In 1968 Green published Lucid Dreams,[4] a study of dreams in which the subject is aware that he or she is asleep and dreaming. The possibility of conscious insight during dreams had previously been treated with scepticism by some philosophers[5] and psychologists.[6]

Green predicted that lucid dreams would be found to be correlated with the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, a prediction which was subsequently confirmed by experiment.[7][8][9]

Celia Green was the first researcher to make a systematic examination and analysis of first-hand accounts of out-of-body experiences (OBEs). As Oliver Sacks wrote in his 2012 book Hallucinations, “Green was the first to systematically examine a large number of first-hand accounts [of OBEs]”.[10] In her analysis of some 400 cases she found, for example, that perception of a 'silver cord', a feature which formed part of the prevailing popular concept of OBEs, was reported in only a small minority of cases.[11]

In 1975 Green and McCreery published a similar analysis of apparitional experiences, based on a collection of approximately 1500 first-hand accounts.[12]

Green has put forward the idea that in apparitional experiences, as in OBEs, the subject's field of perception is entirely replaced by a hallucinatory one.[13]

Philosophical writings

Celia Green's basic philosophical position is radical scepticism, based on a perception of what she calls 'the total uncertainty'.[14] This leads her to agnostic positions on traditional philosophical issues such as the nature of physical causation,[15] and to sceptical and critical positions on social policies such as state education and the monopolistic power of the medical profession.[16]

Green appears to endorse libertarianism. A pamphlet written by Green on education was published in the 1990s by the Libertarian Alliance.[17]

Green's philosophical book The Human Evasion has been translated into Dutch,[18] German,[19] Italian,[20] and Russian.[21] It is a critical analysis of twentieth century thinkers, from Wittgenstein to Tillich.


Celia Green's aphorisms have been published in The Decline and Fall of Science[22], Advice to Clever Children[23], and The Corpse and the Kingdom.[24] Ten are included in the Penguin Dictionary of Epigrams[25], and three in the Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations.[26]



with Charles McCreery:

Selected papers


In 1995 the CD titled Lucid Dreams 0096,[27] narrated by Green for the label Em:t, was released. Previously, Green had contributed a nine-minute track to a compilation CD put out by the same recording label.[28] The track was entitled 'In the Extreme' and consisted of readings by the author from her books, The Human Evasion and Advice to Clever Children.


1. The Oxford Times, 8 September 1989, Obituary: Mr William Green, Headmaster and author.

2. Ren馥 Haynes, The Society for Psychical Research 1882-1982, London: McDonald, 1982, p.52.

3. University of Liverpool, Department of Philosophy, Staff page

4. Green, C., Lucid Dreams, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968.

5. Cf. Malcolm, N., Dreaming. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1959, pp.4850.

6. See, e.g., Hartmann, E., 'Dreams and other hallucinations: an approach to the underlying mechanism,' in Siegal, R.K. and West, L.J., eds., Hallucinations. New York: Wiley, 1975.

7. Laberge, S., Nagel, L., Taylor, W., Dement, W.C. & Narcone, V. (1981): 'Psychophysiological correlates of the initiation of lucid dreaming.' Sleep Research, 10, 149.

8. Ogilvie, R., Hunt, H., Kushniruk, A. & Newman, J. (1983): 'Lucid dreams and the arousal continuum.' Sleep Research, 12, 182.

9. Fenwick, P., Schatzmann, M., Worsley, A., Adams, J., Stone, S., & Backer, A., (1984): 'Lucid dreaming: correspondence between dreamed and actual events in one subject during REM sleep.' Biological Psychology, 18, 243252.

10. Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations, London: Picador, 2012, p.256.

11. Green, C., Out-of-the-body Experiences, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1968.

12. Green, C., and McCreery, C., Apparitions, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1975.

13. Green, C., and McCreery, C., Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness during Sleep, London: Routledge, 1994.

14. Green, C., The Human Evasion. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1969, p.12.

15. Green, C., The Lost Cause: Causation and the Mind-Body Problem. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2003.

16. Green, C., Letters from Exile: Observations on a Culture in Decline. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2004, passim.

17. Green, C.,'Freedom and the exceptional child', Educational Notes, No. 26, Libertarian Alliance, 1993.

18. Green, C., Vlucht en de Medemens. Meppel: Boom. 1970.

19. Green, C., Die Flucht ins Humane. Stuttgart: Ernst Klett Verlag. 1974.

20. Green, C., L'Evasione dell' Umanita. Roma: Ubaldini Editore. 1970.

21. The Human Evasion Человеческое УклонениеСилия Грин.

22. Cf. Green, C., The Decline and Fall of Science. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1976.

23. Cf. Green, C., Advice to Clever Children. Oxford: Institute of Psychophysical Research, 1981

24. Cf. Green, C., The Corpse and the Kingdom. Oxford: Oxford Forum, 2023

25. M.J. Cohen, ed., The Penguin Dictionary of Epigrams, London: Penguin Books, 2001, p.452.

26. J.M. and M.J. Cohen, eds., The Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations, London: Penguin Books, 2nd edition 1980, p.140.

27. Lucid Dreams 0096. Nottingham: Em:t, 1995. 5025989 960027.

28. Em:t 2295. Nottingham: Em:t, 1995. 5025989 229520.