From the editor’s foreword: The essays included in this collection present some of the basic ideas about the nature of consciousness as understood by theorists at the turn of the twentieth century. The main intention in most of the essays is to explore the dominant thinking of that time in comparison to contemporary thought on similar problems.
New Books and Media
The Victorian's Guide to Consciousness: Essays Marking the Centenary of William James (1842-1910), edited by Allan Combs
Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture, by Annette Hill
From the publisher’s website: The paranormal has gone mainstream. Beliefs are on the rise, with almost half of the British population, and two thirds of Americans, claiming to believe in extra sensory perceptions and hauntings. Psychic magazines like Spirit and Destiny, television shows such as Fringe, Ghost Whisperer and Most Haunted, ghost-cams and e-poltergeists, bestselling books on mind, body and spirit, and magicians like Derren Brown have moved from the outer limits to the centre of popular culture, turning paranormal beliefs and scepticism into revenue streams.
Paranormal Media offers a unique, timely exploration of the extraordinary, unexplained and supernatural in popular culture, looking in unusual places in order to understand this phenomenon. Early spirit forms such as magic lantern shows or the spirit photograph are re-imagined as a search for extraordinary experiences in reality TV, ghost tourism, and live shows. Through a popular cultural ethnography, and critical analysis in social and cultural theory, this ground-breaking book by Annette Hill presents an original and rigorous examination of people's experiences of spirits and magic. In popular culture, people are players in an orchestral movement about what happens to us when we die. In a very real sense the audience is the show. This book is the story of audiences and their participation in a show about matters of life and death.
Paranormal Norfolk, by Frank Meeres
From the publisher’s website: Norfolk has many associations with the paranormal, from ancient tales of Shuck the hound that has haunted the county’s lanes for a thousand years to tales of ghosts from the Second World War and of unidentified f lying objects. This book takes a new approach by looking at the paranormal as recorded in the archives of the county.
The stories include those collected by some of the county’s keenest folklorists such as W. H. Cooke, Mark Taylor, and W. G. Clarke, as well as first-hand records of paranormal experience. Many tales are published for the very first time, such as Mottie Green, the Wells ‘witch’, and a new light is thrown on more familiar stories such as the haunting of Syderstone Parsonage and the Snettisham ghost. Not least, the book also explains the key role of Norwich in the development of the vampire story! Read this book and your view of Norfolk will never be the same again!
Randi's Prize: What Sceptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong, and Why It Matters, by Robert McLuhan
From the publisher’s website: James 'The Amazing' Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as 'the paranormal'. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics' insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi's Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It's an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.
Robert McLuhan gained a BA in English Literature at Oxford, then worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian in Spain and Portugal. He now works as a freelance journalist. He has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research since 1993, blogging and lecturing on paranormal topics.
Unruly Spirits: The Science of Psychic Phenomena in Modern France, by M. Brady Brower
From the publisher’s website: Unruly Spirits connects the study of séances, telepathy, telekinesis, materializations, and other parapsychic phenomena in France during the age of Sigmund Freud to an epistemological crisis that would eventually yield the French adoption of psychoanalysis. Skillfully navigating experiments conducted by nineteenth-century French psychical researchers and the wide-ranging debates that surrounded their work, M. Brady Brower situates the institutional development of psychical research at the intersection of popular faith and the emergent discipline of psychology.
Brower shows how spiritualist mediums were ignored by French academic scientists for nearly three decades. Only after the ideologues of the Third Republic turned to science to address what they took to be the excess of popular democracy would the marvels of mediumism begin to emerge as legitimate objects of scientific inquiry. Taken up by the most prominent physicists, physiologists, and psychologists of the last decades of the nineteenth century, psychical research would eventually stall in the 1920s as researchers struggled to come to terms with interpersonal phenomena (such as trust and good faith) that could not be measured within the framework of their experimental methods.
In characterizing psychical research as something other than a mere echo of popular spirituality or an anomaly among the sciences, Brower argues that the questions surrounding mediums served to sustain the scientific project by forestalling the establishment of a closed and complete system of knowledge. By acknowledging persistent doubt about the intentions of its participants, psychical research would result in the realization of a subjectivity that was essentially indeterminate and would thus clear the way for the French reception of psychoanalysis and the Freudian unconscious and its more comprehensive account of subjective uncertainty.
