Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural” as Want to Read:
An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  404 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In this remarkable encyclopedia, James Randi casts his cynical eye on the dubious genes of the occult and the supernatural. With 666 entries and hundreds of illustrations throughout, this book examines the shady world of manipulators, occultists, and shamanists in microscopic detail. Topics include Jeane Dixon's long string of failed predictions, the elaborate hoax surroun ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published May 29th 1997 by St Martin's Press (first published May 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Wicked by Gregory MaguireTwilight by Stephenie MeyerThe Lovely Bones by Alice SeboldBreaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerMockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Huh? I Thought That Book Would Be better Than It Was
361st out of 583 books — 711 voters
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonA Brief History of Time by Stephen HawkingBeing and Time by Martin HeideggerThe Decline of the West by Oswald SpenglerFaust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Get Smart!
193rd out of 193 books — 98 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,221)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 03, 2015 Joe rated it liked it
I am reading this because it is part of Scott Adams reading list.

This book is very interesting, to learn about all of the various silly things that people have believed in over the years.

While the author is critical of the evidence gathering ability of people who believe in these things, he does not usually use any evidence to prove that something is ineffective and comments like "which is clearly made up" "and other similar nonsense" means that he is not using the same levels of proof and evide
Kym Andrew Robinson
Jun 06, 2014 Kym Andrew Robinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
As always James Randi has a cutting and clever style with his approach to the super natural and its many bunk artists that have both existed and still exist to this day. His intelligent and at times witty writing style makes for this seemingly 'dry' encyclopedia a fun and interesting read.

Comprehensive in its broad context while also providing just enough information so as to be an introductory level read so as to help inform and inspire further reading on much of the subject matter.

Whether you
Jan 03, 2016 Allison rated it really liked it
Excellent stuff! A fascinating and funny look at so-called occult and supernatural occurrences and abilities. Provides an excellent grounding in the basics of the spiritualist movement, as well as discussions of numerous "psychic" and "unexplainable" phenomena. Randi balances his (occasionally somewhat mean-spirited--no pun intended) criticisms of the people who believe in this nonsense with a far more severe pen-lashing of the self-aggrandizing, manipulative, greedy sorts who prey upon their vu ...more
James Randi, professional magician and skeptic, has put together an encyclopedia with something for everyone. Yes, no matter who you are, unless you're a thoroughgoing atheist, Randi is bound to offend your beliefs at one point or another. As Arthur C. Clarke says in his introduction, the book "should be issued with a mental health warning, as many readers--if they are brave enough to face unwelcome facts--will find some of their cherished beliefs totally demolished." Randi is dryly sarcastic ab ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another of those books that I was attracted to because of it's alphabetical arrangement, but the information within is fascinating--from why people are attracted to the symmetry in natural formations like crystals to the mandrake plant which is related to the potato and often grows in the shape of a human body. When it is drawn from the ground, it's supposed to emit a horrendous human-like shriek that will drive a human insane. And that's just a couple of things it covers--it also delves ...more
Jun 21, 2012 Ronel rated it liked it
I have always been intrigued with people's fascination with the occult, the paranormal and everything that goes bump in the night. But the more I delved into it, the more I became skeptical of the of these phenomena.

This book is a valuable resource and the ebook of the encyclopedia as it appears on James Randi's website I loved the explanations and definitions.

I had two gripes though: There was not an index which linked to the contends and two, I wanted more. Glutton, I know.

Jennie Lichfield
Feb 05, 2016 Jennie Lichfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
as the other readers have suggested, an index would be a good idea. Otherwise good material and worth having as a 'look things up' kind of book.
Leonard Pierce
May 16, 2008 Leonard Pierce rated it liked it
Shelves: paranormal
Inessential Randi; this is basically just a slight compendium of some of the more famous bits of historical buncombe. Still, it's fine if it's the only such reference you have, and Randi lets himself get nasty from time to time.
Vince Colucci
Jun 16, 2013 Vince Colucci rated it it was amazing
A vital resource for any scholar of any import, or a fun romp through the alphabetized bullshit that is one of societies greatest weeknesses. Only you can decide!
Sep 12, 2010 Karla rated it it was amazing
Entertaining, enlightening, and hilarious commentary on some of the biggest examples of bullshit to make headlines. Should be in every home.
Feb 07, 2012 Greg rated it liked it
Highly enjoyable, but biased and Randi's mocking comments are frequently amusing
Feb 05, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
Great as a reference book or just to dip into, not really a sit and read.
Patrick McFarland
A must have for cynics and skeptics alike.
Tim Chizmar
Sep 02, 2012 Tim Chizmar rated it it was amazing
Love this guy
Päivi Kivikko
Päivi Kivikko marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2016
Aaron Shaha
Aaron Shaha rated it it was amazing
Oct 19, 2016
FieryJack marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2016
Alex Vtn
Alex Vtn marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2016
Richard is currently reading it
Oct 18, 2016
Natasha marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2016
rbbtswthpncls rated it it was ok
Oct 15, 2016
Kristen Mohr
Kristen Mohr marked it as to-read
Oct 12, 2016
James Brown
James Brown marked it as to-read
Oct 11, 2016
Kelly Goad
Kelly Goad rated it it was ok
Oct 06, 2016
LocustStar marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2016
Vinnie marked it as to-read
Oct 03, 2016
Víctor R. Ramos
Víctor R. Ramos rated it it was amazing
Oct 02, 2016
Graeme Kennedy
Graeme Kennedy rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2016
Faisal marked it as to-read
Sep 27, 2016
Undulator marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 40 41 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
  • The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions
  • Real-Life X-Files: Investigating the Paranormal
  • Counterknowledge
  • Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids
  • 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True
  • The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense
  • Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole
  • Pseudoscience and the Paranormal
  • A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America
  • The "God" Part of the Brain: A Scientific Interpretation of Human Spirituality and God
  • God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion
  • Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
  • Believing in Magic: The Psychology of Superstition
  • 2000 Years of Disbelief
  • The Atheist's Way: Living Well Without Gods
  • The Utterly, Completely, And Totally Useless Fact-o-pedia
  • Mysteries of the World: Unexplained Wonders and Mysterious Phenomena

Share This Book