Thursday, June 16, 2011

PARANORMAL AMERICA

Sociologists Christopher Bader and F. Carson Mencken of Baylor University and Joseph Baker of East Tennessee State University examine the American fascination with the paranormal:

"Paranormal America is an authoritative but extremely readable analysis of an important but often ignored subculture. This fine book explains how many people seek personally-relevant meaning in a chaotic and often alienating world. In these pages we learn much not only about believers in ESP, Bigfoot, and astrology, but also about the general ways in which all human minds make sense of our perplexing position in the universe." William Bainbridge, author of Across the Secular Abyss: From Faith to Wisdom

"While this academic work showcases an astounding amount of research, the quick pacing and engaging language keep it from being a dry report of BRS findings. It is accessible to any reader with an interest in the convergence of paranormal beliefs and religion. The thought-provoking narrative will not disappoint experts on the topic." -Library Journal starred review "

But this fascinating book calls into question that easy explanation. The authors convincingly show that believing in flying saucers or some other paranormal subject -- Bigfoot, ghosts, astrology, psychics -- is not fringe at all. More than two-thirds of Americans accept the reality of at least one such phenomenon." - Washington Post

6 comments:

Ken Summers said...

I don't know. the last book written by a sociologist dealing with the paranormal made me want to punch the author in the face. Hard. Maybe I'll give it a chance. Maybe...

In the mean time, I'm coming up with some great ideas for psychological tests, thesis papers, and even a questionnaire for paranormal investigators (in case I ever get the urge to form a group again). I will say, though, coming up with a psychological examination questionnaire of this type isn't a picnic.

The Frog Queen said...

Looking forward to this one!!

Cheers!

Autumnforest said...

Hmmm... sounds interesting.

Cullan Hudson said...

Generally, unless it's a meaningful collection of paranormal anecdotes, I steer clear of books on this topic. So much is rehash or deeply steeped in the 'kool-aid'. However, I do like scholarly works on the paranormal, usually how it relates to we humans instead of deciphering the mechanics of other realms. I feel in this arena, our best answers lie, vis-a-vis R. C. Finucane's work (which I have oft lauded) and other sociologists and psychologists. Perhaps by understanding ourselves better, we can understand these mysteries more. It is, after all, our perceptions that matter most in these cases.

Mike said...

The book is less about the paranormal, per se, than those who believe in paranormal. For example, the authors feature a chapter on bigfoot but it is really more about the researchers in pursuit of the creature than the creature itself. It is interesting and the authors are good guys.

It is worth a look.

Cullan Hudson said...

Thanks, Mike. The more I look into it, the more I want to check it out. I think it might be a good read. There's so little "smart" info out there on the paranormal. There is however a lot of TAPSesque garbage floating about.