The Improbability Principle: Why coincidences, miracles and rare events happen all the time, by David Hand
From the publisher’s website: Why is it that incredibly unlikely phenomena actually happen quite regularly and why should we, in fact, expect such things to happen? Here, in this highly original book – aimed squarely at anyone with an interest in coincidences, probability or gambling – eminent statistician David Hand answers this question by weaving together various strands of probability into a unified explanation, which he calls the improbability principle.
This is a book that will appeal not only to those who love stories about startling coincidences and extraordinarily rare events, but also to those who are interested in how a single bold idea links areas as diverse as gambling, the weather, airline disasters and creative writing as well as the origin of life and even the universe. The Improbability Principle will change your perspective on how the world works – and tell you what the Bible code and Shakespeare have in common, how to win the lottery, why Apple's song shuffling was made less random to seem more random. Oh and why lightning does in fact strike twice...
The Improbability Principle. Corgi, January 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0552170192
The Wonder of You: What the Near-Death Experience Tells You about Yourself, by Lynn Kathleen Russell
From the author: Lynn Kathleen Russell has researched 2500 NDEs and now shares what she has learned through her extensive investigations. Those who have returned from death frequently come back with vastly different ways of seeing the world, others, and themselves. They are more caring, gentle, and have a deeper sense of spirituality.
Russell was the primary researcher for Dr. Jeff Long MD for his book, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, and the owner of the website NDERF (Near Death Experience Research Foundation). Within the many cases she examined and discovered wonderful messages she wanted to share with others. Through her research, Russell found these cases offered deeply hidden messages about the world, life and the paths we all travel. Her book will guide readers toward their own personal discoveries, and is designed for readers who are looking to understand their place in the world.
Prior to researching with NDERF, Lynn Russell was a family counsellor for over twenty-five years in Calgary, Alberta Canada.
The Wonder of You. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, February 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1480094253
From the author’s introduction: ‘I have spent most of my life in the East Lancashire village of Helmshore … Researching the history of the textile industries and local life in general has taken up much of my time for more than half a century … and led to several books. But I still have material stored in a file labelled ‘The Supernatural’, a collection which, I suspect, describes only a fraction of the inexplicable encounters experienced by local people. Doubtless other towns and villages could yield a paranormal harvest to match my own …’
Strange Stories from a Lancashire Village. Helmshore Local History Society, 2014.
From the publisher's website: People everywhere carry with them extraordinary, deeply comforting experiences that arrived at the moment when they most needed relief: when they lost a loved one. These experiences can include clear messages from beyond, profound and vividly beautiful visions, mysterious connections and spiritual awareness, foreknowledge of a loved one’s passing—all of which evade explanation by science and logic. Most people keep these transcendent experiences secret — deathbed experiences, Nearing Death Awareness, and shared death experiences. Individuals and families guard them for fear they will be discounted by hyperrational scrutiny. Yet these very common occurrences have the power to console, comfort, and even transform our understanding of life and death.
Prompted by her family’s surprising, profound experiences around the death of her father and her sister, reporter Patricia Pearson sets out on an open-minded inquiry, a rare journalistic investigation of Nearing Death Awareness. Pearson discovers that roughly half of bereaved people, as well as nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, and others who constantly observe the dying, have had intimations of enduring bonds that can radically help people to process their grief and their fear. Opening Heaven’s Door offers deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them. Pearson also delves into out-of-body and near-death experiences, examining stories and research to make sense of these related but distinct categories that shed light on Nearing Death Awareness.
Countless people experience these coincidences when a loved one dies, while others experience such visions while they are dying themselves. These phenomena point toward a larger spiritual reality, and the reality of life (or something else) after death, yet are ignored in a cultural framework that dismisses anything that cannot be explained by the physical brain. But by dismissing or discounting these occurrences, we hamper our own healing. Challenging current assumptions about what we know and what we are still unable to explain, Opening Heaven’s Door is a groundbreaking, beautifully written exploration that will forever alter your perceptions of the nature of life and death.
Opening Heaven’s Door. Simon & Schuster UK, May 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1471137136
From the publisher’s website: Crimes of Reason brings together expanded and updated versions of some of Braude’s best previously published essays, along with new essays written specifically for this book. Although the essays deal with a variety of topics, they all hover around a set of interrelated general themes. These are: the poverty of mechanistic theories in the behavioural and life sciences, the nature of psychological explanation and (at least within the halls of the Academy) the unappreciated strategies required to understand behaviour, the nature of dissociation, and the nature and limits of human abilities.
