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Best Evidence: An Investigative Reporter's Three-Year Quest to Uncover the Best Scientific Evidence for ESP, Psychokinesis, Mental Healing, Ghosts and Poltergeists, Dowsing, Mediums, Near Death Experiences, Reincarnation, and Other Impossible Phenomena That Refuse to Disappear (2nd Edition) Paperback – March 27, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0595219063 ISBN-10: 0595219063

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (March 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595219063
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595219063
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

In Best Evidence, Michael Schmicker assembles scientific documentation for experiences that many readers intuitively believe are real, despite mainstream skepticism: ESP, psychokinesis, mental healing, ghosts and poltergeists, dowsing, mediums, near-death experiences, reincarnation, and, as Schmicker puts it, "Other Impossible Phenomena That Refuse to Disappear." Expect a credible collection of convincing evidence, such as a published report in the American Journal of Diseases of Children in which a Seattle doctor offers a detailed account of a near-death experience. Or a 1995 report from the CIA on the practice of remote viewing, in which the U.S. government hired psychics to spy on other countries. Other evidence is presented to convince readers of death-bed visions, ghosts and poltergeists, and reincarnation. While anyone can manipulate data to draw their own conclusions, Schmicker's evenhanded, journalistic tone brings credibility and a no-nonsense tone to these esoteric discussions. He also possesses a smooth, accessible writing style that makes it easy to digest the research, studies, and data that his book is based upon. After each chapter, he offers a "Highly Recommended Reading" list so readers can continue their own research. --Gail Hudson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"...A credible collection of convincing evidence..." - Gail Hudson,

"Best Evidence is indeed one - if not the best itself - of the major books explaining and offering proof that psi phenomena are here to stay whether we like it or not "' - Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D, resident physicist on the Discovery Channel's "Know Zone" program, and National Book Award winning author of "Mind Into Matter," and "Taking the Quantum Leap."

"My highest recommendation not just one but a half-dozen astounding stories, any one of which can change the way we think about the nature of reality" - Dean Radin, Ph.D, author of The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena.

"For skeptics and cautious believers alike, a splendid introduction to 'impossible phenomena that refuse to disappear'" - Stanley Krippner, Ph.D, Co-Editor, Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence.

"A dazzling journey into one of the most important areas of science that has ever existed" - Dr. Larry Dossey MD, New York Times best-selling author of Reinventing Medicine.

More About the Author

Michael Schmicker is an investigative journalist and nationally-known writer on scientific anomalies and the paranormal.

Michael's new novel, "The Witch of Napoli" (January 2015), is historical fiction with a paranormal twist, set in Italy and England in 1899. Kirkus Reviews calls it " enchanting and graceful narrative that absorbs readers from the first page." Bookmuse (UK) praises it as "Mesmerizing, masterful, and authentic...Highly recommended." Discover New Historical Fiction calls it " extraordinary evocation of the Italian spirit."

Michael is the co-author of "The Gift, ESP: The Extraordinary Experiences of Ordinary People" (St. Martin's Press, hardcover, paperback, Kindle e-book (USA); Rider/Random House (UK). His first book, "Best Evidence," has emerged as a classic in the field of scientific anomalies reporting since its first publication in 2000. His writings also appear in three anthologies, including "The Universe Wants to Play" (2006); "First of the Year 2009" (2009), edited by former Village Voice writer Benj DeMott; and "Even the Smallest Crab Has Teeth" (2011).

Michael began his writing career as a crime reporter for a suburban Dow-Jones newspaper in Connecticut, and worked as a freelance reporter in Southeast Asia for three years. He has also worked as a stringer for Forbes magazine, and Op-Ed contributor to The Wall Street Journal Asia.

Michael has been a featured guest on national broadcast radio talk shows, including twice on Coast to Coast AM (560 stations in North America, with 3 million weekly listeners). He also shares his paranormal investigations and writings through popular webcasts including Skeptiko, hosted by Alex Tsakiris; Speaking of Strange with Joshua Warren; the X-Zone, with Rob McConnell (Canada); and he even spent an hour chatting with spoon-bending celebrity Uri Geller on his program "Parascience and Beyond" (England). He reviews books for the Journal of Scientific Exploration; serves on the Board of Advisers of the Rhine Research Center; and is a member of both the American Society for Psychical Research as well as England's venerable Society for Psychical Research.

His interest in investigating the paranormal began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand where he first encountered a non-Western culture and people who readily accept the reality of ghosts and spirits, reincarnation, psychics, mediums, divination,and other persistently reported phenomena unexplainable by current Science. Before joining Peace Corps, he studied documentary film production at New York University and the British Film Institute. He spent his first year in Bangkok teaching English to middle school students at the royal Buddhist monastery of Wat Bowonniwet, and the subsequent two years writing and producing with Thai colleagues a Sesame Street-inspired educational television series for the Thai Ministry of Education, complete with puppets, animation, and cinematic tricks borrowed from Richard Lester's madcap work. The TV program, "Meet Mr. Maytree" represented Thailand in the international Japan Prize contest for educational television excellence.

