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Contagion: In the Shadow of the South Shields Poltergeist, by Darren W. Ritson and Michael J. Hallowell

Publication Details: Limbury Press. ISBN: 978-0956522894
Publish Date: July, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Almost ten years on after the famous South Shields Poltergeist case of 2006, and its disturbing book of 2008, Darren W. Ritson and Michael J. Hallowell bring you Contagion, a fascinating and ground-breaking new study of the world of poltergeist activity. After researching a number of different and bewildering poltergeist cases, post-South Shields, the authors have come to some startling conclusions and raise some serious thought-provoking hypotheses regarding the aspect of poltergeistry known as 'contagion'. Contagion is one of many facets of the poltergeist phenomenon and, if it so desires, can touch all those that choose to investigate it – no one is safe. During the years subsequent to the South Shields case, both authors were subjected to poltergeist 'contagion' which, after studying these events and further cases, led them to conclude that they may not have been as free of the South Shields entity as they had previously – and somewhat naively – thought. This book was originally completed and ready for publication in 2009, but due to unforeseen circumstances and situations out of the authors' hands, they decided to wait until now to release these new accounts, along with hitherto unpublished material and photographs pertaining to the 2006 case. With a foreword by the late Colin Wilson (1931-2013) this book promises to be one of the most controversial paranormal publications of recent years and create some serious debate about the nature of the poltergeist phenomenon. Darren W. Ritson has written almost twenty books on ghosts and hauntings and has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) since 2006. Darren has travelled the country lecturing on the poltergeist phenomenon and has been invited to conduct talks with some of the leading academic research associations into psychic study such as the SPR, the Ghost Club of Great Britain and the Scottish Society for Psychical Research. Darren has also lectured at Northumbria University after receiving invites from Dr Nick Neave (Head of Psychology/Parapsychology). Michael J. Hallowell is the author of over a dozen books on the subject of paranormal phenomena. He is a freelance journalist and broadcaster and lectures widely on subjects such as the supernatural and comparative religion. In 2011, long after completing the manuscript for Contagion with his co-author Darren W. Ritson, he began to study the history of the Jinn phenomenon and as a result converted to Islam. He is now a practising Muslim and is currently working on a number of books, including an in-depth study of the crucifixion from an Islamic viewpoint.

Crimes of Reason: On Mind, Nature, and the Paranormal, by Stephen E. Braude

Publication Details: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-3575-5
Publish Date: July, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Crimes of Reason brings together expanded and updated versions of some of Braude’s best previously published essays, along with new essays written specifically for this book. Although the essays deal with a variety of topics, they all hover around a set of interrelated general themes. These are: the poverty of mechanistic theories in the behavioural and life sciences, the nature of psychological explanation and (at least within the halls of the Academy) the unappreciated strategies required to understand behaviour, the nature of dissociation, and the nature and limits of human abilities. Braude’s targets include memory trace theory, inner-cause theories of human behaviour generally, Sheldrake’s theory of morphogenetic fields, widespread but simplistic views on the nature of human abilities, multiple personality and moral responsibility, the efficacy of prayer, and the shoddy tactics often used to discredit research on dissociation and parapsychology. Although the topics are often abstract and the issues deep, their treatment in this book is accessible, and the tone of the book is both light and occasionally combative.

Dead Men Talking: Afterlife Communication from World War I, by Michael Tymn

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-910121-13-9
Publish Date: July, 2014

From the publisher’s website: As science flourished in the years leading up to World War I, religion floundered. Thus, the warring countries were little prepared to deal with the grief and despair that arose from millions of deaths. Apparently, the spirit world took notice, and, while greatly limited in its ability to communicate with us, the spirits managed to get through to more open-minded mourners, providing comfort and solace. Messages, many of them very evidential, came from fallen warriors, through various mediums, telling their loved ones that they were still “alive” and still with them. This book is an anthology of their communication from the afterlife. (The July 2014 issue of the SPR’s magazine Paranormal Review carries an interview with Michael Tymn by editor Leo Ruickbie, with an extract from the book.)