Braude’s targets include memory trace theory, inner-cause theories of human behaviour generally, Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields, widespread but simplistic views on the nature of human abilities, multiple personality and moral responsibility, the efficacy of prayer, and the shoddy tactics often used to discredit research on dissociation and parapsychology. Although the topics are often abstract and the issues deep, their treatment in this book is accessible, and the tone of the book is both light and occasionally combative.
Crimes of Reason. Rowman & Littlefield, July 2014. ISBN 978-1-4422-3575-5
From the publisher’s website: Reports of physical mediumship go back centuries, and physical mediums such as D. D. Home, Franek Kluski, Leslie flint, and more latterly, David Thompson, are becoming household names in psychical research. Experiments such as Scole and Professor W. J. Crawford’s Goligher Circle have demonstrated that physical psychic phenomena does indeed exist. One medium not so well known in the West is Australia’s Stan Walsh. Stan was arguably that country’s most talented physical medium during the early part of the 20th century. His mission began in 1919 when he and a group of friends got together in a Melbourne suburb and tried to communicate with the spirit world. In 1927 L.C. Danby joined the circle and became a regular sitter for many years. This book is his account of those years, and the incredible mediumship of Stan Walsh.
Leslie Charles Danby was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1899. At the age of 19, he became an entertainer in vaudeville, appearing in theatres all over Australia and New Zealand. At that time, he was a self-confessed atheist. He married a soubrette (singer/dancer), Winnie. While Winnie was giving birth to their first child, both Winnie and the baby girl died. Les was devastated. Whilst sitting at his young wife’s graveside at St. Kilda cemetery, contemplating what type of headstone to buy, he clearly heard his wife’s voice say, “Don’t bother dear. I am not there.”
This first experience of clairaudience shocked Les. He mentioned it to a trusted friend, who in turn revealed he had started going to a spiritualist circle where the medium went into trance and channelled souls who had passed over, providing the sitters proof of survival. He suggested Les attend the next meeting. To Les’s amazement, Winnie came through, speaking of personal things only he could possibly know. That evening changed Les Danby’s life forever.
The Certainty of Eternity. White Crow Books, June 2014. SBN 978-1-910121-35-1
From the publisher’s website: In this, the first biography and personal memoir of Wolf Messing to appear in the West, Tatiana Lungin limns a revealing portrait of one of the greatest psychic performers of the twentieth century.
Born a Polish Jew near Warsaw, Messing ran away from home at the age of eleven and soon discovered his psychic gifts. Supporting himself by performing mind-reading acts in Berlin theatres, at fourteen Messing was sold by his unscrupulous manager to the famous Busch Circus. In no time Wolf gained an international reputation as the world’s greatest telepath as he toured the capitals of Europe. In Vienna Messing met Albert Einstein who brought him to the apartment of another admirer of his abilities, Sigmund Freud. His touring days ended abruptly in 1937 when, after Messing publicly predicted the downfall of the Third Reich, the Nazis placed a sizable bounty on his head. Summoning all his hypnotic powers, he escaped capture by the Gestapo and fled to Russia.
In the USSR Messing’s displays of telepathy, uncannily accurate predictions, and psychic crime solving gained him a rare celebrity status. While most parapsychologists were forced to conduct psychic research in secrecy, Messing thrilled audiences in packed theatres across the country. His fame was all the more amazing coming as it did in the Marxist society dominated by Joseph Stalin, the man who had officially abolished ESP. Even Stalin himself was intrigued by Wolf’s ability to influence thoughts at a distance, and devised a number of unusual tests of Messing’s powers. The stories of how Messing successfully took on Stalin’s challenges to hypnotically elude his personal security force, and even commit psychic bank robbery, are colourfully related.
As Messing’s long-time friend and confidante, Lungin draws from personal notes, conversations with Wolf, and reports of other eyewitnesses of his performances to chronicle Messing’s incredible life and career. At the same time, she provides an inside look at parapsychology and psychic research behind the Iron Curtain.