Conscious Connections: About Parapsychology and Holistic Biology, by Göran Brusewitz
From the publisher’s website: Is there something called telepathy? Can we sense in advance what will happen? Can animals navigate using the earth's magnetic field? How can an embryo develop to a complete, mature organism? Göran Brusewitz introduces two separate fields, parapsychology and psychoenergetic systems, the basis for a holistic biology, two fields that seem to be connected to each other. He adds research that indicate the survival of bodily death, and research on consciousness. Almost all of these phenomena are dismissed by the skeptical movement, but a clear analysis shows that most of their arguments can be dismissed. From the foreword: "Brusewitz skillfully weaves parapsychological research and bioenergetic models together, using recent data from the study of biological fields as the connective link. This is an innovative paradigm that I have not detected in other books of this nature. Those who follow his reasoning through to its conclusion will emerge with an expanded view of humanity, of Nature, and the mechanisms that connect them. The implications of Conscious Connections extend beyond parapsychology and psychoenergetics." Stanley Krippner, Saybrook University
Göran Brusewitz, Master of Science in Psychology, has been President of the Swedish Society for Psychical Research for more than 20 years. He has followed the research in parapsychology, psychoenergetic systems and consciousness and arranged conferences with leading scientists. He is a member of the Parapsychological Association.
Beer and Spirits: A Guide to Haunted Pubs in the Black Country and Surrounding Area, by David Taylor and Andrew Homer
From the publisher’s website: Beer and Spirits offers a fascinating insight into the stories behind some of Central England’s most haunted pubs.
With over 50,000 public houses in the United Kingdom, the local pub has become an essential part of British culture. Samuel Pepys described the inn as the heart of England. Pubs have been an integral part of British culture since Roman times. The lives and dramas, intrigues and mysteries of the people who visited them form the rich tapestry of any local pub. As a result there are often many stories and histories that are inherently part of the place, and naturally ghost stories and haunted reputations form a dynamic feature of many local pubs. From spectral monks and phantom coaches, to ghostly highwaymen and supernatural hounds, the authors examine some well known and not so well known aspects of Black Country pub history and folklore.
While the stories and accounts in this book are not meant to offer any proof or conclusive evidence of ghosts, they do offer a fresh look at new and more traditional accounts of haunted pubs in the Black Country and the surrounding area.
ESPRIT: Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections, Vol. 1, edited by Rosemarie Pilkington
From the publisher’s website: ESPRIT: Men and Women of Parapsychology, Personal Reflections: Volume 1, is a collection of autobiographical essays by a group of esteemed 20th century psi researchers, giving us a glimpse of why these gifted, astute individuals devoted much, if not most, of their life's work to this fascinating but monetarily unrewarding field. In the process, Jule Eisenbud, Eileen Coly, Gertrude Schmeidler, Karlis Osis, and eight others advise a younger generation on what pitfalls to expect and what they felt were the most important areas of investigation. This is the first of a planned three-volume series.
Contents: Editor’s Note; Preface; Foreword (by Stanley Krippner); Jule Eisenbud : My Life with the Paranormal; Montague Ullman: The World of Psychic Phenomena as I Came to Know It; Jan Ehrenwald: An Autobiographic Fragment; Eileen Coly: Interview with Eileen Coly; Joseph H. Rush: Parapsychology: Some Personal Observations; Gertrude R. Schmeidler: Questions and Attempts at Answers; Emilio Servadio: Interview with Emilio Servadio; Renée Haynes: Aspects of Psychical Research; Hans Bender: A Positive Critic of Superstition; Karlis Osis: The Paranormal: My Window to Something More; George Zorab: Eight Decades in Parapsychology; Bernard Grad: Experiences and Opinions of an Unconventional Scientist; References; Index.
