Blue / Grey hero banner image

New Books and Media

Find Books

Ghost Taverns of the North East, by Darren W. Ritson and Michael J. Hallowell

Publication Details: Amberley Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1445607535
Publish Date: March, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Ghost Taverns is a fascinating, in-depth look at some of the north of England’s most haunted public houses and the spectres that are said to reside in them. Written by two of the UK’s most respected paranormal researchers, Ghost Taverns takes the reader on a supernatural pub-crawl that starts off at Ye Olde Crosse at Alnwick. In between, the authors visit dozens of inns, taverns and watering holes across the region to uncover the truth about their haunted reputations.

Characters such as the legendary Giggly meg who glides the corridors of the Alum Ale House at South Shields, the Sad Cavalier who has been seen at the Black Horse in West Boldon and the two children seen running from a spectral lady in the Tynemouth Lodge Hotel are brought to life – metaphorically, of course – in the hope that they will enchant a whole new generation of readers who may be unaware of them. After reading Ghost Taverns, popping in to your local may never be the same again...

Darren W. Ritson is a Civil Servant who lives on North Tyneside with his long-term partner Jayne and their daughter Abbey. He has had an interest in the paranormal for most of his life due to some strange experiences he had as a child. Mike Hallowell is a full-time author and columnist who specialises in writing about the paranormal. He has spent over forty years investigating hauntings both old and new and regularly appears on TV and radio. Mike has contributed to magazines such as QuestBeyondParanormalMagonia and Vision. His WraithScape column in The Shields Gazette has now been running for over a decade.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Paranormal Cumbria, by Geoff Holder

Publication Details: The History Press. ISBN 9780752454122
Publish Date: March, 2012

From the publishers’ website: With subjects ranging from the Croglin Vampire and the Renwick Cockatrice to witchcraft and the Cursing Stone of Carlisle, this collection of first-hand accounts contains all manner of weird and wonderful events from Cumbria's long and tumultuous history. With more than 50 photographs, both archive and modern, and sightings of everything from lake monsters and anomalous big cats to fairies, phantom airships and the Solway Spaceman, prepare to be astonished!

Geoff Holder is the author of more than twenty titles exploring strange and unexplained events in the North of England and in Scotland, and this collection will fascinate and amaze both residents and visitors alike.

Poltergeists: A History of Violent Ghostly Phenomena, by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart

Publication Details: Amberley Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1848689879
Publish Date: March, 2012

From the publisher’s website: The poltergeist of ‘noisy ghost’ phenomenon is commonly thought to be the result of a dead person’s angry spirit expressing that anger by violence in the physical world, or the projected energies of an emotionally volatile human being, often a teenager. In fact, poltergeists are more interesting than either of those suggested explanations, because they are actually something of a mystery. Are they spirits of some kind, natural or anomalous forms of energy, or the products of trickery or self-delusion, or something else altogether? This account sets out to seek answers to those and other questions by providing examples of poltergeist activity from late antiquity to the present day, and discussing who recorded them, why, and for what kind of audience. It also clarifies the mystery and presents the reader with explanations of increasingly common, well documented and intriguing manifestations of apparently paranormal phenomena.

P. G. Maxwell-Stuart is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of St. Andrews. His other books include Satan: A Biography (also published by Amberley), The Chemical Choir: A History of Alchemy and the Occult in Early Modern Europe, and The Malleus Maleficarum. He lives in St. Andrews.

Shadows in the Sky: The Haunted Airways of Britain, by Neil Arnold

Publication Details: The History Press. ISBN: 9780752465630
Publish Date: March, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Although the saying, ‘Pigs might fly…’ may bring a smile to one’s lips, even stranger things have been reported as appearing in Britain’s skies over the centuries. Eye-witnesses have testified that various terrifying and bizarre forms have appeared in the skies, from ghostly planes, phantom airships and UFOs, to reports of sky serpents, celestial dragons, flying jellyfish, rains of fish (or blood, or metal, or frogs…) – even reports of a griffin seen over London! It also considers reports of haunted aircraft hangars and airfields.  Shadows in the Sky compiles hundreds of accounts from the spine-chilling to the downright bizarre, that’ll keep your eyes fixed looking upwards!

