If you have a scientific mind, and have always been puzzled by stories of out of body experiences, extrasensory perception, dowsing, tarot, poltergeists etc not knowing what to make of them, then this book is definitely for you. Strongly recommended! I think what Susan did is invaluable because she dedicated a really long time incessantly looking for such elusive phenomena, never giving up in spite of the fact that one after the other her experiments and investigations never gave the results she had expected ie. never showed anything better than chance.
I think the most important aspect of this book is the honesty with which S. Blackmore approaches her work and even if she set out to become a "famous parapsychologist", she never rendered this desire above her search for the truth, and never gave up scientific rigour in favour of a better result. She kept her honesty and anxiously waited for something to appear for a long time, but it just never did.
This book has definitely changed my life in the way I look at such claims now. It does not mean that I am not open to them, but now I would only accept ones which are submitted to and stand scientific investigation. After reading the book I get even annoyed by the many types of popular nonsense that inundate the media, eg. "your thoughts create your world" a very popular (false) meme these days, which many "motivational speakers" or "gurus" use today. Is there any scientific evidence behind it? I doubt. Just catching stories taken out of context. I am sure that if we looked at these stories with Sue's honesty, these "proofs" would duly fade and disintegrate in our hands. Then we could look at the next one, then the next, as Susan B. did for nearly 20 years. Watch out, these people can tell you anything to "motivate" the money out of your pocket. I do not say that some of the things they say don't work, they can even work, but the ones that work can all be explained by normal psychology or science, or be reproduced and investigated. The question is why is the magical, the inexplicable more alluring than science? It definitely was to me before reading the book, but now I have started to discover how magical and interesting the world really is without having to create an "alternate" universe within this one with different laws of physics.
And one more thing and I apologise to everyone for the length of this review. Sue Blackmore reveals things from her life, her relationships, her struggles, doubts, taking drugs, in short her “search for light”. This is something very human, something a “guru” would never do, and this made the book exceptionally fascinating and true.
I am deeply sceptical of all notions of parapsychology. The human brain is so complex that it must from time to time act in an unfamiliar way. These strangenesses we may interpret as voices - including, I believe, the story of St. Paul on the Damascus Road. Where I admire Prof. Blackmore is her courage. It's some years now since she took part in a documentary on supposed alien abduction (in which I have no belief.) These she convincincly suggested were in fact undiagnosed epileptic attacks of the temporal lobes. Since this is my own condition, I willingly agree with her findings. Most important,however, and this I truly admire: she was prepared to investigate her suggestion by herself agreeing to undergo an artificially induced epileptic attack, which appeared to validate her views. This takes courage.
Whilst writing for my dissertation on near-death experiences in my third year at university I became lost amongst dull and depressing books that created no enthusiasm in me and thus I soon became bored and lonely. This book changed everything. I widened my research to include paranormal activity and started reading this book. Blackmore's assessable and compelling narration provided both an interesting and highly entertaining read which helped provide me with the enthusiasm to finish my work. This book is one of the most interesting and thought provoking books I have read in a long time.
This book tells the story of Susan Blackmore, at first a somewhat naive, gullable student, highly interested in anything supernatural, growing into a sceptical person, going for the scientific approach. Her conclusion about paranormal phenomena she did research on -- "I don't know" --, should have been "I doubt it" if you ask me. A nice and very readable book, but the author could have left out some of the private life elements and be more to the point.