- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; 1 edition (August 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594200904
- ASIN: B000VPP9RI
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,598,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 3, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In a compelling tale with resonance for today, Blum evokes a surprising sympathy for her band of tough-minded intellectuals—among them philosophers, psychologists, even two future Nobelists—who, around the turn of the 20th century, pursued the paranormal in an attempt to bridge the gap between faith and science at a time when religion was besieged by the theory of evolution and a new scientific outlook. Foremost in the Society for Psychical Research in America was the brilliant philosopher and psychologist William James, who like the others, risked his reputation in this unorthodox pursuit. Blum unearths the history of their research, their passionate friendships and debates, as well as their private doubts about the meaning of their work. Much of the society's efforts were devoted to exposing charlatans, but even the most dogged of the members, Richard Hodgson, was baffled by Boston's Leonora Piper, a reluctant medium of rare gifts. As Hodgson obsessively studies this medium, the story grows weirder and weirder, but Blum, who was nominated for an L.A. Times Book Award for Love at Goon Park, tells it straight, never overdramatizing the strange events. She achieves deep poignancy at moments that in less gifted hands could have seemed most laughable. The result is a moving portrait of a fascinating group of people and a first-rate slice of cultural history. (Aug. 7)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize?winning science writer and professor of science journalism at the University of Wisconsin, tackles a chapter from our past that doubly intriguesthrough the search for the afterlife and the number of famous thinkers associated with it. Critics point out that, despite her compelling narrative and her evenhanded history, Blum comes up short in her examination of the reasons behind spiritualism's rise in popularity. She never wavers, however, in her ability to draw in readers with stories of famous mediums and their ability to deceive. The result is an entertaining look at the ubiquitous séances and spirit-summonings that make a study of spiritualism a worthwhile curiosity to readers more than a century later.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.
Top customer reviews
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This book shows clearly how hard original investigators tried to establish scientific study on paranormal phenomena in the world full of prejudice. This book shows well digested history of those great investigators establishing Psychical Research Society in Britain and in United States. It is very interesting and well documented, concise history, which we can read just like interesting mystery novel. But from these pages, we learn how hard they had to fight against prejudice of those famous so-called scientists such as John Tyndall and others showed. In America, William James almost single handedly fought with such scientists who lost scientific attitude and behaved just like believer of materialism, which we can say not scientific attitude. Science starts from collecting fact. If something strange things happens, we have to try to understand the facts and then try to solve why or how. William James showed how truly great he was as scientist and investigator in addition to as philosopher. At that time around 19 century, to accept Telepathy was fatal error to survive in the academic world. Now in 21 century, nobody deny existence of telepathy, clairvoyance and others. Now scientific world conveniently brings "Super ESP" to deny existence of After Life. How funny it is! To bring Super ESP to explain paranormal phenomena is just like bring Deus-ex-machina in ancient Greek Drama.
Anyway, this book shows those giants of psychic investigators at the time of creation in full blood. Very interesting and well written.
After reading this book, I truly found William James - Great as philosopher and as psychic investigator. Compared to other American intelligent of his ages, he stands on top of others distinctly.
This book also shows how those pioneer works such as "Phantasms of the Living" and "Human Personality and survival of its bodily death" were produced with hardship and brave mind.
So, it was amazing performance that author could produce in this comparatively small book, abundant information and rich field of very interesting drama played by those truly brave scientific minded people, especially by William James. I definitely recommend this book to serious researchers who like to know how investigators must be tough and brave to open new study field in academic world.
I deeply enjoyed reading about Hodgson, as I feel many researchers of his caliber have been "dehumanized" due to their scholarly and investigative submissions to psychical academia. Deborah Blum captures something in this book; she channeled some aspect of the particular subject matter's soul that I've never seen any literary inscription reach before. This review alone is only one indicator of her excellent scholarship. Don't take my word on this -read the book.