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

Paranormality by Richard Wiseman
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Sep 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: science
Read in August, 2011

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.

Positives:
1. The fascinating topic of the paranormal.
2. Very engaging and conversational prose with a touch of humor to boot.
3. Well researched, and one of the most interactive books ever written. The author makes generous use of interactive tags better known as QR tags to link to additional content.
4. Very good format. The author provides plenty of great examples and finishes each chapter with a hands-on application section.
5. A look at the world of mediums and psychics. What psychic reading is all about.
6. How selective memory affects our beliefs.
7. Interesting tidbits throughout the book, "Your personality is, to some extent written all over your face".
8. The chapter on Out-of-body experiences (OBEs) was my favorite. Fascinating legends put to rest and one of the best explanations for OBEs.
9. The sense of where you are and how the brain figures that out.
10. Telepathy...another phenomenon bites the dust.
11. The principles of psychic deception.
12. "Spiritualism" and its origins.
13. Thought-provoking science, "Your brain appears to make a decision before you are conscious of it".
14. The ideomotor action...
15. A unique and fair take on Persinger's theory until...
16. The power of suggestion and "Hypersensitive Agency Detection Device" to explain ghostly experiences.
17. What the scientific evidence says about hypnosis.
18. The appalling case of Jim Jones and The People's Temple and the impact of psychology of conformity.
19. How not to be brainwashed. This should probably be taught in schools everywhere.
20. The science of sleep.
21. Wegner's "rebound effect."
22. The fascinating case of Charles Lindbergh and how it relates to dream premonitions.
23. A great explanation of why dreams are necessary.
24. Great Appendix.
25. Links worked great and then some.
26. Great Kindle value.


Negatives:
1. The book to my surprise, had a couple of misspells and repeated words. Not enough to detract from the entertainment value.
2. This book is not an in-depth look at the paranormal, but it will whet your appetite for more.

In summary, this was a fun and informative book. The engaging and upbeat style of the author combined with a fascinating topic is a fine recipe for an enjoyable read. It will also provide you some wonderful party tricks so that you can amuse your friends. Have fun and pick up a copy. A solid recommendation.

Further suggestions: "The Believing Brain..." and "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer, "Scientific Paranormal Investigations" by Benjamin Radford, "Human" by Michael S. Gazzaniga, "SuperSense" by Bruce M. Hood, and "The Belief Instinct" by Jesse Bering.
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