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Conan Doyle and the Mysterious World of Light: 1887-1920, by Matt Wingett

Publication Details: Life is Amazing. ISBN-13: 978-0957241381
Publish Date: March, 2016

From the publisher: Conan Doyle and The Mysterious World of Light traces the spiritualist career of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between the years 1887 and 1920.

Starting with his early psychic investigations in Southsea, it tracks his development from a fascinated dilettante to becoming the committed advocate of a world movement. Throughout these years, Light, a magazine dedicated to the mystical and occult, traced his journey, not least by the letters and articles he wrote exclusively for the magazine. It was and still is the organ of the London Spiritualist Alliance, now known as the College for Psychic Studies.

Every article and letter Conan Doyle wrote for the magazine during this period is here reproduced, often for the first time, as well as correspondence and articles bearing on his own writings.  The book thus tells the story of Conan Doyle's Spiritualism while surrounding his writing with the discussions, debates and controversies of his time.

It sets his belief in the context of his powerful imagination which created the iconic Sherlock Holmes, his indefatigable energy which made him such an effective missionary and all against the backdrop of the Great War, which was a powerful impetus for his public declaration of faith in 1916.

For the question of how the creator of the arch-rationalist Sherlock Holmes also came to believe in ghosts, this book holds the fascinating answers.

The introduction can be found here

Review by Tom Ruffles

Prometheus and Atlas, by Jason Reza Jorjani

Publication Details: Arktos Media. ISBN 978-1-910524-61-9
Publish Date: February, 2016

From the publisher’s website: In Prometheus & Atlas, Dr. Jorjani endeavours to deconstruct the nihilistic materialism and rootless rationalism of the modern West by showing how it was grounded on a dishonest suppression of the spectral and why it has a parasitic relationship with Abrahamic religious fundamentalism. Rejecting the marginalisation of ESP and psychokinesis as "paranormal," Prometheus & Atlas makes the case that psi is only "super Natural" insofar as our reductive modern scientific models have occluded Supernature for practical purposes. At the same time, Jorjani calls for a conscious recognition of the superhumanly empowering archetypes of Prometheus and Atlas, which he argues have unconsciously driven the daring scientific exploration and discovery of all those cultures that adopted and adapted the cosmopolitan promise of the Hellenic heritage. Embracing the Promethean and Atlantic spirit, and a reach for a fiery fusion of the horizons of the Eastern and Western worlds, would mean the dawn of a new age and an integral society wherein the modern barriers between Science, Religion, Politics, and Art have been dynamited.

Reza Jorjani, PhD is a native New Yorker and Iranian-American of Persian and northern European descent. After receiving his BA and MA at New York University, he completed his doctorate in Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Jorjani currently teaches Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

True Stories of Our Local Ghosts, by Chris Aspin

Publication Details: Helmshore Local History Society. ISBN 978-0090688125
Publish Date: December, 2015

From the author’s introduction:  ‘Towards the end of 2014, I published a pamphlet in which I listed strange stories told to me over the past seventy years by people living in or near Helmshore in east Lancashire.  The pamphlet quickly sold out, but more importantly it brought a rich crop of other experiences and confirmed my belief that I had barely scraped the paranormal surface of the locality.

‘This booklet records a wide variety of strange encounters; and I leave it to the reader to suggest explanations or to admit that this subject deserves to be taken seriously and more thoroughly explored.’

Review by Tom Ruffles

 

Psychic Phenomena and the Brain: Exploring the Neuropsychology of Psi, by Bryan J. Williams

Publication Details: Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research. ISBN 978-0- 9870772-2-6
Publish Date: December, 2015

From the publisher’s website: Psychic phenomena such as extrasensory perception (ESP) and psychokinesis (‘mind over matter’) have been reportedly experienced by people from all walks of life. But are these phenomena real? And how could they possibly fit into our knowledge of the human brain? In this monograph, Bryan Williams examines some of the latest findings to emerge from efforts that parapsychologists have made to explore how psychic phenomena may be linked to brain functioning. Although they do not yet lead to a fully working theory, these initial findings do point to possible brain correlates that could be a focus for further study using advanced brain wave monitoring and functional neuroimaging techniques.

Bryan Williams is an affiliate with the Psychical Research Foundations. He was a co-recipient of the 2008 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship Award offered by the Parapsychology Foundation in New York.

Further details can be found on the Australian Institute of Parapsychological Research’s website:

http://www.aiprinc.org/

Ghostology: The Art of the Ghost Hunter, by Steven T. Parsons

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-910121-72-6
Publish Date: November, 2015

From the publisher’s website: Ghostology is simply the study of Ghosts. It is not just about ghost hunting, neither is it is about parapsychology.

