In 1951, a young hospital doctor treated a patient suffering from a rare and debilitating skin disease - thought to be incurable - with a single session of hypnosis, unaware that he was about to make medical history. The case caused a sensation. Doctors described it as ‘unprecedented and inexplicable’ and ‘a challenge to current concepts of the relation between mind and body’.
Like many, author Guy Lyon Playfair wondered how on earth the hypnotist did it, and unlike many he was determined to find out. In this lively, provocative and meticulously researched book he attempts to meet that challenge and explain the ‘miraculous’ cure that was fully documented in the British Medical Journal, with its unexpected aftermath, and to open up the whole subject of the role played by the mind in the healing process.
More than two centuries since Mesmer and his pupil the Marquis de Puységur introduced an ancient healing technique into Western medicine, the question of what happens to a person under hypnosis remains to be fully explained. Yet, seemingly unaware of it, the medical profession already has the key to a technique of incalculable potential benefit, the true nature of which it still seems reluctant to face.
Playfair maintains that the unspoken transfer of information between one living being and another, and the ability of the mind to move matter without the use of physical force are important but neglected aspects of the art of healing. Far from being occult superstitions or mere speculations, such natural abilities have been shown repeatedly – in life and laboratory – to be matters of fact. Their suppression in Western society can no longer be justified medically. Nor should the practice of hypnosis be confined, as it tends to be in medical practice, merely to the treatment of minor psychosomatic complaints.
Playfair draws on a wide range of source material, much of it hitherto buried in orthodox medical and specialist literature, to show that it is neglect, rather than lack of knowledge, that is preventing the widespread use of an inexpensive and natural healing process, the full potential of which has yet to be explored.
If This Be Magic is as topical today as it was when it was first published in 1985.
If This be Magic. July 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1907661846
A lively collection of ghost stories from the seventeenth century to the present.
Britain is full of ghostly stories – from the wraith of John Donne’s wife to the Cock Lane poltergeist. Gillian Bennett has collected together the 100 best tales told to frighten and enthral over the last four centuries. Famous hauntings and familiar legends are combined with unusual and long-lost accounts of apparitions, boggarts, black dogs and ‘unhappy houses’ in this new collection.
The 100 Best British Ghost Stories. Amberley Publishing, August 2012. ISBN 9781445606941
From the publisher’s website: When The Flying Cow was first published in 1975, it revealed a world of psychic wonders in Brazil hitherto barely explored by outsiders. Author Guy Lyon Playfair had spent two years as a member of the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research (IBPP), the first group of its kind to investigate and document the wide range of inexplicable phenomena – from poltergeists and psychic surgeons to trance artists and children who recall previous lives.
He spent several days and nights in a poltergeist-haunted house, managing to record several inexplicable happenings on tape. He watched as a young man untrained in art dashed off a series of portraits in the styles of numerous deceased masters, some in a matter of seconds. He witnessed some of the country’s unorthodox healers at work, and saw them open bodies with their bare hands, eventually finding out for himself how it feels to be on the receiving end of this most bizarre form of alternative surgery.
He also looked into some of the best known cases from the past, collecting new eye-witness evidence for the mysterious abilities of such legendary figures as Arigó, the ‘surgeon of the rusty knife’, colourful and controversial mediums such as Carlos Mirabelli, Peixotinho and Otilia Diogo. He even obtained an account of the rarest of all psychic phenomena – materialisation – from a chief of police.
The Flying Cow was followed by its sequel The Indefinite Boundary in 1976. Material from the latter has been included in this edition, making it the most comprehensive survey available of the paranormal world of Brazil.
The author gave up a secure and lucrative career as freelance journalist and translator to explore that world, and in this book, fully revised and updated, he describes what he found there. Much of it is as surprising today as it was when it was first published.
GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The Economist, Time, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Telepathy – the Twin Connection. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.
