- Paperback: 430 pages
- Publisher: Matador (1 Nov. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848764944
- ISBN-13: 978-1848764941
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 32 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 718,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Randi's Prize: What Sceptics Say About the Paranormal, Why They Are Wrong, and Why It Matters Paperback – 1 Nov 2010
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About the Author
Robert McLuhan gained a First in English Literature at Oxford, then worked as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian in Spain and Portugal. He now works as a freelance journalist. He has been a member of the Society for Psychical Research since 1993, blogging and lecturing on paranormal topics.
Top customer reviews
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What McLuhan does is question the sceptics. They have not really delved into the sources enough (he tells us). If they had, then they’d find a lot of material difficult to dismiss. This is one of the arguments put forward in this book. The other argument made by McLuhan is this: If a psychic is caught cheating, then it doesn’t mean they were cheating at other times when a presence of the paranormal was present (or thought to be present!). True enough. But I’m still not convinced.
Even the so called “white crow” of the psychic world (Leonora Piper) does not stand up to proper scrutiny. There are two essays by Martin Gardner that put the believers straight on this: “How Mrs. Piper Bamboozled William James” and “William James and Mrs. Piper”. And one must remember that the evidence collected in the past was not like the evidence collected today. There is simply now much more awareness of controls than there was in the past.
Put all this together and you don’t have people leaving their bodies (though people may believe they have). We don’t have ghosts and poltergeists drifting around creating havoc. Nor do we have psychics speaking to the dead as believers in psychic abilities claim they do. But as soon as there is any real evidence I’ll be waving the flag admitting that I was wrong! But for now I’m sticking with the real world.
However, I really enjoyed the book. I may not have reached the same conclusions as the author, but this doesn’t mean it is not a good book. It is. I found it well researched and well structured. And it is written very clearly.
I hope you find my review helpful.
Anyone with even a passing interest in anything classed (currently) as paranormal ought to read this book. While many put their faith in the advancement of modern science, McLuhan wonders whether science has a lot further to go, and frankly, he makes a most compelling case. Moreover, he's right in so many ways, that it's hard to fault this book, without coming across as someone who only flippantly perused its arguments, or as one who read but a few lines here and there, before reviewing it: criticisms which could very easily be made of many of the (albeit minority of!) negative reviews here. All of which is to do a great injustice to the expansive research which the book's author has clearly taken in writing Randi's Prize - as it is very well footnoted and cross referenced throughout.McLuhan essentially takes the middle ground between sceptics and believers and then opens the 'book of evidence' - as widely as possible. He writes extremely well too: I could only find one grammatical error in its first 100 pages. And he is evidently a highly intelligent man, on a quest to find out what is, or could be going on with all these paranormal claims over the centuries? Can every single one of them either be a hoax, mistaken or simply the result of teenage trickery? These and other questions are considered with the kind of intellectual gusto - which leaves no stone unturned.
Randi's Prize is an extremely interesting book which will be most certainly remain a must buy for many decades to come! And this reviewer has never written the same about any other product here on Amazon.
The author looks at both sides (as have I) but in the end comes to the conclusion that there is simply too much going on (as have I) for it all to be passed off as fraud, wishful thinking,confirmation bias or a trick of the mind.
Good book for an honest sceptic to think again and for those (like myself) who are open minded to remind themselves of the need to question.
Having said that the hardcore sceptic will reject such things as the afterlife even when he finds himself conscious within it, and this book shows it very clearly. Old paradigms will not be shifted easily...
Anyway, this book sort of puts the Randi cult in it's place. Like a good journalist, Robert McLuhan digs up tons of eye witness testimonies from those old Victorians and later people.... Anyway, this book opened my perspective.
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