Spiritualism emerged in western New York in 1848 and soon achieved a wide following due to its claim that the living could commune with the dead. In Haunted Visions: Spiritualism and American Art, Charles Colbert focuses on the ways Spiritualism imbued the making and viewing of art with religious meaning and, in doing so, draws fascinating connections between art and faith in the Victorian age.
Examining the work of such well-known American artists as James Abbott McNeill Whistler, William Sydney Mount, and Robert Henri, Colbert demonstrates that Spiritualism played a critical role in the evolution of modern attitudes toward creativity. He argues that Spiritualism made a singular contribution to the sanctification of art that occurred in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The faith maintained that spiritual energies could reside in objects, and thus works of art could be appreciated not only for what they illustrated but also as vessels of the psychic vibrations their creators impressed into them.
Such beliefs sanctified both the making and collecting of art in an era when Darwinism and Positivism were increasingly disenchanting the world and the efforts to represent it. In this context, Spiritualism endowed the artist's profession with the prestige of a religious calling; in doing so, it sought not to replace religion with art, but to make art a site where religion happened.
Charles Colbert teaches American art history at Portland State University. He is the author of A Measure of Perfection: Phrenology and the Fine Arts in America.
Haunted Visions. University of Pennsylvania Press, 10 May 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0812243253
From the author’s website: Have you ever wondered where on earth your life is going? Are you trying to live a spiritual life but feeling lost? The gurus and teachers tell us that we are “guided” – but how can we recognise and understand this guidance? This remarkable book describes in detail hundreds of examples of synchronicities and prophetic dreams. For the first time, here is sound and documented evidence that every one of us can receive enuine spiritual guidance. This book asks profound questions about the true nature of human consciousness.
5P1R1T R3V3L4T10N5. Local Legend Publishing, June 2010. ISBN 978-1-907203-14-5
From the publisher’s website: In the silence of the night, in a remote room in a laboratory at the Institute of Physiology of the University of Naples, a small group of scientists meet to attend séances with Europe's most celebrated medium, Eusapia Palladino, a peasant woman whose mediumship has been dazzling Europe for decades. It is not the first time she has been subjected to tests, but it is the first time that she is being examined with the automated tools of orthodox scientific research, in an effort to produce an impartial and unbiased record of her activities.
As fascinating as a theatrical piece, this true life narrative has a riveting plot: scientists at the Institute of Physiology of the University of Naples, attempt to penetrate the troubling mysteries of the occult and come to grips with the phenomena of mediumship, its dynamics and possibilities.
Eight séances with the famous medium, Eusapia Palladino, are literally - sometimes humorously - described by the group's director, the distinguished Italian physiologist, Professor Filippo Bottazzi, one of the most authoritative researchers in Italy at the time.
And it is Bottazzi himself who, on the basis of the evidence obtained, proposes an explanation of the observed events based on his knowledge of physiology. All of this occurred more than a century ago, but the story remains fascinating - and relevant - to our own time.
Originally published in 1909 in Italian, this book has now been translated into English for the first time by Prof. Antonio Giuditta and Ms. Irmeli Routii.
Mediumistic Phenomena. ICRL Press, August 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1936033058
From the official website: Narrated by Britains leading investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre, this award-winning documentary presents four never before seen scientific investigations into life after death. The Scole Experiment: For five years a group of researchers and mediums witnessed more phenomena than in any other experiment in the history of the paranormal, including recorded conversations with the dead, written messages on sealed film, video of spirit faces appearing and even spirit forms materializing. The Electronic Voice Phenomenon: Can the dead speak to the living via electronic devices like radios and tape recorders? Scientists investigating Italy's most famous medium, think so. Also famed psychic, Allison Dubois, the inspiration for the hit TV show Medium is put to the test. As our cameras roll, can she contact a leading Scole researcher who tragically died during the production of this film? These experiments may finally convince you there is life after death.
For more information visit: http://www.theafterlifeinvestigations.com/
The Afterlife Investigations, 2010, NTSC, 86 minutes. Written, produced and directed by Tim Coleman
From the publisher’s website: Then, adding horror to horror, a pair of thin, long-fingered hands placed themselves on my stomach and proceeded to inch their way up my body. They crawled underneath my own hands resting on my chest. I gripped the bony fingers to push them away, but I couldn't - I was not strong enough. As they neared my throat, I thought I was about to die.
When the Slater family heard what sounded like a baby crying in their new house, they had no idea that it was the beginning of a terrifying haunting that would last for more than thirty years, and follow them across the city. This is their story.
Who’s There. The History Press, September 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0752448084
From the publisher’s website: What is the sixth sense? Is it physical, mental or spiritual? Do we all possess it or is it unique to exceptional individuals? Might there be a seventh sense and an eighth sense as well? What role does culture play in determining the range of our perceptual abilities?
