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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 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.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 6, 2009
ISBN: 9780061971433
List price: $5.99
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This is a really fascinating look at the history of the study of supernatural phenomena at Duke University. The book describes many interesting cases of mediums, extra-sensory perception, ghosts, and other explainable phenomena, but the focus of the book is the hurdles that scientists have faced in trying to study and explain these occurrences. Horn focuses on J.B. Rhine, the founder and head of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, and the driving force behind nearly 50 years of vigorous research. Unfortunately, Rhine never found satisfactory explanations for paranormal phenomena, and most of his work has never been accepted by the scientific community at large, despite following the scientific method very carefully. Horn discusses many possible explanations for the paranormal, which are very interesting. It is also interesting how much we still don't know about the world around us and our own capabilities.Horn handles her information very sensitively: she isn't trying to convince her readers of anything, except to keep an open mind. You will come away from this book with more questions than answers, which I think is a strength. The book is well-researched, and the bibliography provides lots of material for extra reading. My one complaint is that I sometimes lost track of the overall narrative about J.B. Rhine and his lab in the course of some of the long tangential accounts of ghosts or mediums or poltergeist. All of the information was really fascinating, but I could have used a few more guideposts along the way to keep track of what was happening. Of course, this is complicated by the fact that I read most of this book in small chunks when I could find a few spare minutes.read more
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Reviews

This is a really fascinating look at the history of the study of supernatural phenomena at Duke University. The book describes many interesting cases of mediums, extra-sensory perception, ghosts, and other explainable phenomena, but the focus of the book is the hurdles that scientists have faced in trying to study and explain these occurrences. Horn focuses on J.B. Rhine, the founder and head of the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory, and the driving force behind nearly 50 years of vigorous research. Unfortunately, Rhine never found satisfactory explanations for paranormal phenomena, and most of his work has never been accepted by the scientific community at large, despite following the scientific method very carefully. Horn discusses many possible explanations for the paranormal, which are very interesting. It is also interesting how much we still don't know about the world around us and our own capabilities.Horn handles her information very sensitively: she isn't trying to convince her readers of anything, except to keep an open mind. You will come away from this book with more questions than answers, which I think is a strength. The book is well-researched, and the bibliography provides lots of material for extra reading. My one complaint is that I sometimes lost track of the overall narrative about J.B. Rhine and his lab in the course of some of the long tangential accounts of ghosts or mediums or poltergeist. All of the information was really fascinating, but I could have used a few more guideposts along the way to keep track of what was happening. Of course, this is complicated by the fact that I read most of this book in small chunks when I could find a few spare minutes.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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