Books, books, books…
Over the years I have managed to accumulate a mass of books on the paranormal and some that are not directly linked to the paranormal too. When researching the unknown I have found it useful to read up on various topics; from psychology to physics. All too often have I found myself contemplating a particular idea or concept, which in turn has led me off on various tangents or adventures to discover more. Hence the explorer part in this very website!
All that said and done though there have been a number of specific books, which I could happily list as having a fundamental involvement in my own paranormal evolution over the years. Books I feel have a way of doing that and I am sure they will continue to do so. As odd as it may sound to some, I have a slight weakness for books and often find myself buying more before I’ve even finished the one I am currently reading. My current ‘to read’ stack has at least five or six still in it.
However my book addiction aside, I thought I would use this brief blog post to introduce you to a few books from my bookshelf that I have read and equally in turn have responsible for me expanding my own knowledge in order to understand more about the paranormal. They have also been the catalyst for me to look at the paranormal from a completely different perspective from the way I originally did.
Although the list below is numbered, these are in no particular order to be honest. Each of them proved equally useful in their own way and helped me to comprehend different understandings of the field.
An introduction to parapsychology is really an understatement in my opinion, this book is not only comprehensive, but covers an immense amount of the subject. This book is one of those books that you’ll read and re-read, but equally if like me you conduct a lot of research for your investigations, then it will become a point of reference over and over again. It was this book that highlighted the more science based aspects of the paranormal to me in a way that made sense and was presented in the form of an academic text-book. This showed the serious side to this topic, the side where advancements are being made year on year. The side where we are seeing interesting results from many experiments the world over, which don’t just deal with survival but the true possibilities of the human mind.
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I believe that the University of Edinburgh’s Koestler Unit utilise this particular book as their text-book to accompany the online course they provide too. Professor Caroline Watt is the Chair of Parapsychology there and heads up a team of prominent parapsychologists and skeptics from the world in the eleven-week course.
What I found brilliant about this book was that beyond its wealth of information, each chapter ended giving the reader key terms and concepts in a simple list. The end of each chapter also included a number of study questions to do too, which really help to get you in the mindset and learn what you’ve just read.
If you’re interested in the paranormal and wish to know more about parapsychology, then An Introduction to Parapsychology really should be on your book shelf.
My introduction to this particular gem of a book actually began through the friend of our children, YouTube. Whilst skimming through the usual rubbish on they’re looking for some science based videos I stumbled on a TED Talk by Rupert Sheldrake. In the talk he challenged the materialistic scientific view we often trust so much and proposed that there maybe more to research out there beyond the confines of this viewpoint. Suffice to say I was a little inspired and wanted to know more. Sheldrakes book was what I found next and from that my fundamental interest in telepathy was born.
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This in itself is what books are all about for me. You discover an author quite by accident and read their book, finding out that it resonates with you, which in turn inspires you.
Sheldrakes book really does touch on all the key points of the research that I now look into too. He describes what telepathy is; which spoiler alert, it literally means ‘distant feeling’. He also talks of its evolution, work in the laboratory over the years, the power of attention, remote viewing and even mental fields. Take into consideration that Sheldrake studied the natural sciences at Cambridge, Philosophy at Havard, received a PhD in biochemistry at Cambridge too. He’s also a Research Fellow of the Royal Society as well. That in itself I think shows the calibre that Sheldrake brings to the table and this book is certainly not lacking. He presents a detailed account throughout and backs it up in places with good research too.
I spent a great deal of this book saying; ‘oh yeah’ or ‘of course’ if memory serves me well. Once you start reading it and with Sheldrakes explanations, you soon see what has been there the whole time. In my case, once the door to the subject of telepathy had been fully opened there was no turning back and thanks to Sheldrake I needed to know more.
At the point that I picked up Radin’s book I was hooked on wanting to know more about psychical research and more specifically aspects of telepathy. However one thing that had already come up was how could this information be transferred from one person to another. One possibility that has been suggested by a few was that this could be down to entanglement, or as Albert Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance”. This is the way two objects remain connected through time and space, without communicating in a conventional manner.
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As a senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dean Radin believes this could help explain our psychic abilities. In Entangled Minds Radin shows us how things like telepathy, psychokinesis and more are very real, based on scientific evidence from thousands of controlled experiments in the laboratory. This includes some fascinating research around collective consciousness, which touches specifically on some major world events.
This was another excellent book which helped me to understand that the field of the paranormal goes far, far beyond that of ghosts and haunting’s; it now for me has a firm establishment within science and the probably capabilities we may have. As well as the very possible nature of how we all appear to be more connected that we realise.
