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Co-habiting with Ghosts: Knowledge, Experience, Belief and the Domestic Uncanny, by Caron Lipman

Publication Details: Ashgate. ISBN: 978-1-4094-6772-4
Publish Date: March, 2014
From the publisher’s website: How does it feel to live in a ‘haunted home’? How do people negotiate their everyday lives with the experience of uncanny, anomalous or strange events within the domestic interior? What do such experiences reveal of the intersection between the material, immaterial and temporal within the home? How do people interpret, share and narrate experiences which are uncertain and unpredictable? What does this reveal about contested beliefs and different forms of knowledge? And about how people ‘co-habit’ with ghosts, a distinctive self - other relationship within such close quarters? This book sets out to explore these questions. It applies a non-reductive middle-ground approach which steers beyond an uncritical exploration of supernatural experiences without explaining them away by recourse only to wider social and cultural contexts. The book attends to the ways in which households in England and Wales understand their experience of haunting in relation to ideas of subjectivity, gender, materiality, memory, knowledge and belief. It explores home as a place both dynamic and differentiated, illuminating the complexity of ‘everyday’ experience - the familiarity of the strange as well as the strangeness of the familiar - and the ways in which home continues to be configured as a distinctive space. Contents: Approaching the ghost. Part I Spaces and Times of the Haunted Home: The material uncanny; The temporalities of the haunted home. Part II Strategies of Cohabitation: Embodying, domesticating, gendering the ghost; Strategies of distance and communication. Part III Belief, Knowledge and Experience: Knowledge and uncertainty; Belief, evidence and experience; Conclusion: the liminal home/self; Appendix: the households; References; Index. About the Author: Dr Caron Lipman is Research Fellow at the School of Geography, University of London, UK.

Talking with the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds, by by Jack Hunter and David Luke (eds.)

Publication Details: Daily Grail Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-0987422446
Publish Date: March, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Talking With the Spirits is a cross-cultural survey of contemporary spirit mediumship. The diverse contributions to this volume cover a wide-range of ethnographic contexts, from Spiritualist séances in the United Kingdom to self-mortification rituals in Singapore and Taiwan, from psychedelic spirit incorporation in the Amazonian rainforest, to psychic readings in online social spaces, and more. By taking a broad perspective the book highlights both the variety of culturally specific manifestations of spirit communication, and key cross-cultural features suggestive of underlying core processes and experiences. Rather than attempting to reduce or dismiss such experiences, the authors featured in this collection take the experiences of their informants seriously and explore their effects at personal, social and cultural levels. Chapter and author listing: Believing Impossible Things: Scepticism and Ethnographic Enquiry • Fiona Bowie An Agnostic Social Scientific Perspective on Spirit Medium Experience in Great Britain • Hannah Gilbert Spirits in the City: Examples from Montreal • Deirdre Meintel Mediumship and Folk Models of Mind and Matter • Jack Hunter Cyber Psychics: Psychic Readings in Online Social Spaces • Tamlyn Ryan Spirit Possession in East Africa • Barbara Stöckigt Developing the Dead in Cuba: An Ethnographic Account of the Emergence of Spirits and Selves in Havana • Diana Espirito Santo Mediumship in Brazil: The Holy War against Spirits and African Gods • Bettina Schmidt Psychedelic Possession: The Growing Incorporation of Incorporation into Ayahuasca Use • David Luke Anomalous Mental and Physical Phenomena of Brazilian Mediums: A Review of the Scientific Literature • Everton Maraldi, Wellington Zangari, Fatima Regina Machado, Stanley Krippner Spirit Mediums in Hong Kong and the United States • Charles Emmons Vessels for the Gods: Tang-ki Spirit Mediumship in Singapore and Taiwan • Fabian Graham

The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us to Live More Fully, by Penny Sartori

Publication Details: Watkins Publishing. ISBN-13: 978-1780285658
Publish Date: February, 2014
From the publisher’s website: This book investigates the wide range of near-death experiences (NDEs) of patients that Penny Sartori has encountered during her nursing career, as well as the hundreds of cases of people who have reached out to her over the years. Many people take near-death experiences at surface value and are misinformed about the full extent of this highly complex phenomenon. Dr Sartori argues that, by pathologising the NDE, we are missing out on vital insights that can empower us to live fulfilled and meaningful lives. Dr Sartori does not offer superficial physiological or psychological explanations for why these experiences take place. Rather, the crucial point of this book is that near-death experiences undoubtedly occur and have very real, often dramatic, and life changing aftereffects. Further to that, the wisdom gained during the NDE can be life enhancing and have hugely positive effects on those who don’t have an NDE – all we have to do is take notice of and hear what these people have to say. A greater understanding of near-death experiences can not only enhance the way in which we care for dying patients, but also revolutionise our current worldview. This book encourages readers to take notice of and incorporate the wisdom and powerful messages of near-death experiences into their own lives.

