From the publisher's website: This is not Donald Trump's anti-science. Science itself is fine, and has rightfully earned the highest status in our culture. But the high status of science has created a problem: Scientists are believed and taken seriously, whatever they say, whether it was determined by the scientific method or not. In particular, they are trying to tell us that there is no reality beyond the physical. This has not been proved scientifically, so it is defended and forced upon the academic community with unscientific methods such as authoritarian pronouncements, ridicule, and power politics, and accepted universally as absolute truth at American colleges and universities. Academic people who express an interest in precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, remote viewing, psychokinesis, energy medicine, spirit entities, the power of prayer, reincarnation, or intelligent design are treated as if they were mentally incompetent, shunned by their colleagues, and denied publication, funding, and employment. Even psychologists have been steered away from the study of the mind by the insistence on physical evidence. Our accredited institutions are being blocked from whole dimensions of knowledge, the mental and the spiritual. At the same time, there is a growing body of evidence supporting all the subjects in the list above. Gallup polls over the years have shown that more than 90% of Americans believe in God or a spiritual reality. Recent surveys have found that up to 91% of people in advanced Western countries have had psychic experiences. And yet a majority of elite scientists do not believe in these things. They claim that the general public has the bias. They say that we are uninformed, unintelligent, superstitious, and/or delusional. This is simply gross class prejudice. Dirty Science exposes the unscientific, illegitimate, and irrational arguments that are used in the name of "science" by people with high scientific credentials, corrupting our cultural knowledge. This is not "science bashing," but is an accurate and responsible book, written with compassion for the people who are caught up in the system. It is not seeking the approval of establishment scientists as "authority" figures, but is appealing to the intelligent reading public (which includes all academic people) to recognize the unscientific methods and cause the people who use those methods to lose credibility. As a start, every undergraduate student of critical thinking needs to read this book.
New Books and Media
Dirty Science: How Unscientific Methods Are Blocking Our Cultural Advancement, by Bob Gebelein
Psi in Psychotherapy: Conventional and Nonconventional Healing of Mental Illness, Alex Tanous, Elaine Schwinge and Andrew F. Bambrick
From the publisher's website: Dr Alex Tanous (1926-1990) was a renewed international lecturer on the topics of well-being, creativity and parapsychology. A self-professed psychic, he spent 20 years of his life while working as a university lecturer being tested for his claims of ‘light project’ and going ‘out-of-the-body’ at will. He was also well-known for placing his predictions of future events on record. This book – written in the 1980s by Tanous and colleagues – “gives an overview of an innovative approach in the combined fields of conventional and [non]-conventional psychotherapeutic healing”. This is one of several books released by the Alex Tanous Foundation in recent years for historical preservation. Fascinating accounts are relayed by Tanous et al., with additional writings from respected and renowned scientists and professionals to provide modern reflection on this historical piece.
Further information here: White Crow Books.
Talking about Psychical Research: Thoughts on Life, Death and the Nature of Reality, by Mary Rose Barrington
From the publisher's website: Mary Rose Barrington, a retired lawyer and former president of the Oxford University Society for Psychical Research has spent many years researching psychic phenomena and observing how it interacts with our daily lives. In Talking about Psychical Research, Mary Rose Barrington asks, “What is the point of psychical research?” She goes on to share her thoughts on subjects including telepathy, clairvoyance, ‘ jotts’, scepticism, psychic force and her ‘small theory of everything’, and in doing so provides us with an enlightening, erudite and entertaining read.
Further information here: White Crow Books
The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, by Jeffrey J. Kripal
From the publisher's website: A “flip,” writes Jeffrey J. Kripal, is “a reversal of perspective,” “a new real,” often born of an extreme, life-changing experience. The Flip is Kripal’s ambitious, visionary program for unifying the sciences and the humanities to expand our minds, open our hearts, and negotiate a peaceful resolution to the culture wars. Combining accounts of rationalists’ spiritual awakenings and consciousness explorations by philosophers, neuroscientists, and mystics within a framework of the history of science and religion, Kripal compellingly signals a path to mending our fractured world.