The Flying Cow. White Crow Books, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1907661945
Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness, by Chris Carter
From the publisher’s website: Reveals the evidence of life beyond death; examines 125 years of scientific research into reincarnation, apparitions, and communication with the dead showing these phenomena are real; reveals the existence of higher planes of consciousness where the souls of the dead can choose to advance or manifest once again on Earth; explains how these findings have been ignored and denied because they are incompatible with materialist doctrines
In this book, Chris Carter shows that evidence of life beyond death exists and has been around for millennia, predating any organized religion. Focusing on three key phenomena--reincarnation, apparitions, and communications from the dead--Carter reveals 125 years of documented scientific studies by independent researchers and the British and American Societies for Psychical Research that rule out hoaxes, fraud, and hallucinations and prove these afterlife phenomena are real.
The author examines historic and modern accounts of detailed past-life memories, visits from the deceased, and communications with the dead via medium and automatic writing as well as the scientific methods used to confirm these experiences. He explains how these findings on the afterlife have been ignored and denied because they are incompatible with the prevailing doctrine of materialism. Sharing messages from the dead themselves describing the afterlife, Carter reveals how consciousness exists outside the parameters of biological evolution and emerges through the medium of the brain to use the physical world as a springboard for growth. After death, souls can advance to higher planes of consciousness or manifest once again on Earth. Carter’s rigorous argument proves--beyond any reasonable doubt--not only that consciousness survives death and continues in the afterlife, but that it precedes birth as well.
About the Author: Chris Carter received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Oxford. The author of Science and the Near-Death Experience and Science and Psychic Phenomena, he is originally from Canada and currently teaches internationally.
Science and the Afterlife Experience. Inner Traditions, August 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1594774522
From the publisher’s website:
Ghosts & Gallows: Murder and ghosts go hand-in-hand and vengeful spectres seeking justice or haunting the scene of the crime or their killers have adorned the pages of literature since before Shakespeare.
This chilling collection of true-crime tales dating from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day all feature some element of the paranormal. Gathered from across the UK, cases include the discovery of a body by a spiritualist medium, a murder solved by a dream of the mother of the victim, and evidence at a Scottish murder trial provided by the ghost of the victim herself. Featuring visions, psychometry, ghosts, haunted prisons, possessions, and spiritualist detectives, this book is a fascinating look at criminology and ghost hunting.
Paranormal historian Paul Adams has opened the case files of both the criminologist and the ghost hunter to compile a unique collection of crime from British history. No true-crime bookshelf is complete without Ghosts & Gallows.
Paranormal Luton and Dunstable: The paranormal histories of Luton and Dunstable are brought vividly to life in this, the first dedicated guide to the haunted and mysterious sites of these two unassuming Bedfordshire towns.
Paranormal historian Paul Adams opens case files both ancient and modern to compile a chilling collection of supernatural experiences, ranging from apparitions on lonely Galley Hill and the phantom Dunstable hitch-hiker to the haunted corridors of the doomed Alma Theatre and the ghostly knights of Someries Castle. Richly illustrated and full of first-hand accounts, it will fascinate anyone with an interest in the unexplained.
Paul Adams has been interested in ghosts and the paranormal since around the age of eight. He studied the Borley Rectory case for many years, and co-authored the definitive study, The Borley Rectory Companion, with Peter Underwood and Ed Brazil in 2009. He lives in Limbury, Luton.
The History Press, Ghosts and Gallows July 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0752463391; Haunted Luton August 2012, ISBN-13: 978-0752465487
Seriously Strange: Thinking Anew about Psychical Experiences, by Sudhir Kakar and Jeffrey J. Kripal (eds.)
From the publisher’s website: This book sheds light on some of the most baffling paranormal experiences. It maps the mind-bending geography of the human psyche and the spectrum of experiences that influence it. The book features accessibly written essays by the most eminent scholars in a field constantly sullied by frauds and dismissed by sceptics. The paranormal has exerted a strange fascination over humankind for centuries. In Seriously Strange, the second volume in the Boundaries of Consciousness series edited by Sudhir Kakar and Jeffrey D. Kripal, a group of nine intellectuals come together to shed light on some of the most baffling experiences on record of psychical experiences. Through these illuminating essays, they tell us how such extraordinary events can be decoded and interpreted to become the object of rigorous scientific study.
