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The Heyday of Mental Mediumship: 1880s – 1930s: Investigators, Mediums and Communicators, by Alan Gauld

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 9781786771858
Publish Date: May, 2022
Cover of The Heyday of Mental Mediumship

From the publisher's website: There have been important mediums and researchers throughout the history of psychical research in many parts of the world, but the period from the 1880s to the 1930s saw a coming together of outstanding scientific minds in Europe and the USA who probed the phenomena of mental mediumship with a diligence, intellectual discipline and degree of enthusiasm not encountered on such a scale before or since. This period saw the establishment of the Society for Psychical Research in Britain (1882), followed swiftly by the American Society for Psychical Research (1884), which resulted in close collaboration between people who, apart from their intellects, also had the financial means and the time to devote to the subject.

In this book Alan Gauld, whose works on mediumship, psychical research and psychic phenomena have become classics in the genre, offers important insights into aspects of the early days of mediumship research that over the years have largely gone off the radar. Here we see the great names of psychical research as real people in personal relationships, and we learn about the informal beginnings of serious investigations and explore their cultural context.

The Heyday of Mental Mediumship is destined to become Gauld’s magnum opus.

Further information on the publisher's website: White Crow Books

The Medium and the Minister: Who on Earth Knows about the Afterlife?, by Roger Straughan

Publication Details: 6th Books, ISBN: 9781789048803
Publish Date: April, 2022
Cover of The Medium and the Minister

From the publisher's website: You don't have to 'be religious' to believe there may be a life after death!

The Medium and the Minister explores psychical and religious approaches to the possibility of an afterlife. The tensions and conflicts between these two approaches and the heated controversies they have generated are illustrated by a number of case studies. These focus on the challenges posed by psychical research and spiritualism to orthodox religion as the ultimate authority for information and teaching about the afterlife. Prominence is given initially to the campaigns of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sir Oliver Lodge which aimed to publicise the psychical evidence and to the Church’s reaction to them. Later developments and initiatives to try to reconcile the opposing positions are then examined in the light of further psychical research. The issues raised are shown to be still highly relevant to current beliefs and attitudes and to the question of what might constitute evidence for life after death.

Further information at the publisher's website: 6th Books.

Making Sense of the Paranormal: The Interactional Construction of Unexplained Experiences, by Rachael Ironside and Robin Wooffitt

Publication Details: 2022, Palgrave Macmillan
Publish Date: January, 2022
Cover of Making Sense of the Paranormal

This book is a study of how people collaboratively interpret events or experiences as having paranormal features, or as evidence of spiritual agency. The authors study recordings of paranormal research groups as they conduct real life investigations into allegedly haunted spaces and the analyses describe how, through their talk and embodied actions, participants collaboratively negotiate the paranormal status of the events they experience. By drawing on the study of the social organisation in everyday interaction, they show how paranormal interpretations may be proposed, contested and negotiated through conversational and embodied practices of the group. 

The book contributes to the sociology of anomalous experience, and explores its relevance  to other social science topics such as dark tourism, participation in religious spaces and practices, and the attribution of agency. This book will therefore be of interest to academics and postgraduate researchers of language and social interaction; discourse and communication, cultural studies; social psychology, sociology of religious experience; parapsychology, communication and psychotherapy.

Further information about the book here: Springer

Telepathy, Clairvoyance and Precognition: A Re-Evaluation of Some Fascinating Case Studies, by Robert A. Charman

Publication Details: Independently published, ISBN: 9798407031956
Publish Date: January, 2022
Cover of Telepathy, Clairvoyance and Precognition

From the back cover: Have you ever read about a telepathic experience and wondered if it was true? Or heard about a fulfilled premonition and wondered if your future already exists? This unique book explores these questions through a rigorous re-examination of many cases of claimed telepathic, clairvoyant, and precognitive experiences, known collectively as Extrasensory Perception (ESP). The author finds non-ESP explanations for some famous cases, including three that are unlikely to have happened at all. However, there are many other cases where there seems to be no alternative but to accept ESP as a working hypothesis.

What conclusions will you reach about the fascinating cases re-examined in this book? Did Mark Twain foresee in a dream the body of his brother in a metal coffin six weeks before his brother died? What about the Chaffin Will case where a jury accepted post-mortem communication as legal evidence of a second Will? Did the deceased C.S. Lewis visit Canon Philips as an apparition? How is it possible that a stolen harp was found through map dowsing from 1800 miles away? Every case examined is full of unexpected twists and turns.

Beyond Death: The Best Evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness, by Sharon Rawlette

Publication Details: Sharon Hewitt Rawlette, ISBN: 9781733995740
Publish Date: December, 2021
Cover of Beyond Death: The Best Evidence for the Survival of Human Consciousness

From the back cover: Does consciousness continue after death? For 150 years, scientists, doctors, and other highly qualified investigators have carefully collected evidence in hopes of answering this question. In this award-winning essay, Sharon Hewitt Rawlette analyzes the best of that evidence to date.

Starting with third-person phenomena such as after-death apparitions, mediumship, and telephone calls from the dead and moving on to first-person phenomena like near-death experiences, memories of previous lives, and memories of the period between lives, Rawlette lays out the vast landscape of evidence for life beyond the grave. She argues that extensive cross-validation between first- and third-person evidence cripples the strongest skeptical arguments brought against each type considered alone. Ultimately, she concludes that the survival of consciousness is the best explanation for the evidence taken as a whole and considers what implications this has for our understanding of the world we live in, even while we are still on this side of death.

