Tag Archives: books

Randi’s Prize: What do skeptics say? The latest book to land on my doorstep!

James Randi, BigSéance.com

James Randi, state magician and skeptic. By Terabyte at de.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 2.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/de/deed.en), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

We had some very serious discussion here a few years ago after I wrote about the thoughts and opinions of skeptic Sharon Hill, in How Does the Skeptic View Paranormal Folk? It was truly eye-opening for me. This led to a great response by Randall Keller, titled Uninformed and Misled at The Voices Blog. After all of the hurt feelings that I think it’s safe to say that many of us had, I’ve actually found myself occasionally following Sharon’s writings and videos. I certainly don’t agree with all of her opinions, but there’s always that awkward moment where the skeptic side of me (the same skeptic side that I frequently rant about… the one that really ticks me off!) can appreciate the suggestion that I think about some things differently. With that being said… I still occasionally get my feelings hurt. It’s a strange and bi-polar relationship that I have with my skeptical side, and the two of us are still working things out. I’m actually considering reaching out to Sharon about a guest appearance on the podcast. We’ll see how brave I get. Good idea? Bad idea? What do you think?

 

Randi's Prize: What skeptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan. BigSéance.comAfter listening to another great interview by Jim Harold on the Paranormal Podcast, I decided to take a deep breath… and order Randi’s Prize: What sceptics say about the paranormal, why they are wrong and why it matters, by Robert McLuhan.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

James ‘The Amazing’ Randi is a stage magician who says he has a million dollars for anyone who can convince him they have psychic powers. No one has even come close to winning, proof, say sceptical scientists, that there is no such thing as ‘the paranormal’. But are they right? In this illuminating and often provocative analysis, Robert McLuhan examines the influence of Randi and other debunking sceptics in shaping scientific opinion about such things as telepathy, psychics, ghosts and near-death experiences. He points out that scientific researchers who investigate these things at first hand overwhelmingly consider them to be genuinely anomalous. But this has shocking implications, for science, for society and for even perhaps for ourselves as individuals. Hence the sceptics’ insistence that they should rather be attributed to fraud, imagination and wishful thinking. However, this extraordinary and little understood aspect of consciousness has much to tell us about the human situation, McLuhan suggests. And at a time when militants are polarising the debate about religion, its mystical, spiritual element offers an optimistic and enlightened way forward. Randi’s Prize is aimed at anyone interested in spirituality or those curious to know the truth about paranormal claims. It’s an intelligent and readable analysis of scientific research into the paranormal which, uniquely, also closely examines the arguments of well-known sceptics.

 

I’ve got a couple of books in line ahead of this one, but I’ll keep you posted. Has anyone out there read it?

 


5 of the Latest Books to Land on my Doorstep

Today I bring you the latest books to land on my doorstep. Have you read any of these? Do you have other recommendations? All book descriptions are taken from their Amazon pages, which you can get to by clicking on the book covers. Be sure to check out my Recommended Reading page for some of my recommendations and book reviews. 

 

Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife by Raymond Moody, M.D. 

The bestselling author of Life After Life, Raymond Moody, offers a stunning, myth-busting memoir of everything he has learned in a lifetime studying “the other side” and our connection to it. The grandfather of the NDE (near death experience) movement, Raymond Moody has, in the words of Dr. Larry Dossey, author of The Power of Premonitions, “radically changed the way modern humans think about the afterlife.” Paranormal, essential reading for fans of Dannion Brinkley and Jeffrey Long, is “a thrilling and inspiring literary experience. Anyone who is not grateful for Moody’s immense contribution to human welfare ought to check his pulse.”

 

My Son and the Afterlife: Conversations from the Other Side by Elisa Medhus 

Elisa is perhaps most known for her website, ChannelingErik.com, and two years ago I featured the site in one of my earliest blog posts here at The Big Séance. One could spend days exploring this site and the many channeled conversations with Erik Medhus.  

Dr. Elisa Medhus never believed in life after death. As an accomplished physi­cian, she placed her faith in science. All of that changed after her son Erik took his own life and then reached out from the other side.

Intimate, heartbreaking, and illuminating, go on an incredible journey from grief and skepticism to healing and belief. Based on Medhus’s wildly popular blog, Channeling Erik, My Son and the Afterlifeprovides answers to the most universal questions of being human.

