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UFOs: Reframing the Debate, edited by Robbie Graham

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN: 978-1786770233
Publish Date: May, 2017

From the publisher's website:

IF YOU LIKE YOUR UFO LITERATURE TO CONFIRM WHAT YOU ALREADY ‘KNOW,’ THIS IS NOT THE BOOK FOR YOU!

The UFO field has produced thousands of dedicated researchers over the years, and reams of literature; but to what end? What can we claim to know conclusively today about the underlying nature of UFO phenomena that we didn’t know in the late-1940s? UFO study has always suffered from major organizational and methodological problems. It has also become dangerously self-referential.

If ever we are to further our understanding of the UFO enigma, we must fundamentally reframe our debate. We must wipe the board clean and fill it with new ideas, new theories, even new language. We must be willing to start from scratch when the field stagnates. We must be critical, sober, and free of dogma—ready to rinse away the residue of our own beliefs.

UFOs: Reframing the Debate is a collection of original essays exploring alternative perspectives on UFOs and how we might more usefully study the phenomenon in the 21st Century. The book brings together some of the most progressive and iconoclastic thinkers in the field for an incisive deconstruction of current popular ideas. Critical but constructive, this challenging volume represents a range of differing (even conflicting) alternative viewpoints on UFOs and related phenomena.

UFOs: Reframing the Debate is a cold, hard, slap in the face for ‘UFOlogy,’ a call to break away from established ideas, approaches, and practices, and to boldly tread a new path in quest of understanding what may very well be the greatest mystery of all.

For more information, including a sample chapter, visit White Crow Books

Review by Chris Jensen Romer

Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose, by Christopher Josiffe

Publication Details: Strange Attractor Press, ISBN 978-1-907222-48-1
Publish Date: April, 2017
front cover of Gef! The Strange Tale of an Extra-Special Talking Mongoose, by Christopher Josiffe

 

"I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!"

During the mid-1930s, British and overseas newspapers were full of incredible stories about Gef, a ‘talking mongoose’ or ‘man-weasel’ who had allegedly appeared in the home of the Irvings, a farming family in a remote district of the Isle of Man.  The creature was said to have the ability to talk in several languages, to sing, to steal objects from nearby farms and to eavesdrop on local people, such that they became uneasy at the farmer’s seeming ability to be able to tell them their most private goings-on.

Despite written reports, magazine articles and books, several photographs, fur samples and paw prints, voluminous correspondence and signed witness statements, there is still no consensus as to what was really happening to the Irving family.  Hoax? Mental illness? A poltergeist? The possession of an animal by an evil spirit? Now you can read all the evidence and decide for yourself.

Seven years’ research and interviews, photographs (many previously unseen), interviews with surviving witnesses, visits to the site – all are presented here in this new book, the first examination of the case for 70 years.

About the author:

Christopher Josiffe is a regular contributor to Fortean Times and has also been published in Faunus, Abraxas and The Pomegranate. He has presented lectures at (amongst others) the Ghost Club, the Society for Psychical Research, Senate House (University of London), Alchemical Landscape II (University of Cambridge), the London Fortean Society, and the Fortean Times Unconvention.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Legitimacy of Unbelief The Collected Papers of Piet Hein Hoebens, edited by Gerd H. Hövelmann and Hans Michels

Publication Details: LIT Verlag, ISBN: 978-3643908551
Publish Date: April, 2017
From the publisher's website: From the late 1970s through the mid-1980s Dutch journalist Piet Hein Hoebens held a unique position in the controversies between proponents and skeptics of parapsychology and related areas in what today often is referred to as “anomalistics”. While he described himself as a card-carrying skeptic, albeit one with strong “ecumenical” leanings, even many of his nominal opponents, the parapsychologists, deeply appreciated his in-depth knowledge of their field and his penetrating, but always fair and open-minded criticisms. Hoebens’ constructively skeptical influence on the culture of responsible scientific exchange is felt to this day, as can be seen from many recent references to both his popular articles and his publications in scientific journals and books.

For this book, the editors have collected (and in many cases translated) more than 40 of Hoebens’ most significant or characteristic writings, about half of which were never published in English before. Partly based on the so-called “Hoebens File”, they have also added editorial introductions and comments to elucidate the contexts in which these papers were written and to explicate their lasting relevance. Therefore, the book is more than a commemoration of an important author – it provides valuable insights into the history of parapsychology and its skeptical reflections and repercussions.