He lives and writes in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a mountaintop overlooking Waikiki and Diamond Head crater. And yes, the sunsets are spectacular. (He posts his Hawaii photos on


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By atmj TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 27, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want a book that has details and specific studies and bunches and bunches of references on Psi phenomena, this is it.
MICHAEL SCHMICKER gives the casual skeptic and the believer all the details and information anyone could want on a multitude of topics. From the table of contents this is what is covered:
Part I: PSIentific Facts
Chapter 1: Nobody Really Believes This Stuff, Right?
Chapter 2: Yeah, But I Bet They're All Wierdos and Nut Cases
Chapter 3: OK, But Do Any Scientists take This Stuff Seriously?
Chapter 4: But Science Says...
Chapter 5: The Times They Are A-Changing
Part II: Best Evidence
Chapter 6: Extra-Sensory Perception (ESP)
Chapter 7: Psychokinesis (PK)
Chapter 8: Dowsing
Chapter 9: The Mind-Body Connection: Mental And Faith Healing
Chapter 10: Death Bed Visions
Chapter 11: Near Death and Out-Of-Body Experiences
Chapter 12: Ghosts and Poltergeists
Chapter 13: Mediums and Channelers
Chapter 14: Reincarnation
Chapter 15: The Future of Science
FIRST HE GIVES US INFO ON ALL THE BELIEVERS OUT THERE. This list is sprinkled with many of the top scientists and world renown people of the last 2 centuries. So much for being a minority of odd balls.
THEN HE GIVES US NUTS AND BOLTS FACTS ON STUDIES DONE ON EACH TYPE OF PHENOMENA. Here is a fact-finders dream. This book references hundreds of sources of information on this phenomena. From the fringes to highly regarded institutions. When you read this, you will be astounded at the level of information provided. You could spend a lifetime reviewing all the references here. This book is a keeper once read for just this alone.
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103 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Todd I. Stark VINE VOICE on August 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting and well-written book and well worth reading for the "best evidence" it offers. It is certainly not just a credulous account, it does a very credible job of bringing some fascinating phenomena into the light. But I had to lower my rating a bit because I also found it very weak in its reasoning, conclusions, and scholarship, in its seemingly implied rhetorical purpose of putting the best evidence into rational or even scientific perspective.
The author seriously researched the evidence, and once he concluded that there was reasonable evidence for *something real* behind of the more seemingly unlikely phenomena, he seems to have made up his mind that the believers were right and the skeptics were simply being unreasonable. Clearly, this natural and very human leap of faith does not itself make this a balanced treatment, the author simply takes the side of the underdog, the psychic believer, and becomes a rational advocate in their behalf.
This is a reasonable thing to do, but the tone of the book misleads the reader into thinking this is a balanced treatment, or even a scientific one.
It is a very fair book in the sense that he considers the best evidence for things that seem impossible without rejecting them out of hand, which is laudable. But in doing so, he missed most of the important technical issues raised about each of the points of evidence. It isn't any more "open-minded" to reject skeptical explanations and interpretations out of hand than to reject credulous ones. The author takes a balanced tone, but does not produce a balanced treatment, indeed he sometimes bends over backwards to avoid seriously confronting the implications of the evidence he competently and clearly reviews. Some of the explanations just don't work.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Tymn VINE VOICE on June 9, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many of the people who call themselves skeptics are really cynics. Author Michael Schmicker calls them "debunkers" and says that the book is not for them. "Such self-appointed guardians of scientific truth share many of the traits of religious fanatics," Schmicker writes, pointing out that they are afflicted with a sincerity poisoned by an unshakeable belief in an immutable orthodoxy along with extreme zealousness in the hot pursuit and punishment of deviant thought and behavior as well as an atrophied sense of humor. This book is not for the cynic but for the true skeptic, someone with an open mind who is interested in examining phenomena that goes beyond the limits of science.
Schmicker examines the best scientific evidence, including the pioneering works of well-known researchers such as Sir William Crookes, who is credited with discovering the element thalium, Dr. Ian Stevenson, Dr. J. B. Rhine, Dr. Karl Osis, and many others.
If I were teaching an introductory course in the paranormal to college-level students, this would be the prescribed text. It touches all bases in the paranormal field, truly offering the "best evidence" in each subject matter.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Sue Larson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Do you have an open mind -- and are you ready to explore one of the most interesting collections of scientific evidence for paranormal phenomena ever assembled between the covers of a book?
If so, you're in luck! Michael Schmicker's book BEST EVIDENCE presents a comprehensive overview of a wide range of "psi" phenomena including: extra-sensory perception, psychokinesis (PK), dowsing, mental and faith healing, death bed visions, near death experience, out of body experiences, ghosts and poltergeists, mediums and channelers, and reincarnation.
What makes BEST EVIDENCE such a gem is that it not only clearly describes each kind of psi phenomena along with the facts supporting its existence and references to the original studies and sources, but it also includes some intriguing insights about why people sometimes avoid investigating the evidence surrounding paranormal phenomena. For example, Schmicker cites the work of researchers like Kenneth Batcheldor, who has identified two blocks to PK production (ownership resistance and witness inhibition). I find it just as interesting to examine the reasons why people find the subject of the paranormal disquieting as it is to see such a thorough review of the evidence showing how psi is a real phenomena which simply won't go away.
If you've ever wanted to tell your friends, colleagues and family that there is an ever-increasing body of scientific evidence proving that the paranormal is part of everyday life, this is the book for you!
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