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Science and the Paranormal by George O. Abell and Barry Singer

If you just wanted to read one book of skeptical literature, this would have to be it. Twenty experts, most of them scientists, take the time to study the evidence for various paranormal claims within their areas of expertise. Botanist Arthur Galston discusses the failures to replicate "plant consciousness" research published in the sensationalistic Secret Life of Plants.  Astronomer Carl Sagan examines the Biblically Inspired catastrophlst relnterpretation of solar system history proposed in Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds In Collision. Surgeon William Nolen reports on his extensive investigation of psychic healing. The magician James "The Amazing" Randi demonstrates his duplications of psychic "miracles." The lyrical closing chapter by M.I.T. physicist Philip Morrison redirects the reader to the genuine fountains of wonder that are the basis of all great science. This book is an Intelligent, Informed analysis of some of the most widely held paranormal beliefs, and a lesson In critical thinking to boot.     - T.S.

As an experienced surgeon I immediately recognized what I had previously suspected from viewing the films: These so-called operations were simply feats of legerdemain. I managed to persuade Joe Mercado, one of the best-known psychic surgeons, to operate on me, explaining that I had high blood pressure (true) and that high blood pressure might be caused by kidney disease (also true). He operated on me while I stood by the side of the altar in his church (at six foot one I was too tall to lie down on the altar on which he operated on most of his patients). Looking down on his hands, I could easily see as he began the "operation" that he had palmed the intestines and fat of a small animal. I watched him carefully as he pushed against me and it was apparent, both visually and from the way his hands felt as they pressed on my abdominal musculature, that he had not penetrated my abdominal wall. When he "removed" the fatty tissue, he held it up for all the spectators to see and said, "Evil tissue." He immediately tossed it into a can of flaming alcohol kept behind the altar.

Next Gauquelin placed an advertisement in a Paris newspaper offering: "Completely Free! Your ultra-personal horoscope; a ten page document. Take advantage of this unique opportunity. Send name, address, date and birthplace ..."

There were about 150 replies. To each correspondent Gauquelin sent the same horoscope - the one he had received for Dr. Petiot. With each he sent a self-addressed envelope and questionnaire asking about the accuracy of the reading. Ninety-four percent of the respondents said they recognized themselves (that is, they said they were accurately portrayed in the horoscope of a man who murdered several dozen people and dissolved their bodies in quicklime), and for 90 percent this positive opinion was shared by their families and friends.


ISBN: 0862450373

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