Investigating the Supernatural: From Spiritism and Occultism to Psychical Research and Metapsychics in France, 1853–1931, by Lachapelle Sofie
From the publisher’s website: Séances were wildly popular in France between 1850 and 1930, when members of the general public and scholars alike turned to the wondrous as a means of understanding and explaining the world. Sofie Lachapelle explores how five distinct groups attempted to use and legitimize séances: spiritists, who tried to create a new "science" concerned with the spiritual realm and the afterlife; occultists, who hoped to connect ancient revelations with contemporary science; physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists, who developed a pathology of supernatural experiences; psychical researchers, who drew on the unexplained experiences of the public to create a new field of research; and metapsychists, who attempted to develop a new science of yet-to-be understood natural forces.
Lachapelle examines the practices, aims, and level of success of these five disciplines, paying special attention to how they interacted with each other and with the world of mainstream science. Their practitioners regarded mystical phenomena worthy of serious study; most devotees—with notable exceptions of physicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists—also meant to challenge conventional science in general and French science in particular. Through these stories, Lachapelle illuminates the lively relationship between science and the supernatural in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century France and relates why this relationship ultimately led to the marginalization of psychical research and metapsychics.
An enlightening and entertaining narrative that includes colourful people like "Allan Kardec"—a pseudonymous former mathematics teacher from Lyon who wrote successful works on the science of the séance and what happened after death—Investigating the Supernatural reveals the rich and vibrant diversity of unorthodox beliefs and practices that existed at the borders of the French scientific culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Sofie Lachapelle is an associate professor of history at the University of Guelph.
Investigating the Supernatural. The Johns Hopkins University Press, April 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1421400136
From the publisher’s website: THE LONELY SENSE is the unique story of ROBERT CRACKNELL who underwent a harrowing childhood, came to terms with his growing psychic powers, and ended up assisting the police and people around the world with his uncanny ability to see back into the past…and forward into the future.
“Robert Cracknell must be the least typical psychic in the world,” writes COLIN WILSON in his foreword to this electrifying autobiography. “To encounter Cracknell is a refreshing, or possibly a traumatic, experience…He is totally down-to-earth, blunt, aggressive and impatient; he is also intelligent, honest, and obsessively, almost self-destructively, devoted to his own vision of the truth. The fact is that, as a psychic, Cracknell is a total Outsider… the alienated man who has to learn to turn his powers of development inward… Cracknell represents something completely new in this strange field of the paranormal... He has a natural vitality and frankness that makes his book absorbing reading. His is a voice that needs and deserves to be heard.”
This book is an expanded and updated version of Clues to the Unknown originally published by Hamlyn in 1981.
The Lonely Sense. Anomalist Books, March 2011. ISBN: 1933665513
Glimpses of Eternity: Sharing a Loved One’s Passage from this World to the Next, by Moody, Raymond, with Perry, Paul
From the publisher’s website: Glimpses of Eternity, a new book by acclaimed doctor and bestselling author Raymond Moody confirms life after death and shows that our relationships with those we love live forever. Dr. Raymond Moody revolutionized the way we think about heaven with his first book, Life After Life—which became one of the bestselling books of all time. Now Dr. Moody uncovers another common thread to what happens when we die. Glimpses of Eternity tells us that family and friends are often swept into the first moments of their loved one's journey from this life to the next. Dr. Moody calls these "shared death experiences." Glimpses of Eternity is the first book to talk about this beautiful aspect of our spiritual connections with one another.
Glimpses of Eternity. Guideposts, October 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0824948139
From the publisher’s website: Join Ross Andrews on a paranormal journey around not only the city of Oxford, but also the towns and villages of Oxfordshire. A ghost hunter for over twenty years, he was chairman of the Parasoc society, the paranormal research society as well as running his own paranormal nights at St Briavel’s castle - the Most Haunted building in the world! So with this pedigree in the paranormal it’s no surprise he was drawn to investigate the historic spooks of Oxfordshire. The book has a variety of aspects to it, there are ghost walks that you can do for free around the centre of the city, as well as telling you which spooks to spot throughout the colleges. There is also a large section on the surrounding areas of Oxford for you to go to, so that you can investigate for yourselves. He will offer rational explanations wherever possible, and if not then let you decide for yourself. There are also handy hints should you wish to follow in his footsteps and become a ghost hunter. Ideal for anyone curious about the unexplained, or even for the tourist who wants to see something different on a visit to Oxfordshire. Ross has tried to concentrate on stories and places that you can have access to, pubs, streets, fields, castles, museums. and many more. So join him on a journey into the unknown and explore the paranormal throughout Oxford, and Oxfordshire.