At once tragic and uplifting, Erik speaks from the other side with candor, wisdom, and depth as he describes his own experiences and provides new answers about the nature of souls, death, and the afterlife—answers that have the potential to change our lives forever.

 

Behind The Walls: A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry by J’aime Rubio

J’aime Rubio is an investigative journalist, true crime writer, historian, and published poet. She is also the author of two blogs: Dreaming Casually and Hollywoodland Forever. I was somehow connected to J’aime when I was in the middle of my grave adoption project this last fall. Now a friend on social media, I can tell you that she is definitely my kind of nerd!

If you are a truth seeker, “Behind The Walls” is definitely a book you will want to read. It will open your eyes to the distressing secrets held deep in history behind those ominous walls of Preston Castle. It is a fact based account of murder, mystery and mistreatment. Many might wonder what actually happened to the former inmates and employees of the Preston School of Industry. You will learn about the startling treatment they received and the outcome of their lives. If you want to learn true history about Preston, read this book.

 

Creating Your Vintage Hallowe’en: Folklore and Traditions by Marion Paull

We are now six months away from Halloween, and it is NEVER too early to prepare! I’ll probably hold off and read these last two books in late summer. I also still have one left from last fall that I can’t wait to read. Check out Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton.

Full of spooky artworks, ephemera, vintage-inspired makes, rhymes and stories, Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en celebrates the folklore and traditions surrounding this delightfully unique holiday. Read how folk used to celebrate with dressing up, fortune-telling games, parties, and much pleasurable spookiness, and recreate your own vintage Hallowe’en with old-fashioned projects, including a carved Jack o’ lantern, a witch costume, and fun decorations for your home. Creating your Vintage Hallowe’en is packed full of little-known facts about the origins of Hallowe’en customs such as bobbing for apples and carving lanterns out of pumpkins, while the charming makes and vintage artworks featuring chubby, red-cloaked witches, sleekly silhouetted black cats, cute kittens, cheery goblins and smiling spectres, will inspire you to have your own vintage-style Hallowe’en celebration.

 

Halloween Merrymaking: An Illustrated Celebration of Fun, Food, and Frolics from Halloweens Past by Diane Arkins

Recipes, games, costumes, party ideas, and decorations, along with excerpts from vintage periodicals, show the gaiety that epitomized historic Halloween celebrations.

You might also like:

Recent Books to Land on my Doorstep (from Big Séance in Nov. of 2013)

Tow More Halloween Books from Lesley Pratt Bannatyne (Big Séance)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sylvia Browne (1936 – 2013)

 

Sylvia Browne

October 19, 1936 – November 20, 2013

 

Spiritual teacher and psychic Sylvia Browne didn’t have the easiest life, and controversy sometimes followed her, but today she passed on, presumably to a beautiful and picturesque Other Side that she wrote so much about. I absolutely love her books, and am convinced that many of her critics have not read one. I just know that she’s working on a new book right now, well, at least after her guide Francine drops her off at one of the marble benches inside the Hall of Wisdom for the cool scanning machine, which she claims is our first stop after reuniting with our pets and loved ones.

She always claimed that she was on her last incarnation, so what now? I wouldn’t mind having an extra guide! And if Francine is looking for another gig, the more the merrier! I have to tell you, it makes me want to have a séance right now. I sincerely hope she reports back to someone soon! 

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Our lives on this earth, no matter how briefly or how long they last, are just moments in the context of the eternity God breathed into us at the instant He created us. Our real lives, joyful and glorious and perfect, are back Home, on the Other Side, where we all came from, the place we’re wistfully Homesick for every minute we’re here whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, and where we’ll go when we abandon these flawed, cumbersome bodies and soar Home again as alive as ever. Clinging fiercely to this one life, as if it’s all there is and all there will ever be, would be no different than clinging fiercely to one random day of school, as if there’s nowhere else to go but there and nothing more to learn.

–Sylvia Browne, from Prophecy, 2004, Health and Medicine, page 217. 

 

More Sylvia Browne:

Sylvia Browne: In her own words...

