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Other Realities?: The Enigma of Franek Kluski’s Mediumship, by Zofia Weaver

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-910121-39-9
Publish Date: March, 2015

From the publisher’s website: Franek Kluski produced what might justifiably be described as the widest and most striking range of phenomena in the history of physical mediumship. A Pole whose professions included banking and journalism, his involvement with psychical research lasted for a brief period between 1918 and 1925. During that time he took part in meticulously documented séances devised and attended by eminent researchers.  Much of the information about him has until now been available only in Polish, and today references to him in English tend to be restricted to the famous ‘Kluski hands’, the paraffin wax moulds casts of which were intended to become the ultimate Permanent Paranormal Object. Theories as to how such moulds might have been produced continue to cause controversy, yet this was just one aspect of the phenomena surrounding this remarkable man. Based on original Polish sources, by painting a detailed portrait of the man in the context of his times this book aims to rectify the omission of Kluski from the gallery of important mediums.

Zofia Weaver is a past editor of the Journal and Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research. One of her main areas of interest in psychical research is the investigation of famous Polish psychics.  Together with Mary Rose Barrington and the late Professor Ian Stevenson she has written a comprehensive study of the Polish clairvoyant Stefan Ossowiecki, published in 2005.

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Mammoth Mountain Poltergeist, by Jenny Ashford and Tom Ross

Publication Details: Bleed Red Books. ISBN-13: 978-1508904830
Publish Date: March, 2015

From the author’s website: In December of 1982, when Tom Ross was thirteen years old, he took a week’s vacation to Mammoth Lakes in California with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. Almost from the moment they arrived at their condo, they experienced a near-constant barrage of bizarre phenomena that escalated over their stay, and seemed to follow them after they left. Items moved around by themselves, shades flew open when no one was near them, bloody tissues appeared out of nowhere, words appeared on windows in empty rooms, a blue haze seemed to hover near the ceiling, a door chain was broken from the inside by what appeared to be a clawed hand, and disembodied voices emerged from corners. The family was simultaneously terrified and amazed. Thirty-two years later, the four witnesses decided to tell their story.

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life After Death, edited by Michael Martin and Keith Augustine

Publication Details: Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN-13: 978-0810886773
Publish Date: March, 2015

From the publisher’s website: Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest in deciding this question in favour of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of scientific evidence strongly suggest otherwise.

In The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, Michael Martin and Keith Augustine collect a series of contributions that redress this imbalance in the literature by providing a strong, comprehensive, and up-to-date casebook of the chief arguments against an afterlife. Divided into four separate sections, this collection opens with a broad overview of the issues, as contributors consider the strongest evidence of whether or not we survive death—in particular the biological basis of all mental states and their grounding in brain activity that ceases to function at death. Next, contributors consider a host of conceptual and empirical difficulties that confront the various ways of “surviving” death—from bodiless minds to bodily resurrection to any form of posthumous survival. Then essayists turn to internal inconsistencies between traditional theological conceptions of an afterlife—heaven, hell, karmic rebirth—and widely held ethical principles central to the belief systems supporting those notions. In the final section, authors offer critical evaluations of the main types of evidence for an afterlife.

Fully interdisciplinary, The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death brings together a variety of fields of research to make that case, including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, personal identity, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, psychical research, and anomalistic psychology. As the definitive casebook of arguments against life after death, this collection is required reading for any instructor, researcher, and student of philosophy, religious studies, or theology. It is sure to raise provocative issues new to readers, regardless of background, from those who believe fervently in the reality of an afterlife to those who do not or are undecided on the matter.

Review by Robert McLuhan

Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality, edited by Edward Kelly, Adam Crabtree and Paul Marshall

Publication Details: Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN-13: 978-1442232389
Publish Date: February, 2015

From the publisher’s website: The rise of modern science has brought with it increasing acceptance among intellectual elites of a worldview that conflicts sharply both with everyday human experience and with beliefs widely shared among the world’s great cultural traditions. Most contemporary scientists and philosophers believe that reality is at bottom purely physical, and that human beings are nothing more than extremely complicated biological machines. On such views our everyday experiences of conscious decision-making, free will, and the self are illusory by-products of the grinding of our neural machinery. It follows that mind and personality are necessarily extinguished at death, and that there exists no deeper transpersonal or spiritual reality of any sort.

