Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There” as Want to Read:
Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,990 ratings  ·  163 reviews
Professor Richard Wiseman is clear about one thing: paranormal phenomena don't exist. But in the same way that the science of space travel transforms our everyday lives, so research into telepathy, fortune-telling and out-of-body experiences produces remarkable insights into our brains, behaviour and beliefs. Paranormality embarks on a wild ghost chase into this new scienc...more
Paperback, 341 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Macmillan (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Paranormality, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Paranormality

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Chad Kettner
Richard Wiseman's book, Paranormality, skillfully unravels the superstitious mind and explains how and why we tend all sorts of weird things. He focuses on fortune telling, out of body experiences, psychic power, talking with the dead, ghost hunting, mind control, and prophecy. Wiseman uses real cases and experiments as well as tests and recorded investigations to explain the claims of supernatural experiences - in a way that doesn't make somebody feel stupid for believing something strange in t...more
Before reading this book I'd seen a fair few reviews of it on Amazon claiming it was an arrogant, biased view of the unexplained. I'm happy to say that such accounts couldn't be further from the truth!

Of course, Richard Wiseman is well-known for his sceptical views amongst those interested in the supernatural, so the sceptical slant of the book shouldn't surprise anyone. However, I found the book's content to be deeply interesting and very well researched and justified. The book also has a refr...more
Amanda Patterson
I started reading this book in February, was interrupted for months, and finished it a short while ago.
If you want to believe in the supernatural and are not prepared to be open minded when offered evidence that clearly shows charlatans for what they are, don't read it.
However, if you want a well-constructed book that cuts through the hype of psychics & clairvoyants, read Richard Wiseman's Paranormaility.
He will show you the simple explanations behind seemingly extraordinary events. He als...more
My June Amazon Prime Free Lending Library selection.
Recommended to me by the president of the National Capital Area Skeptics Society.
Very disappointed. I do not understand the high scores for this book.
I confess I aborted the read about a quarter of the way through.
It started off well, with an entertaining style and some built-in features that could only be put into an eBook, such as links to websites interviews and pictures that move. However,there were odd typographical peculiarities in the bo...more
Христо Блажев
Паранормалното е навсякъде и никъде около нас:

Рядко, но по книжарниците все пак се появяват книги, които един ден ще бъдат ритуално изгаряни по площадите, когато суеверията и паникьорството бъдат официализирани, а критиката срещу тях – криминализирана като мерзко деяние срещу самите устои на фантазьорството. Помня колко праведно възмущение събуди “Псевдонауката” на Бен Голдейкър, но после пък изключителната “Вярващият мозък” на Майкъл Шърмър сякаш мина по...more
3½ - nudging a 4
Quick, easy and enjoyable read. Thought I might be grappling with complex theories but not at all ............Professor Wiseman writes clearly and in an easily understandable way.
He does a very convincing debunk on ghosts, psychics, Ouija boards, table turning, out of body experiences etc.
Don't think I'll be watching any more repeats of Most Haunted now I've read this!
I try really hard to remain diplomatic when it comes to my skepticism of both religion and new age mysticism. This is mostly because those who believe are allowed to announce and discuss their belief systems ad nauseam (even when they may themselves be unaware they are even doing it); however, the second an atheist calls bullshit, we are accused of being “militant” and “just as dogmatic as anyone else.”

I will save my thoughts on organized religion for another day. This book in particular actuall...more
An excellent book and a must read for anyone interested in psychic phenomena or human psychology. Its a relatively quick read which looks at various aspects of the paranormal such as fortune telling, ghosts etc. Each area is backed up with video links (via Q codes) & instructions for how to recreate the experience for yourself or to demonstrate them to friends and family. I've long been fascinated by the rubber hand experiment (I had it demonstrated to me years ago) and what it reveals about...more
Lindsay Stares
Premise: In this delightful volume, professor and skeptic Wiseman walks us through the science behind many seemingly paranormal experiences, and even explains how you can fake the paranormal yourself!

I don't buy many books for my Kindle for more than three dollars, but I happily made an exception for this one. The big US publishers passed on Wiseman's enjoyable work, reportedly “some suggesting that I re-write it to suggest that ghosts were real and psychic powers actually existed!” So Wiseman,...more
This book is brilliant! Its explains how some psychic's fool you into believing their 'readings' and explains how the people experience out of body experiences, why you dream about certain things, how people really move objects with their 'mind, explains the reality of communicating with non existent spirits, psychology of suggestion, how people 'mind control', and gives great tips on how to pretend to be psychic too. Although, due to my own experiences that with some people that can't be explai...more
Ahh, love this. I’m really interested in the brain and why people believe things that they do.

