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An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural Paperback – March 15, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
Rest assured that James Randi's curmudgeon persona is purely an act. A couple years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting this charming and gracious man in person, and I'm happy to say that a good amount of that charm finds its way into the entries. Very highly recommended!
Randi's research is sometimes flawed and his accounts sketchy, which leads me to reduce the rating I give for this book. For example, he does not realize that the Necronomicon was a Twentieth Century invention of horror author H.P. Lovecraft and he falsely implicates Increase Mather as a proponent of the Salem Witchcraft trials. (Increase was off in England when the whole thing started and was shocked to find it underway upon his return.) He is also coy about revealing details of certain trade secrets used by stage magicians and bunko spiritualists. These flaws detract from an otherwise marvellous and valuable reference.
Yet, as I read this book, I was seriously annoyed about the over-sarcastic tone he uses so often. Many times it's like he's trying to go for overkill with a "witty remark", but doing so he really adds nothing to the book. Worse than that, he comes off as a rabid, sometime overemotional basher of irrationalists everywhere. This really backfires when one wants to show this book to some delusional folk to help him/her get a grip on reality - haters aren't really good teachers.
Also, the book is poorly edited. Typos abound, and Randi couldn't get right an Italian name/word if his life depended on it. Being Italian myself, I might be partial about this, but traits like those don't belong to serious research as he is actually doing.
I recommend it to anyone who needs a reference book of quackeries, both religious and secular. It has been a great help to my work as well as a great reading.
I have seen that some paranormalists have given bad grades for this book : however this book is a REFERENCE first of all and not for argumentation. If you really need help in understanding why your favorite brand of idiocy is in there, please take a Logic 101 class.
"Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes" is a book you'll not only enjoy but keep going refering to!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lot of it is similar if not identical to what he's been recorded as saying in interviews, lectures and his TV show from years ago now. Read morePublished 7 months ago by David L.
it's a really crummy, '70s style encyclopedia/compendium of material cribbed from Randi's extensive library, very superficial and was probably useful only before the invention of... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Martha H.
As with all of Randi's books, he tells it like it is. I wonder how many millions of dollars he has saved people, by warning them away from frauds? Read morePublished on March 21, 2012 by David
The book is interesting and surprisingly less caustic than Randi's others books. The book might better be described as a small dictionary rather than an "encyclopedia". Read morePublished on February 27, 2007 by Lovin' The Truth
Fun read and yeah - what do you expect from a world, who believes more in so called "Psychics" than facing reality and that we are really not that important as we think we... Read morePublished on February 5, 2006 by Mark Bellinghaus
If you get this book, do so for one of two reasons:
1)You want entertaining tidbits about weird stuff
2)You already own everything else Randi's written... Read more
Skepticism can be healthy, but this book is an error-filled celebration of hollow, misleading cynicism delivered with a surprising level of shallowness and lack of detail. Read morePublished on June 19, 2005 by David Ciaffardini
The only people who like this book are the people (1) who agree with everything the author tells them (2) James Randi himself.
Personally I find this book to be useless. Read more