The study of ghosts – Ghostology – is not trying to capture apparitions on camera, although that is sometimes a part of it. It is not trying to record the sounds and the voices of the deceased or of spirits, although that too is a part of it. Ghostology is the holistic study of a fascinating aspect of our humanity, a shared human experience that dates back to the earliest civilisations and is common to all of them.

Ghostology is not a “How to guide” for those seeking to investigate ghosts but it provides an up-to-date consideration and a discussion of the many methods and techniques that will prove helpful to anyone interested in the subject, for those who actively seek ghosts or who are merely interested in discovering more about this fascinating subject.

About the author

Steve Parsons is an Investigator & Researcher of Ghosts, Hauntings and related human experiences.

Author of numerous published articles and works on Ghosts, Ghost Hunting & related subjects, cited and referenced in many more!

In front of camera presenter and behind the camera advisor on numerous paranormal documentary shows for UK and overseas broadcast networks including; The Discovery Network, National Geographic, The BBC, ITV etc. Also Canadian, Japanese and US TV networks. Appeared and advised on popular paranormal ‘edutainment’ shows for UK & overseas TV including Most Haunted, I’m Famous & Frightened & Paranormal Investigation Live. Hosted & co-hosted radio shows for broadcasters including the BBC.  Co-host of popular international weekly radio show Ghost Chronicles International.

An extract from Ghostology can be read here

Steve Parsons’s website

Review by Tom Ruffles

Memoir of a Trance Therapist: Hypnosis and the Evocation of Human Potentials, by Adam Crabtree

Publication Details: Friesen Press, ISBN-13: 978-1460255155
Publish Date: November, 2015

From the publisher’s website: As individuals bring their raw potentials into existence, the human race evolves.

Trance states are the means through which these transformations take place. Trances are concentrated states of engagement with the world. They occur frequently in the ordinary course of living. Hypnosis is merely one variety of trance, but its study has led to a profound understanding of trance states in general. The idea that trance constitutes the technology for human advance has developed for Dr. Crabtree over a period of some thirty years. Memoir of a Trance Therapist is the story of that development, along with an explanation of the central elements of Dr. Crabtree's vision.

Adam Crabtree, PhD, is the author of books on hypnosis, the history of psychotherapy, and dissociative disorders such as multiple personality disorder. He is on the faculty of the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy, Toronto.

“This is a beautiful book that represents a life of profound thinking, historical scholarship on the "first great human potential movement in the West" (animal magnetism), and countless hours working with spirit possession, multiple personalities, and trance states with suffering and gifted human beings. Part memoir, part philosophical treatise, part how-to-manual, this is the book to go to for anyone interested in trance states, human potential, and the "how to evolve" question. There is even concrete advice here on how to be creative, how to ask or pray, and how to access one's own subliminal resources and astonishing new capacities. The ultimate message is one of hope and, ultimately, one of love.”

—Jeffrey J. Kripal, author of Authors of the Impossible.

More Things you Can do When You’re Dead: What Can You Truly Believe? By Tricia. J. Robertson

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN-13: 978-1910121443
Publish Date: November, 2015

From the publisher’s website: In this eagerly awaited sequel to her successful Things You Can Do When You’re Dead, foremost psychical investigator Tricia Robertson digs deeper into her extensive casebook to discuss a wide range of physical and mental phenomena which provide evidence for survival after death. Yet again this book is written with a no-nonsense approach to phenomena and in a knowledgeable, enjoyable, easily understood style.

Book one really fired up people’s appetite for more about paranormal phenomena in general and survival in particular. This book examines more cases of genuine poltergeist activity, apparitions, mediumship, paranormal healing and reincarnation, but also digs a bit deeper into direct voice mediumship, drop-in communicators, psychic art, near death experiences, materialised spirit figures, earthbound spirits, automatic writing, inspiration, obsession, possession, genius and informed discussion on what an afterlife may be like. Tricia also discusses science and psi and resistance, in general, to the acceptance of the reality of such clearly demonstrable events.

This book contains a deal of original material, humorous at times, which is not available anywhere else.  You may love it, you may hate it, but once again you will certainly not be bored.

A former teacher of mathematics and physics, Tricia is a long term council member, past Vice President and Immediate Past President of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research.  She is a tutor for the Department of Adult and Continuing Education (DACE) at the University of Glasgow. In conjunction with Professor Archie Roy she provided a session programme of 20, 2 hour, lectures per session for DACE in a series entitled “An In Depth Study of Psychical Research.” This course has now been running for six years.  The paranormal- what is the evidence?’  In addition to 29 years of experience in investigating spontaneous cases Tricia has appeared on various radio and TV programmes and has been invited over many years to speak to varied organisations throughout the UK.