Sylvia Browne: In her own words… (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: Are members of the "spiritual community" turning on her? (Big Séance)

Sylvia Browne: Are members of the “spiritual community” turning on her? (Big Séance)

 

 

 


Recent books to land on my doorstep…

In the last month or so I’ve been busy jotting down titles of books that people have recommended. I’ve got several books already on my “to read” shelf, but these are the latest books to arrive on my doorstep. I haven’t been able to read as heavily as I would prefer lately, so trying to figure out the next few books to read will be a tough decision! Have you read any of these? Do you have other recommendations? 

 

This is what I’m currently reading. I very much enjoy Michelle’s books. She’s smart and informed on many topics. I think this is kind of her follow-up book to her The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide, which I’ve recommended to many people, including a few homeowners who have contact me for help or advice. If you have a chance to listen to one of her interviews on a Jim Harold podcast, you should. I could listen to Michelle Belanger all day!

 When I went to see Chip Coffey this fall in St. Louis, I sat by a lovely woman who asked the exact same question that I wanted to ask. There were a few other interesting synchronicities between us that evening as well. Her question was if Chip recommended any books for people who were interested in learning about and developing their intuitive or psychic abilities. Without hesitating, he mentioned a few books by Echo Bodine, and after she wrote the information down, I promptly stole her pen and did the same. I’m pretty sure this was one of the books he mentioned.

 

I really enjoyed seeing Chip Coffey, but I was embarrassed that I hadn’t read the book before the event. I’m going to get on that real soon. For more information, see my 10 important reasons to go see Chip Coffey at a “Coffey Talk” near you!

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This book was recommended by someone in the blog world. I will probably wait until next fall to read this one. 

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I’ve been interested in the early spiritualism movement for a while now, but this will be my first book that specifically covers the spiritualist community of Lily Dale. 

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I honestly don’t remember what led me to this purchase, but there aren’t many books on the topic of the Ouija, so I ordered it. The only other book on the topic that I’ve read to date is Ouija Gone Wild by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. 

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After seeing and reviewing The Conjuring, and after reading the first two books of Andrea Perron’s trilogy that tells the real life story, I wanted to see what some of the other “Warren files” were about. 

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This one will be another treat for next fall, but I’m excited already. 

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You might also like: 

Vintage: A Ghost Story (for the gay teen in your life) (Big Séance)

Vintage: A Ghost Story (for the gay teen in your life) (Big Séance)

Messenger Between Worlds: True Stories from a Psychic Medium (Big Séance)

Messenger Between Worlds: True Stories from a Psychic Medium (Big Séance)

Haunted Summer Reading Part One (Big Séance)

Haunted Summer Reading Part One (Big Séance)

Remote Viewing and an Unstructured Trip through my Mind (Big Séance)

Remote Viewing and an Unstructured Trip through my Mind (Big Séance)


Vintage: A Ghost Story (for the gay teen in your life)

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Do you know a young gay man or a teen in the LGBT community? Are they into ghost stories or spirit communication? Perhaps they’re just a general paranerd like most of us. If this young person fits into any of these categories, you really need to direct them to this book! 

 

From the author’s website

A lonely boy walking along a highway one autumn evening meets the boy of his dreams, a boy who happens to have died decades ago and haunts the road. Awkward crushes, both bitter and sweet, lead him to face youthful dreams and childish fears. With its cast of offbeat friends, antiques, and Ouija boards, Vintage is not your typical romance but does offer readers a memorable blend of dark humor, chills and love. 

A finalist for the Andre Norton Award and Gaylactic Spectrum Award!

 

I think his was the original cover of Vintage, which matches the one that is on my shelf.

I think this was the original cover of Vintage, which matches the one that is on my shelf.

I read this book when it was originally published in 2007. As a 29-year-old, I was just getting into reading and went through a year of doing it obsessively. I’m still obsessed with it, but back then I was reading a book a week and clearly trying to make up for lost time. Vintage: A Ghost Story, which fits into the category of young adult fiction, is the kind of book that I really wish existed when I was growing up in those awkward teen years. Growing up gay or coming out of the closet is sometimes very lonely, and it’s hard enough without having to pretend that movies, TV, and books apply to your life. When was the last time you saw a major motion picture focused on a gay love story? Exactly. Sometimes I wonder if I would have started reading years ago if this book and others like it were around just 10 or 15 years earlier. 