The search for a supplementary sense has taken many directions and yielded numerous possibilities for an "additional faculty" of perception - from magnetism and movement to dreaming and clairvoyance. Stimulating reflection and debate, The Sixth Sense Reader explores the cultural contexts which give rise to such reports of "psychic" and other powers that exceed the ordinary bounds of sense.
In this groundbreaking volume, leading scholars in history, anthropology and biology take the reader on a tour of the far borderlands of consciousness. From the world beneath to the world beyond the five senses, every potential avenue of sensation is opened up for investigation.
Contents: Acknowledgments Introduction: The Revolving Sensorium PART I: BEARINGS 1 The Search for a Sixth Sense: The Cases for Vestibular, Muscle, and Temperature Senses Nicholas J. Wade 2 Sense of Direction W. H. Hudson 3 Bushman Presentiments Wilhelm H. I. Bleek and Lucy C. Lloyd 4 Anatomy of Mysticism Jess Byron Hollenback PART II: HISTORICAL INVESTIGATIONS 5 The Five Senses in Classical Science and Ethics Louise Vinge 6 The Mesmerism Investigation and the Crisis of Sensationist Science Jessica Riskin 7 Swedenborg's Celestial Sensorium: Angelic Authenticity, Religious Authority, and the American New Church Movement Leigh Eric Schmidt 8 The Erotics of Telepathy: The British SPR's Experiments in Intimacy Pamela Thurschwell 9 Intuition and Reason in the New Age: A Cultural Study of Medical Clairvoyance Ruth Barcan 10 Refusing to Give Up the Ghost: Some Thoughts on the Afterlife from Spirit Photography to Phantom Films Pamela Thurschwell PART III: UNCANNY SENSATIONS 11 The Sense of Being Stared At Rupert Sheldrake 12 Tactility and Distraction Michael Taussig PART IV: CROSS-CULTURAL INVESTIGATIONS 13 Sense-Experience and Mystical Experience Mircea Eliade 14 Peyote and the Mystic Vision Barbara G. Myerhoff 15 The Embodiment of Symbols and the Acculturation of the Anthropologist Carol Laderman 16 Sensing Divinity, Death, and Resurrection: Theorizing Experience through Miracles Bilinda Straight 17 Zulu Dreamscapes: Senses, Media, and Authentication in Contemporary Neo-Shamanism David Chidester ABCDERIUM of Extra/Sensory Powers Notes on Contributors Copyright Acknowledgments Index
The Sixth Sense Reader. Berg, October 2009. ISBN-13: 978-1847882615
From the publisher’s website: Country Books/Ashridge Press is a small independent publisher founded in 1985, specialising in local history titles.
Derbyshire books: Varying in length from one mile to ten, these are leisurely strolls rather than arduous hikes or robust rambles visiting an area that is rich in variety and fantastically spooky stories. It's a region that is much less visited than it deserves to be. It has large rural areas of great beauty, an interesting heritage and a rich history. There is much to be discovered and enjoyed, and plenty of paranormal presences too.
Brighton book: This book offers a choice of eight different walks which explore not only the famous Lanes and Pavilion area, but other less well known parts of the City.
Country Books can be found at: http://www.countrybooks.biz/
Paranormal Obsession: America's Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits, by Deonna Kelli Sayed
From the publisher’s website: Ghosts and ghouls, demons, poltergeists, phantoms, haunted houses, and shadow people—why is America so captivated by the creepy and unexplained? Paranormal Obsession is the first book to explore why we have an insatiable interest in spirits, ghost hunting, and all things otherworldly.
Paranormal investigator and researcher Deonna Kelli Sayed reveals how and why our fascination with spirits started. She interviewed ghost hunters, religious figures, scientists, academics, and cast members of the popular TV shows Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State, and offers compelling insight into what our fixation on ghostly activity says about American culture. Paranormal Obsession also highlights the author's paranormal group's investigation of the USS North Carolina, the most haunted battleship in the United States.
Deonna Kelli Sayed is a Muslim-American paranormal investigator with Haunted North Carolina (HNC). She lectures on many issues, from women in Islam to the paranormal, and has lived and conducted studies throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. She is the host of Think Tank, a forum on LiveParanormal.com, and is an editor and contributor to GhostVillage.com.
Paranormal Obsession. Llewellyn, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0738726359
Shadows in the Nave: A Guide to the Haunted Churches of England, by Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil and Peter Underwood
From the publisher’s website: The haunted history of England’s churches and chapels is brought vividly to life in this comprehensive and beautifully illustrated modern guide. Here you will encounter the compelling world of the unseen linked with a thousand years of worship — including the Tudor phantom of Rycote, the lonely monk of Minsden Chapel and the black-magic ghosts of Clophill, to name but a few.
