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The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult, edited by Tatiana Kontou and Sarah Willburn

Publication Details: Ashgate. ISBN: 978-0-7546-6912-8
Publish Date: July, 2012
From the publisher’s website: Critical attention to the Victorian supernatural has flourished over the last twenty-five years. Whether it is spiritualism or Theosophy, mesmerism or the occult, the dozens of book-length studies and hundreds of articles that have appeared recently reflect the avid scholarly discussion of Victorian mystical practices. Designed both for those new to the field and for experts, this volume is organized into sections covering the relationship between Victorian spiritualism and science, the occult and politics, and the culture of mystical practices. The Ashgate Research Companion to Nineteenth-Century Spiritualism and the Occult brings together some of the most prominent scholars working in the field to introduce current approaches to the study of nineteenth-century mysticism and to define new areas for research. Contents: Foreword; Introduction, Tatiana Kontou and Sarah Willburn; Part 1 Haunted Laboratories and Ghosts in the Machine: Spiritualism, Science and Technology: Recent scholarship on spiritualism and science, Christine Ferguson; The sciences of spiritualism in Victorian Britain: possibilities and problems, Richard Noakes; The undead author: spiritualism, technology and authorship, Anthony Enns; The Victorian post-human: transmission, information and the séance, Jill Galvan; The cross-correspondences, the nature of evidence and the matter of writing, Leigh Wilson. Part 2 Occulture: Sex, Politics, Philosophy and Poetics: The evolution of occult spirituality in Victorian England and the representative case of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, J. Jeffrey Franklin; 'Out of your clinging kisses…I create a new world': sexuality and, spirituality in the work of Edward Carpenter, Joy Dixon; Socialism and occultism at the fin de siècle: elective affinities, Matthew Beaumont; William James: belief in ghosts, Christoforos Diakoulakis; The turn of the gyres: alterity in The Gift of Haroun Al-Rashid and A Thousand and One Nights, Mazen Naous. Part 3 Staging the Victorian Afterlife: from Magic Shows to Dinner Parties: The case of Florence Marryat: custodian of the Spirit World/popular novelist, Tatiana Kontou; 'Gentleman mountebanks' and spiritualists: legal, stage and media contests between magicians and spirit mediums in the United States and England, Erika White Dyson; Mirth as medium: spectacles of laughter in the Victorian séance room, Mackenzie Bartlett; 'Eating, feeding, and flesh: food in Victorian Spiritualism, Marlene Tromp; ‘The dear old sacred terror’: spiritualism and the supernatural from The Bostonians to The Turn of the Screw, Bridget Bennett; ‘The sublimation of matter into spirit’: Anna Mary Howitt’s automatic drawings, Rachel Oberter; Viewing history and fantasy through Victorian spirit photography, Sarah Willburn; Bibliography; Index.

Haunted Hostelries of Shropshire, by Andrew Homer

Publication Details: Amberley Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1445602011
Publish Date: June, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Haunted Hostelries of Shropshire offers a fascinating insight into some of Shropshire’s most haunted pubs, inns, hotels and licensed establishments. It comes as no surprise that the dramas and tragedies played out over the years within the walls of these properties should result in such convincing accounts of ghostly activity. Within these pages you will find many new stories of hauntings, together with a fresh look at some of the more traditional tales. An overriding theme throughout this book is the sheer amount of seemingly paranormal activity which is regularly being experienced by both staff and customers alike. You will discover accounts of phantom children, poltergeists, spectral animals, a cheeky bottom pinching ghost and how a jealous highwayman from long ago still makes his presence felt. Find out which haunted rooms to stay in, or indeed avoid for an undisturbed night’s sleep. The majority of these haunting stories have been gathered at first hand from the people who have experienced the phenomena for themselves. Visit the licensed properties included here for yourself and who knows, perhaps you will have a ghostly experience to add to the rich heritage of Shropshire’s haunted hostelries.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Natural and Supernatural: A History of the Paranormal from Earliest Times to 1914, by Brian Inglis

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-908733-20-7
Publish Date: June, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Did Moses turn rods into serpents? Does Uri Geller bend spoons? Did Socrates and Joan of Arc have spirit guides? Did Daniel Home levitate? The 1970’s provided a striking revival of interest in the paranormal which has continued unabated into the twenty first century. Telepathy ESP, clairvoyance, premonitions, and psychokinesis – the action of mind upon matter – it was not long ago that orthodox opinion, both scientific and religious, rejected the possibility of such things out of hand. Today, their reality has been demonstrated and tested in laboratories all over the world and the results are published in serious scientific journals. Natural and Supernatural is the first full survey of the subject for over a century. With scrupulous thoroughness and a wealth of extraordinary detail, Brian Inglis presents his evidence, drawing on anthropological studies of primitive tribes and records of classical antiquity and taking his story to the outbreak of the First World War, when the first phase of scientific psychical research came to an end. He pays particular attention to the work of the mesmerists and of the early psychical researchers in the last century. He deals, too, with related aspects such as hauntings, poltergeist outbreaks, scrying and dowsing. Contrary to popular belief, the evidence for psychic phenomena and non-locality, and the mass of material available to researchers is huge. Inglis meticulously sifted the genuine from the false, singling out such episodes as may reasonably be identified as historical and allowing the reader to make up his own mind, on the basis of the fullest and soundest knowledge, whether to accept paranormal phenomena or not. If they are accepted – and informed opinion is more and more moving that way – then a real revolution in our way of thinking is due to follow. For if mind can communicate with mind at distance, or move objects without contact, not merely will there have to be extensive revision of science textbooks. History, too, will need to be re-written, to allow for the possibility that reports which have long been dismissed as myth or illusion may have been accurate after all. The implications of the subject are great, and Inglis does them full justice.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Paranormal County Durham and Haunted Carlisle, by Darren W. Ritson

