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Spiritual Science: Why Science Needs Spirituality to Make Sense of the World, by Steve Taylor

Publication Details: Watkins, ISBN: 9781786781581.
Publish Date: September, 2018
Cover of Spiritual Science

From the publisher's website: Spiritual Science offers an alternative, spiritual view of reality that transcends both conventional science and religion, and answers many of the riddles that neither can explain. The standard model of science has had little success in explaining such areas as human consciousness, the connection between the mind and the body, altruism and ‘anomalous’ phenomena such as near-death experiences, psi phenomena (such as telepathy) and spiritual experiences. But from a ‘panspiritist’ point of view – which sees spirit or consciousness as a fundamental essence of reality – it is possible to make sense of all these things. Steve Taylor puts forward the evidence for a spiritual view of reality, drawing on the insights of philosophers, physicists, mystics, as well as spiritual traditions and indigenous cultures. He systematically shows how a ‘panspiritist’ view can explain many puzzling aspects of science and the world, including evolution and the origins of life, and a wide range of other phenomena such as quantum physics, the placebo effect, precognition and neuroplasticity. Spiritual Science offers a new vision of the world that is compatible with both modern science and ancient spiritual teachings. It provides a more accurate and holistic account of reality than conventional science or religion, integrating a wide range of phenomena that are excluded from both. After showing how the materialist worldview demeans the world and human life, Spiritual Science offers a brighter alternative – a vision of the world as sacred and interconnected, and of human life as meaningful and purposeful. Spiritual Science explains how the standard materialist model of reality developed, and turned into a belief system. This belief system can only function by denying (or explaining away) a whole range of phenomena that are part of human experience.

Review by Robert A. Charman.

The Borley Rectory Companion, by Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil and Peter Underwood

Publication Details: The History Press, ISBN: 9780750988124.
Publish Date: September, 2018
Cover of The Borley Rectory Companion

From the publisher's website: Borley Rectory in Essex, built in 1862, should have been an ordinary Victorian clergyman’s house. However, just a year after its construction, unexplained footsteps were heard within the house, and from 1900 until it burned down in 1939 numerous paranormal phenomena, including phantom coaches and shattering windows, were observed. In 1929 the house was investigated by the Daily Mail and paranormal researcher Harry Price, and it was he who called it ‘the most haunted house in England.’ Price also took out a lease of the rectory from 1937 to 1938, recruiting forty-eight ‘official observers’ to monitor occurences. After his death in 1948, the water was muddied by claims that Price’s findings were not genuine paranormal activity, and ever since there has been a debate over what really went on at Borley Rectory. Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil and Peter Underwood here present a comprehensive guide to the history of the house and the ghostly (or not) goings-on there.

What Is it Like to Be Dead? Near-Death Experiences, Christianity, and the Occult, by Jens Schlieter

Publication Details: Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0190888848
Publish Date: September, 2018
Cover of What Is it Like to Be Dead

From the publisher's website: Studies of "near-death experiences" show that such experiences not only provide a new certainty of post-mortem survival, but often function as a call for fundamental change in the present. Reported aftereffects encompass changes in attitudes, beliefs, and life orientation. It is said that "experiencers" have lost their fear of death, found their purpose in life, or become "more spiritual." The experience - often declared to be indescribable, inexplicable, or ineffable - is held by many to be the most important of their lives and, moreover, the best proof available for matters "transcendent."

In What Is It Like To Be Dead?, Jens Schlieter argues that to understand recent testimonies of near-death experiences, we need to be aware of the history of innumerable reports of earlier near-death experiences that were communicated and handed down in scores of newspapers, journals, and books. Collections of such testimonies have been published for more than 150 years, accompanied by attempts to classify and interpret them. Schlieter analyzes the religious relevance of near-death experiences -for the experiencers themselves, but also for the growing audience attracted by these testimonies. Near-death experiences bear ontological, epistemic, intersubjective, and moral significance, ranging from reassurance that religious experience is still possible to claims that they initiate a new spiritual orientation in life, or offer evidence for the transcultural validity of afterlife beliefs. This study is the first to document and analyze four centuries of near-death testimonies before the codification of the genre in the 1970s, offering the first full account of the modern genealogy of "near-death experiences."

