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Paranormal Encounters on Britain's Roads: Phantom Figures, UFOs and Missing Time, by Peter A McCue

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Paranormal Encounters on Britain's Roads: Phantom Figures, UFOs and Missing Time, by Peter A McCue

Publication Details: The History Press, ISBN: 9780750984386

From the publisher's website: In this detailed book, Dr Peter McCue reflects on the enormous range of paranormal phenomena to have been reported along Britain’s roads, and examines the theory that certain areas seem to be hotspots for such occurrences, such as the A75 and B721 roads in southern Scotland, and the Blue Bell Hill area in Kent. He delves into the sightings of apparitional vehicles; encounters with ‘colliding apparitions’; ‘phantom hitch-hikers’; out-of-place big cats; phantom black dogs; UFOs; ‘missing time’ (strange memory gaps); vehicle interferences (such as mysterious breakdowns); and incidents in which drivers and passengers seem to have been translocated in space or time. This thorough book debates the evidence and theories in a critical but open-minded way, and is a welcome addition to the genre.

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/paranormal-encounters-on-britains-roads/9780750984386/

Publish date: February, 2018

Science of the Seance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40, by Beth A Robertson

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Science of the Seance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40, by Beth A Robertson

Publication Details: UBC Press, ISBN:9780774833509

From the publisher's website: In the 1920s and ’30s, people gathered in darkened rooms to explore the paranormal through seances. Science of the Seance resurrects the story of a select transnational group and their quest for objective knowledge of the supernatural world, casting new light on empiricism and its relationship to gender, sexuality, and the body in this era.

Drawing on publications, correspondence, seance notes, and photographs from Canada, the UK, and the US, Beth A. Robertson draws back the curtain to reveal a world inhabited by researchers, spirits, and spiritual mediums, including the notorious Mina “Margery” Crandon. Representing themselves as masters of the senses, untainted by the effeminized subjectivity of the body, psychical researchers believed that machines and empirical methods could transform the seance from an isolated spiritual encounter into a transnational empirical project. The laboratory of the spirits that they created, however, opened up a space where mediums and ghostly subjects could and did challenge their claims to exclusive scientific expertise and authority.

This innovative reassessment of paranormal investigation and the transatlantic ties of the seance reveals how science, metaphysics, and the senses collided to inform gendered norms in the interwar era.

This book will be of interest to historians of science, medicine, and religion and technology, as well as feminist scholars and cultural theorists.

Publish date: November, 2017
Book Review: 
Science of the Seance: Transnational Networks and Gendered Bodies in the Study of Psychic Phenomena, 1918-40, by Beth A Robertson

The Survival of the Soul and its Evolution after Death, by Pierre-Émile Cornillier

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The Survival of the Soul and its Evolution after Death, by Pierre-Émile Cornillier

Publication Details: White Crow Books, ISBN 978-1-78677-031-8
From the publisher's website: Pierre-Émile Cornillier (1862-1942), was a renowned artist and the son of the merchant Pierre-Émile Cornillier,  the deputy mayor of Nantes, and Marie-Joséphine Leroux. He was also the uncle of the writer, Mireille Havet.  He exhibited for the first time at the Salon of 1885 and sent his works to the Salon of the National Society of Fine Arts until the beginning of the First World War.
 
One day in 1912, he noticed that Reine, an 18-year-old model he had been employing for several months, had psychic abilities of some kind.  Although a student of agnostic philosopher Herbert Spencer, Cornillier had closely followed the psychical research of the time and had been an observer at some séances. On a November afternoon, when it became too dark to paint, Reine asked Cornillier if they could experiment with table tipping, something he had mentioned to her.
 
He somewhat reluctantly consented and they sat facing each other at a small table.  They sat for a full hour and nothing happened.  They were about to give up when they heard cracking noises and the table swayed to the right and to the left, then tapped clearly several times. Familiar with this phenomenon, Cornillier noted that the taps were spelling out letters.  After some confusion and repetition of the message, Cornillier understood that he was to hypnotize Reine.  Although he had never hypnotized anyone before, he had observed the process and decided to give it a try.
 
It was on November 29, 1912 that Cornillier recorded his first real success in what amounted to clairvoyance by Reine. After she was in “hypnotic sleep,” he asked her to visit his apartment, on another floor of the building, and she, never having been in the apartment, provided an accurate description of the layout.  Further experimentation involved communication with some apparently low-level spirits, but a “high spirit” named Vettellini emerged in the ninth séance and continued on as Reine’s primary guide, the 107th and final séance in this book taking place on March 11, 1914.
 
Further information, and an extract, can be found on the White Crow Books website:
 
Publish date: September, 2017
Book Review: 
The Survival of the Soul and its Evolution after Death, by Pierre-Émile Cornillier

Change of date for lecture on William James

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Please note that there has been a change of date for the lecture by Dr Krister Dylan Knapp - 'William James: Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity'. It will now take place on 19 July.
 
Details of the talk are on the website:
 

Poltergeists, by Alan Gauld and A D Cornell, reissued

Review on SPR website translated into Spanish

Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe, by Dean Radin

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front cover of Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe
Publication Details: 
Harmony Books, ISBN: 978-1524758820
Publish date: 
April, 2018

Professor Dean Radin, Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), is one of the world's best-known parapsychologists. He has now been active in the field for about forty years. Radin has long urged his readers to subvert the dominant paradigm, that is, materialism. With what one wonders? Real Magic provide an answer. Have you ever heard the expression “be careful what you wish for” - according to Radin this is sound advice because psi, hence magic too, are very real and consciousness is fundamental to reality.

