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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

God’s Magic: An Aspect of Spiritualism, by Air Chief Marshal Lord Dowding

Publication Details: White Crow Books. ISBN-13: 978-1910121672
Publish Date: September, 2015

From the publisher’s website: In God’s Magic, Lord Dowding, whose name will be forever synonymous with the Battle Of Britain, puts forward a strong case for life after death.  No one can question the deep sincerity with which his research has been carried out. Having in mind the many instances of survival after death on the battlefield recorded through various channels, Lord Dowding has satisfied himself that these records should be made available as widely as possible, believing that they carry with them the hall-mark of truth.

This is his fourth and final book on the subject and because of the record of Lord Dowding’s career, lies the assurance that he is a practical man not likely to be led astray by specious theories or to harbour delusions when confronted by hard facts.

About the author

By 1940 the Second World War was raging and one of the most prominent men in the UK was Air Chief Marshal Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding – more widely known as Lord Dowding. Dowding was the commander of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain and is generally credited with playing a crucial role in Britain’s air defence, which contributed to the defeat of Hitler’s plan to invade Great Britain.  What is less well known is, after the Battle of Britain Dowding devoted most of his life to exploring life after death; what we now refer to as psychical research.  He authored four books on the subject: Many Mansions (1943), Lychgate (1945), The Dark Star (1951), and God’s Magic (1960).

After the war ended, Dowding was often contacted by mothers and loved ones of the airmen who died on his watch, and when he asked his local vicar how he should respond to their grieving, allegedly, the vicar replied, “Tell them they’re with God.” Not being content with the vicar’s answer, Dowding continued his own investigation in an attempt to find the truth to the age-old question, “what happens after we die?”  These books are the result of his search.

Review by Tom Ruffles

Science, Mysticism and Psychical Research: The Revolutionary Synthesis of Michael Whiteman, by John Poynton

Publication Details: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-1443880190
Publish Date: September, 2015
Science, Mysticism and Psychical Research: The Revolutionary Synthesis of Michael Whiteman, by John Poynton

From the publisher's website: Science, mysticism, and psychical research are generally thought to be irreconcilable; this book centres on a towering synthesis achieved by the late Michael Whiteman, an Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town. It is revolutionary; Whiteman was able to meld mathematical physics and general science with psychical research and Indian and Western mystical texts, clarified by a life-time of psychical and mystical experience, and coupled with an extensive knowledge of philosophy and psychology.

Part One is about the experience of states, spaces, and worlds other than physical. It provides essential groundwork for understanding the psychical and mystical. Whiteman’s own experience is combined with evidence ranging from quantum mechanics to the Upanishads. Part Two centres on two murder cases that Whiteman studied, as an entry to the concept of the corporate structure of personality, and the workings of the mind in personal development. Part Three covers his analysis of ancient texts based on his understanding as a mystic. His interpretations differ radically from standard treatments. Part Four investigates his exploration of non-physical existence. Part Five considers the mystical life, including Whiteman’s own, and how it relates to physical laws. The book concludes with a brief biography.

"Science has been dominated for too long by a blinkered view which insists on the one-level view of reality espoused by materialistic reductionism. One of the most important proponents of higher levels of reality was Michael Whiteman. His prodigious writings combined both mystical and mathematical insights, yet they are not always easy to understand, so his contribution has been hitherto somewhat neglected. With this masterly exposition by John Poynton, his ideas finally receive the scrutiny and dissemination which they deserve. Poynton is arguably a better expositor of these ideas than Whiteman himself, so he has done a tremendous service by explaining them so cogently and comprehensively in this volume." - Bernard Carr, Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London; Fomer President of the Society for Psychical Research

"Michael Whiteman was an original thinker with a uniquely diversified life. To summarize Whiteman's thought and life is tantamount to capturing a rare tropical bird, but John Poynton has risen to the task. Whiteman lived for over a century, yet his books and essays are more relevant in this millennium than they were when he wrote them.