Wolf Messing. Glagoslav Publications, May 2014. ISBN: 9781782670964
From the publisher’s website: This groundbreaking – and sure to be controversial – book is a collection of statements about life hereafter as made between 1852 and 2001 by spirits who speak from experience. The editor has examined and reviewed 50 different sources and selected, collated, and critiqued nearly a thousand descriptions that provide a fascinating and enlightening multifaceted picture of the heavenly and hellish realms that face us all when we leave the physical world. Intimate relations truly can be experienced in the hereafter, so be prepared for some intriguing information that you won't find in any other contemporary book.
Astral Intimacy. Momentpoint Media, November 2014. ISBN: 9781503285132
The Spiritualist Movement: Speaking with the Dead in America and around the World, by Christopher M. Moreman (ed.)
From the publisher’s website: At once controversial and intriguing, Spiritualism has spread from the United States to become a global movement. Bringing together perspectives from within the movement and without, this unique collection treats readers to insights about Spiritualism's history, belief, and practice.
Based on the belief that the dead can communicate with the living through mediums, Spiritualism touches concepts as timelessly fascinating as human mortality and the continuing existence of the soul beyond bodily death. This comprehensive work will help readers parse the mysteries of this uniquely American religion through three thematically organized volumes: Spiritualism in the U.S. and Globally, Evidence and Beliefs, and Cultural and Social Issues. Drawing on fields as diverse as psychology, sociology, religious studies, anthropology, history, ethnic and gender studies, literature, and art, this broad-based collection frames Spiritualism through the views of a team of international scholars.
Among the many things that separate Spiritualism from mainstream religions is the involvement of women in central leadership roles. Such cultural and political elements of the movement are one aspect of this study. Of equal interest to believers and sceptics alike will be the work of scholars who have devoted themselves to examining the claim that communication through mediums proves the existence of life after death.
Documents Spiritualism's history as it grew from a small 19th-century movement in upstate New York to a global presence
Takes an interdisciplinary approach that includes psychical research, as well as more traditional fields
Discusses human experiences that have been documented across cultures and throughout history
Explores the Spiritualist movement in nations as diverse as Italy, France, Australia, Germany, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States
The Spiritualist Movement. ABC-CLIO, August 2013. ISBN: 978-0-313-39947-3
From an article by Stewart Alexander in Psychic World, November 2014, p.9: ‘In the 1990’s I was, for some years, the Archives officer and, for a while, the President of the now defunct Noah’s Ark Society for Physical Mediumship. Prior to that, over a period of several years, I had been most fortunate to meet, on a number of occasions, elderly Spiritualists who some years earlier had sat with legendary Physical Mediums. Unfortunately for us, by then we could only read about these amazing people. However, when relating to me their experiences it was almost as if they were telling of séances which they had attended the previous night as against 10/20/30/40 and in one case, 50 years earlier. Such had been the impression made upon them by what they had witnessed that those séances had been indelibly stamped into their memories. Always, as I listened, it had invariably struck me that I was as close to living history as it was possible to be.
When, therefore, I became the Society’s Archives Officer, I determined to appeal to such people to come forward – to make contact with me and arrange to leave on record audio recordings of those wonderful inspiring sittings that, in past years, they had been privileged to attend. Now, no matter how harsh this may seem, the fact is that one by one our forebears were leaving this earth and taking with them their recollections and one by one their experiences – their stories – were being lost to our movement.
So, in an effort to address that situation and catch them whilst there was yet time, I placed, on behalf of the Society, an advertisement in its monthly Newsletter and in various Spiritualist publications inviting and imploring them to send in their invaluable accounts. Pleasingly many responded and eventually I was to select a number of them which I grouped together on to a single cassette and this was subsequently marketed by the N.A.S. for its members and understandably proved to be extremely popular. However, with the later collapse of the Society that single cassette was to be the only one produced with the result that so many voices from the past were for many years to remain silent and unheard upon my library shelves.
Then, one day, two years ago, I was working at my computer when my eyes fell upon those cassettes and suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, it struck me that I had been guilty of failing to fulfil the wishes of all those contributors. Inadvertently, I had been singularly responsible for failing in my duty to them to keep their inspiring memories alive. …
Enter Lew Sutton (friend of many years) who, with the necessary equipment, graciously volunteered to take on the project of transferring all the cassettes on to CD and, in the process, clean up the sound quality which, on some of the tapes, was far from good. Anyway, it was when Lew was working on the old Ark compilation cassette that he telephoned to say that unfortunately the final accounts would not fit onto the one CD and in consequence they would have to be carried over onto a second one. Instantly, it then occurred to us both, that if we made a further selection of accounts to follow on beyond the Ark recording we could fill up the second CD and perhaps issue and make available to anyone interested in Physical Mediumship a double CD album.
