New Books and Media

Ghost-Hunting For Dummies, by Zak Bagans

Publication Details: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 9781119584759
Publish Date: December, 2019
Cover of Ghost-Hunting For Dummies

From the publisher's website: Dive into the ghostly world of the supernatural with America’s leading paranormal investigator Inside, paranormal investigator, star, and executive producer of The Travel Channel's hit series, Ghost Adventures and founder of the award-winning Haunted Museum (Las Vegas’ most popular attraction), Zak Bagans takes readers on an exciting journey into the supernatural world. With insider information on the history of ghost-hunting to learning about ghosts with all kinds of temperaments, Ghost-Hunting For Dummies is peppered with true accounts and stories from Bagans' famous cases and investigations.

Review by Steven Parsons

The Hidden Universe: An Investigation into Non-Human Intelligences, by Anthony Peake

Publication Details: Watkins, ISBN: 9781786782809.
Publish Date: December, 2019
Cover of The Hidden Universe: An Investigation into Non-Human Intelligences

From the publisher's website: Since our very beginnings, human beings from all civilisations across the globe have encountered the Others – intelligent, self-motivated beings that are clearly not human in their origins. This book offers the most comprehensive survey ever made of such otherworldly visitors, from gods, angels, demons and djinns to hobgoblins, poltergeists and ghosts to UFOs and aliens. In addition to fully detailing the history of these encounters, the book attempts a bold explanation (never before undertaken) of the true nature of these beings. The book will explore the increasingly frequent “entheogen” encounters facilitated by substances such as dimethyltryptamine, ayahuasca, 5-Meo-DMT and LSD, as well as the beings encountered by individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s-related Charles Bonnet Syndrome, young children’s non-corporeal companions, and the seemingly independent beings met during lucid dreaming and near-death and out-of-body experiences.

Further information on the publisher's website: Watkins

The New Prometheans: Faith, Science, and the Supernatural Mind in the Victorian Fin de Siècle, by Courtenay Raia

Publication Details: University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 9780226635354
Publish Date: December, 2019
Cover of The New Prometheans

From the publisher's website:The New Prometheans traces the evolution of psychical research through the intertwining biographies of four men: chemist Sir William Crookes, depth psychologist Frederic Myers, ether physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, and anthropologist Andrew Lang. All past presidents of the society, these men brought psychical research beyond academic circles and into the public square, making it part of a shared, far-reaching examination of science and society. By layering their papers, textbooks, and lectures with more intimate texts like diaries, letters, and literary compositions, Courtenay Raia returns us to a critical juncture in the history of secularization, the last great gesture of reconciliation between science and sacred truths.

Further information on the publisher's website: University of Chicago Press.


The Victorian Ghost Hunter’s Casebook, by Tim Prasil

Publication Details: Brom Bones Books, ISBN: 9781948084079.
Publish Date: December, 2019
Cover of The Victorian Ghost Hunter’s Casebook

From the publisher's website: After a period of strong skepticism among writers and intellectuals regarding the reality of ghosts, the Victorian era (1837-1901) revitalized interest in seriously exploring houses and other locations alleged to be haunted. The paranormal investigators, including Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, chronicled their methods and discoveries. Equipped with little more than candles, patience, and perhaps a flask of brandy, these men and women laid a foundation for the ghost hunters of today.

The Victorian Ghost Hunter’s Casebook presents some of the most intriguing, most frightening, and most charming of the chronicles left behind. Ghostlore scholar Tim Prasil provides an Introduction about what motivated the Victorians to investigate spectral manifestations, along with the history of ghost hunters that preceded them. He also provides enlightening details on twelve ghostly cases located in Britain, and an Appendix with two more ghost hunts held in the United States during the Victorian era.

Further information on the publisher's website: Brom Bones Books.

Review by Ciaran Farrell.

Britain's Haunted Heritage, by John West

Publication Details: DB Publishing, ISBN: 9781780916033.
Publish Date: November, 2019
Cover of Britain's Haunted Heritage

From the back cover: Britain has long been regarded as a haunted land. Tales of apparitions, supernatural manifestations and earthbound spirits are commonplace. But are there such things as ghosts? John West firmly believes that they do exist. Within this book you will find some of the stranger and more terrifying cases from Britain's ghostly past. These tales of terror make for chilling reading and will give even the most hardened sceptic pause for thought. Here you will discover a phantom butterfly, Roman soldiers in a cellar, hooded monks, a murderer or two, haunted churches, a pair of hairy hands on a lonely road and an Egyptian curse. You'll meet a sinister half-wolf, half-man creature, a vampire and even an amorous spectral naked lady who once took a fancy to a country vicar! After reading this book, you may even find yourself agreeing with the author's belief that Britain is the most haunted place on earth.

