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Record Type: Review   ID: 850

Secrets of the Supernatural: Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries

Nickell, Joe, with Fischer, John F.

 The authors use modern criminological and other current means to analyze some classic cases of apparitions, poltergeists, haunted houses, and other anomalies. The techniques used include instrumental analyses, iconographic studies, genetics, police records, geneaology, forensic and microchemical analysis, and engineering. In this book they examine cases for which "supernatural" causes were attributed but for which the authors found normal explanations. The chapters are on the ghost at Mackenzie house, the crystal skull of Barbados, spirit photographs, incredible disappearances, synchronicity, dowsing (for gold, in particular), the image of Guadalupe, bleeding doors, the Barbados vault mystery, and spontaneous human combustion. In a final chapter, the authors emphasize the importance of guarding against deception. They also argue against extrapolation from the small number of cases they investigated and recommend a case-by-case approach. An appendix presents abstracts in chronological order of 30 cases of spontaneous human combustion they investigated, finding "no credible evidence to warrant postulating such phenomena" (p. 170). Bibliographic citations are listed after each chapter.
Publisher Information:Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1988. 199p. Chap. bibl; Chap. notes: 173-189; 24 illus; Index: 191-199; 2 tables
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