Ranging from mathematical physics to psychical research, and plumbing the depths of mystical experience, archetypes, and bisexuality, Whiteman wove a remarkable synthesis of East and West, science and spirituality, and male and female into a seamless fabric that cannot help but entrap and enrapture its reader." Stanley Krippner PhD, Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University

"Wide-ranging yet concise, thorough yet accessible, this is a marvellous introduction to Michael Whiteman's thought. It shows Whiteman to be an empiricist in the best sense, open to evidence of all kinds, whether from physics, psychical research, or mysticism. Dr Paul Marshall, author of Mystical Encounters with the Natural World; co-editor of Beyond Physicalism: Towards Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality.

“Polymath J.H.M. Whiteman combined a deep understanding of science and mathematics with an unusually rich history of first-hand experience of out-of-body and mystical states of consciousness. John Poynton's book provides by far the best available introduction to this important but neglected body of work." - Dr Edward F. Kelly, Research Professor, Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia

Illuminations: The UFO Experience as a Parapsychological Event, by Eric Ouellet

Publication Details: Anomalist Books, ISBN-13: 978-1938398537
Publish Date: August, 2015

From the publisher’s website: What if UFO experiences are the result of large-scale, unconscious, psychic forces?

Parapsychology and UFOlogy are like oil and water. They just don't mix, despite the decades-long efforts of some highly respected researchers to call attention to the paranormal or parapsychological aspects of UFO events. In Illuminations, sociologist Eric Ouellet offers a novel approach to a phenomenon that has thus far resisted all other efforts to explain it, be it as extraterrestrial craft, time travellers, secret government projects, or natural phenomena.

Combining research in parapsychology, sociology, and UFOlogy, Ouellet provides a thought-provoking reassessment of several well-known UFO cases, including the Washington, DC, UFO wave of 1952, the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961, the Rendlesham UFO incident of 1980, and the Belgian UFO wave of 1989-1991. While not claiming to have the final solution to the UFO mystery, he offers much food for thought and a refreshing outlook on a stubbornly elusive phenomenon.

"Parapsychological approaches in this field are rare: your contribution is precious, and it is very timely." -Jacques Vallée, author of The Invisible College.

"As a sociologist and a UFO witness, plus, importantly, a parapsychological researcher, Eric Ouellet ticks all the boxes to appreciate the bagatelle of curiosities that I have encountered in the field during 40 years of UFO investigation." - Jenny Randles, author of Mind Monsters.

ERIC OUELLET is professor of Defence Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada, and at the Canadian Forces College (Canada's Joint Staff and War College). He has a Ph.D. in sociology from York University (Toronto, Canada), and he is the liaison officer for Canada with the Parapsychological Association. He has published parapsychological work in the Australian Journal of PsychologyEdgeScience, and the Bulletin Métapsychique. His other research works focus on military sociology and war studies.

Knowing the Unknowable: Putting Psi to Work, by Damien Broderick

Publication Details: Ramble House, ISBN-13: 978-1605438610
Publish Date: August, 2015
From the publisher’s website: Are Psi, extrasensory perception, psychokinesis, remote viewing, presentiment—these are terms used by parapsychologists for mysterious, anomalous human abilities that still have no accepted scientific explanation. Lacking a solid theory of psi that accords with the vast body of accumulated knowledge gathered over centuries, psi research remains a kind of fringe science—not a pseudoscience, but one that remains incomplete.
Decades of increasingly sophisticated research prove that psi phenomena are real. But can they be tamed? Precognition is knowledge of what seems the unknowable future. Yet it’s frustratingly intermittent—so can it ever be used like smart phones, computers, antibiotics, automotive engineering? Might thousands of remote viewers coordinate to warn us of impending disasters?
Or a favorite question: Can psi be used to win lotteries? And if not, why not?
Damien Broderick, PhD, has explored these questions in three previous books. Now he shows how an almost forgotten method for using psi might be the ideal tool in the age of computer apps and massively multiplayer online games. Searching through nearly a century of research, Broderick teases out a method for building a technology of psi. For putting psi to work.
A review by Dr Matthew Colborn appears in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research.