Publication Details: Amberley Publishing. ISBN 9781445606507 (Paranormal County Durham); The History Press. ISBN-13: 978-0752460871 (Haunted Carlisle)
Publish Date: June, 2012

Paranormal County Durham From the publisher’s website: County Durham, also known as ‘the Land of Prince Bishops’, is an area of outstanding beauty primarily recognized for its lead mining and its farming industries. With a combination of rolling hills, quaint little countryside villages, townships and a historic city as its capital, County Durham is a stunning region. The ghosts here are aplenty and they are festooned far and wide. We have ghostly galloping steeds and harrowing horseman silently making their way across the moors and hilltops; priests, monks and god-fearing men eerily frequent the many religious buildings that are scattered hither and thither around the county; poltergeists plague people and their places; old pubs and inns are bursting at the seams with long-dead patrons and ancient battles once fought here are being silently fought again much to the bewilderment of those that see them or indeed, hear them. So wherever you endeavour to go in the wonderful County Durham, whichever way you turn, you can be sure a ghost will lurk in almost every corner. Haunted Carlisle From the publisher’s website: This new book contains a chilling collection of eyewitness accounts and terrifying tales from in and around Carlisle which is sure to appeal to everyone interested in the supernatural history of the city. Illustrated with over 60 pictures, these spooky stories include the headless spectre of Carlisle railway station, the phantom boy of Corby Castle, and the ghostly highwayman of Barrock Park, among many others. For those who dare to read it, Haunted Carlisle is guaranteed to make your blood run cold. DARREN W. RITSON is a paranormal investigator and author who has studied the ghosts and legends of northern England for over twenty years. He is a member of the Incorporated Society of Psychical Research and regularly contributes articles to Paranormal Magazine, amongst others. His previously published works include The South Shields Poltergeist, Haunted Newcastle, Haunted Berwick, Haunted Durham and Ghosts at Christmas. He lives in Howden, North Tyneside.

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead, by Joe Nickell

Publication Details: Prometheus Books. ISBN: 978-1-61614-585-9
Publish Date: June, 2012

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.

Tales of the Supernatural (DVD), by Andrew Gray (producer and director)

Publication Details: Timereel Studios, PAL Region 2, Ref No TRAN05
Publish Date: May, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Whether you believe in them or not there is no doubt that tales of ghosts, strange happenings and things that go bump in the night are stories that we love to hear.  This spooky film includes eye-witness accounts of the girl who communicates with the dead, a phantom figure captured in a photograph and the unexplained story of the church bell that rings itself.  Prepare to be chilled and disturbed as you venture into a world of haunted police stations and ghosts of Cambridge Colleges.

Click here for further information.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Ghosts & Gallows, and Haunted Luton and Dunstable, by Paul Adams

Publication Details: The History Press. ISBN-13: 978-0752463391 (Ghosts and Gallows); ISBN-13: 978-0752465487 (Haunted Luton)
Publish Date: May, 2012

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.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Haunted Girl: Esther Cox and the Great Amherst Mystery, by Laurie Glenn Norris with Barbara Thompson

Publication Details: Nimbus Publishing, Halifax, Nova Scotia. ISBN: 9781551099071
Publish Date: May, 2012

From the publisher’s website: In 1878 eighteen-year-old Esther Cox arrived in Amherst, Nova Scotia, to live with her sister’s family. Shortly after Esther moved in, the story goes, the house was plagued by unexplained occurrences—something (or someone) knocked on the walls, hid household items, moved furniture around, and set fires. Esther herself was subject to mysterious fevers, prodding and, on one occasion, stabbing. These occurrences followed her when she went to stay with other families in the area. Eventually she was charged with robbery and spent a month in jail, after which the haunting ceased.

Was Esther the victim of paranormal powers or the troubled mind behind a series of elaborate hoaxes? At the time of her alleged haunting, the plausibility of Esther Cox’s claims were hotly debated in newspapers and by fellow Amherst residents. In the hundred years since her death, Esther’s story has been retold numerous times and she remains to this day the town’s most famous historical figure.

Includes 30 photos of key locations in Amherst related to the story as well as Esther's family members.