Divine Intervention, by Raymond J H Spencer

Publication Details: Self published, ISBN 978-0-473-36522-6
Publish Date: March, 2017
Divine Intervention, by Raymond J H Spencer

From the author: This book is set in 5 parts and the author goes into detail about the many and varied psychic experiences and his interaction with spirits over a 20 year period:

Part One: provides details of the author’s early life in New Zealand, and details Raymond’s experience of being shot in the side of the head at Raurimu in February 1997 and the massacre of six others. As a result of this, the author’s life underwent a dramatic spiritual change.

Parts Two and Three: provide details of more than 300 psychic experiences occurring over the period from February 1997 to March 2013, most of which were varied and provided by spirits for him to write about.

Part Four: analyses these experiences and considers them more from the point of view of the life of our spirit self and that of spririts. These are also studied in association with the findings from research in the psychic field, and the operation of the brain.

Part Five: provides details on our spiritual rights in contrast to the rights which humans presently have – being associated more with out material needs. it provides details on where mankind fits into life elsewhere in the greater universe, and how we need to change the path we are on in order to ensure our survival, and out ultimate place in the next realm.

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Boy Who Knew Too Much: An Astounding True Story of a Young Boy's Past-Life Memories, by Cathy Byrd

Publication Details: Hay House, ISBN: 9781401953423.
Publish Date: March, 2017

From the publisher's website: This is a powerful and inspirational story about a young baseball prodigy who, at the age of two, began sharing vivid memories of being a baseball player in the 1920s and ’30s. Christian Haupt described historical facts about Lou Gehrig that he could not have possibly known at the time.

Distraught by their son's uncanny revelations, his parents embarked on a sacred journey of discovery that shook their beliefs to the core and forever changed their views on life and death. The Boy Who Knew Too Much delves into the mystery of life and will inspire even the greatest skeptics to consider the possibility that love never dies.

Review by Dieter Hassler

The Enigma of Rosalie: Harry Price’s Paranormal Mystery Revisited, by Paul Adams

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 978-1-78677-014-1
Publish Date: March, 2017
The Enigma of Rosalie
Harry Price is one of the best-known figures in 20th century psychical research; a maverick investigator who created controversy, both within the Spiritualist movement and in the world of organised paranormal inquiry. With his National Laboratory he investigated the most famous mediums of the inter-war period including Helen Duncan and the Schneider brothers. After his death in 1948, Price was accused of fraud in what remains his most famous inquiry — the haunting of Borley Rectory, and his research remains both inspirational and problematic.
 
Of all of his investigations, the case of the spirit child, ‘Rosalie’ is the most astonishing and controversial. In 1939, Harry Price claimed to have visited a house in London where he experienced the solid materialisation of a six-year-old girl who had been dead for over fifteen years. Was Price telling the truth, or had he been duped by scheming fraudsters? Was ‘Rosalie’ genuine evidence of the reality of life after death and spirit materialisation, or not?
 
In The Enigma of Rosalie, Paul Adams, co-author of The Borley Rectory Companion, offers the most detailed study undertaken of Harry Price and ‘Rosalie’. Extensively researched from public and private collections, this book finally reveals the truth behind one of psychical research’s most enduring and engaging mysteries.
 
 
About the author
Paul Adams was born and grew up in south-west London. Through an eclectic mix of children’s fiction, Hammer Films and visits to haunted houses, he has been interested in psychical research and the paranormal since the 1970s. Personal experience in both public and private home circles also created a specific interest in physical mediumship and similar séance room phenomena.
 
He has written articles on mediumship for Psychic News and Paranormal magazine and is the co-author of The Borley Rectory Companion (2009) and Shadows in the Nave (2011), a guide to the haunted churches of England, as well as Ghosts & Gallows (2012), an account of true crime cases and the paranormal, Written in Blood (2014), a history of vampirism in British culture, and several regional books of British hauntings. He lives in Luton, Bedfordshire.
 
