SECRETS OF THE SUPERNATURAL: Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries by Joe with John F. Fischer Nickell

SECRETS OF THE SUPERNATURAL: Investigating the World's Occult Mysteries

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Competent but uninvolving rundown on ten ""occult mysteries""--by a former stage magician and private eye turned technical writer (Nickell), and a foresenic specialist (Fischer). The authors take pains to call themselves ""investigators,"" but debunking is what they do. Ghostly sounds at a haunted house in Toronto? The echo of a nearby printing press and a neighbor's piano practice. Spontaneous human combustion? A dropped cigarette in bed or couch igniting a flame fed by the body's own fats? The authors also de rate claims of ""spirit"" photos (fakes), incredible disappearances (they never happened), a bleeding door (it's gunk, not blood), dowsing (unconscious muscular twitching), the miraculous image of Guadalupe (a painting), synchronicity (just coincidence), and the tossing coffins of Barbados (in a fit of wild conjecture, they conclude that this famous folk tale is a disguised Masonic allegory). In most cases, considerable leg- and book-work backs up their conclusions, which will please skeptics but do nothing to dissuade believers. This is a solid but one-sided approach; Nickell, let it be noted, is a consultant for the Vatican of debunkers, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. A useful but limited addition to the study of the paranormal, a field that still awaits its Newton.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Prometheus