Please see publisher’s website for further details.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W T Stead, Britain’s First Investigative Journalist, by W. Sydney Robinson

Publication Details: The Robson Press. ISBN13: 978-1849542944
Publish Date: May, 2012

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 theNorthern 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.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Navigating the Out-Of-Body Experience: Radical New Techniques, by Graham Nicholls

Publication Details: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN-13: 978-0738727615
Publish Date: May, 2012
From the publisher’s website: A Better Approach to Astral Projection. Experience the insights and joys of astral projection with Navigating the Out-of-Body Experience—a personalized, accessible, science-based guide from a top authority in the field. Drawing on more than twenty years of study and countless OBEs that he has brought about in himself and others, Graham Nicholls shares proven techniques for leaving the body. Gain greater insight into your psychological makeup and strengths with a unique approach to self discovery. Learn to use your greater awareness to build a customized approach to projecting into the astral plane. Integrating his deep knowledge of self-hypnosis, breath work, virtual reality, quantum science, nutrition, and healing, Nicholls teaches you how to move past limiting beliefs and deepen your level of self-understanding so you can achieve your astral goals.

Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader, edited by Wim Kramer, Eberhard Bauer, and Gerd Hövelmann

Publication Details: Stichting Het Johan Borgman Fonds. ISBN: 978-90-818357-0-1
Publish Date: May, 2012

From the publisher: People are reporting apparently strange, unrealistic, paranormal emotions and experiences without showing the traditional signs of abnormal behaviour or any serious pathology. They confront the medical world, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, social workers, and even family doctors with the problem of choosing the right way.  This book is primarily intended as an introduction and guide providing background knowledge on how to evaluate these experiences and how to deal with them in clinical, counselling, and social welfare settings.

The contents of this book are the outcome of a three-day conference where specialists exchanged their clinical experiences, scientific knowledge, and personal opinions on how to help people who are from paranormal or exceptional experiences within a professional setting. The aim of the conference was to inform each other on theoretical concepts and practical experiences rather than persuading each other of personal beliefs. As a result, every chapter of this book is a stand-alone contribution to the existing knowledge on this subject from a different perspective. Because of the truly extensive overview of the leading literature on this phenomenon, this book is a useful guide for everyone interested in the field of clinical parapsychology, and the concepts discussed can be directly applied in everyday practice.

Thanks to the generousity of the Het Johan Borgman Fonds a PDF is freely available: Perspectives of Clinical Parapsychology: An Introductory Reader

Contents:

Preface - Wim H. Kramer, Eberhard Bauer and Gerd H. Hövelmann

Experiences with Psi Counselling in Holland - Wim H. Kramer

Lessons from a Case Study: An Annotated Narrative - Ian Tierney

Clinical Parapsychology: Its Relation to “Regular” Clinical Psychology - Franz Caspar

Explorations in Clinical Parapsychology - Maggie V. Eybrechts and Johan L.F. Gerding

Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences : Signs of Mental Health or Mental Disorder ? - Anneli Goulding

Clinical Parapsychology and Parapsychological Counselling in Psychiatric Practice - Giovanni Iannuzzo

Psychotherapeutic Approaches to Major Paranormal Experiences (MPE) - Djohar Si Ahmed

Group Therapy Approach to Exceptional Human Experiences: An Argentinean Experience - Alejandro Parra

Philosophical Counselling as Part of Clinical Parapsychology - Johan L.F. Gerding

A Counselling Approach to Extraordinary Experiences - Frauke Zahradnik and Walter von Lucadou

Are Spiritual and Transpersonal Aspects Important for Clinical Parapsychology? - Niko B. Kohls

Counselling at the IGPP - An Overview - Eberhard Bauer, Martina Belz, Wolfgang Fach, Ruth Fangmeier, Cäcilia Schupp-Ihle and Annette Wiedemer

Theoretical Reflections on Counselling and Therapy for Individuals Reporting ExE - Martina Belz and Wolfgang Fach

Clinical Aspects of Exceptional Human Experiences: A Working Bibliography - Gerd H. Hövelmann

 

The Big Book of Reincarnation, by Roy Stemman

Publication Details: Hierophant Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0981877167
Publish Date: May, 2012

From the publisher’s website: The mystery of reincarnation has puzzled many different cultures throughout the centuries. What is reincarnation? Who will be reincarnated? What evidence is there for reincarnation? Roy Stemman's landmark work, The Big Book of Reincarnation, is destined to become the bible of reincarnation answer seekers, as he tackles these and other tough questions about the reincarnation phenomenon.

A self-described "skeptical believer," Stemman examines the best case studies of reincarnation. From the mountains of Tibet to the bayou of Louisiana, and to the Lebanese school where an entire class of students claim to remember their past lives, Stemman leaves no stone unturned in his quest to answer the question, 'is reincarnation real?'

With his scientific approach, the author takes the reader deep into the lives of those affected by reincarnation; children who remember in detail their previous lives, their parents, their past-life parents and siblings and spouses. Stemman also investigates the leading theories posed by skeptics against reincarnation and evaluates them in terms of the cases that he himself has witnessed all over the world.

About the Author:  Roy Stemman is an investigative journalist and publisher of Roy Stemman's Paranormal Reviewwww.paranormalreview.com. He is also the author of One Soul, Many Lives (Ulysses Press, 2005).