See the White Crow Books' website for further information:
 

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration of Poltergeist Phenomena, by Jenny Ashford

Publication Details: Bleed Red Books, ISBN-13: 978-1544921129
Publish Date: March, 2017

From the author's website: Rapping on the walls. Mysterious rains of stones. Furniture moving around by itself. Phantom voices. Unexplained fires. Invisible assaults. The symptoms of poltergeist activity are well known, but what is a poltergeist, really? Is it some type of demon, or an angry spirit whose only mission is to cause mischief and destruction? Is it the unconscious energy of a troubled living person, somehow affecting the environment from a distance? Or could it all be simply fraud or misidentification? In this comprehensive book, well over one hundred cases of poltergeist activity, from the first century to the present day, are summarized and examined. All the best-known cases are presented, from Borley Rectory to the Bell Witch, from the Great Amherst Mystery to Gef the Talking Mongoose, from Rosenheim to Tina Resch, from Enfield to the Entity. A large selection of fascinating and lesser-known accounts from all over the world are also included, and all contain testimony of the most eerie and extraordinary events. The Unseen Hand is the ultimate, one-stop shop for readers interested in poltergeist disturbances throughout history and the theories behind what causes them.

Jenny Ashford is a horror and paranormal writer. Her books include three paranormal nonfiction books: House of Fire and Whispers: Investigating the Seattle Demon House, and The Rochdale Poltergeist (both with parapsychologist Steve Mera), and The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist (with poltergeist focus Tom Ross). She has also written three horror novels: Red Menace, Bellwether, and The Five Poisons; two short story collections, Hopeful Monsters and The Associated Villainies; and a graphic novel, The Tenebrist. Her horror blog, Goddess of Hellfire, contains writing news, short stories and articles, and her reviews and opinions on horror films and books. She also co-hosts a podcast with Tom Ross called 13 O’Clock, on which they discuss various paranormal topics, true crime, and unexplained mysteries. Find her online at www.jennyashford.com or at goddessofhellfire.com, and listen to 13 O’Clock on the Project Entertainment Network, or on YouTube at 13OClockPodcast.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Uncanny Clydeside, by M J Steel Collins

Publication Details: Beul Aithris Publishing, ISBN: 9781520787428.
Publish Date: March, 2017

From the publisher's website: A look at the eerier side of Glasgow and its immediate environs. Find out about "The Clatter" and the unearthly users of the local railways. Discover which part of Glasgow has the densest poltergeist population, the ghosts that walk Glasgow University and the body snatching past of the city's other High Education institutes. How did two young girls rock Paisley and Pollok with accusations of witchcraft and what are the Clydeside origins of America's leading haunted ship? Glasgow and it's immediate environs might be best known as an industrial powerhouse, and a hotbed of red politics, but spookiness bubbles not too far beneath the surface.

William James Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity, by Krister Dylan Knapp

Publication Details: The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN: 978-1-4696-3124-0
Publish Date: March, 2017
William James

In this insightful new book on the remarkable William James, the American psychologist and philosopher, Krister Dylan Knapp provides the first deeply historical and acutely analytical account of James's psychical research. While showing that James always maintained a critical stance toward claims of paranormal phenomena like spiritualism, Knapp uses new sources to argue that psychical research held a strikingly central position in James’s life. It was crucial to his familial and professional relationships, the fashioning of his unique intellectual disposition, and the shaping of his core doctrines, especially the will-to-believe, empiricism, fideism, and theories of the subliminal consciousness and immortality.

Knapp explains how and why James found in psychical research a way to rethink the well-trodden approaches to classic Euro-American religious thought, typified by the oppositional categories of natural vs. supernatural and normal vs. paranormal. He demonstrates how James eschewed these choices and instead developed a tertiary synthesis of them, an approach Knapp terms tertium quid, the third way. Situating James's psychical research in relation to the rise of experimental psychology and Protestantism’s changing place in fin de siècle America, Knapp asserts that the third way illustrated a much broader trend in transatlantic thought as it struggled to navigate the uncertainties and religious adventurism of the modern age.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Homo Sovieticus: Brain Waves, Mind Control, and Telepathic Destiny, by Wladimir Velminski

