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Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've always had a keen interest both in hard science as well as

    I've always had a keen interest both in hard science as well as the softer stuff. When I heard that one of my favorite science writers, Brian Clegg had released a book digging into the theoretical as well as the investigative background of the phenomena collectively called, E.S.P., I was in.

    Mr. Clegg's book carries a great deal of cred, both in his impeccable academics and empirical approach, but also due to his balanced and open mind-set. There has been plenty of effort over the years in debunking spiritualism and other examples of stage performance E.S.P., from Harry Houdini to modern mentalists. A recent film starring George Clooney poked fun at a real, covert government program to measure and train agents in clairvoyant espionage, so this isn't just a subject to laugh off. The author follows the recorded laboratory research especially well, looking for weaknesses in experimental measurement techniques and in supposed blind studies and their often vague results.

    He also investigates those areas of physics theory, in layman's terms, that may indeed provide explanation for some of the more nebulous processes of the mind. Time and space can be folded together in theory, but in the lab, can they be measured reliably and repeatably? The short answer is no, but the long answer? We simply do not yet have at our disposal, technology and techniques that can measure some of the more peculiar observed aberrations, which in the end, left me clinging to a scrap of possibility.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in E.S.P. and in its many children, from telekinesis to precognition. Author Clegg does a sterling job of illustrating that many of the questions we may have can't yet be fully answered -- and how many tricks of the stage trade have been laid bare.

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