A ghost hunter for over twenty years Ross takes us on an adventure through the heart of the Forest of Dean, this book concentrates on haunted tourist attractions so that you too can go into them and investigate for yourself. So join us and prepared to be scared as we venture through haunted castles, pubs, mines, and woodland in the Forest Full of Frights. This book has a variety of aspects to it. Firstly, it takes you on a trip around the centre of the forest to several museums, castles and pubs. The second part of the book is a about what is possibly the UK’s most haunted building, St. Briavel’s castle, it tells you how to stay in some of the most haunted rooms, and even how to join in with a ghost hunt. The third part of the book is a further guide on how to be a ghost hunter yourself, giving you examples and experiments to do. An ideal book for anyone curious about the unexplained, or even a paranormal tourist travelling through the Forest of Dean, this is a truly frightening glimpse into the unknown . Turn the pages if you dare, and join Ross on the adventure of your life….or afterlife!
Paranormal Oxford and Paranormal Forest of Dean. Amberley Publishing, October/March 2010. ISBN 9781445600024/ ISBN 9781848685918
From the publisher’s website: When Robert G. Jahn and Brenda J. Dunne first embarked on their exotic scholarly journey more than three decades ago, their aspirations were little higher than to attempt replication of some previously asserted anomalous results that might conceivably impact future engineering practice, either negatively or positively, and to pursue those ramifications to some appropriate extent.
But as they followed that tortuous research path deeper into its metaphysical forest, it became clear that far more fundamental epistemological issues were at stake, and far stranger phenomenological creatures were on the prowl, than they had originally envisaged, and that a substantially broader range of intellectual and cultural perspectives would be required to pursue that trek productively.
This text is their attempt to record some of the tactics developed, experiences encountered, and understanding acquired on this mist-shrouded exploration, in the hope that their preservation in this format will encourage and enable deeper future scholarly penetrations into the ultimate Source of Reality.
Consciousness and the Source of Reality. ICRL Press, February 2011. ISBN-13: 9781936033034
From the publisher’s website: Here is an account of mentality and human experience, written for a multi-disciplinary readership. The focus is on how mind, consciousness and selves inter-relate, extending into exploration of ideas about the nature of awareness and a search for relevant evidence.
‘Consciousness studies’ has reached something of a crossroads nowadays. Computational approaches to mind and ‘quantum consciousness’ theories, have not lived up to early hopes. Neuroscience has made huge strides in the last few years, but is still nowhere near able to account for the existence of consciousness itself - as opposed to being able to explain how some of its content gets there. Philosophically, there is lack of consensus over both the nature of consciousness and what questions we should be asking about it.
Chris Nunn's book surveys the current situation and argues that, as far as ‘mind’ is concerned, we need to take the overall dynamics into consideration, which include genetic, environmental and social factors along with neurology. He emphasizes the close links that exist between memory, experience and personhood. What emerges most strongly from this account is that answers to questions about the nature of consciousness are likely to depend on achieving a better understanding of the physics of time.
Chris Nunn is a psychiatrist who researched mind/body relationships and bipolar disorder. He has been involved in the ‘consciousness studies’ movement since 1992.
Who Was Mrs Willett? Imprint Academic, January 2011. ISBN 9781845402198
Randi's Prize: What Sceptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong, and Why It Matters, by McLuhan, Robert
From the publisher’s website: James 'The Amazing' Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as 'the paranormal'. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics' insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi's Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It's an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.
Robert McLuhan gained a First in English Literature at Oxford, then worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian in Spain and Portugal. He now works as a freelance journalist. He has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research since 1993, blogging and lecturing on paranormal topics.
Randi's Prize, November 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1848764941
From the publisher’s website: This is the story of a normal woman who experienced the impossible: objective contacts with another dimension through loud and clear voices received by electronic means during Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) experiments.
Dr Cardoso, a senior diplomat, describes the astounding experiences that transformed her life since she started ITC research in 1997. She presents extracts of conversations with her deceased loved ones and other personalities who insisted that they live in another world.
The level of agreement between communications received by the author and concepts, even words, recorded by other experimenters from Jurgenson and Raudive to contemporary operators, constitutes compelling evidence of the reality of the next world that awaits us all. As communicators from Timestream told Dr Cardoso: The dead pass through here, you pass through here!.