Wales' Unknown Hero: Soldier, Spy, Monk: The Life of Henry Coombe-Tennant, MC, of Neath, by Bernard Lewis

Publication Details: Y Lolfa, ISBN: 9781912631339.
Publish Date: December, 2021
Cover of Wales' Unknown Hero: Soldier, Spy, Monk

From the publisher's website: The astonishing story of Henry Coombe-Tennant (1913–89), who served in the British Army in World War II, escaping from a POW camp, joining Special Forces and aiding the French Resistance, before working for the British Secret Service in Baghdad and ending his days as a Benedictine monk!

Review by Trevor Hamilton

Curses, Coincidences & Malign Influence: A Parapsychological Perspective, by Peter McCue

Publication Details: Arima Publishing, ISBN: 9781845497941
Publish Date: November, 2021
Cover of Curses, Coincidences & Malign Influence: A Parapsychological Perspective

From the back cover: When strange things happen to people, or when they experience bad luck, they may come to believe that they've been cursed. In this well-researched and well-referenced book, Dr Peter McCue looks at curses or alleged curses from an evidential and parapsychological perspective. He also examines what appear to be strange coincidences. He presents a wide array of cases, and asks how strange coincidences arise and how curses might work.

Spiritual Messages: Actual experiences of those who have 'heard a voice', drastically changing their lives, by Rod Julian

Publication Details: Extra Sense Publishing, ISBN: 9780645211603
Publish Date: November, 2021
Cover of Spiritual Messages

From the back cover: A sailor, a pilot, a film director, a plumber, a mother, a teenage girl - all heard a mysterious voice. At a critical moment in their lives, they received distinct instructions or a serious warning. In every case the spiritual message was totally unexpected. The impact on the person involved is seen to be profound and life-changing. In different countries, at different points in history, these are the stories of lives being saved and journeys made to discover how "the voice" is possible.

Review by Ciaran Farrell.

The First Ghosts: A rich history of ancient ghosts and ghost stories from the British Museum curator, by Irving Finkel

Publication Details: Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN: 9781529303261
Publish Date: November, 2021
Cover of The First Ghosts

From the publisher's website: There are few things more in common across cultures than the belief in ghosts. Ghosts inhabit something of the very essence of what it is to be human. Whether we personally ‘believe’ or not, we are all aware of ghosts and the rich mythologies and rituals surrounding them. They have inspired, fascinated and frightened us for centuries – yet most of us are only familiar with the vengeful apparitions of Shakespeare, or the ghastly spectres haunting the pages of 19th century gothic literature. But their origins are much, much older…

The First Ghosts: Most Ancient of Legacies takes us back to the very beginning. A world-renowned authority on cuneiform, the form of writing on clay tablets which dates back to 3400BC, Irving Finkel has embarked upon an ancient ghost hunt, scouring these tablets to unlock the secrets of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians to breathe new life into the first ghost stories ever written. In The First Ghosts, he uncovers an extraordinarily rich seam of ancient spirit wisdom which has remained hidden for nearly 4000 years, covering practical details of how to live with ghosts, how to get rid of them and bring them back, and how to avoid becoming one, as well as exploring more philosophical questions: what are ghosts, why does the idea of them remain so powerful despite the lack of concrete evidence, and what do they tell us about being human?

Poltergeist Parallels and Contagion (rev. Ed.), by Darren W. Ritson

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 9781786771773
Publish Date: October, 2021
Cover of Poltergeist Parallels and Contagion

From the publisher's website: More than fifteen years after the famous South Shields Poltergeist case of 2006, and its well-received book, The South Shields Poltergeist: One Families Fight Against an Invisible Intruder Darren W. Ritson brings you Poltergeist Parallels and Contagion, a fascinating revised and updated study of the poltergeist enigma.

After researching other equally bewildering cases – post South Shields – a number of serious thought-provoking hypotheses regarding the aspect of the poltergeist called ‘contagion’ have now been raised. Poltergeist contagion has been seldom discussed or studied by psychical researchers, despite many well documented historic cases making mention of it – that is, until now. During the South Shields case and its subsequent years, Darren W. Ritson and his co-investigator Michael J. Hallowell were also subjected to acts of poltergeist ‘contagion’. Also noted, were astonishing similarities between cases they had investigated.

Further information at the publisher's website: White Crow Books. 

 

The Wrong Turning: Encounters with Ghosts, introduced and edited by Stephen Johnson

Publication Details: Notting Hill Editions, ISBN: 9781912559305
Publish Date: October, 2021
Cover of The Wrong Turning: Encounters with Ghosts

From the publisher's website: Why do people love ghost stories, even when they don’t believe (or say they don’t believe) in ghosts? Is it simply the adrenaline rush that comes from being terrified by a great storyteller? Or is it that such tales give form to our own inner demons?

‘Looking  back  over  nearly  a  quarter  of  a  century  of  serious  therapeutic  work,’ writes Stephen Johnson, ‘I’m  struck  by  how  often,  in  trying  to  explain  my  own  terrifying  mental  states  to  psychotherapists,  I’ve  resorted  to  images or turns of phrase in some of my own favourite ghost stories.’

With contributions from Alexander Pushkin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Tove Jansson, Penelope Lively, Flann O’Brien and more, this uniquely curated anthology brings together some of the most chilling – and enigmatic – stories from around the world. 

Using Equipment: Guidance Notes for Investigators of Apparitions, Hauntings, Poltergeists and Similar Phenomena, by Steven T. Parsons

Publication Details: Society for Psychical Research, ISBN: 9781916427310.
Publish Date: October, 2021
Cover of Using Equipment

These guidance notes are intended to provide helpful information and practical guidance to all those who use equipment to support their investigations. They are also intended to help the investigator to obtain the maximum usefulness from their equipment and from the data they collect whilst using it.

Available through the SPR Book Store.