Review by Tom Ruffles

Physical Séance Room Recollections: Compilation Album No. 1 (2014), by Stewart Alexander (ed.)

Publish Date: June, 2014

From an article by Stewart Alexander in Psychic World, November 2014, p.9: ‘In the 1990’s I was, for some years, the Archives officer and, for a while, the President of the now defunct Noah’s Ark Society for Physical Mediumship. Prior to that, over a period of several years, I had been most fortunate to meet, on a number of occasions, elderly Spiritualists who some years earlier had sat with legendary Physical Mediums. Unfortunately for us, by then we could only read about these amazing people. However, when relating to me their experiences it was almost as if they were telling of séances which they had attended the previous night as against 10/20/30/40 and in one case, 50 years earlier. Such had been the impression made upon them by what they had witnessed that those séances had been indelibly stamped into their memories. Always, as I listened, it had invariably struck me that I was as close to living history as it was possible to be. When, therefore, I became the Society’s Archives Officer, I determined to appeal to such people to come forward – to make contact with me and arrange to leave on record audio recordings of those wonderful inspiring sittings that, in past years, they had been privileged to attend. Now, no matter how harsh this may seem, the fact is that one by one our forebears were leaving this earth and taking with them their recollections and one by one their experiences – their stories – were being lost to our movement. So, in an effort to address that situation and catch them whilst there was yet time, I placed, on behalf of the Society, an advertisement in its monthly Newsletter and in various Spiritualist publications inviting and imploring them to send in their invaluable accounts. Pleasingly many responded and eventually I was to select a number of them which I grouped together on to a single cassette and this was subsequently marketed by the N.A.S. for its members and understandably proved to be extremely popular. However, with the later collapse of the Society that single cassette was to be the only one produced with the result that so many voices from the past were for many years to remain silent and unheard upon my library shelves. Then, one day, two years ago, I was working at my computer when my eyes fell upon those cassettes and suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, it struck me that I had been guilty of failing to fulfil the wishes of all those contributors. Inadvertently, I had been singularly responsible for failing in my duty to them to keep their inspiring memories alive. … Enter Lew Sutton (friend of many years) who, with the necessary equipment, graciously volunteered to take on the project of transferring all the cassettes on to CD and, in the process, clean up the sound quality which, on some of the tapes, was far from good. Anyway, it was when Lew was working on the old Ark compilation cassette that he telephoned to say that unfortunately the final accounts would not fit onto the one CD and in consequence they would have to be carried over onto a second one. Instantly, it then occurred to us both, that if we made a further selection of accounts to follow on beyond the Ark recording we could fill up the second CD and perhaps issue and make available to anyone interested in Physical Mediumship a double CD album. Now – following months of work … the project has at last been completed. … To the best of my knowledge, with the single exception of that Ark cassette, I know of no other such multiple recording within or outside of our Movement. I therefore believe that not only is this present album historic but it is also unique and it is my absolute intention to make it widely available both in this country and abroad. I believe it to be ‘that important’!

Review by Tom Ruffles

Strange Stories from a Lancashire Village, by Chris Aspin

Publication Details: Helmshore Local History Society.
Publish Date: June, 2014

From the author’s introduction: ‘I have spent most of my life in the East Lancashire village of Helmshore … Researching the history of the textile industries and local life in general has taken up much of my time for more than half a century … and led to several books. But I still have material stored in a file labelled ‘The Supernatural’, a collection which, I suspect, describes only a fraction of the inexplicable encounters experienced by local people. Doubtless other towns and villages could yield a paranormal harvest to match my own …’

Review by Tom Ruffles

The Certainty of Eternity: The Story of Australia's Greatest Medium, by L. C. Danby

