From the publisher’s website: The seer (mantis), an expert in the art of divination, operated in ancient Greek society through a combination of charismatic inspiration and diverse skills ranging from examining the livers of sacrificed animals to spirit possession. Unlike the palm readers and mediums who exist on the fringe of modern society, many seers were highly paid, well respected, educated members of the elite who played an essential role in the conduct of daily life, political decisions, and military campaigns. Armies, for example, never went anywhere without one. This engaging book, the only comprehensive study of this fascinating figure, enters into the socioreligious world of ancient Greece to explore what seers did, why they were so widely employed, and how their craft served as a viable and useful social practice.
New Books and Media
The Seer in Ancient Greece, by Michael Flower
Rethinking Ghosts in World Religions, edited by Mu-chou Poo
From the publisher’s website: The central theme of this volume is to re-examine the received concepts and images of ghosts in various religious cultures ranging from the Ancient Near East and Egypt to the Old Testament, the Classical Era, Early Medieval and Early Modern Europe, Early India, and Medieval China. As a religious phenomenon, the realm of ghosts has been less studied than the realm of the divine. Through a collaborative effort by scholars from different disciplines, this volume proposes a multi-cultural approach to construct a wider and complicated picture of the phenomenon of ghosts and spirits in human societies and to have a grasp of the various problems involved in understanding the phenomenon of ghost.
The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena, by Diane Hennacy Powell
From the publisher’s website: A revolutionary scientific explanation of psychic phenomena and the nature of human consciousness.
Although much is now known about the brain, relatively little has been determined about where consciousness comes from: What is the source of the “I” in our internal monologue? How does something as nonmaterial as consciousness arise from something material like the brain? Dr. Diane Powell, a Johns Hopkins–trained neuroscientist, has brilliantly reassessed the meaning and nature of consciousness by exploring research on the workings of psychic phenomena.
Over the past few decades several well-designed and rigorously supervised experiments have documented the existence of telepathic interconnection, clairvoyance, precognition, psychokinesis, and out-of-body experiences. Mainstream science has largely ignored these data because they all defy the traditional model of consciousness as being solely the product of brain chemistry.
Building from these experiments, Powell constructs a new theory of consciousness. I ntegrating concepts from physics, neuroscience, and other disciplines, she offers an insightful and intriguing explanation of ESP, provocatively claiming that the existence of psychic abilities expands our understanding and appreciation of consciousness. Psychic abilities are also consistent with findings in modern physics: For example, psychokinesis implies that consciousness is a type of force field, while precognition suggests that the past, present, and future exist concurrently.
Eye-opening in its conclusions and exciting in its implications, The ESP Enigma will challenge your preconceived notions and expand your mind.
The Articulate Dead, by Michael E. Tymn
From the publisher’s website: During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, there were dynamic and evidential forms of spirit communication. A number of distinguished scientists and scholars studied some of the best mediums and concluded they were genuine. Unfortunately, there were also many charlatans and it was difficult for the general public to distinguish between the real mediums and the frauds. Scientific and religious fundamentalists along with a cynical press, were constantly on the attack, driving the genuine mediums underground or forcing them to abandon their gift.
In The Articulate Dead, Michael E. Tymn examines several of the best mediums of yesteryear and the scientific research surrounding them. A number of very intriguing stories unfold, including spirits directing an archaeologist in the uncovering of the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, spirits leading a researcher to crosses buried by American Indians, a deceased author completing his books through a medium, a Titanic victim coming back to tell about his new environment, and an afterlife researcher continuing his work after dying, to name just a few.
Witnessing the Impossible, by Robin Foy
From the publisher’s website: Witnessing the Impossible traces every session of the 'Scole Experimental Group' over the years, from its foundation and the beginning of The Scole Experiment in 1993 to its very sudden and unexpected ending in November 1998. In all, it follows over 1,000 continuous hours of mediumship and objective Physical Phenomena. The book represents the only true and complete eyewitness account of this unique and pioneering experiment, which pushed the boundaries of psychic research further than ever before at that time, consequently changing the face of physical mediumship and its resulting phenomena for all time. An absolute Must for all serious students of Psychic Research, and of immense interest to the whole of mankind.
To Die For, by James E. Beichler
From the publisher’s website: Paradoxically, the greatest question ever asked in the history of human thought is completely ignored by the human race’s greatest accomplishment of thought, science. Yet the lack of science to even consider the possibility of an afterlife and ask ‘What happens when we die?’ is not an accident. It was planned and has been the accepted position of science since the founding of science as an independent discipline. So science has never developed the intellectual or conceptual tools to even deal with the concept of an ‘afterlife’. However, the recent scientific study of nature has produced two barriers to the continued progress of science: Understanding the ultimate nature of either matter or consciousness and the relationship between them. Yet answering these questions directly and logically implies that consciousness could survive death.
To Die For tells the story of how science came to this impasse and how human thought has attempted to deal with these issues before, even while science has tried its best to avoid them. But more importantly, this book offers a scientific solution to the problem of consciousness and the survival of consciousness when the material body dies. A simple physical theory of reality is presented that explains both matter and consciousness, although the explanation of consciousness and the survival of consciousness is emphasized. Only science can determine if this theory is valid or not, but if not this theory is still very close to what that final theory would look like. In any case, another scientific revolution is coming. History alone tells us that fact. Not only will science explain matter and consciousness, but also it will recapture the right to study life and the afterlife from religion, vastly altering the shape of human culture and society within the very near future. This book, To Die For, presents a picture in words of what has been and what is to come, where we have been, where we are now, and where we, as humans, are going.
