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Record Type: Review   ID: 1126

Psychic Paradoxes

Booth, John

 The author, who is both a mentalist/conjuror and a minister, views psychical research from several angles: entertainment, fraud and chicanery, the need to believe, and serious scientific research. The book is in five parts, and begins with a section on theoretical psi. Part 2, on mentalism, considers the many tricks of the trade. Part 3, "The Psychic Connection," consists of three chapters describing Booth's ghost-hunting experiences. He attributes "98 per cent of all alleged phantoms to imagination, stress, hysteria, attention-seeking, consciousness changing conditions, loneliness, drink or drugs. The two per cent of phenomena left unexplained is what keeps us ghost hunters in business" (p. 111). Part 4 consists of five chapters on mediumship in which Booth states his beliefs that the R-101 case, involving the crash of a dirigible and subsequent "message" from its deceased captain to psychic Eileen J. Garrett, was based on normal information sources and that D.D. Home's famous levitation was engineered by means of a double rope sling. His conclusion to a chapter on cross correspondences is that "without conscious fraud or provable collaboration, a number of insightful individuals could produce parallel or interlocking results by normal means" (p. 177). Part 5, "Serious Psi Research," consists of a chapter on OBEs, one on motives for producing fraudulent phenomena, a chapter on precognition (which deals only briefly with experiments), and the final chapter, "From Hoaxes to Hopefulness," which concludes that "there may be more to [psi] than skeptics admit but less than occultists proclaim" (p. 229).
Publisher Information:Los Alamitos, CA: Ridgeway Press, 1984. 240p. 1 figure; 85 illustrations; Index: 233-240; Suggested reading list: 231-232
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