In Times of War: Messages of Wisdom from Soldiers in the Afterlife, by Jonathan Beecher
From the publisher's website: In the first of a series of “White Crow Anthologies,” In Times of War: Messages of Wisdom from Soldiers in the Afterlife documents conversations with soldiers who purport to have been near death or killed as a result of war. The communicators aren’t mystics, sages or saints—just ordinary people who having passed on claim they haven’t died at all and feel more alive than ever in their post-physical state.
From Plato’s time 2,400 years ago to the Seven Years’ War of the 1700s to World War I and II and Vietnam—the messages just keep on coming—all offering words of wisdom from those a little further along the path having crossed the great divide we call death.
Does what we believe now matter after physical death? Does our mental state here influence our post-death state? Do our thoughts and actions during life have consequences in the afterlife? These are big questions that at some point many of us ask ourselves particularly in the latter stages of life.
What is it like to die? Does forgiveness play a part in our spiritual evolution? Do heaven, purgatory and hell exist? The communicators offer opinions on these subjects and more.
This book may not have all the answers, but if the reader is asking any of these questions, it might help in some small way.
The Paranormal and Popular Culture: A Postmodern Religious Landscape, edited by Darryl Caterine and John W. Morehead
From the publisher's website: Interest in preternatural and supernatural themes has revitalized the Gothic tale, renewed explorations of psychic powers and given rise to a host of social and religious movements based upon claims of the fantastical. And yet, in spite of this widespread enthusiasm, the academic world has been slow to study this development. This volume rectifies this gap in current scholarship by serving as an interdisciplinary overview of the relationship of the paranormal to the artefacts of mass media (e.g. novels, comic books, and films) as well as the cultural practices they inspire.
After an introduction analyzing the paranormal’s relationship to religion and entertainment, the book presents essays exploring its spiritual significance in a postmodern society; its (post)modern representation in literature and film; and its embodiment in a number of contemporary cultural practices. Contributors from a number of discplines and cultural contexts address issues such as the shamanistic aspects of Batman and lesbianism in vampire mythology.
Covering many aspects of the paranormal and its effect on popular culture, this book is an important statement in the field. As such, it will be of utmost interest to scholars of religious studies as well as media, communication, and cultural studies.
Third Eye Spies: A True Story of CIA Psychic Spying, produced by Russell Targ and Lance Mungia
Third Eye Spies chronicles the lifelong journey of physicist Russell Targ, co-founder of the Stanford Research Institute’s CIA supported ESP research program. Targ’s quest has been to reveal to the world the reality of ESP and the fact every intelligence agency of the U.S. government has used psi or what came to be known as remote viewing operationally for intelligence gathering against the Soviets and others. This 23-year program had oversight at the very highest levels.
On the verge of his life’s work being lost to a relentless misinformation campaign and while facing both his own mortality and the recent death of one of the most talented “Third Eye Spies”, Russell determines to head out on the road one last time to do battle with the skeptics and seek out confirmation from the remaining Third Eye Spies. This opportunity for disclosure is something he has been seeking since he left the intelligence community in 1982 and announced to a stunned audience at the Soviet Academy of Sciences, “There can be no secrets.”
Borderland Phenomena Volume One: Spontaneous Combustion, Poltergeistry and Anomalous Lights, by Louis Proud
From the publisher's website: Society’s concept of the natural world has little or no room for such phenomena as spontaneous human combustion, poltergeistry and anomalous lights. Rather, these weird and baffling occurrences are either ignored altogether or unfairly and inaccurately labelled “supernatural” and hence assumed to exist “beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.”
In Borderland Phenomena: Volume One, Proud adopts a richer, broader concept of the natural world, one that views paranormal phenomena not as foreign or magical but as occupying a position on the margins of this reality, in what he refers to as the “borderland.” In a balanced and objective investigation that spans many topics, including ball lightning, earth lights, strange rains, mysterious fires, and jinn, he manages to lay bare a refreshing and innovative approach to looking at the paranormal and so too the natural world.
