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Spontaneous Psi Phenomena
Record Type: Review   ID: 1319

Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts

Finucane, R.C.

 In this work a professor of history considers three main problem areas: "how the dead have been perceived in Western European traditions; what changes have occurred in these perceptions through the centuries; and why these perceptions have altered" (p. 1). He studied descriptions of apparitions—their function as well as their form—from the classical age to Medieval times and every century thereafter to today (from the 16th century on he limits the survey to England and English reports). He found that "changes in social assumptions, particularly those associated with theological opinions and scientific accomplishments" (p. 223) had an effect on the way in which the living perceived the dead in Europe and England. "Each epoch has perceived its spectres according to specific sets of expectations, as those change, so do the spectres" (p. 223). He concludes that ghosts have their origin in this world.
Publisher Information:Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1984. 232p. Chapter notes; 17 illustrations; Index: 225-232.
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