Indizienbeweise für ein Leben nach dem Tod und die Wiedergeburt Band 2a: Rückführung in "frühere Leben" und deren Nachprüfung, by Dieter Hassler

Publication Details: Shaker Media, ISBN: 9783956313592.
Publish Date: October, 2015

Geh’ zurück in eine Zeit… / Indizienbeweise für ein Leben nach dem Tod und die Wiedergeburt / Rückführungen in „frühere Leben“ und deren Nachprüfung [Go back in time . . ./Circumstantial Evidence for Life After Death and Rebirth/Regressions to “Past Lives” and Their Verification] by Dieter Hassler is a two-volume book in German which explores the validity of lives recalled in regressions. There are extensive bibliographical references with 37 cases purported to be validated. However, the reports are verified by the persons involved, not by independent researchers. Included is a survey of the history dating from the 18th century. Together with the case-reports this represents the first time such material has been published completely. The book is written for both professionals and laymen. It is well organized and well indexed with a comprehensive table of contents. There are many cross-references and an extensive glossary.

Contents of volume 2a (504 pages):
•12 of 37 verified cases represented in detail
• Further 8 verified cases reported in shorter form
• appraisal of xenoglossy as proof for the interpretation as cases of reincarnation
• professor Wambach’s statistical research of many cases.
• 51 questions and answers • regression techniques and risks of regression
• a tour through the historic development of the method exemplified in 79 “halts”
• 37 unverified cases in short form as examples for specific features.
• list of contents, index, cross-references, glossary

This book was reviewed by Armin Albano-Müller in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 80, No. 3.

Indizienbeweise für ein Leben nach dem Tod und die Wiedergeburt Band 2b: Rückführung in "frühere Leben" und deren Nachprüfung, by Dieter Hassler

Publication Details: Shaker Media, ISBN: 9783956313608.
Publish Date: October, 2015

Geh’ zurück in eine Zeit… / Indizienbeweise für ein Leben nach dem Tod und die Wiedergeburt / Rückführungen in „frühere Leben“ und deren Nachprüfung [Go back in time . . ./Circumstantial Evidence for Life After Death and Rebirth/Regressions to “Past Lives” and Their Verification] by Dieter Hassler is a two-volume book in German which explores the validity of lives recalled in regressions. There are extensive bibliographical references with 37 cases purported to be validated. However, the reports are verified by the persons involved, not by independent researchers. Included is a survey of the history dating from the 18th century. Together with the case-reports this represents the first time such material has been published completely. The book is written for both professionals and laymen. It is well organized and well indexed with a comprehensive table of contents. There are many cross-references and an extensive glossary.

Contents of volume 2b (453 pages):
• Further 17 verified abbreviated cases
• 62 unverified abbreviated cases
• common features of cases presented
• karma and regression therapy
• regression into the interlife. Comparison with statements of children and check for consistency of the statements -
• past life regression therapy, results and relationship to reincarnation
• alternative explanations of past life recall
• how to find a regression therapists

This book was reviewed by Armin Albano-Müller in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 80, No. 3.

Indridi Indridason: The Icelandic Physical Medium, by Erlendur Haraldsson and Loftur Gissurarson

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 978-1-910121-50-4
Publish Date: October, 2015

From the publisher’s website: The authors´ preoccupation with Indridi Indridason spans several decades. Erlendur Haraldsson first read about him in the 1960s, perhaps earlier. He joined the Psychology department at the University of Iceland in 1973 and, during his course on paranormal phenomena, he would regularly discuss Indridason, Iceland’s most prolific physical medium. Loftur Reimar Gissurarson, one of Haraldsson’s students, soon became interested and wrote his BA thesis on Indridason (Gissurarson, 1984).

Based on their research, they co-authored a monograph entitled The Icelandic Physical Medium Indridi Indridason, which was published in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research (Gissurarson and Haraldsson, 1989). The monograph was subsequently reprinted partially and in full in Renaitre 2000 in France, Luce e Ombra in Italy, andParapsykologiske Notiser in Norway.

Loftur continued the work and co-authored with William Swatos, the book Icelandic Spiritualism: Mediumship and Modernity in Iceland (Swatos and Gissurarson, 1997), much of it dealing with Indridi and the history of Mediums and Spiritualism in Iceland.

Shortly after the year 2000, two Experimental Society minute books dating back to the Indridason period were unexpectedly found that contained new information (Haraldsson, 2009). Some time later, Haraldsson delved into the new material which resulted in three major articles being published in the Proceedings and the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (Haraldsson, 2011, 2012a) and the Journal of Scientific Exploration (Haraldsson and Gerding, 2010). It soon became obvious that only a book would do justice to Indridi, as he deserved to be known to the wider international public. This is that book.

