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review 2020-07-04 13:43
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal - Terje Simonsen

by Terje G. Simonsen

 

Non-Fiction

 

One thing I would say to publishers is that printing page after page of reviews at the beginning of a book is wasted space because the book is in my hand, therefore I've already made the decision to read it! After flipping past 2% of the book I finally got to the table of contents and things began to look interesting.

 

One of the things I liked immediately about this book is that it doesn't push the woo, but allows for healthy scepticism. Various stories are told of documented paranormal or ESP incidents, but then the author points out any flaws or subjectivity in the sources, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. It's a refreshing approach!

 

The first chapter was about psychic archaeology and I found it very interesting, not least of all because I didn't know just how often it's used to find things! It appears to be an ongoing practice. This was followed by a chapter on military experiments is psychic phenomena which I didn't expect to find as interesting, but found myself surprised.

 

The competition between the Russians and Americans on this area of research is fairly common knowledge, but much of the results and findings were far more fascinating than I realised. Unlike archaeology, the military (as far as we know) has long since abandoned this research, just like the UCLA Parapsychology Lab was closed down in the late 1970s, but some information has since been declassified and the author gives sources to read some of it without drawing attention to oneself by looking directly at the CIA website.

 

The third chapter was a bit more woolley. They used the word anthropology but basically it's about the sort of stories you hear about that can't be quantified. Uri Geller, a woman who can stop a frog's heart, that sort of thing. Again, the author acknowledges the insubstantial nature of these stories. Some things you just can't prove if you weren't there.

 

This is naturally followed by psychology, focusing mainly on Freud and Jung. Jung of course, coined the term, Synchronicity and there were some surprising revelations about Freud's interest in telepathy and other psi phenomena. Then we move on to what I think was the longest chapter about the relationship between parapsychology and science.

 

This one covers a lot of territory. It starts talking about Mesmer and flows into other history involving hypnosis and precognition, eventually coming to occult groups and secret societies. The Golden Dawn gets a fair bit of attention, but that's as far as it goes. I did find it intersting how many well known scientists had at least an open mind about parapsychology or at least telepathy, from Freud to Darwin and even Isaac Newton.

 

There's a section on scepticism and a chapter on lab experiments, though it surprisingly didn't mention the Parapsychology Lab at UCLA. Overall I found the book very interesting.

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review 2020-07-04 13:26
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal - Terje Simonsen

by Terje G. Simonsen

 

Non-Fiction

 

One thing I would say to publishers is that printing page after page of reviews at the beginning of a book is wasted space because the book is in my hand, therefore I've already made the decision to read it! After flipping past 2% of the book I finally got to the table of contents and things began to look interesting.

 

One of the things I liked immediately about this book is that it doesn't push the woo, but allows for healthy scepticism. Various stories are told of documented paranormal or ESP incidents, but then the author points out any flaws or subjectivity in the sources, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. It's a refreshing approach!

 

The first chapter was about psychic archaeology and I found it very interesting, not least of all because I didn't know just how often it's used to find things! It appears to be an ongoing practice. This was followed by a chapter on military experiments is psychic phenomena which I didn't expect to find as interesting, but found myself surprised.

 

The competition between the Russians and Americans on this area of research is fairly common knowledge, but much of the results and findings were far more fascinating than I realised. Unlike archaeology, the military (as far as we know) has long since abandoned this research, just like the UCLA Parapsychology Lab was closed down in the late 1970s, but some information has since been declassified and the author gives sources to read some of it without drawing attention to oneself by looking directly at the CIA website.

 

The third chapter was a bit more woolley. They used the word anthropology but basically it's about the sort of stories you hear about that can't be quantified. Uri Geller, a woman who can stop a frog's heart, that sort of thing. Again, the author acknowledges the insubstantial nature of these stories. Some things you just can't prove if you weren't there.

 

This is naturally followed by psychology, focusing mainly on Freud and Jung. Jung of course, coined the term, Synchronicity and there were some surprising revelations about Freud's interest in telepathy and other psi phenomena. Then we move on to what I think was the longest chapter about the relationship between parapsychology and science.

 

This one covers a lot of territory. It starts talking about Mesmer and flows into other history involving hypnosis and precognition, eventually coming to occult groups and secret societies. The Golden Dawn gets a fair bit of attention, but that's as far as it goes. I did find it intersting how many well known scientists had at least an open mind about parapsychology or at least telepathy, from Freud to Darwin and even Isaac Newton.

 

There's a section on scepticism and a chapter on lab experiments, though it surprisingly didn't mention the Parapsychology Lab at UCLA. Overall I found the book very interesting.

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review 2020-07-04 13:20
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal - Terje Simonsen

by Terje G. Simonsen

 

Non-Fiction

 

One thing I would say to publishers is that printing page after page of reviews at the beginning of a book is wasted space because the book is in my hand, therefore I've already made the decision to read it! After flipping past 2% of the book I finally got to the table of contents and things began to look interesting.

 

One of the things I liked immediately about this book is that it doesn't push the woo, but allows for healthy scepticism. Various stories are told of documented paranormal or ESP incidents, but then the author points out any flaws or subjectivity in the sources, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. It's a refreshing approach!

 

The first chapter was about psychic archaeology and I found it very interesting, not least of all because I didn't know just how often it's used to find things! It appears to be an ongoing practice. This was followed by a chapter on military experiments is psychic phenomena which I didn't expect to find as interesting, but found myself surprised.