No Better Place: Arthur Conan Doyle, Windlesham and Communication with the Other Side (1907-1930), by Alistair Duncan

Publication Details: MX Publishing, ISBN: 9781780927978
Publish Date: August, 2015

From the publisher’s website: Following his second marriage in 1907 Arthur Conan Doyle was looking to the future. The years ahead would see the birth of three children, fresh literary success and the discovery of his new faith. Those same years would also see the First World War, the final adventures of Sherlock Holmes and ridicule from the religious and scientific communities for his beliefs

Review by Tom Ruffles

Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics: The Paranormal from Alchemy to Zombies, edited by Matt Cardin

Publication Details: ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-1-61069-683-8
Publish Date: July, 2015

From the publisher’s website: This fascinating work provides a complete overview of paranormal phenomena, including the beliefs, attitudes, and notable figures who have attempted to explain, defend, or debunk the mysteries behind the unknown.

Recent interest in the paranormal as pop culture fodder belies its historical status as an important subject of cultural, philosophical, and scientific significance. This book traces the trajectory of paranormal studies from its early role as a serious academic and scientific topic studied by mainstream scientists and eminent scholars to its current popularity in books, film, and TV.

This compelling reference work details the experiences, encounters, and ideas that make up this controversial field of study. The contributed entries examine the broad phenomena of the paranormal, addressing the history of scientific investigations along with its contemporary media depictions to illustrate the evolution of cultural attitudes about the paranormal. A selection of primary documents provides real-life accounts and contributions from noted experts that explore the full scope of themes from spiritualism to poltergeists to astrology. Accompanying images, timelines, quotations, and sidebars make the content come to life and encourage alternative explanations of these events.


Contains more than 120 factual entries as well as extensive excerpts from several primary documents in the area of the paranormal;

Features contributions from noted experts in its field from across viewpoints —i ncluding believers and sceptics;

Profiles a number of important individuals who have contributed to the history and study of the field;

Includes such topics as near-death experiences, paranormal dreams, the supernatural, magic, and the occult.

Contents page


Parapsychology: A Handbook for the 21st Century, edited by Etzel Cardeña, John Palmer and David Marcusson-Clavertz

Publication Details: Parapsychology. McFarland, ISBN: 978-0-7864-7916-0
Publish Date: July, 2015

From the publisher’s website:  Many people have experienced such unusual phenomena as dreams that later seem to correspond with unforeseeable events, thinking of a long-lost friend just before he or she unexpectedly calls, or the ability to “feel” the presence of deceased loved ones. What many do not realize is that these types of experiences have been researched for more than a century by eminent scientists, including Nobel laureates. Most of these researchers have concluded that some of these phenomena do occur, although we are far from explaining them to everyone’s satisfaction.

This book is the first in almost 40 years to provide a comprehensive scientific overview of research in the field of parapsychology, explaining what we know and don’t know about so-called psi phenomena, such as “telepathy,” “precognition” or “psychokinesis.” Contributors evaluate the evidence for these phenomena, accounting for factors such as selective memory, wish fulfillment and incorrect methods or analyses, in some cases offering psychological, physical and biological theories.

If the Spirit Moves You: Life and Love After Death, by Justine Picardie

Publication Details: Picador. ISBN: 9781447289289
Publish Date: June, 2015

From the publisher’s website: 

When I think about her now, which is most of the time, it's like rewinding a silent film in my head: I see the crucial scenes in our lives together. But what I can't hear is her voice in my head, and that silence is driving me crazy.

After her sister Ruth's death from breast cancer in September 1997, Justine Picardie was desperate to speak to her again, to hear her voice, to find something – anything – that might fill the space she had left behind. Over the course of the next year, Justine's search for Ruth lead her into the underworld of spiritualism, through a series of encounters with mediums and psychics who believe that we can communicate with those we have lost.

If the Spirit Moves You is Justine's remarkable story about her search for the afterlife in an age of reason, scepticism and science. Powerfully moving, both heart-breaking and funny, it is an extraordinary book about the exhausting journey of grief and the enduring power of love.

