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willemite

willemite

Currently reading

Hieroglyph: Stories and Blueprints for a Better Future
Neal Stephenson
Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated
Natylie Baldwin, Kermit D. Larson
The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Our Souls at Night: A novel
Kent Haruf
Above the Waterfall
Ron Rash
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction
Cathy Whitlock
The Homicide Report: Understanding Murder in America
Jill Leovy
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Erik Larson
The Gods of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Unbelievable: Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory - Stacy Horn Horn looks into parapsychology with a journalistic bent. What is there to it, really? Her focus is the work done at Duke University from the 1930 to 1980, with a particular look at Dr. J. B. Rhine, who headed that program. So, are there ghosts, poltergeists, ESP, telepathy? There is certainly a lot of skepticism and a lot of fakery, but it would appear that there are enough unexplainable events to suggest that there really is a there there.

The subject matter is intriguing, and the history of scientifically-based investigations of such things was news to me, which is always fun. I won’t be giving away too much by saying that there are things our there which have not yet found satisfactory scientific explanations.

Personally, I believe it does not take excessive gullibility to accept that there are things that exist in the natural world for which we do not yet have adequate science to fully understand. That does not make them mystical, just undiscovered territory. Wouldn’t a pilgrim faced with a 21st century group of people chatting with each other on their cell phones fear that their means of communication was witchcraft? I believe, with Fox Mulder, that the truth really is out there, and it is heartening that there are scientists who dedicate their lives to trying to map our way.

For those with an interest in this area of exploration, Unbelievable is a worthy addition to one’s library. But it reads a bit dry. Although we learn about Rhine and others involved in this research, and learn of some history regarding scientific approaches to parapsychology, Horn does not succeed in making these real people come to life. The value of the book is in the information it imparts and not so much in the manner of its telling.