The range is wide: from essays that reveal how Freud and Jung engaged with the notion of the paranormal to a provocative and humorous memoir of a physicist who spent over a decade running a secret psychic spying programme for the US government during the Cold War (Edwin C May ran a secret psychic spying programme, known as Star Gate, for the US government. He recounts the project’s successes, as he sees them. May is perhaps the world’s only person who has enjoyed a 20-year, full-time job with industrial wages plus health and retirement benefits in which his only responsibility was Extra Sensory Perception [ESP] research and its applications). There are also heartfelt accounts by practising psychiatrists who recount the dramatic effects of the anomalous in their healing practice to a learned call for the renewal of professional parapsychology in the light of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras. By telling their own stories and exploring some of the implications of their work, these men and women throw light on the spectrum of experiences such as love and death, desire and sex, hurt and healing, myth and magic that influence the human psyche. By telling their own stories and exploring some of the implications of their work, these men and women map the mind-bending geography of the human psyche and the spectrum of experiences, love and death, desire and sex, hurt and healing, myth and magic, that influence it.
Seriously Strange. Viking, July 2012. ISBN 9780670084654
Witnesses to the Unsolved: Prominent Psychic Detectives and Mediums Explore our most Haunting Mysteries, by Edward Olshaker
From the publisher’s website: A cross between Medium and Unsolved Mysteries, this award-winning book is now available in paperback for the first time…
In Witnesses to the Unsolved, author Edward Olshaker turns to some of the world’s most accomplished psychic detectives and mediums in a quest for the missing pieces to some of our most puzzling mysteries, including the cases of:
-- Martin Luther King, Jr., whose assassination is still an open case after a Memphis trial and a federal investigation reached opposite conclusions in 1999 and 2000.
-- Vincent Foster, the White House deputy counsel found shot to death in 1993. Three-quarters of Americans polled in 2000 did not believe the official ruling of suicide.
-- Kurt Cobain, the voice of his generation whose death by shotgun triggered scores of “copycat suicides” worldwide, even though America’s leading forensic pathologist maintains that the rock icon, with triple the lethal dose of heroin in his body, could not have shot himself.
Also explored are the mysteries surrounding the death of Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, the bizarre fate of former CIA chief William Colby, and much more.
The highly regarded cast of police psychics includes Nancy Myer, investigator of hundreds of homicides in North America and overseas; Robert Cracknell, who was labelled “Britain’s number one psychic detective” when he provided accurate information to investigators of the Yorkshire Ripper serial murders and other high-profile crimes; and Bertie Catchings, named “best psychic in Texas” in The Book of Texas Bests. Prominent mediums Betty Muench, Janet Cyford, and Philip Solomon provide further illumination, along with dramatic evidence of life after death.
Witnesses to the Unsolved. Anomalist Books, April 2012. ISBN: 1933665599
From the publisher’s website: “Mark Edward is an equivocator, fibber, and mountebank. Which begs the question: if a liar admits to lying, can he be telling the truth? He is a literate, informative, intellectual, a student of the psychology of humans, a foe of those who would defraud the public for personal gain, and as an author and practicing psychic, he is first and foremost an entertainer.”—Joel Moskowitz, International Brotherhood of Magicians
Mark Edward confesses that for years he exploited believers who wished to connect with supernatural ideas and sad family members who missed dead loved ones.
Edward is a professional mentalist who has worked the Magic Castle in Hollywood for over thirty years and is also on the Editorial Board of Skeptic magazine, where he has worked with other critical thinkers to reveal the methods of psychic scamsters. This entertaining book is at once confessional and instructional regarding human belief and those who exploit it. Edward believes that most practitioners of the psychic business are out-and-out scam artists, and that the common need to believe in things supernatural is merely a part of human nature.
Psychic Blues. Feral House, August 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1936239276
From the publisher’s website: In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.
But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.
A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.
Mutants and Mystics. University of Chicago Press, October 2011.ISBN-13: 978-0226453835
Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives, by Mario Beauregard
From the publisher’s website: Acclaimed neuroscientist Mario Beauregard reveals compelling new evidence set to provoke a major shift in our understanding of the mind-body debate: research showing that the mind and consciousness are transmitted and filtered through the brain—but are not generated by it. Following his boundary-breaking neuroscience book The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul, co-authored with Denyse O’Leary, Brain Wars makes a powerful and provocative case against the widely held view equating human beings to complex biological computers. Like Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Beauregard believes that consciousness is more than simply a physical process that takes place in the brain. And here, he presents the evidence to prove it. Brain Wars will revolutionize the way we think about thinking forever.
