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His PhD is from King's College, London, for his thesis on contemporary witchcraft and magic use, building on research that won him an MA with distinction from Lancaster University. He is the author of several books, all based on rigorous research, as well as numerous articles and chapters in scholarly publications. He is also the co-editor with Dr Simon Bacon of Little Horrors: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Anomalous Children and the Construction of Monstrosity (2016), and with Dr Antje Bosselmann-Ruickbie of The Material Culture of Magic (forthcoming).
As well as publishing, he is an academic peer reviewer, exhibition curator, public speaker and editor. He is the editor of the Paranormal Review, the magazine of the Society for Psychical Research, an international education charity established in 1882 for the scientific study of what we now call the 'paranormal'. He is an elected member of the Royal Historical Society, a Council member of the Society for Psychical Research, a committee member of the Gesellschaft für Anomalistik and a member of the Parapsychological Association, Societas Magica, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism and the Royal Photographic Society.
His work has been mentioned in the media from The Guardian to Radio Jamaica, and his expertise has been sought by film companies, museums and charities, as well as being cited in the current student book for A-Level Sociology in the UK.
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'Leo Ruickbie's impeccably-written The Impossible Zoo is a menagerie like no other, as its exotic inhabitants are fabulous in every sense of the word. So for anyone who has ever wished that dragons and unicorns were real, for anyone who believes that they are, and for anyone who peruses bestiaries with unbridled joy, this magical, mystical, and truly memorable book is definitely for you - and for me!'
Dr Karl Shuker, author of A Manifestation of Monsters
HERE BE DRAGONS!
Here you will find the things that once made the woods wild and the nights to be feared; that made ancient map-makers write, 'Here be Dragons'.
The Impossible Zoo is a biology of the supernatural - a study of the life of things that never lived. This world of mermaids and unicorns, now confined to fantasy, but once believed to exist, is a world of the imagination that still affects us today.
Wonderfully illustrated throughout, it also provides sources as a guide to further study and exploration.
'For anyone who has ever wished that dragons and unicorns were real, this magical, mystical and truly memorable book is definitely for you - and for me!'
Dr Karl Shuker, author of A Manifestation of Monsters
'Ruickbie's level of scholarship is impressive and he presents his conclusions with great literary skill in readable and attractive prose. The results are truly fascinating. Very highly recommended.'
Revd Lionel Fanthorpe, FRSA, author and President of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena
After a miraculous escape from the German military juggernaut in the small Belgian town of Mons in 1914, the first major battle that the British Expeditionary Force would face in the First World War, the British really believed that they were on the side of the angels. Indeed, after 1916, the number of spiritualist societies in the United Kingdom almost doubled, from 158 to 309. As Arthur Conan Doyle explained, 'The deaths occurring in almost every family in the land brought a sudden and concentrated interest in the life after death. People not only asked the question, "If a man die, shall he live again?" but they eagerly sought to know if communication was possible with the dear ones they had lost.' From the Angel of Mons to the popular boom in spiritualism as the horrors of industrialised warfare reaped their terrible harvest, the paranormal - and its use in propaganda - was one of the key aspects of the First World War.
Angels in the Trenches takes us from defining moments, such as the Angel of Mons on the Front Line, to spirit communication on the Home Front, often involving the great and the good of the period, such as aristocrat Dame Edith Lyttelton, founder of the War Refugees Committee, and the physicist Sir Oliver Lodge, Principal of Birmingham University. We see here people at every level of society struggling to come to terms with the ferocity and terror of the war, and their own losses: soldiers looking for miracles on the battlefield; parents searching for lost sons in the séance room. It is a human story of people forced to look beyond the apparent certainties of the everyday - and this book follows them on that journey.
There has been an upsurge in books, television programmes, films and websites exploring the reality or otherwise of the spirit world. Not since the founding of The Ghost Club in 1862 and the Society for Psychical Research in 1882 has ghost hunting been so popular. Television and the internet, in particular, have fueled this new level of interest, creating a modern media phenomenon that spans the globe. But while the demand for information is high, good information remains scarce.
A Brief Guide to Ghost Hunting leads us through the process of ghost hunting, from initially weighing the first report, to choosing equipment, and investigating and identifying the phenomena, with an analysis of the best places to go looking, methods of contacting the spirit world, how to explain paranormal activity and, crucially, how to survive the encounter.
However, it is also a book about ghost hunting itself, drawing on 130 years of research in the cavernous archives of the Society for Psychical Research and even older history to find the earliest ghost stories. A Ghost Hunting Survey makes use of interviews with those billing themselves as ghost hunters to find out their views, motivations and experiences.
New and original research makes use of statistics to map the nebulous world of apparitions while a Preliminary Survey of Hauntings offers an analysis of 923 reported phenomena from 263 locations across the UK.
This is, as far as possible, an objective presentation of ghosts and ghost hunting. It is no wonder that mainstream science largely refuses to deal with the subject: it is too complicated. Without trying to convince you of any viewpoint, this book is intended to help you understand more.
This in-depth investigation discovers how the ideas we have about witchcraft took shape thousands of years ago in the myths and religions of the ancient world. It also looks at why these ideas were expressed so violently during the era of the witch trials. Finally, it reveals how witchcraft has been transformed into one of the most radical and fastest growing religions of our age - a religion of equality and compassion that still has the power to unsettle even the bravest amongst us. With new analyses, fresh insights and groundbreaking material drawn from the author's doctoral research into the mysticism, magic and social meaning of Wicca, this is the first book to bring witchcraft fully out of the shadows.
"What Ruickbie has done is use real scholarship to illuminate the murky beginnings of witchcraft yet still leave us with that most precious gift of all... a sense of respect, tinged with wonder. Witchcraft out of the Shadows is an engaging book which deserves to be the benchmark for all future analyses of the Craft." – Alan Richardson, author of Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune
"Ruickbie has written a tight overview of the history and current trends in witchcraft. I highly recommend this book to anyone with the slightest interest in the Craft." – Marty Dodge, Blogcritics.com
"This book is a sound investment and recommended reading for any witch who has not yet thought to examine the historical and sociological effects of this path." – Arin Murphy-Hiscock, High Priestess of the Black Forest Clan and author of The Way of the Hedge Witch
"Read the book, buy the book, you will enjoy it." – David Barker, Somerset Pagans
"A fascinating study, and groundbreaking in its sociological analysis." – Merry Meet Magazine
"An interesting read for anyone interested in the history of witchcraft in Europe." – Sorita d’Este, Alexandrian High Priestess and author of Wicca: Magickal Beginnings (with David Rankine)
"Ruickbie certainly proves he knows the topic. Those truly interested in witchcraft and the Wiccan religion will find it appealing." – Library Journal