A little about the author…
One of the first things that struck me as interesting about Brandon Massullo was his career background. Often the subject of the Paranormal draws in many individuals from quite a few different walks of life that have an interest in the subject matter and often apply to it things they have learnt in their day-to-day careers.
Brandon is a clinical therapist from Northeast Ohio and has worked within the Neurological Institute for the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. Whilst he was there he conducted behavioural health consultations. He has since moved on to become the director of behavioural health at a local hospital.
With an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in clinical counselling from the university of Toledo, Brandon has some good knowledge and experience that can be applied to the Paranormal field. This is also topped off with an MSc in psychological research methods, which he picked up from the university of Edinburgh. Whilst at the university of Edinburgh he studied under the supervision of Dr Caroline Watt within the Koestler Parapsychology Unit. His research centred on neurobiological correlates of ghostly encounters, which is something else I must ask him about I feel.
Brandon’s fascination for Paranormal phenomena has lead him to participate and speak at many a paranormal forum and event. This has included the Parapsychological Associations 60th Anniversary Celebration too. With his research also cited in many Parapsychological journals, news articles and books, Brandon Massullo is certainly adding to our understanding of how this phenomena may occur.
However if you’ve not heard of Brandon, don’t panic I hadn’t, its likely because the true research side of the paranormal doesn’t get quite the recognition it should in my opinion. Which is a massive shame as there is so much we could learn, understand and use to progress our understanding here and that is where ‘The Ghost Studies’ fits in too.
On to Ghost Studies…
I will be totally honest I don’t recall how Brandon and I began to chat, but I am glad we did. It certainly wasn’t long before ‘The Ghost Studies’ arrived at my home and I set about reading it. In fact its arrival was well-timed as I was just finishing another book at the time.
What’s good to know straight of the mark is that the book is not huge in length and not written in such a fashion that you would need to have attended university to read it. As a matter of fact I found it very easy to read and it flowed from one chapter to the next with ease.
Something else that really appealed to me about Brandon’s approach was the structure of the book. Not only did each chapter tackle a particular point in order to help build us towards the Massullo’s hypothesis, but each of those chapters were broken into smaller sections in order to look at smaller parts that make up the bigger picture. He also added a ‘summary’ at the end of each chapter to remind us what we had just read about, but also how it was beginning to tie in to the other points the book had raised in previous chapters too.
Throughout most of the chapters Brandon engaged our understanding of various points with a few anecdotal stories he had gathered from various sources. Each of which were ideal for the chapter they were placed in amongst valid points that continued to lead us towards the final understanding. In fact he even brought a couple of these stories back later on to reapply what had been learnt since and how his theories were beginning to tie into them.
All in all the book is well structured and like any good book, it builds the picture gradually before delivering in the conclusion.
What’s it all about then…
This is always the hardest part to write, as I want to tell you a great deal about the book, but equally I don’t wish to ruin it for you. Firstly, if you have an interest in the paranormal and theories surrounding what ghosts may be, then this is certainly a book you should read.
Massullo jumps straight in at the deep end and tackles some of the hard questions within the paranormal without even flinching. He looks at the cause of ghostly experiences, why some report encounters and others do not. He also takes a look at crisis apparitions and how they fit into the mix too. In fact we barely make it to the end of chapter one before he offers up his; ‘ingredients of a ghostly experience’ with an interesting little equation, so to speak.
Massullo writes; “By combining previous research in psychology, bioenergetics, and universal consciousness, this book identifies a simple equation that sheds light on ghostly experiences.”
As a matter of fact it’s a neat little equation that does make actual sense to me and is in my opinion certainly a large step in the right direction for the field. Rather than presenting a singular reason for ghosts and potentially spirits, such as that of a deceased person attempting to communicate. Massullo presents a combination of factors that are required to enable an experience. An approach I totally agree with, its not a simple singular answer that will explain these strange occurrences after all.
Throughout the book Massullo adds to his hypothesis by discussing many an interesting area of the paranormal. Looking at aspects which are favourites of the modern ghost hunter, such as energy or electricity. Which brings the latest favourite into view, EMF. He then moves onto looking for ghosts in and out of the laboratory, discussing Persinger, Koren, Braithwaite and more. Certainly a lot of detail in regards to EMF, MF and even GMF’s.
Massullo continued his journey by looking at the psychological elements of this equation and discussing Jung, Freud, Rhine, Jawer and Sidgwick, covering off a variety of considerations including repressed emotions and emotional crisis too. This lead to internal energy and bioenergetics, looking at Pert’s theory on the ‘molecules of emotion’ and beyond.
We move on from the bioenergetics to external information acquisition and once again return to the work of Jung (personal favourite), but this then took us onto the work of Sheldrake and his morphogenetic fields. Which for me was very interesting as I had too made this connection previously. It’s always good when someone else makes a similar connection as yourself in the paranormal.
Brandon even throws a little entanglement and interconnected minds in there too just at the right moment. Which is something that’s been received with a positive and negative response over the last few years. Personally I do think it plays a part and we are still a little way off figuring out exactly how.
Finally, Massullo presents his theory and its important processes to enable it to work before bringing back those all important stories to show how it fits and explains the scenarios at hand. I am not going to explain the theory here or even the hypothesis, as I feel its something you should read and gain an understanding from. Brandon applies it to haunted locations too and I have to admit the theory is quite compelling.
It is a well structured comprehension of hauntings and how they could occur, giving the reader a fascinating possible hypothesis to why they happen. One that doesn’t simple re-write old approaches, but builds on what we already know.
In my opinion…
‘The Ghost Studies’ is one of those books that if you’re into trying to understand the true questions of the paranormal like I am, you should really own. If you’re anything like me you will probably read it through in a short space of time, but then keep referring back to it, just because its full of information cover to cover.
Brandon has constructed the book really well and has been careful to make it very accessible to most in the field I would say. Its well written and engaging throughout, which keeps you turning the pages at a good pace. Although he covers a wide range of topics and disciplines within the covers, they never seem to be presented in too much of a heavy format that has you losing interest.
He sets out the plan for the readers journey right from the outset and from chapter one you know exactly where you are going, gradually building an excellent case to support his hypothesis.
If you’re interested in reading about paranormal theories and possible explanations for the cause of ghosts and hauntings, then this is the next book you should read. The hypothesis presented between the covers is well put together and to me at least made excellent sense. A quick flick through the notes section and you can easily see the work that has gone into this theory, not to mentioned the wealth of knowledge on the subject that Massullo obviously possesses.
In all honesty I am not sure if I 100% agree with the entirety of the hypothesis, but then given the subject at hand there are bound to be a few things we wouldn’t agree on. That’s half the fun of such a wide-ranging and complex subject. However please don’t misunderstand me, as I agree with a large majority of what Massullo has put forward in this excellent book. Hopefully the source for future discussions, I will certainly be applying some of what has been learnt from this book to my own research now.
Closing the cover…
This is one of those books that I was pleased to read and I am very glad that I have. The hypothesis presented in under two hundred pages is excellent and in my opinion highly probable given the extensive supporting work. It is certainly food for thought and gets the old grey matter going.
I would encourage you to grab a copy of ‘The Ghost Studies’ as its likely that it will spur additional reading and research, which is always a good thing. It may not answer the hard questions of consciousness and its survival just yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and cannot sing its praises enough. If you’ve enjoyed many of my psi theory posts then you will more than likely enjoy this too. Although I have now finished the book, I am more than certain that I will be referring to this one on a regular basis for a long while to date.
Finally, I would like to thank Brandon Massullo for giving me this opportunity to read his work, it was indeed an enjoyable journey.
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