He looks at, and takes apart the psychology, of psychics, cold reading, magic, ghosts and ‘psychic powers’.

What’s brilliant isn’t that these things aren’t true, it how the human brain makes stuff true, by selective memory and how despite the human brain being fantastic, evolutionarily speaking, it’s still remarkably easy to fool.

I like to think of myself as being difficult to fool, but I suspect, given...more
Svetos Laugh
nothing to learn here; time waster
Yudhi Hamzah
this book does not explains why impossible things happens. instead, it explains why people believe the impossible on the first place. from optical illusion to a simply a pure chance, the author explains why we, the smartest and most logical species ever known, sometimes seeing something that isn't there.

if you are the kind of people that believes in ghost and supernatural stuffs, don't worry, there's nothing wrong with your brain. in fact, even the most atheist scientist on earth, once in a whil...more
Paranormality is a delightful foray into the processes of why we as humans tend to believe in certain paranormal concepts when good science keeps showing us that these things cannot possible exist. Obviously, this is a biased, one-sided argument, but its extremely well done. Most books in this genre tend to be extremely condescending and downright hateful to anyone who dares believe there is more out there than meets the eye, but with Paranormality, Professor Wiseman has managed to present the i...more
Philip Angelopoulos
I felt the first couple of chapters or so weren't well written and came off as a bit arrogant. However, as I read on, I really came to enjoy Paranormality.

I can see how this book may rub some people the wrong way and I wouldn't expect this book to change the views of a believer in paranormal activity. I did find, however, that Prof. Wiseman gave intelligent and evidence-based explanations for why human testimonies are fundamentally biased and are untrustworthy sources without proper controls. Es...more

Псевдонауката беше чудесна книга, наистина, но колко хора се интересуват от фармацевтичните измами? Не много (което е жалко, разбира се), но хайде разпитайте наоколо какво мислят хората за духове, гадатели, пророци, отвъден свят и т.н. Сигурен съм, че всеки срещнат ще има мнение по въпроса. Всеки се води експерт, или най-малкото има някаква изключителна история, която няма търпение да ви разкаже. Е, хванете един такъв, задръжте го за малко...more
Ryan Manns
Got this for a birthday gift from a friend. Excellent read. Would recommend it to anyone. It's shocking to see just how gullible the human mind really is despite it's amazing ability to be reason on such a high level.
3.5 stars. Pop psychology at its most palatable. See my full review:
Abbas ALi
With so many myths surrounding the paranormal, especially in my country where such stories are rife and the psychic business is booming. Richard Wiseman explains the science behind the 'spooky' and reveals it's basically all just psychology and in some cases downright fraudulence.

How Psychics use cold-reading techniques to get an 'insight' into a person's mind. Unlocking the mystery behind ghost going through walls , the art of table tipping, and chit-chatting with the dead.

This book has dedicat...more
M.G. Mason
There are many books on the paranormal, horoscopes, mediums, NDEs, OBEs, haunted houses and other such areas that make us think that there is something going on in the world that science cannot explain. On the other side there are many citing scientific evidence that it is, really, just a load of old rubbish (which most of my readers will know is my view).

Most of us, though fairly rational most of the time, will have some element of the metaphysical to which we cling. It might be religion or bel...more
Kevin Cecil
I was surprised to espy a stack of Richard Wiseman's book PARANORMALITY in the Religion section at HALF PRICE BOOKS a few weeks ago. It doesn't entertain the notion that supernatural events are real for a moment, so its place alongside new age drivel is delightfully ironic. But the reason I yelped in disbelief is because the book didn't find a publisher in the United States. While Wiseman's previous books - including 59 SECONDS, an evidence based entry in the self help genre, and QUIRKOLOGY, his...more
We experience the impossible, or so we believe. Oddly enough things don't seem all that impossible anymore when someone explains the mechanics behind them which is exactly what Professor Richard Wiseman does in his book Paranormality.
Broaching a variety of topics commonly attributed as being paranormal, be it fortune telling or out-of-body experiences, talking to the dead or prophecy, this turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read that allows a close-up look into how and why we t...more
Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there by Professor Richard Wiseman

"Paranormality" is an interesting book about supernatural science. Professor Wiseman in an entertaining and engaging manner takes us on a fun journey of debunking popular paranormal phenomena. This 342-page book is composed of the following seven chapters: 1. Fortune-telling, 2. Out-of-body experiences, Mind over matter, 4. Talking with the dead, Intermission, 5. Ghost Hunting, 6. Mind control, and 7. Prophesy.