The Hyperspace of Consciousness, by Massimo Teodorani

Publication Details: Elementà, ISBN-13: 978-9176370308
Publish Date: June, 2015
Cover of The Hyperspace of Consciousness

From the publisher’s website: A breakthrough in scientific, metaphysical and philosophical knowledge, this book – in light of the hypothesis that matter and consciousness are strictly connected into a single unity – presents an entirely new theory about the way in which information is non-locally propagated through an intelligent Universe and the way in which matter is created by consciousness.

Quantum entanglement, synchronicity, multidimensionality, extra¬terrestrial intelligence, and the true nature of what we call “spirituality” are revisited within a completely revolutionary framework mainly based on new physics, whose goal is to make people think about the world, themselves, the Universe and the true meaning of life, and to trigger scientists of the new millennium towards a more complete understanding of the reality in which we are all immersed.

Massimo Teodorani, Ph.D., is a well-known northern Italian physical scientist and science writer and lecturer, who has carried out professional research in several fields of stellar astrophysics, and with a particular interest for the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the rigorous study of atmospheric anomalies occurring in Nature.

Review by Robert A. Charman.

A Tale of Two Psychics, by Edward Thornley

Publication Details: Melrose Books, ISBN: 9781909757677
Publish Date: May, 2015

From the publisher's website: When two perfectly normal women, both of high intelligence and sharing an attitude of total scepticism towards religion and the idea of an Other World, are suddenly beset, at different times and in different places, by what can only be described as occult phenomena, the impact on their lives and personalities – to say nothing of the lives of those closest to them – can be dramatic. The sequence of events here described (with meticulous accuracy it should be said) is remarkable not merely for their nature but also for the fact that, despite the passage of time, it was possible to corroborate background detail in the case of two of the events. The author’s analysis is also of great interest in that it endeavours to point the way towards a scientific explanation of phenomena which, remarkable though they may be, are not, he believes, unique.

Entry on the publisher's website:

An den Grenzen der Erkenntnis. Handbuch der wissenschaftlichen Anomalistik, edited by Gerhard Mayer, Michael Schetsche, Ina Schmied-Knittel and Dieter Vaitl

Publication Details: Schattauer, ISBN: 978-3608429220.
Publish Date: May, 2015
Cover of An den Grenzen der Erkenntnis

From the publisher's website: Grenzen erkunden, Horizonte erweitern … 

Außergewöhnliche Erfahrungen wie Nahtod-Erlebnisse oder Wahrträume, Phänomene wie Kornkreise oder UFO-Sichtungen, aber auch weit verbreitete Praktiken wie alternative Diagnose- und Heilverfahren oder Wünschelrutengehen: Von jeher haben sie die Menschen fasziniert, die Wissenschaften polarisiert – und auch sehr grundsätzliche Fragen über die Wirklichkeit aufgeworfen, in der wir leben. 

Mit dem gesamten Spektrum ungewöhnlicher Phänomene und Erfahrungen befasst sich die wissenschaftliche Anomalistik. Im Kontext wissenschaftlicher Weltmodelle und mit einer strengen Orientierung an den Standards wissenschaftlicher Methodik geht sie dem schwer Erklärbaren auf den Grund – und findet oft genug überraschende Antworten. 

Im Handbuchformat beleuchtet ein interdisziplinäres Autorenteam eine Vielzahl von Forschungsfeldern und Einzelfragen zu Phänomenen und Erfahrungen, die an die Grenzen unserer scheinbar so festgefügten Wirklichkeit rühren. Unverzichtbare Erkenntnisse für alle, die mit offenen Augen den Geheimnissen unserer Welt auf der Spur sind. 

- Das erste deutschsprachige Handbuch ungewöhnlicher Phänomene und Erfahrungen: von Auradiagnostik bis Zauberkunst 

- Wissenschaftliche Anomalistik in all ihren Facetten: theoretische Konzepte, methodische Ansätze, empirische Befunde 

- Ein fesselndes Grundlagenwerk: für ein breites Publikum mit wissenschaftlichem oder beruflichem Interesse oder auch ganz persönlicher Neugier.