If you pick up this book you will have more questions than answers when you finish it as I did, but that’s truly the point. We should have more questions, we need more questions. The darkness of the unknown is slowly being illuminated, why not join those shining a light into that darkness.
Oddly this was another book that I purchased for my bookshelf after I stumbled across another TED Talk, this time by Russell Targ. This particular talk I believe pops up on old YouTube as a talk about Psychic Abilities. However I think if memory serves me, its entitled ‘Is ESP Real?’
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However this wasn’t the first time I had heard of Russell Targ. Many years ago before investigating overnight, I spent many years researching various paranormal aspects. During this time I stumbled on the subject of remote viewing and the work Russell Targ had done at the Stanford Research Institute. One of the things that I liked about Targ and he’s work was the fact that he is a physicist investigating remote viewing and various other psychic phenomena. Once again this was another book presenting various theories of psychic ability, but justifying them with good science.
This particular book not only discusses remote viewing and how it can be achieved, but equally mentions the interesting subject of the phenomenon of “nonlocality”. It even touches on aspects of distant healing too, which is a whole new level. Imagine being able to conduct an assessment of someone’s physiology to determine if there are any possible ailments looming, the applications of such things would be remarkable. Especially when that assessment could occur in a manner that can transverse time and space.
Russell Targ has had an amazing career researching psychic phenomena, which has even had him working for the American government too. This book is a ‘eye opener’ as it doesn’t just discuss this phenomena from a point of view of science, it places it into our real lives. Perhaps even presenting a balance of science and spirituality within its pages.
I’ve actually read it a couple of times now, not because I missed something or didn’t understand it. I read it a second time because it has you pondering the reality, yes the reality of psychic phenomena, of what we can do. Our mind is truly limitless and this book shows us just some of what it is capable of.
Let me start with this one by saying, this book is in two volumes, yes it’s that long. Secondly, it is not an easy read and took me a heck of a long time to get through. Including some points where I had to put it down for a week or so. It was also written at the end of the 1800’s too, so not exactly free-flowing novel style.
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However all that said it was written by one of the founders of the Society for Psychical Research before his death and then published after he died. This epic piece of work contains a wealth of knowledge regarding psychical research and some excellent ideas around how it may all work.
Why did I pick up this particularly old book and read it through, that’s simple and really there’s two reasons. The first reason was because I joined the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and wanted to know more about the society and its founders. The second was because I had developed an interest in telepathy and it was FWH Myers that coined the term, so I thought as a part of my own research I would gain an understanding of the term through his work.
The book itself is actually really fascinating and tremendously in-depth. If you are really serious about knowing more about telepathy and psychical research I would advise you to read this book as a historical basis at least. It’s a tough and long read, but stick with it and it will leave you with an interesting viewpoint of psychical activity. Again like some of the others I’ve written about here, this book presents the information in an informative and scientific approach format.
For me this book has now become an excellent reference book for other research on my bookshelf. I have recently attended a lecture at the SPR in London and as it was on telepathy in parts it was good to Myers work to refer back to. This has also really helped in developing my own ideas and theories around the aspects of telepathy. A really handy book to have on the shelf.
Personally I think that Myers is one of the giants in the field and certainly a slight hero in regards to telepathy for me. If you have an interest in telepathy, then I suggest you grab a copy of Myers book Human Personality and its Survival of Bodily Death as part of a way to gain a foundation to the subject. Obviously there has been loads more research over the years since this book, which actually you can find in Radin’s, Targ’s and Sheldrakes books too. Still a classic worth having.
That’s my top 5…
So, that’s it, my top 5 paranormal books that helped to change my perspective of the paranormal. I think many venture into the paranormal with a view of looking into haunted locations, ghosts and spirits being all there is within the field. However there is a vast universe sized amount of possibilities out there, which is likely to overlap in many places. Keeping open-minded is important as it allows us to continue to venture into various different possibilities, which could explain many aspects of the paranormal.
The field as a whole is expanding rapidly and developing fast too. Research is quickly becoming more and more mainstream too. This taboo subject of ours has now become something that can be found in universities the world over and they are conducting research which is beginning to be applied in real world situations too.
As I am unable to attend a course to further my knowledge right now, I read, I read a lot actually! Books like these help develop our perspectives and if you’re like me you finish them with a load more questions. Those questions lead to more books and from there we each evolve.
There is still a lot more books on my shelf, perhaps I will share some of those soon too!
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