Glimpses of Eternity: An Investigation into Shared Death Experiences, by Raymond Moody, with Paul Perry
From the publisher’s website: Glimpses of Eternity, a new book by acclaimed doctor and bestselling author Raymond Moody confirms life after death and shows that our relationships with those we love live forever. Dr. Raymond Moody revolutionized the way we think about heaven with his first book, Life After Life—which became one of the bestselling books of all time. Now Dr. Moody uncovers another common thread to what happens when we die. Glimpses of Eternity tells us that family and friends are often swept into the first moments of their loved one's journey from this life to the next. Dr. Moody calls these "shared death experiences." Glimpses of Eternity is the first book to talk about this beautiful aspect of our spiritual connections with one another.
Military Ghosts, by Alan C. Wood
From the publisher’s website: Following several personal sightings of ghosts, including that of a First World War pilot, Alan Wood has spent sixty years researching the occult. Military Ghosts is the result and is designed as a gazetteer of locations where military ghosts have been reported. It includes not only such well-known stories as that of Sir Francis Drake’s Drum but a wide variety of stories, ranging from a patrol of ghostly Roman legionnaires to a fully-fledged re-enactment of the Battle of Edgehill, and from benevolent spirits to one so terrifying that witnesses have committed suicide rather than face it, through the spirits of seventeenth-century cavaliers to the more modern ghosts of fighter pilots from the First and Second World Wars. This book covers soldiers, sailors, and airmen, and a wide range of locations not only in the U.K. but also overseas.
Alan C. Wood has spent time in the RAF both on active service at home and overseas, and as a reservist, winning the USAF medal for Humane Action. On being demobilised from the RAF, he joined the police service and won the Queen Elizabeth II Police Service Medal and various other awards. He has been a published non-fiction author since September 1957, writing about the First and Second World Wars.
The Ghost Club - A History, by Peter Underwood
From the publisher’s website: The Ghost Club is the oldest society in the world dedicated to the exploration of the unknown and there can be no better guide to the history of this pioneering organisation than writer and broadcaster Peter Underwood, President from 1960 - 1993. Here his unique archives and knowledge have combined to produce a definitive compendium of this remarkable club covering the many and varied incarnations, pioneers, members and leading lights as well as its many and diverse lectures and investigations.
Peter Underwood is the recognised elder statesman of psychical research and author of over 40 books on ghosts and the paranormal including the pioneering Gazetteer of British Ghosts, The Encyclopaedia of the Supernatural, The Ghost Hunters' Guide and Haunted Gardens.
The Jacobites and the Supernatural, by Geoff Holder
From the publisher’s website: The Jacobites and the Supernatural offers a whole new perspective on the well-known Jacobite period and also allows the reader to explore the battlefields and other sites of the period in a completely new way. Here are tales of witchcraft, spirits, psychic powers, portents, prodigies, magical talismans and potent curses. Bonnie Prince Charlie practices the healing magic of ‘touching’ for the King’s Evil and ‘impresses’ his good looks onto an unborn child. A queen attributes her pregnancy to a saint. Rocks split at the moment Culloden is lost. We meet angels, demons, fairies, guardian Black Dogs and other otherworldly beings. The cast of human characters includes John Graham of Claverhouse, ‘Bonnie Dundee’, said to have sold his soul to the Devil and then been killed by a silver bullet; the ‘Galloping Earl’ of Dilston whose phantom is said to still ride through his Northumbrian estate; and the gentle Lord President Forbes, who had a vision of the slaughter at Culloden months before the Jacobite dream was extinguished on that terrible day.
As well as setting the occult beliefs in the religious, political and military contexts of the Jacobite Risings of 1689, 1715, 1719 and 1745, this book gives a site-by-site guide to all the battlefields and buildings associated with the Jacobites and the supernatural. The battles of Culloden, Sheriffmuir, Killiecrankie, Dunkeld, Glenshiel, Falkirk and Prestonpans are well represented, but there are also allegedly haunted castles and hotels, plus everything from an English vicarage (home to a Jacobite poltergeist) to a Highland loch and a Hebridean beach. Sites across Scotland and England are comprehensively described, with a full history of their ‘supernatural’ events and descriptions of on-site access and facilities.