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Paranormal America: Ghost Encounters, UFO Sightings, Bigfoot Hunts, and Other Curiosities in Religion and Culture Paperback – January 5, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (January 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814791352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814791356
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

While this [book] showcases an astounding amount of research, [i]t is accessible to any reader with an interest in the convergence of paranormal beliefs and religion... Highly recommended. --Library Journal

“It is accessible to any reader with an interest in the convergence of paranormal beliefs and religion. The thought-provoking narrative will not disappoint experts on the topic. Highly recommended”

-Library Journal,

“The authors convincingly show that believing in flying saucers or some other paranormal subject--Bigfoot, ghosts, astrology, psychics--is not fringe at all. More than two-thirds of Americans accept the reality of at least one such phenomenon.”

-The Washington Post,

“What makes Paranormal America a fun read is that one would assume scientists would poke more fun at people who study paranormal activity. Instead, they blend skepticism with data and great details that leave readers with a sense of balance.”

-Austin American-Statesman Blog,

"This is an interesting study which is likely to be referred to by sociologists for some considerable time to come, and no doubt put to various, sometimes mutually contradictory, uses."-The Magonia Review of Books,

Paranormal America is an authoritative but extremely readable analysis of an important but often ignored subculture. This fine book explains how many people seek personally-relevant meaning in a chaotic and often alienating world. In these pages we learn much not only about believers in ESP, Bigfoot, and astrology, but also about the general ways in which all human minds make sense of our perplexing position in the universe.”
-William Bainbridge,author of Across the Secular Abyss: From Faith to Wisdom

About the Author

Christopher D. Bader is an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University. With F. Carson Mencken, he is Principal Investigator on the Baylor Religion Survey Project.



F. Carson Mencken is professor of sociology at Baylor University.



Joseph Baker is an assistant professor of sociology at East Tennessee State University.


More About the Author

Christopher D. Bader is professor of sociology at Chapman University and specializes in the sociology of religion, criminology and deviant behavior. He has published over 30 articles in journals in the fields of sociology, deviance, criminology, the sociology of religion and education. He was a principal investigator of the first two waves of the Baylor Religion Survey and currently serves as associate director at the Association of Religion Data Archives (www.TheArda.com).

He is author of America's Four Gods with co-author Paul Froese and Paranormal America with F. Carson Mencken and Joseph O. Baker.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John Guilbault on December 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First I have to make something clear: This is not a book about the paranormal. It's a book about the people who believe in the paranormal. The authors go on ghost and bigfoot hunts, indulge in psychic readings, consult UFO trackers, and refer time and again to a couple of religious surveys. They do not expound on the paranormal itself, merely the people who make these things a part of their lives. Interestingly enough, most of us do just that in one way or another. That's what this book is about.

Considering it's written by a group of sociologists, the book is well-written and easy to digest. These three authors, who had to stick out like sore thumbs everywhere they went, interview dozens of people who have made bigfoot, ghosts, UFO's, psychic phenomenon and extreme religious worship integral parts of their lives. It's a curious mix, and the make up of that mix is what interests the writers. They analyze and dissect (not literally) the people they meet and try to categorize them in different ways. It's an interesting journey, even if the end result is simply to say that almost all of us believe in some sort of paranormal activity, with more joining the movement all the time.

If you are one of those that are deeply involved in the paranormal, you might not find this book very interesting. In fact, despite their best efforts to be politically correct, I think some might take offense at the conclusions derived from their data. But if you're interested in what type of people believe these things, then this is a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader on July 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is a thoroughly engaging and well-written summary of research conducted by a group of sociologists who investigated, not paranormal phenomena, but rather the PEOPLE who BELIEVE in paranormal phenomena. Although the authors themselves are skeptics, they never pass judgment on their subjects. Instead, the researchers carefully and dutifully report, without editorializing, exactly what their subjects say about their paranormal experiences. The authors go along on a ghost hunt, a bigfoot hunt, and have their fortunes told by soothsayers. The stories of these excursions and the people who lead them provide interesting background information which breathes life into the authors' raw data, charts, and statistics. Personally, I don't believe in any paranormal phenomena, so I greatly admire the authors for their ability to complete this work without once rolling their eyes or winking at the camera, so to speak. This is a fun, interesting, and informative book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lisa A. Shiel on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is unique in that it is not about debunking the paranormal, despite the fact its authors are all sociologists. Most books about the paranormal written by academics tend to treat the topic with disdain. The authors of this book make no judgements about whether paranormal phenomena exist. Instead, they discuss what people believe and endeavor to figure out why, but they do so without derision. The book contains interesting statistics based on Baylor University's religion surveys, all of which lead to a surprising conclusion--that believing in the paranormal is no longer a fringe belief, but quite mainstream.

If you haven't read the book, knowing what the authors conclude is hardly a spoiler, for this is just one of many conclusions reached in the book. As someone who believes in the paranormal, and doesn't take offense at the words belief or believer, I found this book refreshing and interesting.
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