Review by Robert A. Charman
Demons on the Couch: Spirit Possession, Exorcisms and the DSM-5, by Michael J. Sersch
From the publisher's website: Belief in possession, including from demonic forces, has ancient roots and continues into the modern world, especially among certain communities. This has been shown in books, movies, places of worship, and in the therapy office. This book traces the global history of possession and looks at ways contemporary mental health professionals can help a person who believes themselves to be possessed.
Written especially for clinicians, but interesting to a wide variety of readers, this book uses a variety of disciplines, including cultural studies, psychology, and personal experiences, to try and understand the phenomenon from as wide a perspective as possible, including interviews with exorcists from various backgrounds. Both believers and sceptics will find this to be a fascinating study of a controversial topic.
An extract can be read on the publisher's website: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
The Paranormal Surrounds Us: Psychic Phenomena in Literature, Culture and Psychoanalysis, by Richard Reichbart
From the publisher's website:
Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Joyce, E.M. Forster and Ingmar Bergman all made the paranormal essential to their depiction of humanity. Freud recognized telepathy as an everyday phenomenon. Observations on parapsychological aspects of psychoanalysis also include the findings of the Mesmerists, Jung, Ferenczi and Eisenbud.
Many academicians attribute such psychic discoveries to “poetic license” rather than to accurate understanding of our parapsychological capacities. The author—a practicing psychoanalyst and parapsychologist, and a lawyer familiar with Navajo culture—argues for a fresh appraisal of psi phenomena and their integration into psychoanalytic theory and clinical work, literary studies and anthropology.
Angels in the Trenches: Spiritualism, Superstition and the Supernatural during the First World War, by Leo Ruickbie
From the publisher's website: The mechanised slaughter of the First World War brought a sudden and concentrated interest in life after death. This book explores the role of spiritualism, superstition and the supernatural during and after that war.
After a miraculous escape from the German military juggernaut in the small Belgian town of Mons in 1914, the first major battle that the British Expeditionary Force would face in the First World War, the British really believed that they were on the side of the angels. Indeed, after 1916, the number of spiritualist societies in the United Kingdom almost doubled, from 158 to 309. As Arthur Conan Doyle explained, 'The deaths occurring in almost every family in the land brought a sudden and concentrated interest in the life after death. People not only asked the question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" but they eagerly sought to know if communication was possible with the dear ones they had lost.' From the Angel of Mons to the popular boom in spiritualism as the horrors of industrialised warfare reaped their terrible harvest, the paranormal - and its use in propaganda - was one of the key aspects of the First World War.
Angels in the Trenches takes us from defining moments, such as the Angel of Mons on the Front Line, to spirit communication on the Home Front, often involving the great and the good of the period, such as aristocrat Dame Edith Lyttelton, founder of the War Refugees Committee, and the physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, Principal of Birmingham University. We see here people at every level of society struggling to come to terms with the ferocity and terror of the war, and their own losses: soldiers looking for miracles on the battlefield; parents searching for lost sons in the séance room. It is a human story of people forced to look beyond the apparent certainties of the everyday - and this book follows them on that journey.
Excerpts from the book can be read on Leo Ruickbie's website: Angels in the Trenches.
A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination, and Faith during the First World War, by Owen Davies
From the publisher's website:
- A comprehensive study of the major revival of supernatural beliefs, superstition, and spiritualism during the First World War and its aftermath.
- A look at what the beliefs, practices, and contemporary opinions on magic can tell us about broader issues in early twentieth-century society, the experience of war, and the psychology of belief.
- Relates how the prophecies of Nostradamus were used as propaganda by both sides, a diverse range of talismans and charms were carried by soldiers, and the myriad tales of battlefield ghosts came to be.
- Includes previously unpublished accounts from soldiers and fortune-tellers on their faith and practices, for a remarkable insight into the nature of popular belief.