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The X Files, The Haunting, The Sixth Sense, and The Blair Witch Project clearly show that the public has a tremendous fascination with the paranormal and the occult, and the media is all too eager to cater to people's wildest fantasies and fears. At a time when there is growing acceptance of pseudoscience and claims of psychic phenomena, this penetrating analysis of so-called psychic abilities is a long overdue and thorough refutation of the whole psi craze. In regard to ESP, the Ganzfeld research, and the extraordinary claims of "mentalists," psychologist David Marks uncovers a long trail of deception, conjuring tricks, and scientific bungling. He also goes to great pains to examine the claims of serious parapsychologists such as Russell Targ, Harold Puthoff, Edwin C. May, the late Charles Honorton, Rupert Sheldrake, Jessica Utts, and Nobel Prize winner Brian D. Josephson. Not only does he provide an interesting account of what these leading figures think they have discovered, but he also offers lucid explanations of why they are mistaken.
Included along with these fascinating investigations is a discussion of why so many people today are prone to believe in the reality of psi phenomena. In the final chapter, titled "The Art of Doubt," the author explores the positive role of skepticism in the progress of genuine science.
For all those who value science's ability to separate sense from nonsense, The Psychology of the Psychic will come as welcome relief. The devastating conclusions will shock those who believe that psi is a proven reality. This book gives psi the knockout blow!
David F. Marks (London, UK) is a professor of psychology at Middlesex University, the head of the Health Research Centre in London, and a consulting editor for Skeptical Inquirer.
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