From the publisher's website: From the US to Nepal, author J. Bradley Wigger travels five countries on three continents to hear children describe their invisible friends—one-hundred-year-old robins and blue dogs, dinosaurs and teapots, pretend families and shape-shifting aliens—companions springing from the deep well of childhood imagination. Drawing on these interviews, as well as a new wave of developmental research, he finds a fluid and flexible quality to the imaginative mind that is central to learning, co-operation, and paradoxically, to real-world rationality. Yet Wigger steps beyond psychological territory to explore the religious significance of the kind of mind that develops relationships with invisible beings. Alongside Cinderella the blue dog, Quack-Quack the duck, and Dino the dinosaur are angels, ancestors, spirits, and gods. What he uncovers is a profound capacity in the religious imagination to see through the surface of reality to more than meets the eye. Punctuated throughout by children's colorful drawings of their see-through interlocutors, the book is highly engaging and alternately endearing, moving, and humorous. Not just for parents or for those who work with children, Invisible Companions will appeal to anyone interested in our mind's creative and spiritual possibilities.
New Books and Media
Invisible Companions: Encounters with Imaginary Friends, Gods, Ancestors, and Angels, by J. Bradley Wigger
N Equals 1: Single Case Studies in Anomalistics, edited by Gerhard Mayer
From the publisher's website: Single case studies have a long tradition in the field of parapsychology and anomalistics research. Naturally, thorough case studies do not usually provide hard evidence for the existence of paranormal effects. However, they demonstrate the dynamics of occurrence of such extraordinary phenomena and experiences in the living world. This volume is intended to give an overview of the methodological peculiarities of anomalistic field research. On the basis of historical and current case studies, certain specific psychosocial dynamics and problems in this interesting and challenging field of research are presented and discussed.
This book contains 15 chapters written by different authors on the subject of single case studies. Although the focus is on poltergeist cases, other fields of anomalistics are also addressed, such as the UFO topic, cryptozoology, or allegedly photographic anomalies.
Signs of Reincarnation: Exploring Beliefs, Cases, and Theory, by James G. Matlock
From the publisher's website: Signs of Reincarnation provides the first comprehensive look at the belief in reincarnation and the evidence for past lives from historical records, anthropological studies, and contemporary research. Matlock discusses various ways the evidence may be interpreted and shows that although reincarnation entails a rejection of the materialist notion that consciousness is generated by the brain, it does not require the acceptance of any radically new concepts or the abandonment of well-established findings in mainstream psychology or biology. This book offers students, scholars, and anyone interested in the possibility of reincarnation an essential grounding in beliefs, cases, and theory, while opening doors for future research into the extension of consciousness beyond our present lives.
Further information on the publisher's website: Rowman & Littlefield.
The Enfield Poltergeist Tapes: One of the most disturbing cases in history. What really happened, by Melvyn J. Willin
From the publisher's website: Do not buy this book if you want to read a biased account of the famous Enfield Poltergeist case from 1977 through to 1978. There are many other choices you could make which will either try to convince you of the genuineness of the phenomena produced or its fraudulent origins according to the interpretation of the authors concerned. I do not mind whether you have a wide-open mind or a totally shut one, since I shall not be trying to convince you one way or the other.
Do buy this book if you want to know what really happened! I have listened and transcribed all of the several hundred audio tapes that were made by Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair during their investigation of the alleged poltergeist case that took place in Enfield some 40 years ago and I shall present, in chronological order, what occurred. It will then be your decision as to whether you believe the phenomena came from spirit entities; psychic forces; mistaken interpretations; hallucinations; naughty children or any other source you might wish to present. I shall strive very hard not to be influenced by what I have read, however intelligent it might be, and instead rely on my ears to describe what was happening via the tapes.
Further information on the publisher's website: White Crow Books.
North Carolina Ghost Lights and Legends, by Charles F. Gritzner
From the publisher's website: North Carolina is considered one of the US headquarters for ghost lights—that is, for spooky and unexplained luminous phenomenon. Nearly half of all reported ghost lights shine, blink, burn, dance, or float somewhere in the state. These ghost lights are well known in their localities. There are scary and fascinating stories associated with them, and they attract many visitors, each hoping to see a ball of fire floating over a cemetery or a jack-o’-lantern illuminating a corner of the Great Dismal Swamp or a long-dead railroad man swinging his lantern in search of his severed head.
Author Charles “Fritz” Gritzner has been chasing ghost lights for many years. A geography professor and luminous phenomenon buff, he has visited the sites, researched possible scientific explanations for the lights, and recorded the legends surrounding them. In this charming and fascinating book, he does not seek to debunk these phenomena, but to illuminate them as a part of the folk culture of North Carolina.
The Foreseeable Future: The The Mystery of Precognition, by Gary Williams
From the publisher's website: Is prophecy possible? Can some people really see the future? Strange feelings of foreboding are often cited by people as evidence that they "foresaw" a disaster. Too vague, argues Gary Williams in this elegantly written collection about lapses in time and space. Williams covers such topics as prevision and romance, foreknowledge and gambling, and the mysterious links between aviation and seeing into the future.