Review by Chris Phillips.

The Brave Mortal's Guide to Ghost Hunting, by Alex Matsuo

Publication Details: Independently published, ISBN: 9781707543717
Publish Date: November, 2019
Cover of The Brave Mortal's Guide to Ghost Hunting

From the back cover: If you could ask a ghost any question, what would it be? Have you thought about ghost hunting? Do you dream of exploring a haunted locale but don't know where to start? Want to learn more about ghost hunting, but you don't understand all of the paranormal lingo? The excitement of ghost hunting is enticing people all over the world. Whether it’s solving the mystery of the afterlife or the allure of the unknown, the paranormal field teases us just enough to want to dive in head-on. But exploring the paranormal can also be overwhelming and confusing. In this book, you will learn about multiple areas of the paranormal from ghost hunting, research, evidence review, equipment, to what to do when you encounter a ghost. Join Alex Matsuo, respected paranormal researcher and leader in the ghost hunting field, as she walks you through the basics of becoming a ghost hunter. Alex is known for her balance of skepticism, belief, and rigorous research. You can apply her strategies to your paranormal experience with this how-to manual. Are you brave enough to take the plunge?

The Search for Heaven: A historian investigates the case for the afterlife, by Jean-Pierre Isbouts.

Publication Details: Pantheon, ISBN: 9781647130008.
Publish Date: November, 2019
Cover of The Search for Heaven

From the back cover: If there is a heaven, as countless Near-Death Experiences suggest, shouldn’t modern science be able to identify its existence? This is the central question with which historian Dr. Jean-Pierre Isbouts embarked on an ambitious research project at Fielding Graduate University, drawing from quantum physics, neuroscience, astrophysics, electromagnetic energy, Asian health practices, faith traditions, and psychic observations. Written in the engaging style that made him a bestselling National Geographic author, Dr. Isbouts guides the reader step by step through the evidence while building an operational model of the afterlife. In the last chapter, he compares this model to Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhists concepts of heaven, concluding that our religious ideas have much more in common than we realize.Immersive, witty, and illustrated with astonishing observations by the renowned British psychic Sue Dunderdale Jones, 

Review by Robert A. Charman.

Britain’s Paranormal Forests: Encounters in the Woods, by Peter A. McCue

Publication Details: The History Press, ISBN: 9780750991339
Publish Date: October, 2019
Cover of Britain's Paranormal Forests

From the publisher's website: Peter A. McCue examines intriguing reports of people experiencing uncanny events in Britain’s woods and forests, from mysterious lights and strange animal encounters to ghostly experiences. Much of the reported witness testimony was obtained first-hand by McCue or other researchers. While he draws sceptical conclusions about some of the alleged incidents, he takes others seriously and considers possible explanations. Fully illustrated and written in McCue’s inimitable style, Britain’s Paranormal Forests will make you think again about your next walk in the woods.

Review by Ciaran Farrell.

Physics and Psychics: The Occult and the Sciences in Modern Britain, by Richard Noakes

Publication Details: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9781107188549.
Publish Date: October, 2019
Cover of Physics and Psychics

From the publisher's website: This is the first systematic exploration of the intriguing connections between Victorian physical sciences and the study of the controversial phenomena broadly classified as psychic, occult and paranormal. These phenomena included animal magnetism, spirit-rapping, telekinesis and telepathy. Richard Noakes shows that psychic phenomena interested far more Victorian scientists than we have previously assumed, challenging the view of these scientists as individuals clinging rigidly to a materialistic worldview. Physicists, chemists and other physical scientists studied psychic phenomena for a host of scientific, philosophical, religious and emotional reasons, and many saw such investigations as exciting new extensions to their theoretical and experimental researches. While these attempted extensions were largely unsuccessful, they laid the foundations of modern day explorations of the connections between physics and psychic phenomena. This revelatory study challenges our view of the history of physics, and deepens our understanding of the relationships between science and the occult, and science and religion.