Electronic Voices breaks new ground in the literature providing details of audio contacts, recorded under controlled conditions, with beings in an evolved dimension, which they describe as another space, beyond time. This evolved dimension of life corresponds to an evolved state of consciousness in the cosmic evolutionary sequence.
Electronic Voices. O Books, September 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1846943638
From the publisher’s website: Norfolk has many associations with the paranormal, from ancient tales of Shuck the hound that has haunted the county’s lanes for a thousand years to tales of ghosts from the Second World War and of unidentified f lying objects. This book takes a new approach by looking at the paranormal as recorded in the archives of the county.
The stories include those collected by some of the county’s keenest folklorists such as W. H. Cooke, Mark Taylor, and W. G. Clarke, as well as first-hand records of paranormal experience. Many tales are published for the very first time, such as Mottie Green, the Wells ‘witch’, and a new light is thrown on more familiar stories such as the haunting of Syderstone Parsonage and the Snettisham ghost. Not least, the book also explains the key role of Norwich in the development of the vampire story! Read this book and your view of Norfolk will never be the same again!
Paranormal Norfolk. Amberley Publishing, November 2010. ISBN 9781848684713
From the publisher’s website: The root of the word science is knowledge; the root of the word magic is wisdom. Serena blends these two spheres of human experience and shows how the latest scientific research and parapsychological study interact. The quantum view of matter is overturning the traditional world-view and the fantastic discoveries being made bring new insights into the connections between all forms of magic and science. We share the exciting results of her research on the scientific validation of psychic phenomena. Drawing on her ground-breaking work on the pineal gland - something called the third eye - and the phenomenon of second sight, she shows that the greatest implication of psychic phenomena is that each of us is potentially aware of the natural magic of our earth and of everything in the universe.
Where Science and Magic Meet, Green Magic, September 2010, 3rd edition. ISBN-13: 978-0956188618
From the publisher’s website: Haunted Gardens is a brand new book from the renowned supernatural writer, Peter Underwood. The world today is fascinated by life after death, and the affect that the 'other side' has on our lives. Peter Underwood has decided to explore ghostly gardens for the very first time in history, and shows, with examples from all over the world, just how spooky gardens can be! Fully illustrated with Peter's own photographs, and carefully researched, this new book is sure to be an ideal gift for anyone interested in ghosts and the paranormal.
Haunted Gardens. Amberley Publishing, November 2009. ISBN-13: 978-1848682610
ESPRIT: Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections, Vol. 1, by Pilkington, Rosemarie (ed.)
From the publisher’s website: ESPRIT: Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections: Volume 1, is a collection of autobiographical essays by a group of esteemed 20th century psi researchers, giving us a glimpse of why these gifted, astute individuals devoted much, if not most, of their life's work to this fascinating but monetarily unrewarding field. In the process, Jule Eisenbud, Eileen Coly, Gertrude Schmeidler, Karlis Osis, and eight others advise a younger generation on what pitfalls to expect and what they felt were the most important areas of investigation. This is the first of a planned three-volume series.
Contents: Editor’s Note; Preface; Foreword (by Stanley Krippner); Jule Eisenbud : My Life with the Paranormal; Montague Ullman: The World of Psychic Phenomena as I Came to Know It; Jan Ehrenwald: An Autobiographic Fragment; Eileen Coly: Interview with Eileen Coly; Joseph H. Rush: Parapsychology: Some Personal Observations; Gertrude R. Schmeidler: Questions and Attempts at Answers; Emilio Servadio: Interview with Emilio Servadio; Renée Haynes: Aspects of Psychical Research; Hans Bender: A Positive Critic of Superstition; Karlis Osis: The Paranormal: My Window to Something More; George Zorab: Eight Decades in Parapsychology; Bernard Grad: Experiences and Opinions of an Unconventional Scientist; References; Index.
ESPRIT. Anomalist Books, October 2010. ISBN: 1933665505
Spectres of the Self: Thinking about Ghosts and Ghost-Seeing in England, 1750–1920, by McCorristine, Shane
From the publisher’s website: Spectres of the Self is a fascinating study of the rich cultures surrounding the experience of seeing ghosts in England from the Reformation to the twentieth century. Shane McCorristine examines a vast range of primary and secondary sources, showing how ghosts, apparitions, and hallucinations were imagined, experienced, and debated from the pages of fiction to the case reports of the Society for Psychical Research. By analysing a broad range of themes from telepathy and ghost-hunting to the notion of dreaming while awake and the question of why ghosts wore clothes, Dr McCorristine reveals the sheer variety of ideas of ghost seeing in English society and culture. He shows how the issue of ghosts remained dynamic despite the advance of science and secularism and argues that the ghost ultimately represented a spectre of the self, a symbol of the psychological hauntedness of modern experience.
