From the publisher's website: In the twenty-first century, as in centuries past, stories of the supernatural thrill and terrify us. But despite their popularity, scholars often dismiss such beliefs in the uncanny as inconsequential, or even embarrassing. The editors and contributors to The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History have made a concerted effort to understand encounters with ghosts and the supernatural that have persisted and flourished. Featuring folkloric researchers examining the cultural value of such beliefs and practices, sociologists who acknowledge the social and historical value of the supernatural, and enthusiasts of the mystical and uncanny, this volume includes a variety of experts and interested observers using first-hand ethnographic experiences and historical records.
The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History seeks to understand the socio-cultural and socio-historical contexts of the supernatural. This volume takes the supernatural as real because belief in it has fundamentally shaped human history. It continues to inform people's interpretations, actions, and identities on a daily basis. The supernatural is an indelible part of our social world that deserves sincere scholarly attention.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History • Dennis Waskul and Marc Eaton
1. Toward a Cryptoscience • William Ryan Force
2. On Researching the Supernatural: Cultural Competence and Cape Breton Stories • Jeannie Banks Thomas
3. Ghosts and Hauntings: Genres, Forms, and Types • Dennis Waskul
4. Paranormal Investigation: The Scientist and the Sensitive • Marc Eaton
5. The Allure of Dark Tourism: Legend Tripping and Ghost Seeking in Dark Places • Rachael Ironside
6. “The Spirits Tell Me That You’re Seeking Help”: Fortune-Telling in Late Capitalism • Stephen L. Muzzatti and Emma M. Smith
7. Reading Tarot: Telling Fortunes, Telling Friends, and Retelling Everyday Life • Janet Baldwin
8. Twentieth-Century Voodoo: Black Culture, Cultural Geographies, and the Meaning of Place • I’Nasah Crockett
9. Vampirism: Modern Vampires and Embattled Identity Claims • Joseph P. Laycock
10. Cryptozoology: The Hunt for Hidden Animals and Monsters • Tea Krulos
11. Alien Abduction Narratives: A Proposed Model and Brief Case Study • Scott R. Scribner
Dennis Waskul is a Professor of Sociology and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and former president of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He has authored, co-authored, or edited a variety of books, including Ghostly Encounters: The Hauntings of Everyday Life (with Michele Waskul); Body/Embodiment (with Phillip Vannini); The Senses in Self, Society, and Culture (with Phillip Vannini and Simon Gottschalk); and Popular Culture as Everyday Life (edited with Phillip Vannini).
Marc Eaton is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Ripon College, in Wisconsin.