"This is it—the definitive book on ghosts from a scientific perspective written by the world's foremost science-based ghost hunter. Joe Nickell has once again risen to the challenge of attempting to explain what are often seemingly inexplicable one-off anomalous events by employing the best science and technology available for each and every case of the most prominent ghost sightings and experiences in history. Nickell is the go-to guy for all things paranormal and with this book he has once again asserted himself as a fair and careful investigator whose conclusions we can trust."
—Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of The Believing Brain
“Joe Nickell has shown himself as not only the premiere skeptical paranormal investigator alive today, but also the most humane: he neither belittles believers, diminishing their deeply felt experiences, nor does he take advantage of them by promulgating their supernatural beliefs in popular culture for personal gain. In his important new book The Science of Ghosts, Nickell explains his expert investigative techniques of various paranormal cases, looking at the actual evidence for the existence of such spirit beings. Because he doesn't set out to debunk ghosts, but puts such beliefs in their important cultural and psychological context, this is a book that everyone who is interested in ghostly evidence for the afterlife — believer and skeptic alike — would benefit from reading.”
—D. J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation
Are ghosts real? Are there truly haunted places? How can we know?
From the most ancient times, people have experienced apparent contact with spirits of the dead. Some have awakened to see a ghost at their bedside or encountered a spectral figure gliding through a medieval castle. Others have seemingly communicated with spirits, like the Old Testament’s Witch of Endor, the spiritualists whose darkroom séances provoked scientific controversy in the last two centuries, or today’s “psychic mediums,” like John Edward or Sylvia Browne, who seem to reach the “Other Side” even under the glare of television lights. Currently, equipment-laden ghost hunters stalk their quarry in haunted places—from urban houses to country graveyards—recording “anomalies” they insist cannot be explained.
Putting aside purely romantic tales, The Science of Ghosts examines the actual evidence for such contact—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, The Science of Ghosts 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.
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.
Pages: 412 pages (illustrations)
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Joe Nickell has been called “the modern Sherlock Holmes” and “the real-life Scully” (from the X-Files). He has been on the trail of mysterious creatures and phenomena for four decades. Since 1995 he has been the world’s only full-time, professional, science-based paranormal investigator. His careful, often-innovative investigations have won him international respect in a field charged with controversy. He is the author of numerous books, including most recently The Science of Ghosts; Tracking the Man Beasts; Real or Fake? Studies in Authentication; and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation. Among his other books are Psychic Sleuths, Looking for a Miracle, and Secrets of the Supernatural. See www.joenickell.com for more.