Beyond Physicalism is the product of an unusual fellowship of scientists and humanities scholars who dispute these views. In their previous publication, Irreducible Mind, they argued that physicalism cannot accommodate various well-evidenced empirical phenomena including paranormal or psi phenomena, postmortem survival, and mystical experiences. In this new theory-oriented companion volume they go further by attempting to understand how the world must be constituted in order that these “rogue” phenomena can occur. Drawing upon empirical science, metaphysical philosophy, and the mystical traditions, the authors work toward an improved ‘big picture’ of the general character of reality, one which strongly overlaps territory traditionally occupied by the world’s institutional religions, and which attempts to reconcile science and spirituality by finding a middle path between the polarised fundamentalisms, religious and scientific, that have dominated recent public discourse.

Contributions by: Harald Atmanspacher, Loriliai Biernacki, Bernard Carr, Wolfgang Fach, Michael Grosso, Michael Murphy, David E. Presti, Gregory Shaw, Henry P. Stapp, Eric M. Weiss, and Ian Whicher.

 

Adventures in Psychical Research: A medical doctor's exploration of the nature of consciousness and its survival to bodily death, by Piero Calvi-Parisetti

Publication Details: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publish Date: January, 2015

From the publisher’s website: The 57 articles that form this book are individual, stand-alone pieces that can be read in isolation. However, they also belong to a greater, coherent and consistent scheme and logical framework. Psychical research provides compelling evidence for the facts that mind is related to but independent from the physical brain and significant aspects of human personality survive the death of the body. These subjects - the mind/brain relationship and the survival hypothesis - provide the substance for most of these writings, but they are not dealt with as a matter of simple intellectual curiosity. The underlying angle, the common thread linking all of this work, is that these subjects are crucially important for the bereaved and the dying. When it is understood - rationally understood - that death does not equate with disappearance/annihilation, a considerable part of the fear of death and some of the pain of bereavement can be avoided.

 

Stanley Krippner: A Life of Dreams, Myths, and Visions - Essays on His Contributions and Influence, edited by Jeannine A Davies and Daniel B Pitchford

Publication Details: University Professors Press, ISBN-13: 978-1939686022
Publish Date: January, 2015

From Prof. Krippner: Stanley Krippner: A Life of Dreams, Myths and Visionsexplores the intellectual contributions and personal influence of a pioneering psychologist and prolific writer whose work has yielded a major impact on illuminating frontiers of original knowledge, generating innovative research and scholarship, and guiding a new generation of cutting-edge thinkers. Contributors explore Krippner's early life and development, key areas of his groundbreaking research and collaborations in consciousness, shamanism, parapsychology, dreams, hypnosis, mythology, and trauma. This edited volume also offers personal reflections that further reveal the breadth of Krippner's inspired professional influence.

Stanley Kripper’s website

The Improbability Principle: Why coincidences, miracles and rare events happen all the time, by David Hand

Publication Details: Corgi. ISBN-13: 978-0552170192
Publish Date: January, 2015
From the publisher’s website: Why is it that incredibly unlikely phenomena actually happen quite regularly and why should we, in fact, expect such things to happen? Here, in this highly original book – aimed squarely at anyone with an interest in coincidences, probability or gambling – eminent statistician David Hand answers this question by weaving together various strands of probability into a unified explanation, which he calls the improbability principle. This is a book that will appeal not only to those who love stories about startling coincidences and extraordinarily rare events, but also to those who are interested in how a single bold idea links areas as diverse as gambling, the weather, airline disasters and creative writing as well as the origin of life and even the universe. The Improbability Principle will change your perspective on how the world works – and tell you what the Bible code and Shakespeare have in common, how to win the lottery, why Apple's song shuffling was made less random to seem more random. Oh and why lightning does in fact strike twice...

A Search for Meaning in Victorian Religion: The Spiritual Journey and Esoteric Teachings of Charles Carleton Massey, by Jeffrey D. Lavoie

Publication Details: Lehigh University Press, ISBN-13: 978-1611461848
Publish Date: November, 2014

From the publisher’s website: Christian mystic, astrologer, and spiritualist, Charles Carleton Massey (1838–1905) underwent an eclectic spiritual journey that resulted in a series of articles, letters, and booklets that have largely been neglected by modern society. Massey was a child of privilege formally trained as a barrister of law at the Westminster School and the son of the English Minister of Finance for India. He devoted his life to solving the metaphysical mysteries of existence leading him into the world of religious philosophy that placed him in the middle of a crossroads between Victorian science, religion, and philosophy. Beginning his journey as a Spiritualist, Massey continued on a course that brought him into the Theosophical Society, eventually becoming the founding president of its British branch, going through the ranks of the Society of Psychical Research and ultimately into his final role as a Christian mystic.