If humanity has any chance of maturing beyond its barely controlled adolescence, we're going to need a much better understanding of what consciousness is, and what it-and by association all of us-are really capable of.

The evidence, summarized in his previous popular books The Conscious Universe, Entangled Minds, and Supernormal, suggests that telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition etc. are real. Radin thinks the evidence is in, and although we might disagree about how to interpret it parapsychology does not remain controversial due to a lack of evidence: “The simple truth is that people believe what they want to believe.”

In the Western world psi is associated with entertainment, mentalists that pretend to read thoughts, dubious seers that spout vague statements, and horror movies. Psi is also regarded as heretical, that is, one should not dabble with it. Psi is associated with witchcraft and as sceptics like to highlight due to belief in witchcraft people still suffer grave consequences if they are believed to be witches. Psychics in the Western world are more likely to “just” be regarded as fraudulent or deluded.

Nevertheless, as Radin points out, truth be told, reality might be strange too. The stories about Daniel Dunglas Home, St. Joseph of Copertino, and Ted Owens suggests that at least some people are capable of a lot more than just correctly guessing which ESP card a computer will display. The US government certainly regarded psi as real and long supported a classified program, now best-known as Star Gate. People were employed to use their psi ability to spy on the Soviet Union during the cold war.

Radin outlines the results of some of his own studies, one involving testing an idea that underlies voodoo (!), others involve blessed chocolate and tea. The reader also gets to know a bit about what the data gathered through the website Got Psi? shows. Radin clearly outlines the experimental procedures for laymen and explains what the results mean.

Still many will remain unconvinced, perhaps they cannot even be persuaded by any data. Why is that? It has to do with worldviews, yet it has become increasingly clear that our thoughts really do matter. In addition, both physicists and philosophers have come to regard consciousness as fundamental to reality. Nevertheless, this is not enough for sceptics to calm down and Radin shares a few experiences about the effects the taboo of psi has had. Parapsychology and psi are however not as controversial everywhere.

Radin has accepted that psi is a real phenomenon and has turned to esotericism in search of clues about how to best proceed with the research. Parapsychologists usually shy away from associating psi with magic, partly because other scientists tend to regard belief in magic as some kind of popular delusion. Radin is however not afraid and his overview is well-written.

Besides being about parapsychology, controversy, and esotericism Real Magic also to a large extent deals with philosophy of mind and Radin attempts to explain what kind of reality we are really living in. Although, the possible negative effects of psi being real are not adequately discussed by Radin. However, perhaps fortunately:

… for magic to work reliably under conscious control requires both steadfast practice and natural talent. Practice can be managed with persistence. Talent - you either have it or you don't.

Regardless of whether you have it or not, to many reading Real Magic will be an enjoyable and thought-provoking experience. Be careful what you wish for you might get it.

Preserving the Psychic Child, by Ingo Swann

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Preserving the Psychic Child, by Ingo Swann

Cover of Preserving the Psychic Child

The psychic child is one who is sensitive to nonphysical phenomena, energies and influences. The psychic child is sensitive to emotions and thoughts and to many other invisible happenings in the world around the child. The child's psychic nature is innate – born with the child, already functioning in a raw and preverbal form. To some degree, we have all been psychic children.

Review by Athena A, Drewes.

Publication Details: Swann-Ryder Productions, ISBN: 9781949214178
Publish date: February, 2020
Book Review: 
Preserving the Psychic Child, by Ingo Swann

Researching the Paranormal, by Courtney M. Block

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Researching the Paranormal, by Courtney M. Block

Cover of Researching the Paranormal

From the publisher's website: The paranormal has long been a hotly contested topic, especially in academia. Most people are entertained by the paranormal or casually read a few books they come across on the topic, perhaps assuming that these topics are nothing more than campfire fodder. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being entertained by the paranormal, but how many people know that there is a long history of academic, scientific, and credible research into topics such as extrasensory perception, hauntings, poltergeists, cryptozoological sightings, near-death experiences, and more?

Further information at the publisher's website: Rowman & Littlefield.

Publication Details: Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN: 9781538131442.
Publish date: June, 2020
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Ethel Post Parrish: Mediumship in America, by Gerald O'Hara

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Ethel Post Parrish: Mediumship in America, by Gerald O'Hara

Ethel Post Parrish

From the back cover: Ethel Post Parrish led a roller-coaster life, of police raids, undercover journalists, accusations of fraud, court cases over leases, and legacies. Four-times married. Ethel was a perfectionist who expected a high standard, earned respect, and was accepted in the best Spiritualist circles. An enterprising, business-like woman and founder of Camp Silver Belle. The Camp witnessed a Golden Age of American mediumship. Arthur Ford, Frank Decker, Clifford Bias, Maina Tafe, and Lula Taber; Ethel knew and employed them all at Silver Belle.America’s most versatile psychic. Ethel Post Parrish has waited since 1958 for a biography worthy of her stature. America’s leading medium of the 1930/50s. Much admired, envied, and ridiculed in her lifetime, Ethel’s sensational materialization seances featured spirits of different sexes, ages, races, and cultures. With numerous spirits visible in ruby light, Ethel’s famous Indian guide Silver Belle presided over the séances with a “tinkling laugh.” Ethel Post Parrish: Mediumship in America, breaks new ground in 20th Century US Spiritualist studies. The first of a series of books planned in this subject area. American Spiritualism witnessed tremendous expansion between the wars, and this book illustrates and quantifies that growth. The only account of America’s premier influential medium is set in the movement in which lived and shaped. Tough, loving, loyal Ethel had charisma. A uniquely talented medium and above all, a remarkably successful woman.

Publication Details: Independently published, ISBN 9798663887489
Publish date: July, 2020