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Parapsychologist Stabbed to Death in Northridge Home

August 18, 1990|MICHAEL CONNELLY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Northridge parapsychologist who wrote several popular books on phenomena ranging from near-death experiences to poltergeist activity was discovered slain in his home, and Los Angeles police said Friday they had few clues to help them find the killer.

D. Scott Rogo, 40, was found stabbed to death after police were called to the house Thursday afternoon by a neighbor who became suspicious because he thought Rogo's back yard sprinkler had been running for two days.

An officer found a side door to the house partially open, Police Lt. L.A. Durrer said, and discovered Rogo dead on the floor. The home had not been ransacked.

"We haven't determined if anything was taken," Durrer said. "We haven't figured out what the motive was."

Detectives said there was no evidence linking the slaying to Rogo's profession as a writer and investigator of psychic phenomena such telepathy, clairvoyance and extrasensory perception. The victim lived alone in the home in the 18100 block of Schoenborn Street and primarily worked out of a home office, where he had a large library on the subject.

"It doesn't have any appearance of being related to his work," Detective Michael Brandt said.

Rogo, a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley, was the author of 30 books with titles such as "The Poltergeist Experience," "Beyond Reality," "Phone Call From the Dead" and "NAD: A Study of Unusual Other-World Experiences," published when he was a 19-year-old student at Cal State Northridge.

Associates said Rogo was considered a serious investigator of strange phenomena and had also published articles in Parapsychology Review and the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. He lectured on the topic at at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, Calif.

Raymond Bayless, former president of the Southern California Society for Psychical Research, said Rogo had an international reputation among investigators of paranormal phenomena.

"He was top-rank," Bayless said. "This is a tremendous loss to the field."

In a 1984 story on Southern California society, Rogo told The Times that he found "a lot more acceptance of paranormal phenomena out here than I do back East."

"California is kind of a center of New Age thinking," Rogo said. "You are much more likely to be asked what your sign is at a cocktail party in Los Angeles than you are in Boston or New York."

The victim's mother, Winifred Rogo of North Hollywood, said her son became interested in psychic phenomena after having what he believed was an "out-of-the-body experience." He wrote that the phenomenon occurred when "an element of an individual's consciousness appears to detach itself physically from the body and continues to function independently of it for a short time."

"He investigated strange phenomena, but it wasn't dangerous," Winifred Rogo said. "I don't think it had anything to do with what has happened. I think it was a prowler, someone off the street."

Times staff writer Myrna Oliver contributed to this report.

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