Publication Details: White Crow Books. SBN 978-1-910121-35-1
Publish Date: June, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Reports of physical mediumship go back centuries, and physical mediums such as D. D. Home, Franek Kluski, Leslie flint, and more latterly, David Thompson, are becoming household names in psychical research. Experiments such as Scole and Professor W. J. Crawford’s Goligher Circle have demonstrated that physical psychic phenomena does indeed exist. One medium not so well known in the West is Australia’s Stan Walsh. Stan was arguably that country’s most talented physical medium during the early part of the 20th century. His mission began in 1919 when he and a group of friends got together in a Melbourne suburb and tried to communicate with the spirit world. In 1927 L.C. Danby joined the circle and became a regular sitter for many years. This book is his account of those years, and the incredible mediumship of Stan Walsh. Leslie Charles Danby was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne in 1899. At the age of 19, he became an entertainer in vaudeville, appearing in theatres all over Australia and New Zealand. At that time, he was a self-confessed atheist. He married a soubrette (singer/dancer), Winnie. While Winnie was giving birth to their first child, both Winnie and the baby girl died. Les was devastated. Whilst sitting at his young wife’s graveside at St. Kilda cemetery, contemplating what type of headstone to buy, he clearly heard his wife’s voice say, “Don’t bother dear. I am not there.” This first experience of clairaudience shocked Les. He mentioned it to a trusted friend, who in turn revealed he had started going to a spiritualist circle where the medium went into trance and channelled souls who had passed over, providing the sitters proof of survival. He suggested Les attend the next meeting. To Les’s amazement, Winnie came through, speaking of personal things only he could possibly know. That evening changed Les Danby’s life forever.

Induced After Death Communication: A Miraculous Therapy For Grief and Loss, by Allan L. Botkin and Craig Hogan

Publication Details: Hampton Roads. ISBN-13: 978-1571747129
Publish Date: May, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Induced After Death Communication (IADC) is a therapy for grief and trauma that has helped thousands of people come to terms with their loss by allowing them the experience of private communication with their departed loved ones. This is the definitive book on the subject. Botkin, a clinical psychologist, created the therapy while counseling Vietnam veterans in his work at a Chicago area VA hospital. Botkin recounts his initial—accidental—discovery of IADC during therapy sessions with Sam, a Vietnam vet haunted by the memory of a Vietnamese girl he couldn't save. During the session, quite unexpectedly, Sam saw a vision of the girl's spirit, who told him everything was okay; she was at peace now. This single moment surpassed months—years—of therapy, and allowed Sam to reconnect with his family. Since that 1995 discovery, Botkin has used IADC to successfully treat countless patients—the book includes dozens of case examples—and has taught the procedure to therapists around the country.

Opening Heaven’s Door: What the Dying Tell Us About Where They’re Going, by Patricia Pearson

Publication Details: Simon & Schuster UK. ISBN-13: 978-1471137136
Publish Date: May, 2014

From the publisher's website: People everywhere carry with them extraordinary, deeply comforting experiences that arrived at the moment when they most needed relief: when they lost a loved one. These experiences can include clear messages from beyond, profound and vividly beautiful visions, mysterious connections and spiritual awareness, foreknowledge of a loved one’s passing—all of which evade explanation by science and logic. Most people keep these transcendent experiences secret — deathbed experiences, Nearing Death Awareness, and shared death experiences. Individuals and families guard them for fear they will be discounted by hyperrational scrutiny. Yet these very common occurrences have the power to console, comfort, and even transform our understanding of life and death. Prompted by her family’s surprising, profound experiences around the death of her father and her sister, reporter Patricia Pearson sets out on an open-minded inquiry, a rare journalistic investigation of Nearing Death Awareness. Pearson discovers that roughly half of bereaved people, as well as nurses, hospice workers, soldiers, and others who constantly observe the dying, have had intimations of enduring bonds that can radically help people to process their grief and their fear. Opening Heaven’s Door offers deeply affecting stories of messages from the dying and the dead in a fascinating work of investigative journalism, pointing to new scientific explanations that give these luminous moments the importance felt by those who experience them. Pearson also delves into out-of-body and near-death experiences, examining stories and research to make sense of these related but distinct categories that shed light on Nearing Death Awareness. Countless people experience these coincidences when a loved one dies, while others experience such visions while they are dying themselves. These phenomena point toward a larger spiritual reality, and the reality of life (or something else) after death, yet are ignored in a cultural framework that dismisses anything that cannot be explained by the physical brain. But by dismissing or discounting these occurrences, we hamper our own healing. Challenging current assumptions about what we know and what we are still unable to explain, Opening Heaven’s Door is a groundbreaking, beautifully written exploration that will forever alter your perceptions of the nature of life and death.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Wolf Messing: The True Story of Russia’s Greatest Psychic, by Tatiana Lungin

