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The Out-of-Body Experience: The History and Science of Astral Travel, by Anthony Peake

Publication Details: Watkins Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1780280219
Publish Date: November, 2011

From the publisher’s website: An exciting fresh look at the idea that the mind can function outside the body – with first-hand accounts and a brilliant new explanation, based on the latest science.

One of the greatest mysteries of human experience is the sensation of leaving the body behind and experiencing another level of reality. Is this merely an hallucination or is it something more? In this revolutionary book Anthony Peake, a leading researcher in the subject, demonstrates that Out-of-Body Experiences, Lucid Dreaming, Remote Viewing and Astral Travel are all elements of the same phenomenon – indicating to us that the universe is far more complex than we can ever have imagined. Peake reviews the history of this fascinating subject, then, using recent discoveries in neurology, consciousness studies and quantum physics, he suggests a challenging new model of how consciousness interfaces with ‘reality’. The Out-of-Body Experience and its cousins are a hot topic in current scientific investigation, and at last we have a convincing way to understand them. This is the first book on the topic to cast its net around dreams, shamanism, Eastern thought and quantum physics, with OBEs as the central core.

F.C.S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism: The Rhetoric of a Philosophical Rebel, by Mark J. Porrovecchio

Publication Details: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN Cloth 0-7391-6588-7 / 978-0-7391-6588-1; Electronic 0-7391-6590-9 / 978-0-7391-6590-4
Publish Date: October, 2011

From the publisher’s website: The intellectual history of pragmatism traditionally posits that its origins are found in the works of C. S. Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. What if that story is only partially true? Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller, the foremost first generation British pragmatist, was one of the most vocal proponents of pragmatism in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He penned over a dozen books, authored hundreds of essays and reviews, and sought to popularize the philosophy of practicalism. Yet in the years before and after his death, both he and his critics engaged in arguments that helped to erase him from the story of pragmatism.

F. C. S. Schiller and the Dawn of Pragmatism: The Rhetoric of a Philosophical Rebel, by Mark J. Porrovecchio, is the first comprehensive biography of Schiller ever undertaken. It seeks to answer questions like: why were Schiller's own arguments used against him? Why were his interests, philosophical and otherwise, central to his erasure? Why would the pragmatism of today gain by reclaiming a neglected figure from its past? A crucial part of understanding those questions relates to the rhetorical strategies at play in the arguments Schiller made.

Pragmatism today is a vital and vibrant part of interdisciplinary discussions that range from philosophy, to religion, to science, to politics. But it is intellectually incomplete and historically inaccurate. Reclaiming Schiller means asking hard questions about the functions and scope of pragmatism. Though the answers will not suit everyone, they will help to make pragmatism—past, present, and future—more honest, more engaging, and more interesting.

Mark J. Porrovecchio is director of forensics and assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication at Oregon State University.

Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal, by Jeffrey J. Kripal

Publication Details: University of Chicago Press.ISBN-13: 978-0226453835
Publish Date: October, 2011

From the publisher’s website: In many ways, twentieth-century America was the land of superheroes and science fiction. From Superman and Batman to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, these pop-culture juggernauts, with their "powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men," thrilled readers and audiences—and simultaneously embodied a host of our dreams and fears about modern life and the onrushing future.

But that's just scratching the surface, says Jeffrey Kripal. In Mutants and Mystics, Kripal offers a brilliantly insightful account of how comic book heroes have helped their creators and fans alike explore and express a wealth of paranormal experiences ignored by mainstream science. Delving deeply into the work of major figures in the field—from Jack Kirby’s cosmic superhero sagas and Philip K. Dick’s futuristic head-trips to Alan Moore’s sex magic and Whitley Strieber’s communion with visitors—Kripal shows how creators turned to science fiction to convey the reality of the inexplicable and the paranormal they experienced in their lives. Expanded consciousness found its language in the metaphors of sci-fi—incredible powers, unprecedented mutations, time-loops and vast intergalactic intelligences—and the deeper influences of mythology and religion that these in turn drew from; the wildly creative work that followed caught the imaginations of millions. Moving deftly from Cold War science and Fredric Wertham's anticomics crusade to gnostic revelation and alien abduction, Kripal spins out a hidden history of American culture, rich with mythical themes and shot through with an awareness that there are other realities far beyond our everyday understanding.

