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on 7 August 2017
Got me thinking and I enjoyed it!
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on 29 May 2015
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. The author certainly has a talent for writing, and I am not sorry I bought this book, but I would have liked more case studies where people have experienced strange happenings without looking for them to happen, and certainly not wanting them to happen. In other words, people who don’t believe there is a ghost in the machine, but can’t seem to get whatever it is out. Over to you, Professor.
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on 7 December 2016
This book is one of my favourite books to date on this topic. It is written by Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor at The University of Hertfordshire.

This book explores each section of the paranormal in detail while still keeping it easy to read and understand. It also contains things to show friends and family members to see if they will believe certain tricks that Wiseman states are used by psychics and mediums.

Many of the experiments in this book were conducted by Wiseman. As he is a professor, he has more knowledge on the subject than many other authors in this field and he is putting his theories to the test rather than speculating, thus making it intellectual take on the paranormal.

- Introduction
- Fortune Telling
- Out Of Body Experiences
- Mind Over Matter
- Talking With The Dead
- Intermission
- Ghost Hunting
- Mind Control
- Prophecy
- Conclusion
- Instant Superhero Kit

I thoroughly recommend this book and others by Richard Wiseman.
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on 18 April 2011
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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on 22 November 2015
I have to say, this book actually changed my life. No exaggeration. It has helped me come to terms with unfounded fears I'd struggled with all my life due to a religious upbringing that focused on the supernatural far more than was healthy. Not only does Richard Wiseman debunk the supernatural, he blows it out of the water and into space with this fun, easy-to-read and entertaining book. There are even experiments you can do yourself. I convinced my other half I could bend spoons with the power of my mind!
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Professor Richard Wiseman wastes no time in stating that paranormal phenomena does not exist, and in Paranormality he details various curious and strange topics, providing rational and scientific explanations for apparently uncanny experiences.

Fortune-tellers, ghosts, out-of-body experiences and premonition are some of the areas covered, which Wiseman does with insight and some humorous one-liners. He discusses the way our brains work and how this sometimes can generate strange occurrences that can be interpreted as evidence of paranormal activity.

Along the way you'll meet Hans the mind-reading horse and Gef the talking mongoose, as well as many humans with powers that turn out to be more earthly than paranormal. And with many links to multimedia content and various tests and examples for the reader, this gives the book a very interactive feel.

Whether you're a believer or a disbeliever, Paranormality provides the reader with plenty of topics for discussion and food for thought.
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on 30 July 2013
This is a well written, interesting, entertaining read. BUT...Mr Wiseman does what the scientific brigade always do - lumps everything that can't be proved in a randomised controlled trial in together as being fraudulent nonsense. I'm an experienced medical doctor, so not exactly the gullible type. But over time I have become convinced that some things are beyond the scope of present day science. For example: like many others, I have personal experience of the unconscious psychic connection that can exist between very close friends or family, particularly at times of extreme danger - instances that go way beyond the scope of coincidence. Of course palm-readers and fortune-tellers are not genuine - like professional wrestlers, it's just entertainment. But Mr Wiseman takes that to mean we are nothing beyond what we can see with machines and microscopes. Much of what he says is true of course, but he seems to leave no room at all for the wonders of the human spirit. In that he is surely mistaken.
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on 14 June 2011
Quite a lot of speculation about why certain psychological effects happen, and selective examples of studies rather than meta-analysis of the whole field. I'm not a stickler for scientific process, but in some cases I felt his connections or conclusions were a bit flimsy. However, it is very interesting, interactive, and in places very funny.
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on 9 May 2011
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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on 31 March 2011
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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