Publication Details: Glagoslav Publications. ISBN: 9781782670964
Publish Date: May, 2014
From the publisher’s website: In this, the first biography and personal memoir of Wolf Messing to appear in the West, Tatiana Lungin limns a revealing portrait of one of the greatest psychic performers of the twentieth century. Born a Polish Jew near Warsaw, Messing ran away from home at the age of eleven and soon discovered his psychic gifts. Supporting himself by performing mind-reading acts in Berlin theatres, at fourteen Messing was sold by his unscrupulous manager to the famous Busch Circus. In no time Wolf gained an international reputation as the world’s greatest telepath as he toured the capitals of Europe. In Vienna Messing met Albert Einstein who brought him to the apartment of another admirer of his abilities, Sigmund Freud. His touring days ended abruptly in 1937 when, after Messing publicly predicted the downfall of the Third Reich, the Nazis placed a sizable bounty on his head. Summoning all his hypnotic powers, he escaped capture by the Gestapo and fled to Russia. In the USSR Messing’s displays of telepathy, uncannily accurate predictions, and psychic crime solving gained him a rare celebrity status. While most parapsychologists were forced to conduct psychic research in secrecy, Messing thrilled audiences in packed theatres across the country. His fame was all the more amazing coming as it did in the Marxist society dominated by Joseph Stalin, the man who had officially abolished ESP. Even Stalin himself was intrigued by Wolf’s ability to influence thoughts at a distance, and devised a number of unusual tests of Messing’s powers. The stories of how Messing successfully took on Stalin’s challenges to hypnotically elude his personal security force, and even commit psychic bank robbery, are colourfully related. As Messing’s long-time friend and confidante, Lungin draws from personal notes, conversations with Wolf, and reports of other eyewitnesses of his performances to chronicle Messing’s incredible life and career. At the same time, she provides an inside look at parapsychology and psychic research behind the Iron Curtain.

Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator's 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death, by Bob Olson

Publication Details: Building Bridges Press, ISBN-13: 978-0965601986
Publish Date: April, 2014

From the author’s website: Unlock the mysteries of life after death and explore the enlightening discoveries of a private investigator’s 15-year investigation. This book is a comprehensive resource answering 150 of the most crucial questions about what happens when we die.

Now you can delve into the life-changing insights we learn from near-death experiences, after-death communications, spirit contact through mediums, past lives, past-life memories, past-life and life-between-lives regressions, out-of-body experiences, soul pre-birth planning, deathbed visions, dream visitations, shared-death experiences, and so much more.

Whether you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, curious about what happens when we die, or pondering your own mortality, this book will leave you feeling less fear about death, inspired to live a more loving and purposeful life, and comforted by new thoughts about your loved ones in the afterlife.

Further information can be found here.

The Survival Hypothesis: Essays on Mediumship, by Adam J. Rock (ed.)

