Sue's Reviews > Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There

Paranormality by Richard Wiseman
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

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 paranormal activity. Take table turning. Sure I can believe the Ouiga Board works on the ideomotor principles, but can a table pin a person against the wall so violently with this method? I find it hard to believe. Information seems to be missing. I need more proof or a better explanation.

If you are already a skeptic, everything here makes sense and you nod easily. But if you are a true believer, you may find some holes in the theories. You'll demand more rigorous evidence.

That's all fine. For me the best thing about the book is his fascinating anecdotes, the stories of the people that witnessed paranormal activity or were in some way psychic. It's great reading. Wiseman draws us in to the truth behind the fiction the same way ghost stories draw us in by their strangeness. And the truth is stranger than the fiction here. The psychological analysis behind the willingness to believe may or may not be accurate, but it, too, is interesting as all get out.

For those who believe the loss of superstition leads to a boring world, Wiseman says "To believe that the findings of supernatural science remove wonder from the world is to fail to see the remarkable events that surround us every day of our lives. And, unlike those who appear to talk with the dead or move objects with the power of their minds, these amazing phenomena are genuine."

There's so much in the world and we know very little about most of it, why do we need the supernatural? Wiseman has theories about that and it's fun to read them.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Paranormality.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.