Is the brain "a computer made of meat," and human consciousness a simple product of electrical impulses? The idea that matter is all that exists has dominated science since the late nineteenth century and led to the long-standing scientific and popular understanding of the brain as simply a collection of neurons and neural activity. But for acclaimed neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, Ph.D., along with a rising number of colleagues and others, this materialist-based view clashes with what we feel and experience every day.
In Brain Wars, Dr. Beauregard delivers a paradigm-shifting examination of the role of the brain and mind. Filled with engaging, surprising, and cutting-edge scientific accounts, this eye-opening book makes the increasingly indisputable case that our immaterial minds influence what happens in our brains, our bodies, and even beyond our bodies. Examining the hard science behind "unexplained" phenomena such as the placebo effect, self-healing, brain control, meditation, hypnosis, and near-death and mystical experiences, Dr. Beauregard reveals the mind's capabilities and explores new answers to age-old mind-body questions.
Radically shifting our comprehension of the role of consciousness in the universe, Brain Wars forces us to consider the immense untapped power of the mind and explore the profound social, moral, and spiritual implications that this new understanding holds for our future.
Brain Wars. HarperOne, April 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0062071569
Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W T Stead, Britain’s First Investigative Journalist, by W Sydney Robinson
From the publisher’s website: A major work by a brilliant young biographer, Muckraker details the tenacity and verve of one of Victorian Britain’s most compelling characters. Credited with pioneering investigative reporting, W. T. Stead made a career of ‘muckraking’: revealing horrific practices in the hope of shocking authorities into reform. As the editor of the Northern Echo, he won the admiration of the Liberal statesman William Gladstone for his fierce denunciation of the Conservative government; at the helm of London’s most influential evening paper, the Pall Mall Gazette, he launched the career-defining ‘Maiden Tribute’ campaign. To expose the scandal of child prostitution, Stead abducted thirteen-year-old Eliza Armstrong (thought by many to be the inspiration behind Eliza Doolittle, from friend George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion), thrusting him into a life of notoriety.
Labelled a madman in later life for dabbling in the occult, W. T. Stead conducted his life with an invincible zeal right up until his tragic demise aboard the Titanic. Revealing a man full of curious eccentricities, W. Sydney Robinson charts the remarkable rise and fall of a true Fleet Street legend in this enthralling biography
Muckraker. The Robson Press, May 2012. ISBN13: 978-1849542944
From the authors: The idea contained within this book is that what humankind calls ghosts or spectres are in fact a manifestation of a fundamental aspect of nature that is for the most part very much hidden from our everyday viewpoint, but that is perfectly explicable in itself. Indeed once the mechanisms are understood there is nothing very mystical or very mysterious about these phenomena. In order to demonstrate this fact the book contains some 500 digital camera images that show certain patterns which provide pictorial evidence for the intellectual ideas which are described in the text. These images, (that we happen to call para-pics, a shortened version of paranormal pictures), have been captured by a life-long psychic (TL) using certain specialised techniques.
Ghosts are Real. AuthorHouse, July 2012. ISBN 9781468582208
From the publisher’s website: From the most ancient times, people have experienced apparent contact with spirits of the dead. Some have awakened to see a ghost at their bedside or encountered a spectral figure gliding through a medieval castle. Others have seemingly communicated with spirits, like the Old Testament’s Witch of Endor, the spiritualists whose darkroom séances provoked scientific controversy in the last two centuries, or today’s “psychic mediums,” like John Edward or Sylvia Browne, who seem to reach the “Other Side” even under the glare of television lights. Currently, equipment-laden ghost hunters stalk their quarry in haunted places—from urban houses to country graveyards—recording “anomalies” they insist cannot be explained.
Putting aside purely romantic tales, The Science of Ghosts examines the actual evidence for such contact—from eyewitness accounts to mediumistic productions (such as diaphanous forms materializing in dim light), spirit photographs, ghost-detection phenomena, and even CSI-type trace evidence.
Offering numerous exciting case studies, The Science of Ghosts engages in serious investigation rather than breathless mystifying. Pseudoscience, folk legends, and outright hoaxes are challenged and exposed, while the historical, cultural, and scientific aspects of ghost experiences and haunting reports are carefully explored. The author—the world’s only professional paranormal investigator—brings his skills as a stage magician, private detective, folklorist, and forensic science writer to bear on a topic that demands serious study.
Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places, only haunted people, or both? And how can we know? Taking neither a credulous nor a dismissive approach, this first-of-its-kind book solves those perplexing mysteries and more—even answering the question of why we care so very much.
The Science of Ghosts. Prometheus Books, June 2012. ISBN: 978-1-61614-585-9
Paranormal Cambridgeshire, by Damien O'Dell: What gives Cambridge such a special place in the study of the paranormal? One of the most significant factors is that the Society for Psychical Research originated here. The SPR is Britain’s leading organisation for research into the paranormal. The Society was founded in 1882 and its first President was Henry Sidgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Trinity College. Sidgwick’s principal colleagues in the SPR were Frederic William Henry Myers and Edmund Gurney, other Fellows of Trinity. Another factor is that Cambridge University itself is an extremely haunted location with phenomena reported from any number of colleges including Girton, Sidney Sussex, Emmanuel, Corpus Christi and Peterhouse. Cambridge is also home to Abbey House, which, at one time was regarded as the most haunted house in England, long before Essex’s Borley Rectory claimed that particular accolade.
‘Fenland’, that vast area of reclaimed marshland in Cambridgeshire, is a most mysterious corner of England. Ely Cathedral is notorious for its ghostly monks and Oliver Cromwell’s former home in Ely has regularly featured in the press with its stories of the unexplained. Wicken Fen is well known – for its spectral black dog. Wisbech, capital of the Fens, has featured in a well-documented investigation into poltergeist activity, at Hannath Hall. Peterborough Museum continues to fascinate paranormal researchers and it is thought by some to be the most active contemporary haunted site in the entire county. UFO sightings and crop circles are other phenomena regularly reported from Cambridgeshire. I consider it one of the U.K’s busiest areas for paranormal activity.
Haunted Peterborough, by Stuart Orme: Peterborough has a rich and fascinating history, stretching back 3,500 years to the Bronze Age. The city is a vibrant place with a new town surrounding an ancient town centre, still dominated by its Norman cathedral. But the city has a sinister and spooky side…
Written by the creator and guide of the city's popular ghost walks, discover the spooky side of Peterborough's past. Uncover the eerie secrets of the city, from apparitions of monks to ghostly children; from a slaughtered Cavalier to a phantom lorry. This book explores many of the city's historic buildings and their ghost stories, including Peterborough Cathedral precincts. It also covers in print, for the first time, detailed accounts of the spectres, stories and sightings at Peterborough Museum, one of Britain's most paranormally active buildings.
Paranormal Cambridgeshire. Amberley Publishing, November 2011. ISBN 9781848681385; Haunted Peterborough. The History Press, June 2012. ISBN: 9780752476544
Paranthropology: Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal: Second Anniversary Anthology, by Jack Hunter (ed.)
From the publisher’s website:
Foreword - Robert Van de Castle
Introduction - Anthropology and the Paranormal - Jack Hunter
Chapter 1 - The Anthropology of the Possible: The Ethnographer as Sceptical Enquirer - Lee Wilson
Chapter 2 - Reflecting on Paranthropology - Mark A. Schroll
Chapter 3 - Transpersonal Anthropology: What is it, and What are the Problems we Face in Doing it? - Charles D. Laughlin
Chapter 4 - Devising Methods for the Ethnographic Study of the Afterlife: Cognition, Empathy and Engagement - Fiona Bowie
Chapter 5 - Anthropology, Evolution and Anomalous Experience - James McClenon
Chapter 6 - Money God Cults in Taiwan: A Paranthropological Approach - Fabian Graham
Chapter 7 - The Effect of Meditation Attainment on Psychic Awareness: Research With Yogis and Tibetan Buddhists - Serena Roney-Dougal
Chapter 8 - Dreams and Telepathic Communication - David E. Young
Chapter 9 - Experiential Reclamation and First-Person Parapsychology - David Luke
Afterword - Paradigms and Methodologies for Anomalous Research - Michael Winkelman
Paranthropology. ISBN: 9781471653797 See http://paranthropologyjournal.weebly.com/anthology.html