Publication Details: McFarland. ISBN: 978-0-7864-7220-8 (print) ISBN: 978-1-4766-1442-7 (ebook)
Publish Date: April, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Contemporary parapsychology tends to be preoccupied with ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition) and psychokinesis. In contrast, this cutting-edge anthology assembles an international team of experts from the fields of psychology, parapsychology, philosophy, anthropology and neuroscience to examine critically what is referred to as the survival hypothesis: the tentative statement or prediction that some aspect of our personhood (e.g., consciousness) persists subsequent to the death of the physical body. The appraisal of the survival hypothesis will be restricted to the phenomenon of mediumship; that is, humans who ostensibly communicate with the deceased. The book has been divided into four main sections: Explanation and Belief; Culture, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy; Empirical Approaches; The Present and Future. The issue of postmortem survival is supremely relevant to us all because the human encounter with death is, of course, a certainty. About the Author: Adam J. Rock is a lecturer at the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia. His primary research interests are in the area of altered states of consciousness, mainly focused on shamanism, the conceptual problem of consciousness, and mediumship. Table of Contents: Foreword by Lance Storm 1 Preface 5 Introduction: The Medium and the Message (Adam J. Rock) 7 Part 1: Explanation and Belief The Possibility of Mediumship: Philosophical Considerations (Stephen E. Braude) 21 Is Postmortem Survival the Best Explanation of the Data of Mediumship? (Michael Sudduth) 40 Non-Parapsychological Explanations of Ostensible Mediumship (Chris A. Roe and Elizabeth C. Roxburgh) 65 A Skeptic’s View of Mediumship (Krissy Wilson) 79 The Psychology of Belief in Discarnate Communication (Tony Jinks) 90 Part 2: Culture, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy Cultural Aspects of Personality, Beliefs and Attentional Strategies in Mediumship (Joan H. Hageman and Stanley Krippner) 107 Shamanism and Mediumship: Confluence and Difference (Rafael G. Locke, Adam J. Rock and Roger N. Walsh) 122 Communication with Gods and Spirits in East and ­Southeast Asia (Christopher C. Cott) 135 Mediumship and Psychopathology (Jacob Kaminker) 146 Mediumship and Psychotherapy (Rafael G. Locke) 160 Part 3: Empirical Approaches Advances in Quantitative Mediumship Research (Julie Beischel) 177 A Review of Qualitative Mediumship Research (Kylie Harris and Carlos S. Alvarado) 196 A ­Mixed Methods Approach to Mediumship Research (Elizabeth C. Roxburgh and Chris A. Roe) 220 A Systems Level Neuroscience Approach to Mediumship and the ­Source-of-Psi Problem (Graham A. Jamieson and Adam J. Rock) 235 Neuroscience of Trance and Mediumship (Julio F. P. Peres, Alexander ­Moreira-Almeida and Leonardo Caixeta) 254 Part 4: The Present and the Future Mediumship and Its Place Within Parapsychology (Julie Beischel, Mark Boccuzzi and Edwin C. May) 275 The Future of the Field of Mediumship (Carlos S. Alvarado; Julie Beischel, Mark Boccuzzi and Edwin C. May; Stephen E. Braude; Joan H. Hageman and Stanley Krippner; Kylie Harris; Tony Jinks; Jacob Kaminker; Rafael G. Locke; Julio F. P. Peres; Adam J. Rock and Graham A. Jamieson; Elizabeth C. Roxburgh and Chris A. Roe; Michael Sudduth; Krissy Wilson) 285 About the Contributors 303 Index 307

Why Materialism Is Baloney: How true skeptics know there is no death and fathom answers to life, the universe, and everything, by Bernardo Kastrup

Publication Details: Iff Books. ISBN-13: 978-1782793625
Publish Date: April, 2014
From the publisher’s website: A hard-nosed, logical, and skeptical non-materialist metaphysics according to which the body is in mind, not mind in the body. The present framing of the cultural debate in terms of materialism versus religion has allowed materialism to go unchallenged as the only rationally-viable metaphysics. This book seeks to change this. It uncovers the absurd implications of materialism and then, uniquely, presents a hard-nosed non-materialist metaphysics substantiated by skepticism, hard empirical evidence, and clear logical argumentation. It lays out a coherent framework upon which one can interpret and make sense of every natural phenomenon and physical law, as well as the modalities of human consciousness, without materialist assumptions. According to this framework, the brain is merely the image of a self-localization process of mind, analogously to how a whirlpool is the image of a self-localization process of water. The brain doesn’t generate mind in the same way that a whirlpool doesn’t generate water. It is the brain that is in mind, not mind in the brain. Physical death is merely a de-clenching of awareness. The book closes with a series of educated speculations regarding the afterlife, psychic phenomena, and other related subjects.