Neil Arnold is a full-time folklorist, monster-hunter, author and speaker. He has written several books and conducts talks on his investigations. He regularly writes for magazines such as Fortean Times, Fate, and Paranormal, and has appeared on Sky, BBC, Channel 4, ITV, NBC and radio across the world. A member of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, his 2007 book Monster! was voted Fortean Zoology Book of the Year. He lives in Kent.

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Internationalization of Ayahuasca, edited by Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Henrik Jungaberle.

Publication Details: LIT Verlag. ISBN-13: 978-3643901484
Publish Date: March, 2012
From the editor’s website: The Internationalization of Ayahuasca is composed of 27 articles (almost 500 pages) and is divided in three parts: “Ayahuasca in South America and the world”, “About medical, psychological and pharmacological Issues: is the use of ayahuasca safe?” and “The expansion of the use of Ayahuasca and the establishment of a global debate on ethics and legalization”. The book brings together the work of scholars from different countries and academic disciplines to offer a comprehensive view of the globalization of this Amazonian brew. It presents a rich array of reflections on the complex implications of this expansion, ranging from health, spiritual and human rights impacts on individuals, to legal and policy impacts on governments. As ayahuasca drinking becomes an increasingly established practice beyond the Amazon in the early 21st century, Labate and Jungaberle have put together a collection that is an unprecedented contribution to a growing field of research. It is a must-read for people interested in the present and future of ayahuasca, as well as in spirituality, ethnobotany, social science theory, contemporary religious and ritual studies, therapeutic potentials of psychedelics, and international drug policy. From the publisher’s website: This is a fascinating compilation of medical, psychological and sociological papers on the spread of ayahuasca use ... in Brazil and in several European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands), as well as the USA. ... Highly recommended for serious students of this subject. (Ralph Metzner, Ph.D, Psychologist and author of Sacred Vine of Spirits – Ayahuasca) The Internationalization of Ayahuasca provides reliable information that has never before appeared in print, ranging from the rain forests of the Amazon to the churches in Western Europe. ... Like it or not, ayahuasca has left the jungle and is here to stay! Read this book and you will understand the importance of its arrival on the global scene. (Dr. Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University) The contributors provide a detailed consideration of the legal situation of ayahuasca ... as well as a multidisciplinary assessment of the health implications of its use. The Internationalization of Ayahuasca is a must-read for anyone attempting to understand the global implications of ayahuasca today. (Dr. Michael Winkelman, M.P.H., Ph.D., Author of Shamanism -A Biopsychosocial Paradigm of Consciousness and Healing)

Transcending the Titanic: Beyond Death’s Door, by Michael Tymn

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-908733-02-3
Publish Date: March, 2012
Cover of Transcending the Titanic: Beyond Death’s Door

From the publisher’s website: A Different Perspective on the Titanic Disaster.

As the Titanic plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, Colonel Archibald Gracie was sucked down with it.  However, he somehow managed to surface and survive, and he soon found himself sprawled on an overturned life raft, his clothes waterlogged and his teeth chattering from the icy cold.  He noticed that the seaman next to him on the raft had a dry cap and asked him if he could borrow it for just a few minutes to warm his head.  “And what would oi do?” was the curt reply.  “Ah, never mind,” said Gracie, as he thought “it would make no difference a hundred years hence.”
 
Those hundred years are up this year on April 15 and we might assume that it no longer makes any difference to Colonel Gracie, wherever and however he now exists.  But understanding Gracie’s ordeal and those of the other 2,222 passengers, including the crew, of the Titanic, might make a difference now for some people – those interested in learning from the experiences of others while searching for greater meaning in life’s suffering and tragedies.

Basically, the Titanic story is about dying and death, a subject many people don’t like to think about. “Dying is especially difficult in America,” writes Kathleen Dowling Singh, Ph.D., an experienced hospice worker, in her 1998 book, The Grace in Dying.  “Our cultural blinders to the world of Spirit, to the transpersonal realms, have left us bereft of meaning, struggling alone with the chaos of psychic deconstruction and physical dissolution.”