From the authors of The Borley Rectory Companion comes this astonishing book, which covers seventy-five of the most notorious and lesser known of our haunted ecclesiastical buildings. Combining a wealth of historical and paranormal information with stunning original and atmospheric photographs, this volume is perfect for researchers and armchair ghost hunters alike.
Paranormal historian Paul Adams and writer and photographer Eddie Brazil join Peter Underwood, the UK’s most experienced ghost hunter and respected author of over fifty books on the supernatural, in another literary partnership that will chill all but the sturdiest of hearts.
Shadows in the Nave. The History Press, September 2011. ISBN: 9780752459202
F.C.S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism: The Rhetoric of a Philosophical Rebel, by Mark J. Porrovecchio
From the publisher’s website: The intellectual history of pragmatism traditionally posits that its origins are found in the works of C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. What if that story is only partially true? Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller, the foremost first generation British pragmatist, was one of the most vocal proponents of pragmatism in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He penned over a dozen books, authored hundreds of essays and reviews, and sought to popularize the philosophy of practicalism. Yet in the years before and after his death, both he and his critics engaged in arguments that helped to erase him from the story of pragmatism.
F. C. S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism: The Rhetoric of a Philosophical Rebel, by Mark J. Porrovecchio, is the first comprehensive biography of Schiller ever undertaken. It seeks to answer questions like: why were Schiller's own arguments used against him? Why were his interests, philosophical and otherwise, central to his erasure? Why would the pragmatism of today gain by reclaiming a neglected figure from its past? A crucial part of understanding those questions relates to the rhetorical strategies at play in the arguments Schiller made.
Pragmatism today is a vital and vibrant part of interdisciplinary discussions that range from philosophy, to religion, to science, to politics. But it is intellectually incomplete and historically inaccurate. Reclaiming Schiller means asking hard questions about the functions and scope of pragmatism. Though the answers will not suit everyone, they will help to make pragmatism—past, present, and future—more honest, more engaging, and more interesting.
Mark J. Porrovecchio is director of forensics and assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Oregon State University.
F.C.S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism. Rowman & Littlefield, October 2011. ISBN Cloth 0-7391-6588-7 / 978-0-7391-6588-1; Electronic 0-7391-6590-9 / 978-0-7391-6590-4
From the publisher’s website: Paranormal Derbyshire: Many people believe they have seen a ghost. The experience is as old as records of civilisation, yet we are told that ghosts are purely hallucinatory; spooks caught on camera are dust particles on the lens; mysterious lights are fireflies and UFOs are Chinese lanterns. But what if these anomalies are not caused through hallucination, dust particles, fireflies or Chinese lanterns? More and more people are becoming aware that things beyond the current range of scientific explanation or normal human capabilities can and do happen and this presents us with a paranormal puzzle.
Is there some mysterious earth energy that acts like a giant power grid; do certain rocks hold energy that can be released like disco lights; is it possible to see a scene as it happened years ago like some form of hologram? Spook lights, aerial phantoms and things that fall from the sky pre-date the invention of the aeroplane, and how do we account for phantom planes, UFOs and extraterrestrial visitations? Such things challenge all established views and ideas. Paranormal Derbyshire is not only packed with amazing stories, we also invite you to judge for yourself by participating in a spot of ghost hunting. We’ll guide you safely through the techniques of using dowsing rods, a planchette and ouija board, so you too can delve into the paranormal secrets of Derbyshire.
Haunted Pubs, Inns & Hotels of Derbyshire takes you on a spookily paranormal pub crawl with a difference. Whether it’s to a scenic country pub, a traditional old coaching inn or a more modern establishment, these are the places where people have seen ghosts, heard them, smelt them and – most frightening of all – felt them. We delve deep into the mysterious phenomena that have baffled investigators, and terrified landlords, cleaners and customers for years. Here the hidden secrets behind these strange goings-on are explored and revealed in chilling detail. Some tales will leave you shocked and shaken, while others are as entertaining as they are bewildering. History, folk memory, anecdote and eyewitness evidence are all pieced together in these eerie and evocative true stories.
We stop off at old coaching inns, pubs and alehouses, encountering spectral highwaymen, monks, Cavaliers and Roman soldiers. We uncover the ghostly fate of serving wenches, old regulars, heartbroken maids and murder victims. We find hotel rooms haunted by benevolent, playful and curious spirits as well as plagued by poltergeist activity.
