Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries

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9780936455112: Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries

What is it like to travel the world investigating the paranormal? To not just sit back and wonder about the world's famous unexplained mysteries, but actually go out and solve them? To investigate haunted houses, searching for evidence of ghosts and spirits? To search the world's lakes for giant, fearsome monsters? To investigate and create the mysterious phenomena of crop circles? To talk to people who speak to the dead, solve crimes for police, or use ESP? Scientific Paranormal Investigation is the first book to give the public an inside look at the life, methods, and work of a real-life scientific paranormal investigator. Author Benjamin Radford has investigated unexplained phenomena for over a decade, not just read or written about them, but actually gone out to see what's there. Unlike most other books and reality TV shows on the supernatural or paranormal, Radford strictly adheres to scientific methods. In a nutshell, Scientific Paranormal Investigation is the equivalent of The X-Files meets CSI: Crime Scene Investigations: applying scientific methods and principles to real-life mysteries, and coming up with explanations when it seems none are possible. Whether the subject is a crime scene or a haunted house, the questions are the same: What did eyewitnesses see? What does the evidence show? If the paranormal ghosts, psychics, or Bigfoot really exist, there should be valid scientific evidence for them. Scientific Paranormal Investigation draws from dozens of cases and mysteries, explaining step-by-step the science-based methods Radford used to solve them.

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About the Author:

Benjamin Radford is managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and a Research Fellow with the non-profit educational organization the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He has written hundreds of articles on a wide variety of topics, including urban legends, the paranormal, critical thinking, and science literacy. Radford is author of five books: Hoaxes, Myths, and Manias: Why We Need Critical Thinking (with Bob Bartholomew); Media Mythmakers: How Journalists, Activists, and Advertisers Mislead Us; Lake Monster Mysteries: Investigating the World s Most Elusive Creatures (with Joe Nickell); Scientific Paranormal Investigation: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries; and Tracking the Vampire: Chupacabra in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore (out in Spring 2011 from the University of New Mexico Press). Radford is a columnist for LiveScience.com and Discovery News. Radford created Playing Gods: The Board Game of Divine Domination, the world's first satirical board game of religious warfare. He is also a filmmaker, and released two short films in 2007 and 2009. Radford is one of the world's few science-based paranormal investigators, and has done first-hand research into mysterious phenomena including psychics, ghosts and haunted houses; exorcisms, miracles, Bigfoot, stigmata, lake monsters, UFO sightings, reincarnation, and crop circles, and many other topics. He is perhaps best known for solving the mysteries of the Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost in 2007, and the Hispanic vampire el chupacabra in 2010. Radford has appeared on the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Learning Channel, CBC, CBS, BBC, CNN, ABC News, and other networks with three letters. He also served as a consultant for the MTV series The Big Urban Myth Show and an episode of the CBS crime drama CSI. Radford has appeared in many publications including the Wall Street Journal, Wired, The New York Times, Kansas City Star, Vanity Fair, and Ladies Home Journal.

Review:

A brilliant and highly readable manual on how to solve mysteries, investigate claims, and detect baloney. (Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why People Believe Weird Things) / / An excellent primer on how any reasonably observant person interested in looking into paranormal claims can do so without having to invent the art from scratch. The real paydirt here is Ben's own detailed accounts of events he s personally looked into.... Ben Radford knows his calling. Read, consider, and learn. It's all here. (James Randi, magician, investigator, author, and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation) /// Radford is one of only a handful of professional, scientific paranormal investigators in the world. He has a proven track record of explaining the unexplained and in this book he reveals the scientific principles that can be used to shed light on the most mysterious of phenomena. (Prof. Richard Wiseman, psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire and author of many books including Guidelines for Testing Psychic Claimants) // What does it take to do scientific investigations of ghost stories, the claims of psychics, or the appearance overnight of complex designs in corn fields? Radford not only explains what tools the investigator needs, but shows the reader how he applied those tools in real-life cases. If you want to become a paranormal investigator, Radford's book is the first thing you should put in your toolkit. (Robert Carroll, emeritus professor of philosophy at Sacramento City College and author of The Skeptic's Dictionary and Becoming a Critical Thinker.) /// If you care to know how professional investigators solve mysteries, and the amazing and often amusing facts they uncover, then this fascinating book is a must. Ben Radford has been there, he has seen and heard and smelled it all! (Martin Gardner, author of over seventy books about science, pseudoscience, mathematics, philosophy, and literature.) // Radford dares to argue that investigators of the paranormal should approach their work scientifically, and then shows the reader precisely how to do so. A must-read for any skeptic. (D. J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation) --Back cover blurbs provided by authors

A special feature of Radford's book is that it consists largely of case studies he has personally investigated. The reader can see how the principles of investigation are applied to actual paranormal claims. But the main value of Radford's book is that he lays out what should and should not be done in a proper scientific investigation. Radford tells the reader that his book focuses on the practical aspects of applied skepticism ... powerful, real-world ideas for critically examining everything from crime scenes to psychic powers to personal decisions. These ideas have been drawn largely from the scientific process, psychology, criminal investigation techniques, and logic. Scientific Paranormal Investigation would be a valuable addition to the library of every journalist and skeptic. But the thousands of people who investigate weird or mysterious things and the millions of readers and viewers who follow their investigations would benefit the most. Unfortunately, too many people who try to investigate rather than validate or debunk paranormal claims are unprepared to do a proper investigation. They may have good intentions, but the road to error is paved with good intentions. Having the right tools is essential, but as Radford makes painfully clear, you can t buy the most important tools you need. It takes years of hard work to develop the knowledge and skills needed to be a scientific paranormal investigator..... Contrary to what you might see on television, an abundance of scientific gadgets is not as important as knowledge of the subject, knowledge of psychology, good logical reasoning skills, and an open mind. Radford's book does what a scientific paranormal investigation should do: it helps the reader distinguish the real thing from the fake. --Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Sept/Oct 2010

This is the best book I have ever read on the subject of paranormal and ghost investigations... It's dead-on target about how to do real, scientific investigation. I can't recommend it highly enough. (Tim Yancey, Encounters Live Paranormal Radio) // This book is about practical, applied skepticism. As a regular participant in TV shows, Radford gives us an insiders view on how these shows are made and their ultimate purpose. With his enthusiasm for pop culture, he is able to deftly connect the influences and effects of culture to paranormal popularity. I have not seen any comparable insight anywhere else. True gems of wisdom are richly strewn throughout the book. This book is a necessity for all paranormal investigators. It ought to be required for those questionable 'home study' courses for ghost hunters. At least, then, they might learn how to solve some mysteries instead of inflate them. (Sharon Hill, Doubtful blog, June 21, 2010) --Encounters Live Paranormal Radio / Doubtful blog

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