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Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there Paperback – Unabridged, 4 Mar 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230752985
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230752986
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 214,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology and is the author of the bestselling Quirkology and 59 Seconds. He is the psychologist most frequently quoted by the British media.

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Review

'Experiments that investigate the paranormal are bizarre and entertaining, and Wiseman is a witty guide in what is often a mind-boggling read. Ultimately you'll discover why your brain is far more extraordinary than any of the supernatural claims in this book.' --New Scientist

'You might think this book is a party-pooper, removing the wonder from the our lives... (but) the message of Wiseman's book is positive. Forget about searching for wonder in the supernatural, because it does not exist. Instead, focus on the wondrous events surrounding all of us every day.'
--Simon Singh, Mail on Sunday

'A different league to your usual sceptic.' --Fortean Times

From the Back Cover

Paranormal phenomena do not exist. So why do so many people claim to have experienced them?

Richard Wiseman examines the science behind the supernatural, revealing remarkable insights into what phenomena such as ghosts, psychics and out-of-body experiences prove about our brains, behaviour and beliefs.

Packed with techniques that allow you to experience the impossible for yourself, Paranormality will take you on a journey into a world where the truth is stranger - and more fascinating - than fiction.

· Learn how to control your dreams - and leave your body behind

· Convince complete strangers that you know all about them

· Unleash the power of your unconscious mind

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. Mckergow on 18 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an immensely readable and enjoyable book. Richard Wiseman has wisely eschewed the idea of writing a book debunking the paranormal (of which there are plenty already) and instead opted to focus on letting us know HOW it's done, and even how to do it ourselves for the entertainment of family and friends. Wiseman tells his story by focusing on people in history - specific people who have either developed some kind of reputation for being able to achieve paranormal phenomena, or of debunking and exposing them. In this way he gives a book of real substance, which really gets to the nitty-gritty. It's also very entertaining, and included many elements with which I was not familiar (despite have quite a collection of books on this topic and of Wiseman's previous work). An excellent read and very educational.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Isham on 31 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Firstly, my dissapointment with this book is NOT Richard Wiseman's fault. He has produced a fun book that hits all the right targets and is a great introduction for the burgeoning sceptic. I just wanted it to be so much more than that. If this work and Robert McLuhan's "Randi's Prize" represent the two sides in this debate, then it is the latter which hits the right tone and weight for the current state of play. By presenting his research so thoroughly and giving both sides of the argument, McLuhan allows the reader to come to his own conclusions whereas Wiseman tends to give his reader no such opportunity. The result is that I found the McLuhan book MORE convincing in the case AGAINST the paranormal. Wiseman too often commits the crime that the sceptics are accused of by McLuhan, being smug and flippant. If you too are waiting for the book that announces the final death of the supernatural then Paranormality is just another steppping stone on that journey.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The reason I ordered this book and read it was primarily to find out the logic behind inanimate objects that shift without a bye or leave. I can’t honestly say I got the answer, although I felt we were getting there. I rather felt this book is a work in progress, and much as I learnt things from it, I ended up with more questions to ask than those being answered. I can also understand the polarised reviews because yes, you could argue that this book is about conjuring and tricking people into thinking something is magic when it ain’t. Which is fine, especially as there are lots of little tricks to get you started. But I have a truck with this in that there are many, many other incidents documented by perfectly nice, perfectly ordinary people going about their lives which seem to be noticeably absent. Yes, it can be true that we see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe, and that dreams can be the brain’s way of putting out the garbage. With you so far. But what about the strange experiences we have that we cannot explain? People getting a sudden strange and inexplicable feeling, only to get a call out of the blue hours later to learn a loved one has passed away? That icy chill you suddenly get, and the hairs on your arms standing up on end? It can’t always just be poor circulation, an electric surge, or somebody in the adjoining flat having a blazing row and causing the atoms to shift around a bit. Or can it? You see, we don’t know, and there are things unknown that we don’t know about.
I did feel that the case of the poor dead baby was rather irrelevant here. I recall my dad telling me about that sad and tragic tale many years ago.
Because I bought the Kindle version, the b/w photos didn’t come out too well, and I think I might have been missing an Index.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I agree with the other reviewers who feel that Dr Wiseman is very much at the outright (scientific) sceptic end of the spectrum and there is no doubt in his mind that there is no such thing as the paranormal. And, in fairness, he makes his case well and for the most part backs it up with strong arguments based on solid research.

I also found this book to be a lighter, more humorous and overall a more enjoyable read than "The Luck Factor".

A key premise of the author's argument against the existence of the paranormal is that our minds are simply filling our deep rooted desire to have the comfort that belief in life after death may bring, and the hope that our humdrum lives may from time to time be touched by some form of magic. If you have restless nights caused by alarming and unidentified sounds from your attic / walls / basement, this book is likely to help you sleep easier. Personally, I prefer the thought that there are still some things that exist beyond our comprehension.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By nerosmaster on 25 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
A very entertaining, readable and witty book. I definitely enjoyed it I have to say; it lifts the veil on all manner of fascinating phenomena. However, I have to say, there was much of it that wasn't a surprise for me. I'm no expert but there were certain theories in certain sections of the book that left me a little underwhelmed and which sounded vaguely familiar from other reads. Slightly mocking in parts but a genuinely good read. I had been having a bit of a lull recently with reading and couldn't settle down to a good book but this had me rapt from beginning to end.
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