This book is not quite like other books about the Titanic.  As the title suggests, it is an attempt to explore the more transcendental aspects of the Titanic story – those suggesting a non-mechanistic universe. The subjects include premonitions, apparitions, out-of-body experiences, telepathic communication among the living, and after-death communication, many related to the Titanic passengers, others offered in support of the Titanic phenomena.  Key among the passengers is William T. Stead, a British journalist.  Although much has been written about Stead’s spiritual pursuits and experiences, very little of it has been discussed in other books about the disaster. Thus, the book is somewhat unique in this respect.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Twin Telepathy, by Guy Lyon Playfair

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN-13: 978-1908733443; 3rd edition
Publish Date: March, 2012
Twin Telepathy

From the publisher’s website: Is there a ‘special connection’ between twins? Can they read each other’s minds? Are they telepathic? These questions are often asked, but have never been convincingly answered until now.

The author became interested in the subject when he was given vivid first-hand testimony of how a man whose twin brother had been shot dead had reacted several miles away at the exact time. This prompted him to embark on a thorough search of the literature and collect accounts of similar examples of apparent telepathy, some dating back to the 18th century, to question numerous twins regarding their own experiences, to compile a substantial file of case histories, and eventually to help set up properly controlled scientific experiments in which telepathy could be seen to take place on a polygraph chart, two of which have now been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Are they telepathic? These questions are often asked, but have never been convincingly answered until now.The author became interested in the subject when he was given vivid first-hand testimony of how a man whose twin brother had been shot dead had reacted several miles away at the exact time. This prompted him to embark on a thorough search of the literature and collect accounts of similar examples of apparent telepathy, some dating back to the 18th century, to question numerous twins regarding their own experiences, to compile a substantial file of case histories, and eventually to help set up properly controlled scientific experiments in which telepathy could be seen to take place on a polygraph chart, two of which have now been published in peer-reviewed journals.

As he makes clear in this ground-breaking book, the first ever to explore the ‘special twin connection’ in detail, the answer is simple: some twins are telepathy-prone and some, probably the majority, are not. How can this be, you might wonder? Aren’t all identical twins supposed to be identical in all respects? They are not. The fact is that, as Orwell might have put it, some twins are more identical than others. What seems to make the difference is exactly when division of the fertilized zygote (egg) takes place. This can take place almost immediately, or up to twelve days later. Without going into detail here, what this means is that ‘late splitters’ develop extremely close bonds after birth, bonds that can last a lifetime, whereas ‘early splitters’ become more independent, and regard their twins just like an ordinary brother or sister. Sure enough, when experiments were carried out in London and Copenhagen, on each occasion it was a late-splitting pair who showed the clearest evidence for telepathy on their polygraph charts. The often heard critical complaint that here is no repeatable experiment for any kind of psychic effect is no longer true.

This new revised and updated edition contains the most comprehensive survey yet written on the history of research into twin telepathy. The author explains why experiments have generally been unsuccessful in the past, and why those that he helped design have been consistently successful, and point the way ahead for future researchers.He also explains that a better understanding of the special twin connection is of more than academic interest, especially to parents, some of whom already know that it can save lives and has already done so.Earlier editions of this book were well received by such authorities as psychologist Stanley Krippner, a former president of the Parapsychological Association, for whom it ‘reads like an intriguing detective story’, and Rupert Sheldrake, who has contributed a Foreword in which he states:‘For many years I have been looking in vain for authoritative research on this intriguing subject. At last I have found it, in this book’.Colin Wilson, in his Introduction predicts that the book ‘will obviously become a classic of psychical research.’

Wax Spirit Moulds, by Paul J. Gaunt

Publication Details: The Arthur Findlay College. 23pp. £3.99.
Publish Date: March, 2012

From the Spiritualists’ National Union website: This illustrated booklet traces the history of this remarkable phase of physical phenomena, firstly introduced in America around the mid-1870s by Professor W. Denton. Spirit Wax Moulds are one of the most definitive pieces of evidences of physical séance room phenomena and the Britten Memorial Museum is fortunate to hold some of these rare moulds. In the early 1920s Dr. Gustave Geley re-introduced the production of wax moulds with the remarkable Polish medium Franek Kluski. The booklet concludes with a summary of discussions in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research by modern day psychical researchers. The booklet is available from the SNU online shop

Review by Tom Ruffles

Anomalistic Psychology, edited by Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke and Christopher French

Publication Details: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN: 9780230301504
Publish Date: February, 2012

From the publisher’s website: From the ancient world to the present day, anomalous experiences - such as apparitions, premonitions, out-of-body and near-death experiences - provide stories that continue to mystify and intrigue. In this lively introduction, the authors investigate what these stories signify, and why some people turn to the paranormal for explanation. From defining anomalous experiences to examining the psychological models and methods that have been used to explain them, this text will help open up these strange tales to analysis. Whatever your level of study, this introduction will guide you through the key areas of this fascinating subject.