Further information at the publisher's website: Cambridge University Press.

Psychological Perspectives on Reality, Consciousness and Paranormal Experience, by Tony Jinks

Publication Details: Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN: 9783030289010.
Publish Date: October, 2019
Cover of Psychological Perspectives on Reality, Consciousness and Paranormal Experience

From the publisher's website: Examines the three dominant perspectives accounting for paranormal encounters. Draws on cross-disciplinary research including recent advances in consciousness studies, parapsychology, anomalistic psychology and psychological theory. Provides an overview of the philosophical and psychological origins of explanations for paranormal experiences, from the 19th century to the present.

This book explores various explanatory frameworks for paranormal encounters. It opens with the story of an inexplicable human figure seen crossing a secluded hotel corridor, interpreted as a ghost by the sole witness. The subsequent chapters explore the three most important historical perspectives accounting for this and other types of paranormal experience. Each perspective is examined from first principles, with specific reference to what happened in the corridor, how it happened, why it happened, and who might be responsible.

The first perspective considers the experience to be legitimate – to be something real – and various possibilities are presented that are grounded in the paranormal and parapsychological literature, among which a “ghost” is one putative explanation. In turn, the second perspective treats the experience as being wholly illegitimate. With reference to psychological theory, the ghost sighting is a product of erroneous consciousness. The third perspective is different yet again, and considers the sighting to be authentic, but argues that explaining the ghost requires a radical departure from conventional models of reality and consciousness. By contrasting these three paths, the book provides a valuable resource for readers interested in the philosophical and psychological origins of explanations for paranormal experiences, from the 19th century to the present. It will appeal to general readers in addition to students and scholars of parapsychology, anomalistic psychology, and consciousness studies.

Further information on the publisher's website: Palgrave Macmillan.

Séance, by Shannon Taggart

Publication Details: Fulgur Press, ISBN: 9781527236318 .
Publish Date: October, 2019
Cover of Séance

From the publisher's website: A major 300 page photographic exploration of contemporary Spiritualism, documented over eighteen years. With a foreword by Dan Akyroyd, an introduction and stories by Shannon Taggart and supporting contextual essays from Andreas Fischer and Tony Oursler.

American artist Shannon Taggart became aware of Spiritualism as a teenager, when her cousin received a message from a medium that revealed details about her grandfather’s death. In 2001, while working as a photographer, she began taking pictures where that message was received – Lily Dale, New York, home to the world’s largest Spiritualist community – proceeding to other such communities as England’s Arthur Findlay College. Taggart expected to spend one summer figuring out the tricks of the Spiritualist trade. Instead, Spiritualism’s mysterious processes, earnest practitioners, and neglected photographic history became an inspiration. Her project evolved into an eighteen-year journey that has taken her around the world in search of ‘ectoplasm’ – the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material.

With Séance – part documentary, part ghost story – Taggart offers us haunting images exploring Spiritualist practices in the US, England and Europe: 150 of her original photographs, many of which have never been published, as well as rare historical photographs. Supported with a commentary on her experiences, a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters (1984) and fourth-generation Spiritualist, and illustrated essays from curator Andreas Fischer and artist Tony Oursler, SÉANCE examines Spiritualism’s relationship with human celebrity, its connections to art, science, and technology, and its intrinsic bond with the medium of photography. The book concludes with the debate over ectoplasm and how Spiritualism can move forward in the twenty-first century.

Further information on the publisher's website: Fulgur Press.

Files of the unexplained: The hidden history and forgotten photographs from the world of the unknown, by Clas Svahn

Publication Details: Archives For the Unexplained, ISBN: 9789151921723.
Publish Date: September, 2019
Cover of Files of the unexplained

The real "X-Files" exists! A giant archive with several million images, films, articles and documents about ghosts, UFOs, sea monsters, unusual natural phenomena, paranormal abilities and other enigmas not yet fully explained. Since 1973, a group of enthusiasts has gathered what is now the world's largest collection of the unknown. A despository of knowledge about riddles and mysteries used by scientists and interested people from all over the world - skeptics as well as believers. For the first time, the story of Archives For the Unexplained is now being told and some of the secrets that are preserved in its premises are shown to the public.

Review by Nemo C. Mörck.