Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory by Stacy Horn, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory
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Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory

by Stacy Horn
     
 

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From The Sixth Sense to Medium, Ghost Whisperer to Ghost Hunters, the paranormal stirs heated debate, spawning millions of believers and skeptics alike. Nearly half of us say we believe in ghosts, and two-thirds of us believe in life after death.

What would you make of rain barrels that refill themselves? Psychic horses? Mind-reading

Overview

From The Sixth Sense to Medium, Ghost Whisperer to Ghost Hunters, the paranormal stirs heated debate, spawning millions of believers and skeptics alike. Nearly half of us say we believe in ghosts, and two-thirds of us believe in life after death.

What would you make of rain barrels that refill themselves? Psychic horses? Mind-reading Cold War spies? For a group of scientists at the Duke Parapsychology Lab under the leadership of Dr. J. B. Rhine—considered the Einstein of the paranormal—such mysteries demanded further investigation. From 1930 to 1980, these dedicated men and women attempted to test the bizarre, the frightening, and the unexplainable against the rigors of science, ultimately finding proof that the human mind possesses telepathic powers.

Editorial Reviews

Bust Magazine
“Some of the explanations here, backed by scientific fact, will send shivers up readers’ spines.”
For almost half century (1931–80), the Duke University laboratory of J. B. Rhine and his colleagues formed the epicenter of research of parapsychology. In fact, Rhine not only coined the term "parapsychology" himself; he almost single-handedly created the methodology and procedures in this controversial field. Stacy Horn's Unbelievable ventures into the realm of concepts such as ESP and psychokinesis "that the Rhine lab tested experimentally, but still remain controversial after all these years. Despite widespread skepticism, Duke parapsychology research attracted the interest of notables including Albert Einstein, Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, and Russian Cold War leaders. An exceptionally interesting tour through paranormal history.
Kirkus Reviews
A sympathetic, somewhat rambling history of parapsychology investigations at Duke University. All Things Considered contributor Horn (The Restless Sleep: Inside New York City's Cold Case Squad, 2005, etc.) begins in the mid-1920s, when J.B. Rhine and his wife Louisa arrived in Boston to research psychic phenomena. Their scathing expose of the popular medium Mina Crandon set off a storm among believers in the occult; Sir Arthur Conan Doyle bought ads in the Boston papers declaring Rhine to be "an ass." The protests brought Rhine to the attention of John Thomas, a public-school administrator who had lost his wife and was trying to establish contact with her spirit. Thomas arranged for Rhine to join the psychology department at Duke, where he would remain for nearly 40 years. Horn gives the broad outlines of Rhine's basic work, most of which involved experiments in which students tried to guess which of five symbols appeared on a card chosen from a deck. Especially in the early years, his researchers achieved some provocative results that drew widespread press attention and floods of mail from those seeking advice. Rhine was determined to produce scientifically sound work, the author notes. As a result, he declined to investigate many of the cases brought to his attention by the public, specifically those involving ghosts, poltergeists and other phenomena that could not be subjected to rigorous experimental conditions. Horn looks at several psychics who injected themselves into murder investigations, although Rhine had little to do with those cases. Ironically, despite Rhine's insistence on scientific rigor, his work was frequently challenged for inadequate statistical analysis andinsufficient safeguards against cheating. In latter days, his backers grew impatient with his failure to find proof of the afterlife, and funding dwindled. He left behind some intriguing results and many unanswered questions about how the mind works. A bit unfocused, but solid on the details of Rhine's life and work. Author events in Boston, New York, Raleigh/Durham, N.C., Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061116902
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/09/2010
Pages:
289
Sales rank:
1,172,464
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

Stacy Horn, a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, is the author of The Restless Sleep, Waiting for My Cats to Die: A Memoir, and Cyberville. She lives in New York City.

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