About the authors

Erlendur Haraldsson is a Professor emeritus of psychology at the Faculty of social science at the University of Iceland who, despite having retired from his former post at the University of Iceland, continues to be an active academic. He has published work in various psychological and parapsychological journals, and done work with Ian Stevenson on reincarnation research and Karlis Osis on deathbed visions. As well as doing work in Iceland, Haraldsson worked in the United States and at the Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. While in the United States, he worked with J.B. Rhine.

He has written several books including Modern Miracles: Sathya Sai Baba. The Story of a Modern Day Prophet (2013), At the Hour of Death (1997), and The Departed Among the Living: An Investigative Study of Afterlife Encounters (2012)

Loftur R. Gissurarson studied psychology at the Universities of Iceland and Edinburgh where he obtained his PhD from Robert Morris and John Beloff. He worked as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow sponsored by Trinity College, Cambridge, before taking up a post as Chief Psychologist at the Regional Office for the Disabled in Reykjavik.  Dr. Loftur later joined an Icelandic geothermal development company as Managing Director of Quality, Environment, Health & Safety and is now working for the company mainly in Africa and the Caribbean.

Spooky Science: Debunking the Pseudoscience of the Afterlife, by John Grant

Publication Details: Sterling, ISBN-13: 978-1454916543
Publish Date: October, 2015

From the publisher: Skeptics of the supernatural will enjoy this humorous jaunt through the long history of scientific inquiry into paranormal and psychic phenomena. Life after death, spirit communication, the astral plane, reincarnation: on the relatively rare occasions when scientists have tried to apply their methods to the paranormal, they've often ended up embarrassed – fooled by obvious charlatans, deluded into making irrational and unsubstantiated claims, or frustrated in their attempt to find something that just isn’t there. John Grant – author of Discarded Science and Corrupted Science – investigates the pseudoscience of spooky stuff to fascinating and often hilarious effect.

John Grant is the author of some 70 books and recipient of two Hugo Awards, the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Award, and a number of other international literary awards. He co-edited with John Clute The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (Orbit/St Martin’s) and wrote in their entirety all three editions ofThe Encyclopedia of Walt Disney’s Animated Characters (Hyperion); both encyclopedias are standard reference works in their field. His A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Film Noir: The Definitive Reference Guide, published by Limelight in Fall 2013, has the distinction of being the largest film noir encyclopaedia ever written. Among his other recently published nonfiction books are the highly successful Discarded ScienceCorrupted Science, and Bogus Science (all AAPPL/Sterling). He lives in New Jersey, USA.

[NB The supplied cover illustration has an incorrect subtitle – the published book cover substitutes ‘Debunking the Pseudoscience of the Afterlife’ for ‘Confronting the Pseudoscience of the Supernatural’.]

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Witch of Lime Street: Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World, by David Jaher

Publication Details: Crown Publishing Group. ISBN-13: 978-0307451064
Publish Date: October, 2015

From the publisher’s website: History comes alive in this textured account of the rivalry between Harry Houdini and the so-called Witch of Lime Street, whose iconic lives intersected at a time when science was on the verge of embracing the paranormal.

The 1920s are famous as the golden age of jazz and glamour, but it was also an era of fevered yearning for communion with the spirit world, after the loss of tens of millions in the First World War and the Spanish-flu epidemic. A desperate search for reunion with dead loved ones precipitated a tidal wave of self-proclaimed psychics—and, as reputable media sought stories on occult phenomena, mediums became celebrities.

Against this backdrop, in 1924, the pretty wife of a distinguished Boston surgeon came to embody the raging national debate over Spiritualism, a movement devoted to communication with the dead. Reporters dubbed her the blonde Witch of Lime Street, but she was known to her followers simply as Margery. Her most vocal advocate was none other than Sherlock Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who believed so thoroughly in Margery’s powers that he urged her to enter a controversial contest, sponsored by Scientific American and offering a large cash prize to the first medium declared authentic by its impressive five-man investigative committee.  Admired for both her exceptional charm and her dazzling effects, Margery was the best hope for the psychic practice to be empirically verified.  Her supernatural gifts beguiled four of the judges. There was only one left to convince…the acclaimed escape artist, Harry Houdini.

David Jaher’s extraordinary debut culminates in the showdown between Houdini, a relentless unmasker of charlatans, and Margery, the nation’s most credible spirit medium. The Witch of Lime Street, the first book to capture their electric public rivalry and the competition that brought them into each other’s orbit, returns us to an oft-mythologized era to deepen our understanding of its history, all while igniting our imagination and engaging with the timeless question: Is there life after death?

Review by Tom Ruffles