A bravura performance, beautifully illustrated in full color throughout and brimming over with incredible personal stories, Mutants and Mystics is that rarest of things: a book that is guaranteed to broaden—and maybe even blow—your mind.

Okkulte Ästhetik: Wunschfiguren des Unbewussten im Werk von Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, by Timon Kuff

Publication Details: Psychosozial-Verlag. ISBN-13: 9783837921366
Publish Date: October, 2011
[Occult Aesthetics: Unconscious Desire in the Work of Albert von Schrenck Notzing] From the publisher’s website: Die vorliegende Studie ist der erste umfassende Beitrag zu einer Neubewertung des Werkes von Albert von Schrenck-Notzing (1862–1929). Ausgehend von den frühen medizinischen Schriften des deutschen Suggestionstherapeuten, wird der Zusammenhang von Suggestion, Hypnotismus und Physikalischem Mediumismus unter bildwissenschaftlichen und sprachkritischen Aspekten untersucht. Kuff deckt den komplizierten semantischen Status des Bildes in seiner Doppelfunktion als wissenschaftliches Dokument und Abbild eines performativen Ausdruckstheaters auf. Dabei werden die biologischen, philosophischen und ästhetischen Bezüge, die Schrenck-Notzing herstellen wollte, sichtbar. In der Verknüpfung von intellektueller Biografie und historischer Diskursanalyse wird den ästhetischen Entgrenzungen der Bilder nachgespürt und eine exemplarische Analyse jener okkulten Ästhetik vorgenommen.

Pitmilly House: 'Poltergeist Manor', by Lorn Macintyre

Publication Details: Priormuir Press. ISBN-13: 978-0956768124
Publish Date: October, 2011

From the publisher’s website: Over 70 years ago there occurred in a mansion house in Fife, Scotland, terrifying phenomena which have fascinated those interested in the paranormal ever since. The occupants of Pitmilly House were subjected to spontaneous outbreaks of fires, airborne objects and other occurrences which indicated the activities of a malicious poltergeist.  The story of Pitmilly, which involves a gambler disgraced by royalty, and a connection with Harry Price, the flamboyant psychic investigator of Borley Rectory, ‘the most haunted house in England,’ is told for the first time in this booklet, using exclusive access to the recollections and photographs of the two families connected with the Fife mansion which was demolished in 1968 but whose sinister reputation endures locally and internationally, and was the subject of a Hollywood horror film.

To order copies, click here

Review by Tom Ruffles

Shadows in the Nave: A Guide to the Haunted Churches of England, by Paul Adams, Eddie Brazil and Peter Underwood

Publication Details: The History Press. ISBN: 9780752459202
Publish Date: September, 2011

From the publisher’s website: The haunted history of England’s churches and chapels is brought vividly to life in this comprehensive and beautifully illustrated modern guide. Here you will encounter the compelling world of the unseen linked with a thousand years of worship — including the Tudor phantom of Rycote, the lonely monk of Minsden Chapel and the black-magic ghosts of Clophill, to name but a few.

From the authors of The Borley Rectory Companion comes this astonishing book, which covers seventy-five of the most notorious and lesser known of our haunted ecclesiastical buildings. Combining a wealth of historical and paranormal information with stunning original and atmospheric photographs, this volume is perfect for researchers and armchair ghost hunters alike.

Paranormal historian Paul Adams and writer and photographer Eddie Brazil join Peter Underwood, the UK’s most experienced ghost hunter and respected author of over fifty books on the supernatural, in another literary partnership that will chill all but the sturdiest of hearts.

Review by Tom Ruffles

God, Ghosts and Independent Minds, by Newton Green

Publication Details: Pen Press. ISBN-13: 978-1780031378
Publish Date: September, 2011

From the publisher’s website: Religion, Science, Philosophy and the Paranormal - all between the same covers? Here, for a change, they complement each other and get along splendidly.  Newton Green's fascinating book probes some of the cloudier frontiers of knowledge, in a clear, no-nonsense light. Reader-friendly, but impeccably researched, he examines humanity's place in the universe, covering a wide range of interrelated themes - creation and evolution, the nature of God, the supernatural, notions of self and free will, the workings of the mind.

