From Shaman to Scientist: Essays on Humanity's Search for Spiritsby James Houran (Editor)
Parapsychologists and self-styled ghost-hunting organizations are just two examples of people who seek out the existence of ghosts. This resource, examines ghost hunting as a cultural and scientific phenomenon, sidestepping the many issues surrounding the reality of ghosts, and discussing the many and varied methods used by ghost hunters. Taking the approach that
Parapsychologists and self-styled ghost-hunting organizations are just two examples of people who seek out the existence of ghosts. This resource, examines ghost hunting as a cultural and scientific phenomenon, sidestepping the many issues surrounding the reality of ghosts, and discussing the many and varied methods used by ghost hunters. Taking the approach that there is no such thing as the supernatural, only things we don't yet understand, the ghost experience is examined through case studies; the forms and functions that ghost hunters have taken down through history are analyzed; key historical figures and their influence on the research of ghostly phenomena are reviewed; ghost hunting in the 21st century, including the exploding phenomenon of Internet ghost-hunting organizations, is discussed; and the advances in the theory and technology of the parapsychology field are covered. For those who are skeptical about the reality of ghosts but who want to understand how so many individuals claim to have anomalous experiences, this book reviews the data, offers insight into logical explanations, and discusses why this is and has been for centuries such an important issue to humans.
yet we still refuse to outgrow them. This persistence under fire has even begun to win a new and more respectful look at these old friends, these shadows in the dark and things that go bump in the night. If few scholars are convinced that ghosts mean the soul survives death, many now regard belief in ghosts as a significant and intriguing subject with cultural and psychological causes worthy of serious study. Any effort to reckon with belief in ghosts must also reckon with prior efforts. They are numerous and reflect hopes and prejudices, fashions and agendas more often than dispassionate scholarship, leaving behind a clutter of confusion for subsequent scholars to overstep. A new book raises a welcome light among the midnight corners of ghostly belief and leads readers through a grand tour of this perennial subject.
From Shaman to Scientist collects articles exploring the mystery of ghosts in both breadth and depth. The book illuminates the cultural history of ghosts and the effort of the living to understand them, how they function as the subject of narratives and how old ideas meld with new technology to create a popular current form of "techno-mysticism." Questions of where belief in ghosts originates find an intriguing answer in shamanism, an archaic relationship between mortals and the spirit world that seems to provide a template throughout history. Asking why these beliefs persist in stubborn defiance of rational skepticism leads to the prospect that innate cognitive structures sustain ghostly experiences as phenomenal realities, whatever their ontological nature may be.
The contributors to this book respect the complexity of ghost belief in history and culture even as they advance our understanding along sound scholarly lines. And if the writers are willing to allow now and then that there is still something mysterious about a fine ghostly encounter, well, let us b
- Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
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Meet the Author
James Houran Houran serves as a peer-reviewer for many psychological and parapsychological journals, and is an associate editor for the Australian Journal of Parapsychology and a consulting editor for the European Journal of Parapsychology. He is a former Instructor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. His research has produced more than 80 professional publications in psychology and parapsychology journals, and his work has been frequently profiled in print and electronic media worldwide, such as A&E, History Channel, BBC, ABC News, and several commercial documentaries.
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