This book also found me in the very early stages of my developing paranormal interests and my “spiritual shift”. I remember I read it in the fall and enjoyed all its spooky elements, like the Ouija board, cemeteries, etc. Something else that stands out is that I had just started collecting old high school yearbooks from my home town of Lexington, Missouri at this time. Most of them are from the 1920s. Reading about a ghost boyfriend who died in an earlier time made going through that first yearbook very interesting.  

 

Thank you, Steve Berman!

 

Related Links: 

Book Notes on Vintage: A Ghost Story by Steve Berman (Literary Magpie)

Interview with Steve Berman (Reviews by Jessewave)

LGBTQ characters in YA fiction & LGBTQ YA Authors (Gay YA) 

 

 


Five Books for Summer 2013…

I do not have any of these books yet, but I eagerly wait for them to land on my doorstep. The chances of me actually getting through all of these this summer are slim, but as I mentioned in my last post, my “to be read” shelf is getting low. I would like to use this post to also ask for recommendations of books that are similar to the ones below, perhaps a few on spirit communication specifically. 

Anyway, enjoy the list. Perhaps we can do an Oprah style book club together, huh? Ha! We’ll see. 

All book descriptions are from each book’s Amazon page, which can be found by clicking on the cover photos below. 

 

We Don’t Die: A Skeptic’s Discovery of Life After Death

I first heard about this book by Sandra Champlain while reading one of the latest newsletters from The Association TransCommunication (ATransC). As someone who is learning to deal with and understand my skeptic side, I felt this should definitely be on my list. 

If You Realized That You Could Never Die, How Would You Live Your Life?
Every second, 4 human beings are born and every 1.8 seconds, one dies. As natural as death is, dying is the most common fear that we all share. With every loss comes the most painful emotion called grief, which can cause break ups of relationships, depression and even suicide. Over 100 million suffer from grief daily, although it is a subject not often spoken of, until now.
The fear of dying led Sandra Champlain on a 15 year journey to find evidence of the afterlife. Courageously, she now shares her personal story from skeptic to believer, along with proof that our deceased loved ones can still see, hear and communicate with us. Sandra also shares new information on the how our brains function during the grieving process and provides tools that ease pain and saves lives. It is now your time to find out who you REALLY are and discover for yourself that “We Don’t Die”.
Discover…
* Amazing Evidence That You Will Survive Physical Death
* Your Deceased Loved Ones Are Still With You
* The Purpose Of Your Life And Why You Are Here
* How To Ease The Pain Caused By Grief
* ‘Remote Viewing’ And Experience Who You Really Are
* How To Create A Powerful Life and Produce Extraordinary Results

 

Running with the Bulls: The Road to Fresh Kills – A Journey into the Paranormal

This book by Joseph Lani is one that I quickly took note of when it was mentioned in a podcast interview of Mark Phillips, who is the creator and executive producer of the Biography Channel’s My Ghost Story. I’m really excited about it, in fact, it’ll probably be the first book from this list that I read!

Joseph Lani grew up on the south shore of Staten Island (NY), where a happy childhood was shattered by a tragedy that tears his family apart forever.

After trying to start a new life in Florida, Lani returned to New York and soon found himself a member of New York’s Finest. Then his life and the lives of so many others were changed forever on September 11, 2001.

After the initial horrors ended, Lani was assigned to the command center at the Fresh Kills Landfill, whose mission was to sift through the debris of the entire World Trade Center. Under the stress of the job, Lani suffers a massive heart attack and subsequent near death experience. He miraculously recovers to a new life fully enveloped in the spirit world.

In this fast-paced memoir in which we get to ”run with the bulls,” Joseph Lani recounts his many harrowing and humorous experiences on the job. Lani entertains his readers with an insider’s account of a very real world most of us only think we know from television.

 

Messenger Between Worlds: True Stories from a Psychic Medium

I mentioned this book by medium Kristy Robinett in a previous blog. I’m just waiting for it to be released on July 8, 2013. 

Since the age of three, spirits have come to me in the dead of night, telling me of their woes. Kristy Robinett shares the dramatic, touching, and terrifying moments from her extraordinary life as a psychic medium.

This captivating, powerful memoir is filled with unforgettable scenes: spot-on predictions, countless spirit visits at home and school, menacing paranormal activity, rescue from abduction thanks to her loving grandfather in spirit, and Kristy’s first meeting with two spirit guides who become her constant allies. Follow her emotional journey though a difficult childhood, stormy marriages, conflict with faith, job loss, and illness—and the hard-won lessons that opened her heart to true love and acceptance of her unique gift.

