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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

Australian Poltergeist: The Stone-Throwing Spook of Humpty Doo and Many Other Cases, by Tony Healey and Paul Cropper

Publication Details: Xou Pty Ltd, ISBN-13: 978-1921134340
Publish Date: September, 2014

From the authors’ website: Objects thrown by invisible hands, showers of stones that pass through solid walls and ceilings, sudden, inexplicable fires, wall-shaking raps and thumps, creepy voices from nowhere…. welcome to the wonderful, weird world of the poltergeist!

Mind-boggling poltergeist events have occurred all over the world for hundreds of years. While many books have been written about notable foreign cases and about the phenomenon in general, this is the first book to focus entirely on the Australian experience, with cases from every state in the nation.

Some of the most famous Australian ghost stories are investigated, with some surprising new information revealed. These stories are incredible... but true.  The book also contains a comprehensive catalogue of other true-life cases.

About the Authors

PAUL CROPPER and TONY HEALY have investigated all manner of strange phenomena, both in Australia and overseas, since the mid-1970s and have collaborated on many projects, notably in co-authoring Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia (1994) and The Yowie (2006).

Since witnessing the amazing Humpty Doo, Northern Territory, episode of 1998, they have visited other polt-infested sites and interviewed many people who have lived through similar weird and wonderful experiences.

In Australian Poltergeist they cover in detail eleven of this country’s most remarkable episodes and, in a comprehensive Catalogue of Cases, document every other incident in their Australian files, some dating from as far back as 1845.

Website

ESP Wars East and West: An Account of the Military Use of Psychic Espionage As Narrated by the Key Russian and American Players, by Edwin C. May, Victor Rubel, and Loyd Auerbach

Publication Details: CreateSpace, ISBN-13: 978-1500743000
Publish Date: August, 2014

From the authors’ blurb: Was there really a government-sanctioned psychic programme in the US? What were their goals? Were they successful? Were there fights in Congress about the programme? Did our Military support it fully? Was the US programme set up in response to a Soviet programme? Did the Soviet Union actually create psychic (psychotronic) weapons and generators? What was the involvement of the KGB? Have psychics had any influence over politics and decisions in the US? In the Soviet Union? In Russia? Has Russia continued with psychic espionage even as the US shut down its programme? Has there been a psychic arms race…a series of ESP Wars?

Read the real stories of the American and Soviet/Russian ESP programmes and how ESP was used in intelligence gathering and other applications.  Learn the greater story of why these major powers saw fit to put stock in something so many academics dismiss out of turn and what practical value was found for Military and Intelligence operations. Delve into the politics that led to, supported, and eventually shut down the psychic espionage programmes – and why the US programme, at least, has not been resurrected in light of the events of the first decade of the 21st century.

With commentary and insights from the former US programme director (Edwin C. May), the Army’s remote viewing agent 001 (Joe McMoneagle) and several Russian military/former KGB officers and experts, ESP WARS gives you an insiders’ view of what really went on, how it happened, and why. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in ESP (especially Remote Viewing), as well as how ESP has been successfully applied in missions of last resort for the Defence Department, CIA and other agencies. The book will especially be of interest to those looking for material on the politics and funding of classified projects, as well as the people participating in them, supporting them, and those with an axe to grind.

The Russian (and Soviet) sources present readers with a narrative of the place of psychic abilities in their society and politics, how the KGB was (and was not) involved, how psychics were brought into political decisions and even how psychics ended up in tanks on the front lines in the war in Chechnya. Those interested in international politics will find much to chew on here as well, especially insight into what went on during a number of difficult political situations at the end of the reign of the Soviet Union. Also of great interest is the perspective (and experiences) of our high-ranking Russian sources with regards to the KGB. For a story that transcends merely dealing with the “psychic” in “psychic spying,” for a narrative of politics and classified projects, ESP WARS will hold your attention from start to finish. As a bit of a tease at the end is an appendix with declassified material from the US Star Gate Programme.

The World's Most Haunted House: The True Story of The Bridgeport Poltergeist on Lindley Street, by William J. Hall

Publication Details: New Page Books, ISBN-13: 978-1601633378
Publish Date: August, 2014

From the publisher’s website: In this unprecedented work, the story of the 1974 Bridgeport, Connecticut poltergeist is at last revealed. A crowd of more than 2,000 onlookers gathered. National media reported jumping furniture, floating refrigerators, and attacking entities.  Decades after the publicity quieted, more than 40 hours of never-before-released interviews with police officers, firefighters, and others tell the story as it actually unfolded:

Relive the experience, the terror, the rampant emotions, and the unexplainable events that took place in that house as they happened.  Have access to revealing excerpts from actual interviews, police reports, and rare documents.  Access unreleased audio, poltergeist sounds, and an old radio broadcast.

Return to 1974 and feel the Lindley Street experience from the inside. Find out why it is deemed the haunting that should have brought the paranormal into mainstream science. For more info about the book and author, go to: www.worldsmosthauntedhouse.com  

William J. Hall was born and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the events of this book took place. He watched the news coverage of the Lindley Street haunting on TV when he was 10 years old. Hall is professionally equipped to recognize trickery. After more than 25 years as a performing magician, he knows how to create and recognize illusions. He is experienced in researching the unexplained, from folklore and urban legend to fortune telling, the pyramids, and other mysterious tales. His syndicated 1990’s column ‘Magic and the Unknown’ ran for six years in multiple local papers in his home state. Hall has two sons and resides in Plainville, Connecticut.

Anomalous Cognition: Remote Viewing Research and Theory, edited by Edwin C. May and Sonali Bhatt Marwaha

Publication Details: McFarland, ISBN-13: 978-0786494583
Publish Date: July, 2014

From the publisher’s website: Anomalous cognition involves the acquisition of information emerging from a distant point in spacetime that is blocked from the usual sensory systems by distance, shielding or time. From 1975 to 1995, Edwin May was a scientist and then programme director for the U.S. government’s psychic espionage program, known as STAR GATE. With the closing of that program, research has continued at the Laboratories for Fundamental Research, in Palo Alto, in the areas of methodology and analysis, neurophysiological studies, personnel assessment and selection, operations research, the physics of anomalous cognition, and psychokinesis.

The conclusions from this 35+ year research effort can be summarized as (1) ESP exists; (2) the gradient of Shannon entropy is the key factor influencing information transfer; (3) because of the innate nature of the ability, the phenomenon so far resists training for excellence (and replication studies will not yield results), and (4) evidence for psychokinesis (PK) is questionable.

This book presents the state-of-the-art, with 26 key papers on research methods, physiological research, decision augmentation theory, entropy, other research, and research challenges.

Edwin C. May is the leading figure in anomalous cognition research, and has authored more than 500 research and technical papers in this area. The former director of the U.S. government psychoenergetics research program STAR GATE at SRI International and SAIC for two decades, he is presently the president of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research in Palo Alto, California.  Sonali Bhatt Marwaha is a research associate with the Laboratories for Fundamental Research. Her areas of interest include Indian psychology and the synthesis of the cognitive sciences and anomalous cognition research leading to a theoretical framework. She lives in India.

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