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Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death Paperback – May 29, 2007
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More About the Author
After high school, Blum received a journalism degree from the University of Georgia in 1976, with a double minor in anthropology and political science. She worked for two newspapers in Georgia and one in Florida (St. Petersburg Times) before deciding to become a science writer and going to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. A University of Wisconsin fellow, she received her degree in 1982 and moved to California to work for McClatchy newspapers, first in Fresno and then in Sacramento. During her 13 years, at The Sacramento Bee, she won numerous awards for her work, culminating in the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in beat reporting for a series investigating ethical issues in primate research.
The series became her first book, The Monkey Wars (Oxford, 1994), which was named a Library Journal Best Sci-Tech book of the year. Three years later, she published Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women (Viking, 1997), which was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her 2002 book, Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection, (Perseus Books) was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She followed that with Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death (Penguin Press, 2006). Her latest book, The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, will be published in February 2010.
Blum is also the co-editor of a widely used guide to science writing, A Field Guide for Science Writers (Oxford, 2006). She is currently the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches science journalism, creative-non-fiction, magazine writing and investigative reporting. A past-president of the National Association of Science Writers, she currently serves as the North American board member to the World Federation of Science Journalists. She also sits on the board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing and on the board of trustees for the Society for Society and the Public.
Top Customer Reviews
My first awareness of this fascinating book was an e-mail from a friend who knew of my interest in the paranormal, especially spirit communication. I replied that I had not heard of the book and was not particularly interested in "ghost hunting." By the title of the book and without knowing the subtitle, I had assumed that this book was about modern parapsychologists visiting haunted houses with gadgets designed to detect "ghostly" cold spots and energy fields. I assumed wrong.
When, a few weeks later, I saw the subtitle - "William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death" - I immediately knew the book was about the pioneering psychical research of yesteryear. It is a subject very dear to me. In fact, I have written often on the subject and had recently completed my own book, "The Articulate Dead: Bringing the Spirit World Alive" (due for release by Galde Press later this year or early next year).
Noting that Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer and journalism professor, I had more or less anticipated a contemptuous treatment of the subject matter. Since journalists generally tend to ape mainstream scientists in superciliously smirking, snickering, sneering, and scoffing at the paranormal, I assumed Blum would find much caustic humor in the pursuits of educated and reputable men (and one woman) who dared stray outside the bounds of scientific fundamentalism. I assumed wrong again.Read more ›
But if you want succint factual description of their methods or the results they obtained, you'll be frustrated, cuz that info is distributed all over the book in bits and pieces. This book is more about the men themselves than about the phenomena they investigated.
But here's the bottom line: 95% of the reports they investigated were fraud, and the majority of that tantalizing other 5% were apt to cheat too, when they could get away with it. They really only came across one person whose "gifts" continued to stand up to their scrutiny year after year.
And so, the conclusion seems to be that true paranormal or supernatural phenomena are exceedingly rare, but do indeed exist.
This is a complex and admirable psychological study of these remarkably brilliant men and women that questioned those existential questions of the survival of death in a rigorous scientific manner for the first time. Driven, passionate and personally tragic for many of the original founders, this offers a glimpse into the social forces that sent these men on their search for that "otherness" beyond the mundane world.
This work also offers a brief but excellent overview of the "cross correspondences" one of the strongest, on-going and too little known experiments that offers what some including myself believe to be one of the best cases for personal survival of death we have available.
This is one volume that should be on the bookshelf of anyone intrested in Parapsychology and it's history.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Outstanding book. An example of great research and writing. The author's reflection saying that after writing the book she had to reevaluate their conception of a possible spirit... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Juan O. Rivera Algarin
There are many different views on this book. It is interesting to know how people read book from their own personal view, not from objective view point. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Shige
This is the account of a dogged effort by scholars during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century to unravel claims of a wide variety of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by John Mayfield
Exploring the paranormal is nothing new. These pioneer scientists from the late 19th century courageously tried to gather answers to the afterlife to the scorn of the scientific... Read morePublished 22 months ago by doorknob
This book is a well organized review of a search for a scientific basis for proving that life after death exists. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Wilasci
This fascinating book looks at how, when William James, the father of modern psychology, came up with research that indicated an afterlife, the scientific community denigrated him... Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by Susie Madrak
I initially listened to this book on CD a couple years ago. The author does an amazing job of showing how hard William James & his colleagues worked to apply the scientific... Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by Maren Hansen