Brian Clegg
The subtitle here is ‘Why we believe the impossible’ or ‘Why we see what isn’t there’ (depending on your edition) emphasising that this a book not so much on parapsychology – the study of paranormal capabilities of the mind – but what you might call metaparapsychology – the study of why human beings incorrectly think that they have paranormal capabilities of the mind.

This is a very entertaining, lightly written book that takes a storytelling approach to introducing some of the strange and wonder...more
In this well written book Wiseman explains ideas of the Paranormal in a scientific and psychological way. He sets about to express the thoughts of the supernatural in another light/another side to the story. Wiseman's explanations are thought provoking, interesting and accessible. With each chapter he explains one area of the paranormal, and using well chosen examples explains how this could also be perceived. All chapters are well written and the examples and explanations are well chosen and ea...more
Mark Maguire
This is an exceptional book!

From start to finish, the book held me in a vice-like grip, and cliched though it is, I couldn't put the book down. The Author has completely revolutionalised my understanding about what constitutes "the paranormal", and what constitues mere chicanery, without being verbose or overly offensive.

The narrative was imformative and concise. It was also written from the perspective of someone whom was once engaged in "magic"; illusions, and cabaret, which lent the text cre...more
What's great about this book is that although Wiseman absolutely does not believe in the paranormal, he isn't preachy about it. He simply describes how various truth seekers have debunked palm readers, ghost hunters, fortune tellers and spoon benders. He gives us the secrets that magicians and charlatans use. It all makes sense and I'm prepared to totally disbelieve paranormality, until I realized that you can look at the evidence he presents just as skeptically as he looks at the evidence for p...more
Ally Atherton

I thought I knew a lot about the paranormal but this book made me realise how little I actually did know. It is a fascinating look at the paranormal from a sceptical scientific point of view and looks at the psychology of the paranormal. From table tipping to cold reading, from ghosts to prophetic dreams, it is an eye opener and it is very accessible and nothing like reading a textbook.

Professsor Wiseman's book is fascinating and entertaining, filled with interesting facts and humorous tales. I...more
Richard Wiseman seeks not to answer whether or not there is such a thing as paranormal activity, but the reasons for why people believe such things. Is it simple wish fulfillment? Biological and neurological factors? Victims of smooth talk? Finding patterns in coincidence? Well, Wiseman argues, a bit of everything. In his book, Wiseman looks at different types of paranormal activities that include everything from psychics, ghosts, premonition, to mind control. With each phenomenon, Wiseman provi...more
There's not much here that anyone with an interest in the paranormal won't have heard before, but the author reports both anecdotal and scientific evidence for undermining many of the most common paranormal hypotheses in a non-judgemental, non-hysterical, and very readable way. That evidence for paranormal explanations for phenomena is not presented is more a result of the lack of such evidence, rather than a bias on the author's part. Recommended.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Merge Request 4 148 Sep 12, 2012 04:17AM  
  • Flim-Flam!
  • Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
  • Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine
  • 50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True
  • Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End...
  • God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion
  • SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable
  • How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life
  • Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
  • Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All
  • Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
  • Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions
  • Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole
  • The Skeptic's Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions
  • Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown
  • Snake Oil Science: The Truth about Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science
  • Don't Believe Everything You Think: The 6 Basic Mistakes We Make in Thinking
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
Professor Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician, and was one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle. He then obtained a degree in psychology from University College London and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.

Richard currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in...more
More about Richard Wiseman...
Quirkology: How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life - The Four  Essential Principles Rip It Up The As If Principle: The Radically New Approach to Changing Your Life

Share This Book

“Our beliefs do not sit passively in our brains waiting to be confirmed or contradicted by incoming information. Instead, they play a key role in shaping how we see the world.” 6 likes
“As we continue toward the fifth secret technique of psychics, I have a gut feeling that you are the sort of person that lets your heart rule your head, can sometimes be too impulsive for your own good, and have recently come into contact with a goat. Rest assured you are not the only one.” 1 likes
More quotes…