Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures, 2-6


I. Epistemologies

2. Ghost in the Machine

John Harvey


p. 52 earlier restriction of evidence to testimonies

"Prior to the nineteenth century, ... proof of the existence of spirits was compiled in the form of spoken and written testimonies given by witnesses to supernatural apparitions (Harvey 2003:1-40)."

Harvey 2003 = J. Harvey : The Appearance ... : Apparitions of Spirits in Wales. Cardiff : Univ of Wales Pr.

pp. 56-7 planchette & trumpet to enable (or enhance) communications with spirits

p. 56

"The introduction of the planchette, a heart-shaped plank of wood that ... the spirit manipulates

{"the Planchette will ... write words and sentences in a more or less 'scrawly' fashion. ... Some people report that to them the Planchette seems to move by itself" (GMIP, p. 260).}

by pointing at letters ... on a Ouija ... board,

{This is different from the usual method, wherein planchette writeth on a sheet of paper by means of a pencil inserted through the planchette's pointed end.}

provided a ... more equitable interface between the spirit and participants".

"For William F. Cooke's (1806-79) and Charles Wheatstone's (1802-75) design of 1837, sender and receiver communicate using a metal tablet comprising a lozenge-shaped grid, with an array of letters mapped onto the intersections".

"Remote-voice Spiritualist mediums, so called, used a conical trumpet

that would levitate in the se'ance --

{praesumably by being picked up and held aloft by an invisible spirit}

while, in some cases, attached to the medium by an umbilical cord of ectoplasm --

{The ectoplasm is a controlling-device extended out from the mortal spirit-medium's body by the possessing-spirit temporarily in occupation of that medium's body.}

in order to communicate with the ... more distant voice of the {purported} dead (... Henslow 1919:82) ... . The trumpet ... amplified and concentrated the otherwise inaudible voices of the spirits in the same manner as the horn of a phonograph".

p. 57

"The spirits' use of the planchette, spirit board and trumpet evinced an ability to inhabit ... objects".

{Wrong! The spirits do not "inhabit" the objects; they simply manipulate the objects with their hands while they are holding them as they are standing in place invisibly in the se'ance-room. (Anyone having second-sight can plainly see the spirits standing in place[, as hath often been recorded in litterature on these matters].)}

GMIP = Bhakta Vishita : Genuine Mediumship : or, the Invisible Powers. Advanced Thought Publ Co, Chicago, 1919.

Henslow 1919 = G. Henslow : The Proofs of the Truths of Spiritualism. London : Kegan Paul, Trench, Tru:bner & Co.


I. Epistemologies

3. Culture Practices

Annette Hill


pp. 65-6 easy availability of literature; authoress's book

p. 65

"You can buy psychic magazines such as Fate & Fortune in your local supermarket ... . Not long ago these magazines ... would have been available only in occult bookstores or alternative therapy centres."

p. 66

"This chapter is based on the book Paranormal Media (Hill 2011)".

Hill 2011 = Annette Hill : Paranormal Media : Authors, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture. London : Routledge.

p. 66 sociality of living with ghosts

"In Ghostly Matters (1997:23) Avery Gordon argues that hauntings 'are part of social life'. If we want ... life then 'we must ... identify hauntings and reckon with ghosts ...' (1997:23). This ... research is inspired by Ghostly Matters in the way Gordon understands hauntings ...: 'haunting is the sociality of living with ghosts ...' (1997:201)."

Gordon 1997 = Avery Gordon : Ghostly Matters : Hauntings ... . Minneapolis : Univ of MN Pr.

p. 67 Do come to know the extraordinary, the paranormal!

"How can we know what is ordinary without understanding the extraordinary? What is ... culture if we have no sense of the paranormal? ... People's experiences of the paranormal ... suggest there are things we need to know about ... the finest of individual meanings of paranormal {events}".

p. 67 widespread belief in, and even experience of, the paranormal

"'the truth is that most people do believe in the paranormal and a sizable minority ... have direct personal experience' (Waterhouse 2008:8). Watt and Wiseman (2009:vii) note how a large number of surveys illuminate a wide interest in a range of paranormal ... :

[quoted from Watt & Wiseman 2009, p. viii :] ... around the world surveys consistently show that about fifty per cent of people hold one or more paranormal beliefs, and of these, about fifty per cent ... have had a genuinely paranormal experience."