The Daemon: A Guide to Your Extraordinary Secret Self, by Anthony Peake
From the author’s website: In The Daemon, Anthony Peake expands upon one of the most enigmatic areas of his first book, the proposition that all consciously aware beings consist of not one but two separate consciousnesses - everyday consciousness and that of 'The Daemon', a higher being that seems to possess knowledge of future events.
Who’s There?: The True Story of a Leeds Haunting, by Colette Shires
From the publisher’s website: Then, adding horror to horror, a pair of thin, long-fingered hands placed themselves on my stomach and proceeded to inch their way up my body. They crawled underneath my own hands resting on my chest. I gripped the bony fingers to push them away, but I couldn't - I was not strong enough. As they neared my throat, I thought I was about to die.
When the Slater family heard what sounded like a baby crying in their new house, they had no idea that it was the beginning of a terrifying haunting that would last for more than thirty years, and follow them across the city. This is their story.
The Near-Death Experiences of Hospitalized Intensive Care Patients: A Five Year Clinical Study, by Penny Sartori
This book reports the results of the first long-term prospective study of near-death experiences (NDEs) to be undertaken in the United Kingdom. The project studied the NDEs of patients in an intensive therapy unit in a Welsh hospital over a five-year period. The author worked as a Staff Nurse on the ITU ward during the study period, allowing her to closely correlate the medical conditions of her patients with their near-death experiences. The research produced several important findings, and the author was awarded a PhD degree by the University of Wales, Lampeter for this work. Only 2 of her patients initiated the report of their NDE, suggesting that such experiences may be under-reported. In several cases she was able to sample the blood gases of patients during the time of their NDE, and these results contradict the theories that NDEs are caused by either low oxygen levels or high carbon-dioxide levels. She also found that patients who did not report NDEs gave broadly inaccurate accounts when asked to guess how their resuscitation proceeded, while those who did report an NDE with an OBE component gave broadly accurate reports of the resuscitation procedure. This undermines the suggestion that NDE OBE reports are a mixture of prior knowledge, fantasy and guesswork, as some have hypothesized. Overall, the study underscores the challenge that NDEs present to explanation in orthodox medical terms.
Beyond the Threshold: Afterlife Beliefs and Experiences in World Religions, by Christopher M. Moreman
From the publisher’s website: In every culture throughout history, people have asked the same fundamental question about what will happen to them when they die. From the underworld to the light at the end of the tunnel, beliefs and experiences of death abound. And even though we cannot know for sure what happens to us after death, our understanding of the afterlife can have a profound impact on how we live.
Beyond the Threshold is the first book seriously to examine the afterlife through the lens of both world religions and metaphysical experiences. Christopher M. Moreman includes an introduction to the afterlife beliefs of ancient cultures, which are essential to understanding the roots of many modern ideas about death. He examines the folklore and doctrines of major world religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism. He also discusses psychic phenomena across traditions, such as mediums, near-death and out-of-body experiences, and past-life memories. While ultimately the afterlife remains unknowable, Moreman's unique, in-depth exploration of both beliefs and experiences can help readers reach their own understanding of the afterlife and how to live. No other book in the field approaches the issue of the afterlife from so many angles, but Moreman weaves them skilfully together into an accessible and engaging book.
The Hidden Whisper, by J.J. Lumsden
From the publisher’s website: In a retirement community in the desert of southern Arizona, Jack and Chloe Monroe have an unwanted guest. What once appeared merely strange has now taken on sinister overtones. What once seemed a curiosity now seems terrifying. Paranormal researcher Dr Luke Jackson reluctantly takes up the investigation and finds himself drawn into the series of unexplained events at the Monroe house. Time is against Luke. He has just one week to unravel the mystery before he must return home. The Hidden Whisper offers a rare opportunity to enter the intriguing world of the paranormal through the eyes of Luke Jackson. It is supported by a set of endnotes compiled by the author, parapsychologist JJ Lumsden, which offer additional explanations into many of the topic areas raised throughout the story.
William Crookes (1832-1919) and the Commercialization of Science, by William H. Brock
From the publisher’s website: William Crookes' long life was one of unbroken scientific and business activity, culminating in his appointment as President of the Royal Society in 1913. Throughout his career he was an important science journalist, the discoverer of thallium, the inventor of the radiometer, investigator of cathode rays and the vacuum, a spectroscopist of significance in rare earth chemistry, and a spokesman for a chemical solution to the problems with the world's food supplies. He was also, and perhaps most controversially, an occultist who played a significant role in spiritualism in the 1870s, and was involved with D.D. Home (Browning's Mr Sludge) and other notable mediums of the day. Previous literature on Crookes has tended to focus on his involvement with the spiritualists, sometimes to the detriment of his many scientific achievements. This biography of William Crookes gives us the whole man: one of the most complex, public, and interesting figures in the history of science.
Professor Brock guides us through the abundant catalogue of Crookes' accomplishments, placing his scientific activities in the context of the business of making a living from science - something that Crookes did principally as a science journalist and editor with his Chemical News (the model for today's Nature), and by business enterprises ranging from water analysis, sewerage schemes, and goldmining to the design of electric light bulbs. We also see Crookes in the lab, as an independent researcher, and learn the processes behind his discovery of thallium, his investigations into matter and energy, and his crucial work on cathode rays. We see the public man, the celebrity who was much sought after for his opinions on the latest discovery, and who was widely regarded as Britain's leading scientist at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Scientist, spiritualist, entrepreneur: Sir William Crookes' extraordinary life and many endeavours provide a unique window into Victorian and Edwardian science and industry.