Robert Baker, otherwise known as Robert Allen Baker Jr., is a primarily a psychologist. He is a professor emeritus of the psychology department in University of Kentucky. He is well-known for being a skeptic and a prime investigator of UFO abductions, lake monsters, ghosts, and other paranormal phenomena. He serves as the editor of Psychology in the Wry, which is a satire collection. In the past, he was the co-editor of Approaches, which is a quarterly journal of contemporary poetry. Most of his works were published in Worm-Runners’ Digest, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, Saturday Review, Vogue, and many other journals. As of the moment, he was able to write 15 books like ‘They call it hypnosis‘.
Baker was born in Kentucky. They are not entirely a rich family. His father repaired shoes while his mother served as a clerk for a drugstore. But the lack of money did no hinder Baker from studying. He spent primary school at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and was able to graduate from Hopkinsville High School. Later on, he served as a cryptographer in the Army Air Forces during World War II. That is where he learned much about psychology.
He was able to obtain his diploma from University of Kentucky. He also took a masters degree in psychology. Later on, he obtained his doctorate degree from Stanford University. Soon, he worked as a staff scientist for the Lincoln Laboratory of MIT where he did mostly military research. Later on, he transferred to Fort Knox where the Human Resources Research Office was. There, he did researches related to the army.
Afterwards, Baker became a part of a lot more other universities. He spent the last 20 years of his career at University of Kentucky where he was chairman of psychology department for almost 4 years. He served as the president of the Kentucky Psychological Association as well.
His trait of being a skeptic was said to be instilled by his parents since he was a child. He once had this first encounter with a supposedly haunted cave where sounds could be heard but he became frustrated only to find out that the sounds were of natural origin. Later on in his career, he was known as a “ghost buster” seeking non-paranormal explanations of everything believed to be paranormal. He once worked hand in hand together with Joe Nickell and they even wrote a book together.
Baker’s studies were mostly about scientific skepticism and anomalistic psychology. His books were mainly about false memory syndrome, alien abductions, ghosts, and hypnosis. According to him, paranormal occurrences can sometimes be explained through psychological phenomenon. For example, hidden memories, hallucinations, or sleep paralysis may cause memories in altered form which are processed by the brain.
Baker has been involved in overlapping findings with other skeptics and this has put his name in some controversies. Most of them were dismissed as plain oversight while some even went as far as plagiarism charges. But above all this, he was still named as one of the most outstanding skeptics of the 20th century.