Publication Details: The MIT Press, ISBN: 9780262035699
Publish Date: February, 2017
Homo Sovieticus: Brain Waves, Mind Control, and Telepathic Destiny, by Wladimir Velminski
From the publisher's website: In October 1989, as the Cold War was ending and the Berlin Wall about to crumble, television viewers in the Soviet Union tuned in to the first of a series of unusual broadcasts. “Relax, let your thoughts wander free . . .” intoned the host, the physician and clinical psychotherapist Anatoly Mikhailovich Kashpirovsky. Moscow’s Channel One was attempting mass hypnosis over television, a therapeutic session aimed at reassuring citizens panicked over the ongoing political upheaval—and aimed at taking control of their responses to it. Incredibly enough, this last-ditch effort to rally the citizenry was the culmination of decades of official telepathic research, cybernetic simulations, and coded messages undertaken to reinforce ideological conformity. In Homo Sovieticus, the art and media scholar Wladimir Velminski explores these scientific and pseudoscientific efforts at mind control.
 
In a fascinating series of anecdotes, Velminski describes such phenomena as the conflation of mental energy and electromagnetism; the investigation of aura fields through the “Aurathron”; a laboratory that practiced mind control methods on dogs; and attempts to calibrate the thought processes of labourers. “Scientific” diagrams from the period accompany the text. In all of the experimental methods for implanting thoughts into a brain, Velminski finds political and metaphorical contaminations. These apparently technological experiments in telepathy and telekinesis were deployed for purely political purposes.
 
About the Author
Wladimir Velminski is a Head of the Project History and Theory of Media Regimes in Eastern Europe in the Department of Media Studies at the Bauhaus University Weimar. Previously, Velminski worked at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, at the Universität Zürich, and at ETH Zürich.

Review by Tom Ruffles

I Saw A Light and Came Here: Children's Experiences of Reincarnation

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 978-1-910121-92-4
Publish Date: February, 2017

From the publisher's website:I Saw A Light And Came Here is the result of decades of scholarly research and investigations into past-life memories, primarily of children. The first author, Erlendur Haraldsson, a psychologist, has over two decades of experience behind him, having investigated some one hundred cases in the field. He worked closely with Ian Stevenson, M.D., of the University of Virginia, who began systematic studies of “cases of the reincarnation type,” but soon broke new ground with psychological studies of children who insist they remember episodes from past lives. Haraldsson invited anthropologist James Matlock to join him because of his thorough familiarity with research around the globe. This book deals with various aspects of past-life memory and attempts to answer the questions that will inevitably come up in the minds of thoughtful readers.

Further details are available on the White Crow Books website:

http://whitecrowbooks.com/books/page/i_saw_a_light_and_came_here_childrens_experiences_of_reincarnation/

Review by Tom Ruffles

Leben mit den Toten Geisterglauben und die Entstehung des Spiritismus in Deutschland 1770-1900, by Diethard Sawicki

Publication Details: Ferdinand Schöningh, ISBN: 978-3506782793
Publish Date: January, 2017
Cover of Leben mit den Toten

From the publisher's website: Deutscher Geist und Reich der Geister: Das war im 19 Jahrhundert beileibe kein Widerspruch. Beides gehörte zusammen, in einer Zeit, die immer noch als Ära des naturwissenschaftlich-technischen Fortschritts und der Entzauberung unserer Welt gilt.

Der Autor weist nach, daß Geisterglauben und Spiritismus keineswegs als bloße Überreste alten Volksaberglaubens gelten können. Vielmehr boten die Gedankengebäude der spekulativen deutschen Philosophie und regionale Traditionen schwärmerischen Christentums zahlreiche Ansatzpunkte für spiritistische Ideen, von denen auch und gerade die Gebildeten fasziniert waren.

Das Buch schildert erstmals die Weltbilder, Kulte und magischen Praktiken, die sich in Deutschland vom ausgehenden achtzehnten Jahrhundert bis zum Beginn des zwanzigsten mit dem Glauben an Geistererscheinungen und an die Kraft von Totenbeschwörungen verbanden. Es führt den Leser in jene Regionen und an jene Orte, wo Menschen aller Bevölkerungsschichten damals Geister riefen und an Geister glaubten. So entsteht ein farbiges Panorama, das die Zeit und einige ihrer berühmten Köpfe wie Friedrich Schlegel, Bettina von Arnim oder auch Karl May in einem bisher nicht bekannten Licht erscheinen lässt.

Für die Neuauflage wurde der Band durchgesehen und um ein Nachwort ergänzt.

A book except and table of contents are available here: Ferdinand Schöningh