John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age, by Brian C. Wilson

Publication Details: Wayne State University Press, ISBN: 9780814345306.
Publish Date: August, 2018
Cover of John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age

From the publisher's website: John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age follows the spiritual sojourn of John E. Fetzer, a Michigan business tycoon. Born in 1901 and living most of his life in Kalamazoo, Fetzer parlayed his first radio station into extensive holdings in broadcasting and other enterprises, leading to his sole ownership of the Detroit Tigers in 1961. By the time he died in 1991, Fetzer had been listed in Forbes magazine as one of the four hundred wealthiest people in America. And yet, business success was never enough for Fetzer—his deep spiritual yearnings led him from the Christianity of his youth to a restless exploration of metaphysical religions and movements ranging from Spiritualism, Theosophy, Freemasonry, UFOology, and parapsychology, all the way to the New Age as it blossomed in the 1980s.

Author Brian C. Wilson demonstrates how Fetzer’s quest mirrored those of thousands of Americans who sought new ways of thinking and being in the ever-changing spiritual movements of the twentieth century. Over his lifetime, Fetzer's worldview continuously evolved, combining and recombining elements from dozens of traditions in a process he called "freedom of the spirit." Unlike most others who engaged in a similar process, Fetzer’s synthesis can be documented step by step using extensive archival materials, providing readers with a remarkably rich and detailed roadmap through metaphysical America. The book also documents how Fetzer’s wealth allowed him to institutionalize his spiritual vision into a thriving foundation—the Fetzer Institute—which was designed to carry his insights into the future in hopes that it would help catalyze a global spiritual transformation.

John E. Fetzer and the Quest for the New Age offers a window into the rich and complex history of metaphysical religions in the Midwest and the United States at large. It will be read with interest by those wishing to learn more about this enigmatic Michigan figure, as well as those looking for an engaging introduction into America’s rapidly shifting spiritual landscape.

Further information about the book can be found at Wayne State University Press.

Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions, by Gregory Shushan

Publication Details: Oxford University Press, ISBN: 978-0190872472.
Publish Date: August, 2018
Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions

From the publisher's website:

  • The first book dedicated to near-death experiences in indigenous societies.
  • Offers a unique contribution to our understanding of near-death experience and shamanic phenomena cross-culturally.
  • Presents a new interdisciplinary theory of the origins and development of afterlife beliefs across cultures.
  • Presents dozens of previously unrecognized accounts of near death experiences in societies from three continents.

Further information here: Near-Death Experience in Indigenous Religions.

Gregory Shushan's website.

Noisesome Ghosts, by Clay Thistleton

Publication Details: Blart Books, ISBN: 9780244406844.
Publish Date: August, 2018
Cover of Noisesome Ghosts

From the publisher's website: Noisesome Ghosts is a collection of mainly found poems that investigates the phenomenon of ghosts and poltergeists that can speak and write, crossing the entire documented history of these mysterious entities from the second millennium BCE ghost of the Biblical prophet Samuel to the current case of the so-called demons in Seattle.

Review by Gregory M. Westlake.

Time Loops. Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious, by Eric Wargo

Publication Details: Anomalist Books, ISBN: 9781938398926.
Publish Date: August, 2018
front cover of Time Loops. Precognition, Retrocausation, and the Unconscious

From the publisher's website: Time Is not what you think it is. Neither are you. Welcome to a world where participants in psychology experiments respond to pictures they haven’t seen yet … where physicists influence the past behavior of a light beam by measuring its photons now … and where dreamers and writers literally remember their future. This landmark study explores the principles that allow the future to affect the present, and the present to affect the past, without causing paradox. It also deconstructs the powerful taboos that, for centuries, have kept mainstream science from taking phenomena like retrocausation and precognition seriously. We are four-dimensional creatures, and sometimes we are even caught in time loops—self-fulfilling prophecies where effects become their own causes.