The Star Gate Archives. Volume 4: Operational Remote Viewing: Memorandums and Reports, compiled and edited by Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha
From the publisher's website: During the Cold War, the U.S. government began testing paranormal claims under laboratory conditions in hopes of realizing intelligence applications for psychic phenomena. Thus began the project known as Star Gate––the largest in the history of parapsychological research, it received more than $20 million in funding and continued into the mid–1990s. This project archive includes all available documents generated by research contractor SRI International, and those provided by government officials.
Claims of Reincarnation: An Empirical Study of Cases in India, by Satwant K. Pasricha
From the publisher's website: Claims of Reincarnation is one of the foremost works to have been published in India during the latter part of the twentieth century. Dr. Satwant Pasricha has investigated hundreds of cases in her native land and is considered to be one of the leading authorities in the field of empirical investigations into past-life claims. First published in 1990, this book is as relevant today as it was when it made its debut and is a valuable addition for scholars and anyone interested in the subject.
The Last Farewell Embrace: Spirituality, Near-Death Experiences, and Other Extraordinary Events among Nurses, by Alejandro Parra
From the publisher's website: The author summarizes the conclusions of dozens of unexplained experiences, such as visions people have reported when they are about to die, near-death experiences, and patients who have recovered suddenly and completely from illnesses after a religious intervention. Nurses have also often had their own experiences in the hospital context, such as seeing apparitions, noting significant “coincidences,” seeing energy fields, lights, or “electric shocks” around or even emitted from a hospitalized patient. Other such experiences include observing anomalous behavior in animals, noticing the anomalous functioning of equipment or medical instruments, intuitively “knowing” the nature of a patient’s illness, or when he or she will die, and having unexpected experiences in intensive care units, neonatology areas, or pediatric or neuropsychiatric services.
Other nurses, who may not have had such experiences of their own, have heard about them from reliable sources who have told them about these events. Clearly, there are a large number of unusual experiences as reported by doctors, caregivers, and nurses, sometimes in relation to hospitalized patients. Although many professionals have themselves been witness to inexplicable events, very few efforts have been made to organize the narrations of these events in a rigorous and detailed manner. It is important that nurses, as well as physicians, be informed about how to respond to patients who have such experiences. This work, therefore, serves as a guide in the exploration of these impressive stories and extraordinary experiences that have come to light.
The Psychology of the Paranormal, by David Groome, Michael Eysenck and Robin Law
Can mediums communicate with the dead? Do people really believe they’ve been abducted by aliens? Why do some people make life decisions based on their horoscope?
The Psychology of the Paranormal explores some commonly held beliefs regarding experiences so strange they can defy an obvious scientific explanation. The book explains how psychologists have conducted experiments to provide insight into phenomena such as clairvoyance, astrology, and alien abduction, as well as teaching us fundamental truths about human belief systems.
From debunking myths about Extra Sensory Perception, to considering whether our lives can truly be fated by the stars, The Psychology of the Paranormal shows us that however unlikely, belief in the paranormal will continue to be widespread.
The Shape of the Soul: What Mystical Experience Tells Us about Ourselves and Reality, by Paul Marshall
From the publisher's website: When Paul Marshall began to pay attention to his dreams, he could not have anticipated the transformative experience that would follow. A tremendous expansion of consciousness exposed the insignificance of his everyday self but also revealed unsuspected depths of mind and hinted at a deeper self that holds the universe within. In The Shape of the Soul, Marshall—now a mysticism scholar—draws on personal experiences, along with a wealth of religious, philosophical, and scientific ideas, to explore this deeper self, sometimes experienced in mystical and near-death states as spherical in form. Drawing inspiration from the philosophers Plotinus and Leibniz, Marshall takes mind to be more fundamental than matter and views the basic units of nature as perceptual beings. We ourselves are such beings, striving for fulfilment in a long evolutionary journey of soul-making. Bringing together mysticism, philosophy, biology, and even some physics, The Shape of the Soul offers a deeply integrated vision of the self and the universe. Addressing the mind–body problem, the origin of the world, evolution, reincarnation, suffering, and the nature of God, Marshall delivers what will surely prove an intellectual classic.
The Spectacle of Illusion, by Matthew L. Tompkins
From the publisher's website: In The Spectacle of Illusion, professional magician-turned experimental psychologist Dr. Matthew L. Tompkins investigates the arts of deception as practiced and popularized by mesmerists, magicians and psychics since the early 18th century. Organized thematically within a broadly chronological trajectory, this compelling book explores how illusions perpetuated by magicians and fraudulent mystics can not only deceive our senses but also teach us about the inner workings of our minds. Indeed, modern scientists are increasingly turning to magic tricks to develop new techniques to examine human perception, memory and belief.
Further information on the publisher's website: Thames & Hudson.