Incorporates literature, psychiatry and popular belief, presenting a variety of ideas about ghost-seeing • Compares contexts from Germany, France and America, providing an international understanding of the topic • Examines the culture of ghost-seeing rather than the validity of ghost-belief
Contents: Introduction; Part I. The Dreams of the Ghost-Seers: 1. The haunted mind, 1750–1850; 2. Seeing is believing?: Ghost-seeing and hallucinatory experience; Part II. A Science of the Soul: 3. Ghost-hunting in the Society for Psychical Research; 4. Phantasms of the living and the dead; 5. The concept of hallucination in late-Victorian psychology; Epilogue: towards 1920; Appendix; Bibliography.
Spectres of the Self. Cambridge University Press, July 2010. ISBN: 9780521747967 (p/b) ISBN: 9780521767989 (h/b)
From the publisher’s website: The Jacobites and the Supernatural offers a whole new perspective on the well-known Jacobite period and also allows the reader to explore the battlefields and other sites of the period in a completely new way. Here are tales of witchcraft, spirits, psychic powers, portents, prodigies, magical talismans and potent curses. Bonnie Prince Charlie practices the healing magic of ‘touching’ for the King’s Evil and ‘impresses’ his good looks onto an unborn child. A queen attributes her pregnancy to a saint. Rocks split at the moment Culloden is lost. We meet angels, demons, fairies, guardian Black Dogs and other otherworldly beings. The cast of human characters includes John Graham of Claverhouse, ‘Bonnie Dundee’, said to have sold his soul to the Devil and then been killed by a silver bullet; the ‘Galloping Earl’ of Dilston whose phantom is said to still ride through his Northumbrian estate; and the gentle Lord President Forbes, who had a vision of the slaughter at Culloden months before the Jacobite dream was extinguished on that terrible day.
As well as setting the occult beliefs in the religious, political and military contexts of the Jacobite Risings of 1689, 1715, 1719 and 1745, this book gives a site-by-site guide to all the battlefields and buildings associated with the Jacobites and the supernatural. The battles of Culloden, Sheriffmuir, Killiecrankie, Dunkeld, Glenshiel, Falkirk and Prestonpans are well represented, but there are also allegedly haunted castles and hotels, plus everything from an English vicarage (home to a Jacobite poltergeist) to a Highland loch and a Hebridean beach. Sites across Scotland and England are comprehensively described, with a full history of their ‘supernatural’ events and descriptions of on-site access and facilities.
The Jacobites and the Supernatural. Amberley Publishing, October 2010. ISBN 9781848685888
From the publisher’s website: A Brazilian soldier killed in the 1932 Constitutional Revolution ‘drops in’ unexpectedly on a medium nearly thirty years later, giving his name and numerous personal details almost all of which turned out to be true. A family is terrorised by bombardments of stones thrown by invisible hands, and by inexplicable outbreaks of fires, some of them witnessed by police. A little girl astonishes her parents by giving detailed information about her dead uncle – again all of it being true. It appears that she is in fact her uncle reborn. These are three of the many cases of ‘paranormal’ phenomena that were meticulously investigated by pioneer Brazilian parapsychologist Hernani Guimarães Andrade (1913-2003), who was both a scientist and a Spiritist. Here, he provides some of the best evidence on record, whether for poltergeists, reincarnation, or survival of death.
Hernani Guimarães Andrade (1913-2003) graduated in civil engineering from the University of São Paulo in 1941, and after working for various public and private companies including Brazil’s National Steel Company, he joined the São Paulo state water and electricity department where he became technical director of its electricity and telephone division. In 1961 he founded the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research (IBPP) with a small group of like-minded Spiritists, its stated objective being ‘The study of paranormal facts and systematic research into the laws, properties and potential of the spirit by scientific methods’. He was the author of sixteen books, including three on reincarnation based on the original research he and his colleagues carried out on 75 Brazilian cases.
Science & Spirit. Roundtable Publishing, December 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0956449337