Now – following months of work … the project has at last been completed. … To the best of my knowledge, with the single exception of that Ark cassette, I know of no other such multiple recording within or outside of our Movement. I therefore believe that not only is this present album historic but it is also unique and it is my absolute intention to make it widely available both in this country and abroad. I believe it to be ‘that important’!
From the publisher’s website: Contemporary parapsychology tends to be preoccupied with ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition) and psychokinesis. In contrast, this cutting-edge anthology assembles an international team of experts from the fields of psychology, parapsychology, philosophy, anthropology and neuroscience to examine critically what is referred to as the survival hypothesis: the tentative statement or prediction that some aspect of our personhood (e.g., consciousness) persists subsequent to the death of the physical body.
The appraisal of the survival hypothesis will be restricted to the phenomenon of mediumship; that is, humans who ostensibly communicate with the deceased. The book has been divided into four main sections: Explanation and Belief; Culture, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy; Empirical Approaches; The Present and Future. The issue of postmortem survival is supremely relevant to us all because the human encounter with death is, of course, a certainty.
About the Author:
Adam J. Rock is a lecturer at the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. His primary research interests are in the area of altered states of consciousness, mainly focused on shamanism, the conceptual problem of consciousness, and mediumship.
Table of Contents:
Foreword by Lance Storm 1
Introduction: The Medium and the Message (Adam J. Rock) 7
Part 1: Explanation and Belief
The Possibility of Mediumship: Philosophical Considerations (Stephen E. Braude) 21
Is Postmortem Survival the Best Explanation of the Data of Mediumship? (Michael Sudduth) 40
Non-Parapsychological Explanations of Ostensible Mediumship (Chris A. Roe and Elizabeth C. Roxburgh) 65
A Skeptic’s View of Mediumship (Krissy Wilson) 79
The Psychology of Belief in Discarnate Communication (Tony Jinks) 90
Part 2: Culture, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
Cultural Aspects of Personality, Beliefs and Attentional Strategies in Mediumship (Joan H. Hageman and Stanley Krippner) 107
Shamanism and Mediumship: Confluence and Difference (Rafael G. Locke, Adam J. Rock and Roger N. Walsh) 122
Communication with Gods and Spirits in East and Southeast Asia (Christopher C. Cott) 135
Mediumship and Psychopathology (Jacob Kaminker) 146
Mediumship and Psychotherapy (Rafael G. Locke) 160
Part 3: Empirical Approaches
Advances in Quantitative Mediumship Research (Julie Beischel) 177
A Review of Qualitative Mediumship Research (Kylie Harris and Carlos S. Alvarado) 196
A Mixed Methods Approach to Mediumship Research (Elizabeth C. Roxburgh and Chris A. Roe) 220
A Systems Level Neuroscience Approach to Mediumship and the Source-of-Psi Problem (Graham A. Jamieson and Adam J. Rock) 235
Neuroscience of Trance and Mediumship (Julio F. P. Peres, Alexander Moreira-Almeida and Leonardo Caixeta) 254
Part 4: The Present and the Future
Mediumship and Its Place Within Parapsychology (Julie Beischel, Mark Boccuzzi and Edwin C. May) 275
The Future of the Field of Mediumship (Carlos S. Alvarado; Julie Beischel, Mark Boccuzzi and Edwin C. May; Stephen E. Braude; Joan H. Hageman and Stanley Krippner; Kylie Harris; Tony Jinks; Jacob Kaminker; Rafael G. Locke; Julio F. P. Peres; Adam J. Rock and Graham A. Jamieson; Elizabeth C. Roxburgh and Chris A. Roe; Michael Sudduth; Krissy Wilson) 285
About the Contributors 303
The Survival Hypothesis. McFarland, April 2014. ISBN: 978-0-7864-7220-8 (print) ISBN: 978-1-4766-1442-7 (ebook)
From the publisher’s website: A Rollicking Assault on Science's Inability to Answer Life's Most Important Questions
Alex Tsakiris has interviewed many bestselling authors and dozens of world-class academics on his popular science podcast Skeptiko.com. In this book he shares with us what he's learned through his 200 plus interviews with some of the world’s leading consciousness researchers and thinkers. In doing so, he reveals what the best research is saying about 'big picture' science questions and the limits of science in general. What's he's learned, in short, is that science-as-we-know-it is an emperor-with-no-clothes-on proposition. It mesmerizes us with flashy trinkets, while failing at its core mission of leading us toward self-discovery. Science is wrong about almost everything because science depends on our consciousness being an illusion—and it’s not!