For centuries, extraordinary events have bedevilled philosophers, physiologists, and psychologists. God, Ghosts and Independent Minds puts established assumptions under the microscope, and surprising truths plus some astonishing new ideas result - it won't change your life, but it will show you possibilities for leading a fuller one, and it will certainly make you think...

Paranormal Obsession: America's Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits, by Deonna Kelli Sayed

Publication Details: Llewellyn. ISBN-13: 978-0738726359
Publish Date: September, 2011

From the publisher’s website: Ghosts and ghouls, demons, poltergeists, phantoms, haunted houses, and shadow people—why is America so captivated by the creepy and unexplained? Paranormal Obsession is the first book to explore why we have an insatiable interest in spirits, ghost hunting, and all things otherworldly.

Paranormal investigator and researcher Deonna Kelli Sayed reveals how and why our fascination with spirits started. She interviewed ghost hunters, religious figures, scientists, academics, and cast members of the popular TV shows Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State, and offers compelling insight into what our fixation on ghostly activity says about American culture. Paranormal Obsession also highlights the author's paranormal group's investigation of the USS North Carolina, the most haunted battleship in the United States.

Deonna Kelli Sayed is a Muslim-American paranormal investigator with Haunted North Carolina (HNC). She lectures on many issues, from women in Islam to the paranormal, and has lived and conducted studies throughout Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. She is the host of Think Tank, a forum on LiveParanormal.com, and is an editor and contributor to GhostVillage.com. 

Pluralism and the Mind, by Matthew Colborn

Publication Details: Imprint Academic. ISBN-13: 978-1845402211
Publish Date: September, 2011

From the publisher’s website: Given that consciousness is poorly understood and vaguely defined, Paul Feyerabend's advice to "keep our options open" seems sound, but is frequently ignored in favour of an insistence that a scientific theory of consciousness must be reducible to current monist physics and biology. This book argues that such an insistence is historically unsupportable, theoretically incoherent and unnecessary.

The author instead makes the case for emergent property pluralism. New concepts of emergent mental properties are needed because of the failure of mainstream approaches satisfactorily to address issues like subjective volition, autonomy and creativity. Personal consciousness is active and classifiable as a subset of the wider problem of biological causation.

The book is split into three sections. Part one builds an historical case for pluralism. Part two deconstructs insistent monism and mainstream models before addressing biological causation. Part three explores the consequences of such an alternative approach by examining specific phenomena like free will, the self and evolutionary emergence.

Matthew Colborn received an MSc in cognitive science from Birmingham University and a DPhil. in experimental psychology from the University of Sussex in 2001.

The Flying Cow: Exploring the Psychic World of Brazil, by Guy Lyon Playfair

Publication Details: White Crow Books, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-1907661945
Publish Date: September, 2011
The Flying Cow: Exploring the Psychic World of Brazil

From the publisher’s website: When The Flying Cow was first published in 1975, it revealed a world of psychic wonders in Brazil hitherto barely explored by outsiders. Author Guy Lyon Playfair had spent two years as a member of the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research (IBPP), the first group of its kind to investigate and document the wide range of inexplicable phenomena – from poltergeists and psychic surgeons to trance artists and children who recall previous lives.

He spent several days and nights in a poltergeist-haunted house, managing to record several inexplicable happenings on tape. He watched as a young man untrained in art dashed off a series of portraits in the styles of numerous deceased masters, some in a matter of seconds. He witnessed some of the country’s unorthodox healers at work, and saw them open bodies with their bare hands, eventually finding out for himself how it feels to be on the receiving end of this most bizarre form of alternative surgery.

He also looked into some of the best known cases from the past, collecting new eye-witness evidence for the mysterious abilities of such legendary figures as Arigó, the ‘surgeon of the rusty knife’, colourful and controversial mediums such as Carlos Mirabelli, Peixotinho and Otilia Diogo. He even obtained an account of the rarest of all psychic phenomena – materialisation – from a chief of police.

The Flying Cow was followed by its sequel The Indefinite Boundary in 1976. Material from the latter has been included in this edition, making it the most comprehensive survey available of the paranormal world of Brazil.

The author gave up a secure and lucrative career as freelance journalist and translator to explore that world, and in this book, fully revised and updated, he describes what he found there. Much of it is as surprising today as it was when it was first published.

GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The EconomistTime, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Telepathy – the Twin Connection. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.

Welsh ghost guides, by various authors

Publication Details: Haunted Wales: A Guide to Welsh Ghostlore, The History Press, September 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0752460581; Haunted Wales, Amberley Publishing, February 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1848682634; More Anglesey Ghosts, Amberley Publishing, October 2011. ISBN-13: 978-144560
Publish Date: September, 2011

Haunted Wales: A Guide to Welsh Ghostlore, by Richard Holland

Haunted Wales, by Peter Underwood

More Anglesey Ghosts, by Bunty Austin

From the publishers’ websites:

Haunted Wales: A Guide to Welsh Ghostlore:  ‘More ghosts and goblins I think were prevalent in Wales than in England or any other country.’  So wrote researcher William Howells way back in 1831 – and the author of this compelling collection believes he was right. Wales is a fearfully haunted place. It abounds in castles and mansions, ancient churches, lonely lanes and crossroads, even bare mountainsides which can lay claim to a resident spook or two.  For the first time, this haunted heritage has been explored in depth. Richard Holland has carried out a careful study of original sources, delving into old books, journals, Eisteddfod transactions and unpublished essays. His research has revealed insights into Welsh folklore and resurrected ghost stories which have long been forgotten.  The ghosts of Wales are of great age, their manners and appearance hinting at beliefs older than the oldest books. They are bold and memorable, striking in appearance, forceful in character, often terrifying and sometimes even dangerous.  Prepare for a fascinating county-by-county tour of hundreds of ghostly encounters from one of the most haunted countries in the world.

Haunted Wales: A fascinating collection of ghost stories from all over Wales brought together by Peter Underwood, an acknowledged expert on the paranormal. This book covers not only more well-known hauntings but also some more recent, and highly surprising, sightings.  In his wide and varied experience Peter has handled objects which were alleged to have been moved by paranormal means and heard a recording of reportedly paranormal music. Rather more significantly he has met and talked with many, many people who have either seen or heard or even felt a ghostly presence.  Welsh folklore and daily life have long been visited by occult phenomenon. Told in chilling detail these stories will delight paranormal enthusiasts of all ages.

More Anglesey Ghosts: Bunty Austin has always been fascinated by ghosts. When she came to Anglesey (Mon) years ago, she was overwhelmed by the fund of such stories about people and places – and the matter of fact acceptance that there were such things. Being Celts, the islanders seemed to have strong psychic powers.  Collecting stories about haunted houses, lanes on which ghost sightings were a part of everyday life and old memories passed down from generation to generation, fragmented experiences became a wealth of folklore over the years.  More Anglesey Ghosts is a further selection from Bunty’s extensive collection of ghostly goings-on.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Mediumistic Phenomena: Observed in a Series of Sessions with Eusapia Palladino, by Filippo Bottazzi

Publication Details: ICRL Press. ISBN-13: 978-1936033058
Publish Date: August, 2011

From the publisher’s website: In the silence of the night, in a remote room in a laboratory at the Institute of Physiology of the University of Naples, a small group of scientists meet to attend séances with Europe's most celebrated medium, Eusapia Palladino, a peasant woman whose mediumship has been dazzling Europe for decades. It is not the first time she has been subjected to tests, but it is the first time that she is being examined with the automated tools of orthodox scientific research, in an effort to produce an impartial and unbiased record of her activities.

As fascinating as a theatrical piece, this true life narrative has a riveting plot: scientists at the Institute of Physiology of the University of Naples, attempt to penetrate the troubling mysteries of the occult and come to grips with the phenomena of mediumship, its dynamics and possibilities.

Eight séances with the famous medium, Eusapia Palladino, are literally - sometimes humorously - described by the group's director, the distinguished Italian physiologist, Professor Filippo Bottazzi, one of the most authoritative researchers in Italy at the time.

And it is Bottazzi himself who, on the basis of the evidence obtained, proposes an explanation of the observed events based on his knowledge of physiology. All of this occurred more than a century ago, but the story remains fascinating - and relevant - to our own time.

Originally published in 1909 in Italian, this book has now been translated into English for the first time by Prof. Antonio Giuditta and Ms. Irmeli Routii.

Review by Tom Ruffles