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Lives of the Psychics: The Shared Worlds of Science and Mysticism
by Fred M. Frohock
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-0-226-26586-5
Library of Congress Classification BF1031.F73 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 133.80922

The daughter of a man about to leave on a trip wakes up crying during the night. She has just had a nightmare that his plane will crash. The father flies without incident to Spain, but the next day, the plane he has taken to Spain crashes and burns outside Malaga on its return trip to New York. Was the dream a premonition? Many people experience similar phenomena, ranging from extra-sensory perceptions all the way to near-death experiences on operating tables. Are these events evidence of the paranormal, or are they mere coincidences or hallucinations? How should we regard such claims of supernatural experiences?

Lives of the Psychics, a journey through the terrain of psychic phenomena, tries to answer these questions through interviews with practicing psychics, a survey of the heroic attempts of researchers to test psychic abilities in controlled experiments, and an exploration of out-of-body, near-death, and mystical experiences. Fred M. Frohock brings together a wide variety of psychic claims and examines them with a rich set of materials—interviews, critical anecdotes, history, multiple theories of the paranormal—that allows him to use whatever tools are necessary to illuminate beliefs in the supernatural. He relates real-life events to scientific studies, so the reader is a party not only to fantastic experiences and first-hand stories of the paranormal but also to the rationales for these experiences proposed by scientists. There is no more rewarding guide to the limits and powers of science in explaining psychic phenomena.

To a field filled with uncertainty and suspicion, Frohock brings a discerning eye, a critical sensibility, and a fundamental sense of curiosity about the role of mysticism in science. Even skeptics will be intrigued.

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