Paranormal Derbyshire, Amberley, November 2009. ISBN 9781445600819; Haunted Pubs, Inns and Hotels of Derbyshire, Amberley, June 2011. ISBN 9781445604640
From the publisher’s website: At the very foundation of religious faith and hope is a belief that consciousness will survive death and that we will live on in another dimension of reality. But that foundation easily crumbles when scientific minds are unable to wrap their brains around an afterlife, when they are unable to visualize a non-material world. As the foundation gives way, the philosophy of materialism takes hold and gives rise to moral decadence, egocentricity, hypocrisy, hatred, disorder, flux, strife, chaos, and fear. Such seems to be the state of the world today. There is so much to be found outside the highly guarded boundaries of mainstream science and orthodox religion for those willing to open their minds to it, for those willing to recognize that the dissemination of Truth did not stop with the good books of organized religion and cannot always be found in the laboratory.
Beginning in 1848, a number of sensitive people began developing as mediums, bringing forth communications from the spirit world. One of the skeptics investigating the “popular madness” was Professor Robert Hare of the University of Pennsylvania. Intending to debunk it all, Hare would, after extensive research, become a believer. When he asked an apparently advanced spirit what it was all about, he was told that it was “a deliberate effort, on the part of the inhabitants of the higher spheres, to break through the partition which has interfered with the attainment, by mortals, of a correct idea of their destiny after death.” Unfortunately, both orthodox religion and mainstream science, acting out of ego and fear, have rebuked the efforts of those inhabitants of the higher spheres to enlighten us, thus permitting the foundations of both faith and hope to further crumble.
In The Afterlife Revealed, Michael Tymn sets forth some of the most credible messages from the spirits relative to the nature of their world. Instead of a heaven-hell dichotomy, we are told that there are many levels, or as Jesus is quoted, “many mansions,” and that we cross over to the “other side” based on what might be called a “moral specific gravity.” We discover a Divine plan – one of attainment and attunement, of gradual spiritual growth, of evolution of spirit through progressively higher planes. We see how we are really souls occupying bodies rather than bodies housing souls and how our souls are progressing in finding their way back to Oneness with the Creator through the challenges, the adversities, the trials and tribulations offered us in a particular lifetime.
The Afterlife Revealed. White Crow Books, May 2011. ISBN 978-1-907661-90-7; e-book ISBN 978-1-907661-91-4
From the publisher’s website: The Roman scholar Pliny the Younger was one of the first to write about ghost hunting: 2,000 years later, and the hunt still goes on. For all the thousands of hours spent by investigators in cold, dark houses, ghosts remain elusive and unproven.
This book sets out to be a practical guide to ghost hunting. Examining cases from the distant past and the present day, this book asks if it is possible to find the truth in this age-old quest. A detailed history of the three major paranormal societies is complemented by advice on which one to join, and when. If you have ever wondered how to organise your own ghost hunt, a list of essential equipment and a step-by-step guide to choosing your ideal spooky location is also included.
Ghost Hunting. The History Press, March 2010. ISBN: 9780752454146
From the publisher’s website: Given that consciousness is poorly understood and vaguely defined, Paul Feyerabend's advice to "keep our options open" seems sound, but is frequently ignored in favour of an insistence that a scientific theory of consciousness must be reducible to current monist physics and biology. This book argues that such an insistence is historically unsupportable, theoretically incoherent and unnecessary.
The author instead makes the case for emergent property pluralism. New concepts of emergent mental properties are needed because of the failure of mainstream approaches satisfactorily to address issues like subjective volition, autonomy and creativity. Personal consciousness is active and classifiable as a subset of the wider problem of biological causation.
The book is split into three sections. Part one builds an historical case for pluralism. Part two deconstructs insistent monism and mainstream models before addressing biological causation. Part three explores the consequences of such an alternative approach by examining specific phenomena like free will, the self and evolutionary emergence.
Matthew Colborn received an MSc in cognitive science from Birmingham University and a DPhil. in experimental psychology from the University of Sussex in 2001.
Pluralism and the Mind. Imprint Academic, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1845402211
From the publisher’s website: Religion, Science, Philosophy and the Paranormal - all between the same covers? Here, for a change, they complement each other and get along splendidly. Newton Green's fascinating book probes some of the cloudier frontiers of knowledge, in a clear, no-nonsense light. Reader-friendly, but impeccably researched, he examines humanity's place in the universe, covering a wide range of interrelated themes - creation and evolution, the nature of God, the supernatural, notions of self and free will, the workings of the mind.
For centuries, extraordinary events have bedevilled philosophers, physiologists, and psychologists. God, Ghosts and Independent Minds puts established assumptions under the microscope, and surprising truths plus some astonishing new ideas result - it won't change your life, but it will show you possibilities for leading a fuller one, and it will certainly make you think...
God, Ghosts and Independent Minds. Pen Press, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1780031378