Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural: James Randi's Decidedly Skeptical Definitions of Alternate Realties

Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural: James Randi's Decidedly Skeptical Definitions of Alternate Realties

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by James Randi
     
 

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Dealing with subjects that border on both science and mythology, Randi's Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural is a wide-ranging compendium, with entries from A to Z of hundreds of topics, many of which are frequently the subject of news stories, television documentaries and best-selling books on the paranormal. Some of theSee more details below

Overview

Dealing with subjects that border on both science and mythology, Randi's Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural is a wide-ranging compendium, with entries from A to Z of hundreds of topics, many of which are frequently the subject of news stories, television documentaries and best-selling books on the paranormal. Some of the items are handled or scrutinized in depth, others are more concisely defined. Cross-references are indicated and a comprehensive index provides the reader with a valuable road map to the occult.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This alphabetically arranged work is not a reference item but a compendium of names and subjects in the paranormal area. As in previous works, Randi, a stage magician, debunks with gusto everything he considers irrational. While his scholarship is superficial, his breadth of coverage may impress some readers. Those conversant with the field will note many discrepancies and omissions. Appendixes cover the Curse of King Tut's Tomb and some prognostications of the end of the world. Libraries may want this book to balance the popular "Mystic Wonders" items.-Jeanne S. Bagby, formerly with Tucson P.L., Ariz.
Booknews
Randi, a professional magician and occult debunker (his most infamous target is Uri Geller), takes all the fun out of supernatural phenomena. He explains the facts behind oddities such as crop circles and the shroud of Turin and discusses personalities and concepts in magic and the occult from ancient times to the present. The secrets behind many familiar conjuring tricks, a list of 49 end-of-the-world prophecies that failed are included. B&w photos and illustrations. CIP shows a wrong ISBN. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Zom Zoms
"RBB" has reviewed several books advocating occult views recently, for example, "Encyclopedia of Afterlife Beliefs and Phenomena" ["RBB" Ap 15 95] and "Divining the Future" (in this issue). Here is one debunking the occult. Described as "James Randi's decidedly skeptical definitions of alternate realities," it includes an introduction by Arthur C. Clarke. Some entries just define terms ("anima mundi", "ankh", and "kachina"), but many of the approximately 700 entries attempt to expose people and movements Randi sees as frauds (e.g., L. Ron Hubbard, Madame Blavatsky, crystals, channeling, pyramid power). Many entries are loaded with sarcasm. For example, the author says that in modern times, witchcraft "is a harmless distraction for otherwise idle persons to embrace." He does, however, point out that many practices erroneously attributed to witchcraft are really related to followers of satanism. Randi goes on to say that "homeopathy . . . falls into the category of magic." He is much kinder to acupuncture, merely describing it and including a diagram of acupuncture points. After describing the chanting practices of Hare Krishnas, he concludes, "It is "very" boring." Appendixes debunk the "Curse of King Tut" and end-of-the-world prophecies. A bibliography lists other skeptical books on the occult. "See also" references and an index make access easy. Illustrations consist of black-and-white photographs and drawings Readers who have occult beliefs will be dismayed and annoyed by what they read here, but libraries that want to provide balance in their collections will find this an antidote to the many recent reference books promoting the occult.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312130664
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/08/1995
Pages:
284
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.54(h) x 0.85(d)

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