Reviews of ‘Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics’

Ghosts_Spirits_and_Psychics_edited_by_Matt_Cardin

Today I was pleased to spot a new and positive assessment of my paranormal encyclopedia from a reviewer for the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association (RUSA):

Producing a reference book about the paranormal presents a unique challenge. Various aspects of the phenomenon — under the rubric of “the supernatural” — have been and remain common to virtually all religions. Furthermore, as this work’s “Introduction” notes, “the idea of the paranormal is ubiquitous and inescapable in American culture” and “is entrenched” (xix) throughout most of the rest of the world. Yet the actual existence of the paranormal is in very serious doubt, and authorities in most mainstream disciplines reject it as pseudoscience. As the “Introduction” suggests, however, a new paradigm that sidesteps this “skeptic/believer dichotomy” (xxiii) seems to be emerging.

To tackle this slippery topic, editor and college English instructor Matt Cardin has assembled 121 alphabetically arranged entries by 57 contributors, most of whom work in academia. Subjects range from individuals (Edgar Cayce, Carl Jung, and so on) to important institutions such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Rhine Research Center and from paranormal “powers” such as telepathy to treatments of the paranormal in the arts and the media. Most entries run from two to four pages, are objective in approach, and are clearly written without being simplistic. . . .

Given its currency and its thoughtful, even-handed approach to the field, Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics is highly recommended for undergraduate and larger public library reference collections.

More: Full review

This stands in nice contrast to the decidedly lukewarm review that appeared late last year in Magonia, where the upshot was: “All in all a good try that is greatly hampered by lack of a clear editorial direction and appreciation of what and who are important in the field.” (I was comforted by the fact that the reviewer misspelled my name.)

If you want to read the book and judge for yourself, consult your local public, college, or high school library, or get it straight from the publisher or from Amazon or anywhere else.

About Matt Cardin

Teeming Brain founder and editor Matt Cardin is the author of DARK AWAKENINGS, DIVINATIONS OF THE DEEP, A COURSE IN DEMONIC CREATIVITY: A WRITER'S GUIDE TO THE INNER GENIUS, and the forthcoming TO ROUSE LEVIATHAN. He is also the editor of BORN TO FEAR: INTERVIEWS WITH THOMAS LIGOTTI and the academic encyclopedias MUMMIES AROUND THE WORLD and GHOSTS, SPIRITS, AND PSYCHICS: THE PARANORMAL FROM ALCHEMY TO ZOMBIES.

Posted on June 7, 2016, in Paranormal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Peter Rogerson, who did the Magonia review, tends to hold a slow burning disdain for most of what he reviews and it’s often unclear why he continues to read works associated with the field other than to stoke the fires of his indignation.

    Glad the work is getting recognized by ‘people who know what they are talking about’! The Magonia review complains of authority and credentials, so it would seem that Peter will have to concede that the American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Association is probably a bit better suited to discuss the worth of a reference book.

  2. I’ve read the book, and I thought it was pretty insightful. I perceived the book a bit different than the reviewer from Magonia, and I agree with David Metcalfe about his disdain for nearly everything he reviews.

    For anyone that hasn’t read the book, I would recommend doing so.

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