Contents:

Introduction & Overview
Cognitive Explanations
Personality and Individual Difference Explanations
Explanations for Superstitious Beliefs and Behaviour
Pseudoscience and the scientific status of parapsychology
Methodological issues related to the study of psi
Apparitions
Out-of-body experiences and near-death experiences
Mental Mediumship
Concluding comments

Telephone Calls from the Dead, by Callum E. Cooper

Publication Details: Tricorn Books. ISBN-13: 978-0957107410
Publish Date: February, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Many people, when asked, will say that at some point in their lives that they have experienced what they believe to be a ghost, or have had a psychic experience.  However, will many people openly admit that they have experienced what they believe to be a 'phone call from the dead'?  This question has been asked before, and was investigated back in 1979, in a book entitled Phone Calls from the Dead, written by D. Scott Rogo and Raymond Bayless.  For many years, this subject has remained dormant, until now, thirty years on, in this new book where the research has been revived and continued.   New cases of anomalous telephone communication have been researched, new history has been considered, new findings are presented and alternative theories for how such events take place are discussed. 

There are potentially hundreds of people who have experienced these bizarre events of telephone calls from the dead, and much like ghosts, and any other parapsychological phenomena, they appear to be highly common.  Once all explanations have been considered, psychological and physical, are we genuinely faced with the reality of contact with the dead and evidence for survival?

Review by Tom Ruffles

Zones of Strangeness: An Examination of Paranormal and UFO Hot Spots, by Peter A. McCue

Publication Details: AuthorHouseUK. ISBN-13: 978-1456778422
Publish Date: February, 2012

From the publisher’s website: Over the centuries, there've been many reports, worldwide, of unexplained phenomena. Certain areas seem to play host to a disproportionate number of them, either temporarily or on a long-term basis. Some places acquire a reputation for just one type of manifestation, such as UFO activity. Others seem to be the setting for a variety of them - for example, cattle mutilations, sightings of strange animals, and UFO phenomena.

Can the reports be believed? Are the phenomena genuinely paranormal? Do certain areas really see an unusually high number of anomalous events? What's behind the manifestations? Do they involve extraterrestrials, creatures from 'other dimensions', time travellers, the workings of the human mind, or some sort of higher intelligence?

These are just some of the questions that the author addresses in this wide-ranging, well-researched and well-referenced study of the connection, real or supposed, between anomalous phenomena and certain geographical areas. The book cites a mass of case material from the UK, the USA and elsewhere, and also includes useful foundation chapters.

Peter McCue worked for many years as a clinical psychologist in the National Health Service in the UK. He lives in Scotland. His qualifications include a Ph.D., from the University of Glasgow, awarded for a thesis on the nature of hypnosis. His interest in psychical research goes back decades. He believes that paranormal phenomena occur, and that many UFO experiences are genuinely anomalous. He contends that if we want to obtain a comprehensive understanding of ourselves and the nature of reality, these enigmatic phenomena can't be ignored.

Haunted Dundee, by Geoff Holder

Publication Details: The History Press. ISBN-13: 978-0752458496
Publish Date: January, 2012

From the publisher’s website: This fascinating book contains a terrifying collection of true-life tales from in and around Dundee.

Featuring stories of unexplained phenomena, apparitions and poltergeists, including the tale of the White Lady of Coffin Mill and Balgay Bridge, the hauntings of the historic ships Discovery and Unicorn, and a host of modern ghost sightings - this book is guaranteed to make your blood run cold.

Drawing on historical and contemporary sources and containing many tales which have never before been published, Haunted Dundee will delight everyone interested in the paranormal.

Geoff Holder is the author of Paranormal Dundee and many other books on the supernatural and the mysterious.

Review by Tom Ruffles