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Natural and Supernatural: A History of the Paranormal from the Earliest Times to 1914 [Paperback]

Brian Inglis

Price: 15.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

11 Jun 2012
Did Moses turn rods into serpents? Does Uri Geller bend spoons? Did Socrates and Joan of Arc have spirit guides? Did Daniel Home levitate? The 1970's provided a striking revival of interest in the paranormal which has continued unabated into the twenty first century. Telepathy ESP, clairvoyance, premonitions, and psychokinesis - the action of mind upon matter - it was not long ago that orthodox opinion, both scientific and religious, rejected the possibility of such things out of hand. Today, their reality has been demonstrated and tested in laboratories all over the world and the results are published in serious scientific journals. Natural and Supernatural is the first full survey of the subject for over a century. With scrupulous thoroughness and a wealth of extraordinary detail, Brian Inglis presents his evidence, drawing on anthropological studies of primitive tribes and records of classical antiquity and taking his story to the outbreak of the First World War, when the first phase of scientific psychical research came to an end. He pays particular attention to the work of the mesmerists and of the early psychical researchers in the last century. He deals, too, with related aspects such as hauntings, poltergeist outbreaks:, scrying and dowsing. Contrary to popular belief, the evidence for psychic phenomena and non-locality, and the mass of material available to researchers is huge. Inglis meticulously sifted the genuine from the false., singling out such episodes as may reasonably be identified as historical and allowing the reader to make up his own mind, on the basis of the fullest and soundest knowledge, whether to accept paranormal phenomena or not. If they are accepted - and informed opinion is more and more moving that way- then a real revolution in our way of thinking is due to follow. For if mind can communicate with mind at distance, or move objects without contact, not merely will there have to be extensive revision of science textbooks. History, too, will need to be re-written, to allow for the possibility that reports which have long been dismissed as myth or illusion may have been accurate after all. The implications of the subject are great, and Inglis does them full justice. Praise for Natural and Supernatural. 'I believe it to be an extraordinarily important and valuable work, sensational in what it contains and even more so in its implications. . . he has piled up a mountain of evidence, searchingly examined and scrupulously evaluated.' Bernard Levin, The Times 'It has the two basic qualities which make books on history endure: it is both scholarly and readable.' Arthur Koestler, the Guardian 'A tour de force. . . one of those works, like H. G. Wells Outline of History, that fires the imagination and leaves the reader feeling stunned, but excited.' Colin Wilson, Evening News 'Brian Inglis is eminently sensible and sane. In this massive survey, the evidence is presented in a sober and scholarly way. . . Natural and Supernatural is hard to fault.' the Economist Inglis bring to this book the same thoroughness and care that he shows in his other books... while I have not been converted, it has intensified mental conflict, and I admire and respect him for writing it.' Karl Sabbagh, New Scientist 'Cool, authoritative and highly readable - a service to science and society.' Ray Brown, Psychology Today

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'I believe it to be an extraordinarily important and valuable work, sensational in what it contains and even more so in its implications... he has piled up a mountain of evidence, searchingly examined and scrupulously evaluated.' Bernard Levin, The Times 'It has the two basic qualities which make books on history endure: it is both scholarly and readable.' Arthur Koestler, the Guardian 'A tour de force... one of those works, like H. G. Wells Outline of History, that fires the imagination and leaves the reader feeling stunned, but excited.' Colin Wilson, Evening News 'Brian Inglis is eminently sensible and sane. In this massive survey, the evidence is presented in a sober and scholarly way... Natural and Supernatural is hard to fault.' the Economist Inglis bring to this book the same thoroughness and care that he shows in his other books - while I have not been converted, it has intensified mental conflict, and I admire and respect him for writing it.' Karl Sabbagh, New Scientist 'Cool, authoritative and highly readable - a service to science and society.' Ray Brown, Psychology Today

About the Author

Brian Inglis (31 July 1916 - 11 February 1993) was an Irish journalist, historian and television presenter. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and retained an interest in Irish history and politics. He was best known to people in Britain as the presenter of All Our Yesterdays, a television review of events exactly 25 years previously, as seen in newsreels, newspaper articles etc. He also presented the weekly review of newspapers known as What the Papers Say. He joined the staff of The Spectator in 1954, and became editor in 1959, soon afterwards hiring the young Bernard Levin to write for the magazine. He continued as editor until 1962. He also had interests in the paranormal, and alternatives to institutionalised medicine. Inglis' friend and colleague Bill Grundy died on 9 February 1993. Inglis had just finished writing Grundy's obituary when he, too, died.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Book on the Paranormal Ever Written 25 July 2012
By Daniel J. Neiman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've given a few books 5 stars, but this one deserves 10! If you read this book from cover to cover and are at the end not convinced in the reality of paranormal phenomenon (telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis and the like), then you must be one who will absolutely refuse to believe unless you see the phenomenon for yourself. And those kind of hard-nosed skeptics, even when confronted before their very eyes with such phenomenon, would probably just believe themselves to be hallucinated. However, for anyone with the slightest openness to accepting such things as real, this book will provide the best collection of evidence to support such a view.

It's a big book at over 450 pages with an almost 20 page bibliography of sources. This is over 450 pages of data with no filler. It's page after page of experiences investigators had when they investigated paranormal claims, as well as the responses of their colleagues and critics, and theories to try to explain what they experienced, or vise versa--to explain it away as some natural occurance or hallucination. Inglis does an excellent job of only focusing on those investigators who had high academic credentials or a high social standing and reputation in their community. That's why I said, it's the best evidence. He scrupulously examines the experiments they set up to test for the phenomenon, especially with mediums. He goes through the whole controversy that existed during the 19th century regarding mediumship and examines the issue from all sides. Inglis goes from the earliest times of shamanistic and ancient cultures through the early 20th Century, but the bulk of the work focuses on the period after the year 1700, especially the 1800's when spiritualism was popular and the society for psychical research was started.

If there's a better book on the evidence for the paranormal, I'd pay $1,000 for it. That's how good and convincing this book is. Page after page of evidence from people who either were skeptical to begin with, were respected members of their communities, or were men of science and the academic world.
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