Eric Wargo has a PhD in anthropology from Emory University and works as a science writer and editor in Washington, DC. In his spare time, he writes about science fiction, consciousness, and the paranormal at his popular blog, The NightshirtTime Loops is his first book.

Further information about the book (including table of contents) can be found at Anomalist Books.

Review by Robert A. Charman

The Supernatural in Society, Culture, and History, edited by Dennis Waskul and Marc Eaton

Publication Details: Temple University Press, ISBN: 9781439915257.
Publish Date: July, 2018

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. 

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.

Further information about the book can be found at Temple University Press.

Review by Eva Kingsepp.

A Walk On The Wild Side: One Man's Experiences With Psychic Phenomena, by Gary Williams

Publication Details: Sixth Books, ISBN: 9781785357763.
Publish Date: June, 2018
Cover of Walk On The Wild Side

From the publisher's website: A Walk On The Wild Side is a compilation of Gary Williams' experiences with paranormal and psychic phenomena over a fifty year period. It includes his involvement with the UFO phenomena, predictions of the future made to him by psychics that came true years later, and his encounters with ghosts and poltergeists.

Review by Robert A. Charman.

Psience Fiction: The Paranormal in Science Fiction Literature, by Damien Broderick

Publication Details: McFarland, ISBN 9781476672281.
Publish Date: June, 2018

From the publisher's website:

Science fiction has often been considered the literature of futuristic technology: fantastic warfare among the stars or ruinous apocalypses on Earth. The last century, however, saw through John W. Campbell the introduction of “psience fiction,” which explores themes of mind powers—telepathy, precognition of the future, teleportation, etc.—and symbolic machines that react to such forces.The author surveys this long-ignored literary shift through a series of influential novels and short stories published between the 1930s and the present. This discussion is framed by the sudden surge of interest in parapsychology and its absorption not only into the SF genre, but also into the real world through military experiments such as the Star Gate Program.

The Prophetic Imagery of Anthony Quinn: A Study of Surrealism and Precognitive Art, by Glenn Harte

Publication Details: BookBaby, ISBN: 9781483598338.
Publish Date: June, 2018
Cover of The Prophetic Imagery of Anthony Quinn: A Study of Surrealism and Precognitive Art

From the publisher's website: 

In 2003, as the author browsed through the warehouse of the deceased actor and artist, Anthony Quinn, he saw a painting, which depicted the events of September 11th, 2001. The painting was signed by Anthony Quinn himself, but this was impossible. He had died three months before the events of 9/11 had even occurred. Research of the painting disclosed that Anthony Quinn had painted the painting, called "Facets of Liberty" in 1985 and produced lithograph copies a year later in 1986. Not only had he died before 9/11, but he had painted the amazing montage a full 16 years before the fateful day. This book reflects the search for understanding and studies the circumstances and personality of the man, Anthony Quinn and how his entire life was a foundation for the science that made this painting possible. Quinn tells us in his own words of his dreams and life circumstances that produced the unique ingredients for precognitive thought and set the stage for a painting of historic proportions.

The Star Gate Archives. Volume 1: Remote Viewing, 1972–1984, compiled and edited by Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Publication Details: McFarland, ISBN: 978-1-4766-6752-2
Publish Date: June, 2018
front cover of The Star Gate Archives. Volume 1: Remote Viewing, 1972–1984
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.

Remote viewing (RV) is an atypical ability that allows some individuals to gain information blocked from the usual senses by shielding, distance or time. Early work benefited from a few “stars” of RV who were successful at convincing investigators of its existence and its potential as a means of gathering intelligence. Research focused on determining the parameters of RV, who may have the ability, how to collect and analyze data and the best way to use RV in intelligence operations. Volume 1 Remote Viewing (1972–1984) and Volume 2 Remote Viewing (1985–1995) include laboratory trials and several operational results.

Table of Contents

Review by Nemo C. Mörck