About the Author: ALEX TSAKIRIS is a successful entrepreneur turned science podcaster. In 2007 he founded Skeptiko.com, which has become the #1 podcast covering the science of human consciousness. Alex has appeared on syndicated radio talk shows both in the US and the UK. He lives in Del Mar, California. Visit the author's website at whyscienceiswrong.com.
Why Science is Wrong. Anomalist Books, November 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1938398315
From the publisher’s website: How does it feel to live in a ‘haunted home’? How do people negotiate their everyday lives with the experience of uncanny, anomalous or strange events within the domestic interior? What do such experiences reveal of the intersection between the material, immaterial and temporal within the home? How do people interpret, share and narrate experiences which are uncertain and unpredictable? What does this reveal about contested beliefs and different forms of knowledge? And about how people ‘co-habit’ with ghosts, a distinctive self - other relationship within such close quarters?
This book sets out to explore these questions. It applies a non-reductive middle-ground approach which steers beyond an uncritical exploration of supernatural experiences without explaining them away by recourse only to wider social and cultural contexts. The book attends to the ways in which households in England and Wales understand their experience of haunting in relation to ideas of subjectivity, gender, materiality, memory, knowledge and belief. It explores home as a place both dynamic and differentiated, illuminating the complexity of ‘everyday’ experience - the familiarity of the strange as well as the strangeness of the familiar - and the ways in which home continues to be configured as a distinctive space.
Contents: Approaching the ghost. Part I Spaces and Times of the Haunted Home: The material uncanny; The temporalities of the haunted home. Part II Strategies of Cohabitation: Embodying, domesticating, gendering the ghost; Strategies of distance and communication. Part III Belief, Knowledge and Experience: Knowledge and uncertainty; Belief, evidence and experience; Conclusion: the liminal home/self; Appendix: the households; References; Index.
About the Author: Dr Caron Lipman is Research Fellow at the School of Geography, University of London, UK.
Co-habiting with Ghosts. Ashgate, March 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4094-6772-4
From the publisher’s website: Pseudoscience and Deception is a compilation of some of the most eye-opening sceptical articles pertaining to extraordinary claims and pseudoscience. The articles explore paranormal, extraordinary, or fringe-science claims and reveal logical explanations or outline the deceptive tactics involved in convincing the vulnerable. Topics include claims of astrology, psychic ability, alternative medicine, after-death communication, psychotherapy, and pseudoscience. The contributors to this book are among the most accomplished critical thinkers, scientists, and educators in the world and tackle their respective topics from a rational, logical, and sceptical perspective. Most students are seldom excited to study “critical thinking”—with the exception of allegedly paranormal phenomena as the subject matter. Educators must seize this golden opportunity to witness and experience students’ genuine engagement in studying critical thinking.
Bryan Farha is professor of behavioural studies in education at Oklahoma City University. He received a doctor of education degree in counselling psychology from the University of Tulsa. A scientific and technical consultant to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), his work in combating deception has been recognized by CNN, TIME.com, The National Geographic Channel, and A&E.
Pseudoscience and Deception. University Press of America, December 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0761862925
From the publisher’s website: Discover how psychic you really are with this comprehensive and practical guide to developing and honing your psychic skills. The Everyday Psychic shows you how to harness your natural psychic abilities and experiment with psychic tools to get answers, guide your decisions, and enrich your life.
For the curious seeker as well as the skilled practitioner, The Everyday Psychic offers techniques, tips, and tools designed to awaken, refresh, and sharpen one’s natural psychic gifts by:
Activating Your Psychic Gifts
Becoming More Intuitive
Remembering Your Dreams
Tools and Techniques for Accessing the Subconscious
Karen Harrison has helped many thousands of people awaken their psychic selves and improve their daily lives. Now she offers that in this book.
The Everyday Psychic. Weiser Books, January 2013. ISBN: 9781578635290