Hauntings and Poltergeists Multidisciplinary Perspectives

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Few people can claim the distinction of experiencing first-hand such occurrences as hauntings and the presence of poltergeists, but countless numbers of people are fascinated by these unexplainable events. Written by the world's most knowledgeable authorities in this field, the essays in this work promote a better understanding of the manifestations of and various reasons for hauntings and poltergeist phenomena. The experts come from such backgrounds as anthropology, history, philosophy, psychiatry, and sociology, and provide sober yet highly readable in-depth discussions of numerous ideas and rationalizations for hauntings and poltergeists, from a critical and scientific perspective. Divided into three major sections—sociocultural, physical and physiological, and psychological perspectives—this work provides an overview of each perspective and also addresses the general psychology of belief in the paranormal and how that belief relates to experiences with ghosts and poltergeists.

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Editorial Reviews

provides a multidisciplinary collection of articles...provocative.... All collections supporting study in this area of psychology
Cuadernos de Parapsicologia
very important...essential and indispensable
Australian Journal of Parapsychology
should be on the shelves of anyone with a serious interest in the topic of ghosts and poltergeists, whether the reader is a skeptic, agnostic or believer...fascinating...Editors Houran and Lange have done a good job in assembling the contributing authors into a coherent presentation of the field...a very valuable and extensive bibliography
Anthropology, criminology, history, neurology, philosophy, psychiatry, psychology, physics, and sociology are among the disciplines represented by the contributors. Specialists in hauntings and poltergeist phenomena, they summarize their writings, offering personal accounts both of their own beliefs and the practical work they have undertaken. They distinguish between poltergeist, short-term outbreaks of strange sensory experiences and physical phenomena that occur mainly when particular individuals are present, and hauntings, which persist over long periods and are associated with a particular place. Very few illustrations are included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786432493
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/23/2007
  • Edition description: ALT
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James Houran is a former faculty member of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (Dept. of Psychiatry) and is currently President of 2020Skills.com (TM) at HVS International—an online assessment business for human resource screening and selection. Rense Lange is a statistician with the Illinois State Board of Education and an adjunct faculty member of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (Psychiatry Department).

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Table of Contents

About the Contributors
Foreword 2
Preface 3
I Sociocultural Perspectives 7
1 Historical Introduction: The Example of Early Modern and Nineteenth-Century England 9
2 An Experience-Centered Approach to Hauntings 18
3 The Ghost Experience in a Wider Context 41
4 The Sociological Investigation of Haunting Cases 62
5 A House That Tries to Be Haunted: Ghostly Narratives in Popular Film and Television 82
II Physical and Physiological Perspectives 121
6 Investigations of Poltergeists and Haunts: A Review and Interpretation 123
7 Seeking Spirits in the Laboratory 164
8 Predicting the Characteristics of Haunt Phenomena from Geomagnetic Factors and Brain Sensitivity: Evidence from Field and Experimental Studies 179
9 From Haunted Brain to Haunted Science: A Cognitive Neuroscience View of Paranormal and Pseudoscientific Thought 195
10 Phantoms, Frauds, or Fantasies? 214
III Psychological Perspectives 225
11 A New Look at Haunting and Poltergeist Phenomena: Analyzing Experiences from a Semiotic Perspective 227
12 Apparitions and Kindred Phenomena: Their Relevance to the Psychology of Paranormal Belief and Experience 248
13 Relation of Hypnosis-Specific Attitudes and Behaviors to Paranormal Beliefs and Experiences: A Technical Review 260
14 Ambiguous Stimuli Brought to Life: The Psychological Dynamics of Hauntings and Poltergeists 280
Afterword 307
Bibliography 310
Index 329
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