This indispensable work combines Massey’s collected writings with never before published letters organized topically in order to define Massey’s unique world-view for a new generation of readers. This book covers a range of topics from the “nature of God” to the “microcosm and macrocosm” to “Satanism” and “reincarnation” all the while allowing the reader a rare glimpse into Victorian England and the social and religious issues of this time period. The recollections recorded in this book though written over a hundred years ago, are dealt with in such a simple yet profound way that remain relevant to modern spiritual seekers of all types.

Astral Intimacy: Fifty Spirits Speak About Life, Love, and Sex After Death, by Miles Edward Allen

Publication Details: Momentpoint Media. ISBN: 9781503285132
Publish Date: November, 2014

From the publisher’s website: This groundbreaking – and sure to be controversial – book is a collection of statements about life hereafter as made between 1852 and 2001 by spirits who speak from experience. The editor has examined and reviewed 50 different sources and selected, collated, and critiqued nearly a thousand descriptions that provide a fascinating and enlightening multifaceted picture of the heavenly and hellish realms that face us all when we leave the physical world. Intimate relations truly can be experienced in the hereafter, so be prepared for some intriguing information that you won't find in any other contemporary book.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Evidence for Psi: Thirteen Empirical Research Reports, edited by Damien Broderick and Ben Goertzel

Publication Details: McFarland, ISBN-13: 978-0786478286
Publish Date: November, 2014

From the publisher’s website: ‘Psi’ is the term used by researchers for a variety of demonstrable but elusive psychic phenomena. This collection of essays provides a detailed survey of the evidence for psi at the level of scientific examination.

Key features of apparent psi phenomena are reviewed, including precognition and remote perception (knowledge of future or distant events that cannot be inferred from present information), presentiment (physiological responses to stimuli that have not yet occurred), the effects of human emotions on globally dispersed machines, the possible impact of local sidereal time on psi performance, and the familiar feeling of knowing who is calling on the phone.

Special attention is given to those phenomena that make it difficult for scientists to get a clear understanding of psi. The body of psi research, while complex and frustrating, is shown to contain sufficiently compelling positive evidence to convince the rational open-minded observer that psi is real, and that one or more physical processes probably underlie observed psi phenomena.

Medical Pioneers of a Different Kind: Towards a New Paradigm integrating Body, Mind and Spirit, by Carmen Gleadow

Publication Details: Parsons Porch. ISBN-13: 978-0692335260
Publish Date: November, 2014

From the publisher’s website: In the second half of the twentieth century, a small number of doctors in the United States found themselves, quite independently from one another, undertaking what turned out to be pioneering research on unusual phenomena. The phenomena included claims of having lived before, or reincarnation, out-of-body and near-death experiences (OBEs and NDEs). These phenomena encompassed the three realms that, according to the Ancients, were inherent in human beings: body, mind and spirit. Their research opened up new fields of enquiry in medicine.

The doctors and their original publications are known globally and include: Ian Stevenson, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Raymond A. Moody, Bruce Greyson, Michael Sabom, Kenneth Ring and Melvin Morse.  What prompted the researchers along the new paths were people’s accounts of a previous life; patients’ reported observations of resuscitation attempts by medical staff; and accounts of having gone some way into ‘the beyond’ while close to death. The researchers’ initial reaction to such reports ranged from surprise to bewilderment, even disbelief. Nevertheless, they listened to patients and started investigating the phenomena. This was no easy task, since their research took them well beyond the comfort zone of classical medical assumptions in which they had trained.

Born in Spain, Carmen Gleadow has lived most of her life in England, where she gained her PhD from King’s College London, University of London.

Why Science is Wrong … About Almost Everything, by Alex Tsakiris

Publication Details: Anomalist Books. ISBN-13: 978-1938398315
Publish Date: November, 2014

From the publisher’s website: A Rollicking Assault on Science's Inability to Answer Life's Most Important Questions Alex Tsakiris has interviewed many bestselling authors and dozens of world-class academics on his popular science podcast Skeptiko.com. In this book he shares with us what he's learned through his 200 plus interviews with some of the world’s leading consciousness researchers and thinkers. In doing so, he reveals what the best research is saying about 'big picture' science questions and the limits of science in general. What's he's learned, in short, is that science-as-we-know-it is an emperor-with-no-clothes-on proposition. It mesmerizes us with flashy trinkets, while failing at its core mission of leading us toward self-discovery. Science is wrong about almost everything because science depends on our consciousness being an illusion—and it’s not! About the Author: ALEX TSAKIRIS is a successful entrepreneur turned science podcaster. In 2007 he founded Skeptiko.com, which has become the #1 podcast covering the science of human consciousness. Alex has appeared on syndicated radio talk shows both in the US and the UK. He lives in Del Mar, California.

Visit the author's website

Review by Tom Ruffles