 

The competition between the Russians and Americans on this area of research is fairly common knowledge, but much of the results and findings were far more fascinating than I realised. Unlike archaeology, the military (as far as we know) has long since abandoned this research, just like the UCLA Parapsychology Lab was closed down in the late 1970s, but some information has since been declassified and the author gives sources to read some of it without drawing attention to oneself by looking directly at the CIA website.

 

The third chapter was a bit more woolley. They used the word anthropology but basically it's about the sort of stories you hear about that can't be quantified. Uri Geller, a woman who can stop a frog's heart, that sort of thing. Again, the author acknowledges the insubstantial nature of these stories. Some things you just can't prove if you weren't there.

 

This is naturally followed by psychology, focusing mainly on Freud and Jung. Jung of course, coined the term, Synchronicity and there were some surprising revelations about Freud's interest in telepathy and other psi phenomena. Then we move on to what I think was the longest chapter about the relationship between parapsychology and science.

 

This one covers a lot of territory. It starts talking about Mesmer and flows into other history involving hypnosis and precognition, eventually coming to occult groups and secret societies. The Golden Dawn gets a fair bit of attention, but that's as far as it goes. I did find it intersting how many well known scientists had at least an open mind about parapsychology or at least telepathy, from Freud to Darwin and even Isaac Newton.

 

There's a section on scepticism and a chapter on lab experiments, though it surprisingly didn't mention the Parapsychology Lab at UCLA. Overall I found the book very interesting.

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review 2020-07-04 13:16
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal
A Short History of (Nearly) Everything Paranormal - Terje Simonsen

by Terje G. Simonsen

 

Non-Fiction

 

One thing I would say to publishers is that printing page after page of reviews at the beginning of a book is wasted space because the book is in my hand, therefore I've already made the decision to read it! After flipping past 2% of the book I finally got to the table of contents and things began to look interesting.

 

One of the things I liked immediately about this book is that it doesn't push the woo, but allows for healthy scepticism. Various stories are told of documented paranormal or ESP incidents, but then the author points out any flaws or subjectivity in the sources, leaving the reader to make up their own mind. It's a refreshing approach!

 

The first chapter was about psychic archaeology and I found it very interesting, not least of all because I didn't know just how often it's used to find things! It appears to be an ongoing practice. This was followed by a chapter on military experiments is psychic phenomena which I didn't expect to find as interesting, but found myself surprised.

 

The competition between the Russians and Americans on this area of research is fairly common knowledge, but much of the results and findings were far more fascinating than I realised. Unlike archaeology, the military (as far as we know) has long since abandoned this research, just like the UCLA Parapsychology Lab was closed down in the late 1970s, but some information has since been declassified and the author gives sources to read some of it without drawing attention to oneself by looking directly at the CIA website.

 

The third chapter was a bit more woolley. They used the word anthropology but basically it's about the sort of stories you hear about that can't be quantified. Uri Geller, a woman who can stop a frog's heart, that sort of thing. Again, the author acknowledges the insubstantial nature of these stories. Some things you just can't prove if you weren't there.

 

This is naturally followed by psychology, focusing mainly on Freud and Jung. Jung of course, coined the term, Synchronicity and there were some surprising revelations about Freud's interest in telepathy and other psi phenomena. Then we move on to what I think was the longest chapter about the relationship between parapsychology and science.

 

This one covers a lot of territory. It starts talking about Mesmer and flows into other history involving hypnosis and precognition, eventually coming to occult groups and secret societies. The Golden Dawn gets a fair bit of attention, but that's as far as it goes. I did find it intersting how many well known scientists had at least an open mind about parapsychology or at least telepathy, from Freud to Darwin and even Isaac Newton.

 

There's a section on scepticism and a chapter on lab experiments, though it surprisingly didn't mention the Parapsychology Lab at UCLA. Overall I found the book very interesting.

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review 2020-06-29 00:23
Altered Traits

I read many dull research papers in school. Since then I’ve concluded that research oriented psychologists can’t write, while therapy oriented psychologists don’t understand science. I’ve changed my view. Authors, Daniel Goleman and Richard J. Davidson, are both able researchers and writers.

 

This is great. I’ve read far too much well done research that doesn’t say much and far too much self-help psychology that cherry picks science.

 

The authors spent decades studying meditation, and are honest enough to say where their research was poorly designed or flawed. They began their research in the 1970s before tools such as fMRI and SPECT became available and learned a lot over their years.

 

Books about science and fiction by Steig Larrson can be repetitive. That’s necessary sometimes. While reading this book, expect repetition. It’s worth it: this is the definitive book on meditation research.

 

The authors discuss research into three types of meditation, “focusing on breathing; generating loving kindness; and monitoring thoughts without getting swept away by them.” Each of the three meditations can cause mental changes, some brief and some lasting. While breath or mantra meditators requires multiple sessions before change can be noticed, loving kindness meditation brings results after only a single session.

 

Temporary changes, while interesting, are not the same as altered traits. These require years of meditation. Yogis who’ve spent decades practicing the third type of meditation have yielded astonishing findings. “Gamma, the very fastest brain wave occurs during moments when differing brain regions fire in harmony, like moments of insight when different elements of a mental puzzle ‘click’ together.” Gamma wave activity lasts only a fifth of a second for most people, but some yogis can generate gamma waves for minutes at a time, even in their sleep. I’d love to know what’s on their minds. Guess I should meditate more.

 

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