Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book Break

Yeah. Like I have time to read. As if.

Nevertheless, earlier this spring I waited patiently after preordering Unbelievable. The subtitle says it all: Investigations into ghosts, poltergeists, telepathy, and other unseen phenomena from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory.

A little over a year ago I read author Stacy Horn’s Waiting for My Cats to Die (thank you, KayO) after which I discovered Stacy's personal blog. That’s how I first heard that she was about to release Unbelievable.

Unbelievable? Well, that all depends on you. If you’ve ever had a paranormal experience (and I’ve had a few, spending part of my young years in a haunted house) you might not find it so unbelievable. Even if you haven’t, Stacy’s approach to the book may leave you open-minded.

And if you plain just don’t believe, the book will introduce you to J.B. Rhine, who founded the parapsychology lab at Duke University. He didn’t seem to believe either, but even he had to concede that some of the encounters he reviewed defied a scientific explanation – as much as he might have liked to assign them one.

Stacy had the rare privilege of combing through the files of the parapsychology lab and looking at decades worth of cases that J.B. Rhine and his associates had to pick from. While Rhine himself focused almost exclusively on ESP/telepathy, the book highlights some of the requests the center received through the years ranging from investigating mediums and séances, poltergeists, spectral hauntings, to missing children. Some of these were cases the center explored while others were politely declined.

It’s a factual account with Stacy seeking out some of the subjects of the decades-old cases for interviews, or quoting directly from the files themselves. It’s a balanced approach as Rhine certainly weathered his share of criticism.

This is not a Stephen King page-turner, nor is it intended to be. It is, after all, facts not fiction. (And sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.) The book doesn’t seek to build a case for one view or the other, just puts all of them out there for the reader to draw his or her own conclusions.

I found it fascinating that people have been trying to come to grips with the unseen for centuries and that nearly a century ago, scientists were trying to provide it with definitions and explanations. This book is definitely a good read.

Put it on your summer reading list!


Vicki said...

Sounds cool! My grandma, who just passed away, had ESP. When I was very young, living down there in the same town I would tell my mom out of the blue, "Mamaw's coming over!" Or "Mamaw's going to call." And she would. Somehow we were in sync. I do believe in spiritual beings, both good and bad. I don't believe in dead people hanging around though.

Ty'sMommy said...

Thanks for the review, NV! I've put it on my list. You know I'm up for the paranormal - I didn't get to ell you but I think Ty and I both had an experience while we were out east. Very cool!

plumbelieve said...

NV - Now I am mad at myself for listening to temptation and checking out her blog. You know me, I had to read about some of the ghost stories. I hope I can sleep tonight. As much as this interests me and fascinates me, sadly, I will not be able to read this book. I think you will understand why...CD as well.


NV said...

V -- There's definitely something to it. We can't ALL be crazy. :-)

Ty'sMom -- Ooh. Definitely have to hear that story.

PB -- I waited to hear what you would say. You crack me up!