Alister Hardy RERC Archive Database

The Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre holds an archive with around 6,000 accounts of first-hand spiritual experiences sent to the centre since its foundation in 1969.

While the archive was always open to members of the Alister Hardy Society for the Study of Spiritual Experience, people had access only in the RERC on the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Now this database has been made available online.

If you want to search the database please follow the instructions outlined below.

Access the database

Applying to use the database

In order to use this database you must become a member of the Alister Hardy Trust. To apply for membership please fill in the Alister Hardy Membership Application [Word], and send it together with the appropriate membership fee to

You then need to download the Alister Hardy Trust Database Application [Word], sign it and send it either with an electronic signature to

You will then be given a password which, used with your e-mail address, will give you access.


Please remember that all material contained in these archives is strictly confidential and copyright, and cannot be used personally, academically or through media outlets, without first receiving written permission from the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre; full acknowledgement will be required in any publication.

For the protection of this data, extracts from the accounts must not be circulated by any means, electronic or otherwise.

The accounts of experiences are shown exactly as they have been received, 'warts and all', with spelling and grammatical errors, unnecessary detail, etc. You need to keep this in mind when doing full text research.

The database has been compiled over many years, by several different people.  When choosing key words for a search please bear this in mind, and if one word brings no results try another similar one (e.g., if 'countryside' brings nothing, try 'nature').  See the full list of RERC Keywords. These key words should not be used for statistical purposes.

  • You can start by entering a key word in the SUBJECTS box (e.g. music, nature, eating).
  • If your key word is unusual or very particular, try searching in the TEXT box using that word.  E.g. A search for Rembrandt in the SUBJECTS box will probably not be successful (although art or painting would be), but it might be more productive in the  TEXT box.
  • Key words have been entered in the SUBJECTS box, so a phrase will not produce any result.  Search for light and gold or pink rather than golden light or a pinkish light.  Putting both music and light in the box will produce only accounts with both words in the SUBJECTS box.
  • For words with the same root, such as Buddhism and Buddhist or religion and religious, enter only the root of the word.
  • You can limit the search by entering / typing in more than one box (e.g. SUBJECT:  lightRELIGIOUS BACKGROUND: Jewish will bring only accounts where the religious background is Jewish which contain references to light).
  • Do not enter anything in the RECORD NUMBER box unless searching for one particular record / account.
  • In the TEXT box you can enter a key word, and any account containing this word will be found.  But bear in mind that entering child may bring up accounts you are looking for about a child or children, but also material irrelevant to your search (e.g. 'I was taking the children to school' or 'I didn’t have any experiences as a child').
  • Do not enter phrases in the TEXT box unless searching only for accounts containing that exact phrase.