 

The Djinn Connection: The Hidden Links Between Djinn, Shadow People, ETs, Nephilim, Archons, Reptilians and Other Entities

I have to be honest about this one. I’m not super excited about this book. The “djinn” is a popular topic with paranormal folks now days, and frankly I don’t get it. As of right now, I put the djinn in the same boat as black eyed kids, fairies, and other mythical creatures that I think sometimes make us in the paranormal world seem crazy, or not serious. But maybe that’s because I haven’t come across a black eyed kid. Maybe I wouldn’t understand the djinn because I never had the opportunity to interview one in an EVP session. So before I criticize it I figure I need to do more homework on it. Plus I think Rosemary Ellen Guiley is spectacular!  

Could a single entity be responsible for a multitude of our paranormal experiences throughout history? Drawing upon her decades of extensive research in all facets of the paranormal, Rosemary Ellen Guiley makes a compelling case that our interactions with spirits, extraterrestrials, shadow figures, ancient aliens, demi-gods and human-creature hybrids all involve the mysterious Djinn. The Djinn are little-known in the West beyond folk tales of genies in lamps and bottles, but they are real and active in our world. They are a race of powerful, masterful shape-shifters who exist in a dimension parallel to ours. Humans have had millennia of intense engagements with the Djinn, who disguise themselves in the forms of many different entities in order to keep themselves and their true motives hidden. Some of their motives are not in our best interests. The Djinn are not the only beings interacting with humans, but their giant shadow falls across every part of our paranormal and entity contact experiences, including bedroom invasions, alien abductions, and genetics manipulators from other worlds. The Djinn are significant force in the destiny of human beings. In The Djinn Connection, Guiley explains what we need to know and how we should respond.

 

The Uninvited: The True Story of the Union Screaming House

Don’t get this one confused with about 852 other books and movies with the same title, this supposed true story is by Steven LaChance. If I remember correctly, this book about the haunting of a home not far from me simply popped up as a recommendation on Amazon. It has some interesting reviews on the Amazon page

What kind of evil lives at the Union Screaming House?

In this true and terrifying firsthand account, Steven LaChance reveals how he and his three children were driven from their Union, Missouri, home by demonic attackers. 

LaChance chronicles how the house’s relentless supernatural predators infest those around them. He consults paranormal investigators, psychics, and priests, but the demonic attacks—screams, growls, putrid odors, invisible shoves, bites, and other physical violations—only grow worse. The entities clearly demonstrate their wrath and power: killing family pets, sexually assaulting individuals, even causing two people to be institutionalized.

The demons’ next target is the current homeowner, Helen. When the entities take possession and urge Helen toward murder and madness, LaChance must engage in a hair-raising battle for her soul.

Selected as one of the Best Books of 2008 by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

 

Related Post:

Books for Summer Reading (2012)

 


Proof of Heaven…

A while back I finished a book that has been extremely popular in recent months. Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D. tells the author’s story of his journey into the afterlife, or an atypical Near Death Experience (or NDE), while his physical body was in a coma. Before the experience, this bow tie wearing doctor, like most of his kind, was not a believer in the NDE phenomenon. It is a fascinating and miraculous true story. Once again, I have to tell you that often the subject of a book, or in this case a book written by a neurosurgeon, will intimidate me into assuming I’ll have a hard time comprehending or really “getting” it. That wasn’t the case for this book at all. Other than some medical explanations and terminology that gave me cinnamon bun eyes, I very much “got” this book. 

 

Not only was Eben interviewed by Oprah, but the story really got the discussion started when it was featured in Newsweek back in October. Recently I blogged about some annoying comments made when the article was discussed on Real Time with Bill Maher. I love the show, but the fact that several members of the panel, including Bill himself, treated this phenomena and Dr. Alexander’s experience as a joke really bummed me. Unfortunately, you can find more of the same kind of criticism by skeptics making fun of the story online. I won’t link those here. 

 

If you’re into NDE research or enjoy reading about the phenomena, you should definitely check this out and add it to your library. My guess is that many of you already have. 

If you’re interested, I’ll leave you with an interview of the author by Bob Olson on the AfterlifeTVChannel.

 


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