Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

Book review: Through a Glass, Darkly, by Stefan Bechtel and Laurence Roy Stains Amazon / Book Depository What had come to be known as “spiritualism”—the conviction that those who have passed over had the ability and the desire to make contact across the veil of death with those they’d left behind—seemed to have bewitched the Western world.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, forever linked with his character, … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

Supernatural, Paranormal, Surreal But True Tales from the US Government

Book review: The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the U.S. Army. Defying all known accepted military practice—and indeed, the laws of physics—they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Journalist Jon … Continue reading Supernatural, Paranormal, Surreal But True Tales from the US Government

The Mystery of a Clairvoyant and a Con

Book review: A Deal with the Devil, by Blake Ellis and Melanie Hicken (Amazon / Book Depository) We knew that many people thought of all psychics as frauds. We’d heard plenty of horror stories about people who lost thousands of dollars to storefront psychics or psychic hotlines. But we had never heard of a psychic scam quite like this one, in which fraudsters used the mail … Continue reading The Mystery of a Clairvoyant and a Con

Weird, Wonderful Observations on Mysteries of Scandal, Fraud, Psychics, and Other Curiosities

Book review: Lost at Sea, by Jon Ronson Amazon So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is one of those books that I haven’t been able to decide if I should read. But I knew as soon as I heard comedian Karen Kilgariff describe another of British journalist Jon Ronson’s books, Lost at Sea, that I had to read this one immediately. I love journalistic essays, especially ones dealing … Continue reading Weird, Wonderful Observations on Mysteries of Scandal, Fraud, Psychics, and Other Curiosities

Conversations About the Other Side

Book review: Psychics, Healers & Mediums, by Jenniffer Weigel It’s Halloween! Time for a ghosty post! I haven’t read much recently that’s Halloween-applicable, but as a favorite spooky read, I recommend Colin Dickey’s scary but skeptical Ghostland. Now for the less skeptical… Jenniffer Weigel is a Chicago Tribune columnist, radio host, and reporter who’s already written about her attempts to contact her father after his death, and her … Continue reading Conversations About the Other Side