by Joe Nickell
Paperback: 412 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Barry’s score 2 stars out of 5…
Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places, only haunted people, or both? And how can we know? Taking neither a credulous nor a dismissive approach, this first-of-its-kind book solves those perplexing mysteries and more–even answering the question of why we care so very much.
Putting aside purely romantic tales, this book examines the actual evidence for ghosts–from eyewitness accounts to mediumistic productions (such as diaphanous forms materializing in dim light), spirit photographs, ghost-detection phenomena, and even CSI-type trace evidence. Offering numerous exciting case studies, this book engages in serious investigation rather than breathless mystifying. Pseudoscience, folk legends, and outright hoaxes are challenged and exposed, while the historical, cultural, and scientific aspects of ghost experiences and haunting reports are carefully explored.
The author–the world’s only professional paranormal investigator–brings his skills as a stage magician, private detective, folklorist, and forensic science writer to bear on a topic that demands serious study.
Usually, I love a solid skeptical investigation of the paranormal. I really want on honest, non-biased, approach to an investigation. Sadly, Joe Nickell is so biased against paranormal phenomena that he can not give a fair, unbiased, evaluation of data gathered in his investigations. Almost everything has an over-simplified explanation, dreams, hallucinations, daydreams, etc..
Nickell repetitively quotes himself which comes off as an exercise in both ego and a desire to sell his other books. He cherry picks historically debunked cases and covers them as if he had solved some great enigma. Nickell’s intellectual dishonesty is that of a stage magician ( btw he is a stage magician ). He struts, poses, and waves his magic wand producing nothing.
While there is some good material in the book, I can not recommend The Science of Ghosts: Searching for Spirits of the Dead unless you are the most hardcore of skeptics. In the end, I give this book 2 stars out of 5.