Light Changes: Experiences in the Presence of Transforming Light, by Annekatrin Puhle

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN 978-1-908733-18-4
Publish Date: January, 2014
From the publisher’s website: Ever since the dawn of recorded history, humans have reported encounters with an exceptional light which appeared to them to be different, more intense, and brighter than sunlight. Often, these experiences had a strong and lasting effect on those concerned, changing their lives completely. But what exactly did they experience? In which shape did the light appear? Did it come along with a message, and what could it possibly communicate to them? And why did it change in their lives? All these and many more questions require answers. This book faces those questions and offers the thoughts and feelings of more than 800 individuals reporting these experiences over a time span of 130 years. Light Changes explores ‘Seeing and Inner Sight’, myths, folklore, religion, philosophy, science, and in particular, psychical research, and offers clues into understanding how these important and meaningful encounters with light may affect us all. Annekatrin Puhle Ph D is a philosopher, health consultant, and psychical researcher in the area of exceptional human experiences. After receiving her doctorat from the Free University, Berlin, she worked at The Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health in Freiburg, Germany. Currently she is a guest lecturer at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, guest researcher at King’s College, London, and the author of several books and papers on apparitional experiences and healing. A sample chapter can be read here: http://whitecrowbooks.com/books/page/light_changes_experiences_in_the_pr...

Reimagining the Soul: Afterlife in the Age of Matter, by Douglas M. Stokes

Publication Details: McFarland. ISBN-13: 978-0786477074
Publish Date: January, 2014
From the publisher’s website: This book explores conceptions of the soul and the afterlife that are consistent with the findings of modern science. It approaches these subjects from many different angles: religious, philosophical, scientific, poetic, humorous, quasi-scientific, and even pseudoscientific (just to be fair). Many possible afterlives are examined, including physical resurrection (whether supernatural, biological or cybernetic in form), reincarnation, participation in a dream-like world or collective mind, and the persistence of recycling centres of pure consciousness. Philosophical, scientific and religious doctrines regarding the relationship between conscious minds and physical matter are reviewed. Centres of consciousness likely exist at many different hierarchical levels, from elementary particles, single neurons and organisms all the way up to supra-individual entities such as ant colonies or deities. Empirical evidence bearing on the nature of the soul and the afterlife is also reviewed, including that amassed by parapsychologists suggesting that some personality elements may survive death (as in the case of children who report memories of previous lives). The findings of modern neuroscience suggest that you cannot take it all (or even much of it) with you but you can at least take you with you.

On the Origin of Spectres: The Burden of Proof for Psychical Research, by Brian R. Banks

Publication Details: Brian R. Banks. ASIN: B00HEHRLHW
Publish Date: December, 2013
From the publisher’s website: Over 800 pages on the history with the best cases, foremost researchers and leading responses then and later. The history of the Society of Psychical Research, American Society of Psychical Research and other national organisations are carefully examined and compared. Separate chapters look at researchers, mediums, famous interested figures (Arthur Conan Doyle; Houdini; Freud; Jung; actors etc), haunted sites across the world, nuclear physics, photography, near-death experience, Electronic Voice Phenomena and technology among other subjects. The work, based on many hundreds of texts as well as personal experiences, builds up to what is a tentative theory based on all that has been studied, including the anomalies that even exist in the anomalous (e.g. still-mortal living people communicating at seances; reincarnation; xenoglossy; bi-location; poltergeists as separate from ghosts or spirits). The point of focus is: why do spirits, ghosts, poltergeists do what they do, and the manner of what they are doing. Why do they react or not react, communicate or watch or just continue banal activities as if indifferent to being witnessed or not. Are they being intercepted or by-passed? Can they see us?! On the Origin of Spectres: The Burden of Proof for Psychical Research is available on Kindle. For further information, visit http://brianrbanks.eu/new-ebook-just-released/

Paranormal Intruder: The True Story of a Family in Fear, by Caroline Mitchell

Publication Details: Caroline Mitchell. ISBN-13: 978-1494354886
Publish Date: December, 2013
From the author’s website: An innocent family find themselves completely helpless against the sudden onset of paranormal activity in their quiet rural home. A knife embedded in a kitchen cupboard, crockery smashed by invisible hands, and blood-chilling growls emit from thin air. Caroline and her husband Neil search for answers as they try to protect their family from the unseen entity that seems determined to rip them apart. The biggest question looms over them like a dark cloud…who is going to help us? There are emergency services for many things, but not of this nature. It might be easier to believe temporary insanity, if not for the vast amount of witnesses. Police, fire services, mediums, priests and investigators all become embroiled in the mystery. The family struggle to cope and Caroline grows concerned for her husband’s failing health as he withdraws from the world. However, the entity has only just begun. Paranormal Intruder is the true story of one family’s brave fight against an invisible entity. Described as one of the best-documented cases of paranormal activity, this page turning book will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.’

Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims, by Bryan Farha (ed.)

Publication Details: University Press of America. ISBN-13: 978-0761862925
Publish Date: December, 2013
From the publisher’s website: Pseudoscience and Deception is a compilation of some of the most eye-opening sceptical articles pertaining to extraordinary claims and pseudoscience. The articles explore paranormal, extraordinary, or fringe-science claims and reveal logical explanations or outline the deceptive tactics involved in convincing the vulnerable. Topics include claims of astrology, psychic ability, alternative medicine, after-death communication, psychotherapy, and pseudoscience. The contributors to this book are among the most accomplished critical thinkers, scientists, and educators in the world and tackle their respective topics from a rational, logical, and sceptical perspective. Most students are seldom excited to study “critical thinking”—with the exception of allegedly paranormal phenomena as the subject matter. Educators must seize this golden opportunity to witness and experience students’ genuine engagement in studying critical thinking. Bryan Farha is professor of behavioural studies in education at Oklahoma City University. He received a doctor of education degree in counselling psychology from the University of Tulsa. A scientific and technical consultant to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), his work in combating deception has been recognized by CNN, TIME.com, The National Geographic Channel, and A&E.

Psi Wars: TED, Wikipedia and the Battle for the Internet, by Craig Weiler

Publication Details: Craig Weiler. ISBN-13: 978-1494389000
Publish Date: December, 2013

From the author’s website: In journalistic fashion, Craig Weiler relates what began as a seemingly harmless attempt to make sure that TED talk videos maintained a high standard and how this exploded into a wild scientific controversy. When the nonprofit company took down one of their YouTube videos by scientist Rupert Sheldrake, who had given a speech on the philosophy of science, they ignited a fierce discussion that eventually grew to include hundreds of people spanning the globe. For a while, ordinary folks, distinguished scientists, Internet trolls and even a Nobel Prize winning physicist all got together to hash out the greatest scientific controversy . . . ever. Further information on the author and the book can be found here

Review by Tom Ruffles

Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives, by Jim Tucker

Publication Details: St. Martin's Press. ISBN-13: 978-1250005847
Publish Date: December, 2013
From the publisher’s website: Dr. Tucker, in a follow-up to his book Life Before Life, explores American cases of young children who report memories of previous lives A first-person account of Jim Tucker's experiences with a number of extraordinary children with memories of past lives, Return to Life focuses mostly on American cases, presenting each family’s story and describing his investigation. His goal is to determine what happened—what the child has said, how the parents have reacted, whether the child’s statements match the life of a particular deceased person, and whether the child could have learned such information through normal means. Tucker has found cases that provide persuasive evidence that some children do, in fact, possess memories of previous lives. Among others, readers will meet a boy who describes a previous life on a small island. When Tucker takes him to that island, he finds that some details eerily match the boy’s statements and some do not. Another boy points to a photograph from the 1930s and says he used to be one of the men in it. Once the laborious efforts to identify that man are successful, many of the child’s numerous memories are found to match the details of his life. Soon after his second birthday, a third boy begins expressing memories of being a World War II pilot who is eventually identified. Thought-provoking and captivating, Return to Life urges its readers to think about life and death, and reflect about their own consciousness and spirituality.

The End of Death: How Near-Death Experiences Prove the Afterlife, by Admir Serrano

Publication Details: 6th Books. ISBN-13: 978-1782792338
Publish Date: December, 2013
From the publisher’s website: Using personal experiences and examinations of first-hand accounts, coupled with scientific evidence and academic experiments, the author explores the phenomena of Near Death Experience (NDE). Compelling and eye-opening, the book is an essential read for anyone interested in the afterlife, or those simply wanting to question why they are here. For more information, visit www.admirserrano.com

Anomalistic Psychology: Exploring Paranormal Belief and Experience, by Christopher C. French and Anna Stone

Publication Details: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN-13: 978-1403995711
Publish Date: November, 2013
From the publisher’s website: The science behind claims of alien encounters and visions of ghosts can be even more fascinating than the sensationalist headlines. What leads some people to believe in the paranormal? Why might someone think they have been abducted by aliens? And is there any room for superstition in the modern world of science? Anomalistic Psychology * Provides a lively and thought-provoking introduction to the psychology underlying paranormal belief and experience * Covers the latest psychological theories and experiments, and examines the science at the heart of the subject * Uses a unique approach to apply different psychological perspectives – including clinical, developmental and cognitive approaches – to shed new light on the key debates Whether you are a psychology student or simply curious about the paranormal, Anomalistic Psychology is the essential introduction to this contested and controversial field. Belief in the paranormal has been reported in every known society since the dawn of time – find out why.