Waterhouse 2008 = R. Waterhouse : "Weird ... or what?" GUARDIAN EDUCATION, Oct 14.

Watt & Wiseman 2009 = C. Watt & R. Wiseman : "Foreword" to H. J. Irwin : The Psychology of Paranormal Belief : a Researcher's Handbook. Hatfield (Herts) : Univ of Herfordshire Pr. pp. vii-viii.

p. 68 gothic lifestyle-trend

"USA Today claimed that the oddest trend of 2008 was dating the dead : 'from the chaste non-coupling ... to the down-and-dirty sexiness ... love with the living-challenged is a hot topic ...' (Bianco 2008). ...

In Catherine Spooner's (2006) cultural analysis of contemporary gothic, from music, art and literature, to film and fashion, she argues that this gothic revival is self-referential ... . ... Here the paranormal is a lifestyle matter".

Bianco 2008 = R. Bianco, review in USA Today, Dec 22. online at .

Spooner 2006 = Catherine Spooner : Contemporary Gothic. London : Reaktion Bks.

p. 72 ghost-hunting

"An article in the Guardian newspaper, 'How Britain became a nation of ghost hunters' ... (Dixon 2009) ... states ... there are now around 2,500 ghosthunting groups in Britain, compared to 150 a decade ago".

"Ghosthunting events take place at nighttime in the dark."

Dixon 2009 = R. Dixon, in THE GUARDIAN, Oct 30. .

p. 73 sounds at a ghosthunt

"Some sounds began, a creaking, clicking noise ... . ... And there were some rapping sounds that echoed the music and travelled around the table."

p. 76 sensations during a ghosthunting event

"we saw a kind of shadow in the mirror ..., a dark shadow ... . She had her hair pulled. I had a push ... . It felt like they {ghosts} were leaning on my back. ... I kept seeing things moving down the passage {corridor}."


I. Epistemologies

4. Experiences with UFOs

David Clarke



"numerous ... writers ... contributed to the magazine Amazing Stories, launched in 1926 by Hugo Gernsback. Each page featured the slogan 'Xtravagant ... Today -- Cold Fact Tomorrow'. ... Illustrations depicted a diverse range of

saucer- and cigar-shaped spacecraft and their occupants, 'along with abduction by aliens, immobilization by ray-guns, physical examination of victims strapped on operating tables, cloning and brainwashing' (Evans 1998:29)."

{Perhaps the only plausible mechanism whereby future events could be so accurately depicted, would be that the flying-saucer occupants had already planned their arrival on Earth, and were communicating subliminal information concerning these planned events to the writers, which information registred in their minds without its transcendent source being evident to them. [written July 29 2014]}

Evans 1998 = Hilary Evans : From Other Worlds : Aliens, Abductions and UFOs. London : Carlton; Reader's Digest.


I. Epistemologies

5. Ghosts in the Body

Robert Peckham


p. 98 literature indicating conjunction of the paranormal/spiritism with modernism

[quoted from Luckhurst (about W. T. Stead) 2004, p. 125] "Stead's apparently diverse interest in mass democracy, spirits and phantasms, ... telepathy, ... new technology, astral travel, and popular science were the result ... of a wider episteme, a network of knowledges in which forms of the occult promised to make revelatory connections across the territory of ... modernity".

{Not only are mass-democracy and new technology approved by "spirits and phantasms", but also such "spirits and phantasms" as assitive in bringing about such mass-democracy and new technology.}

"In the context of such 'network of knowledges', both Corinna Treitel (2004) and Alex Owen (2004b) have considered occult beliefs in relation to social transformations and scientific innovation in the nineteeth and twentieth centuries, contending that a preoccupation with the ... paranormal developed in conjunction with -- rather than in opposition to -- modern science and ... processes of modernity more generally."

Luckhurst 2004 =Roger Luckhurst : "W. T. Stead's Occult Economies". In :- L. Henson & al. (edd.) : Culture and Science in Nineteenth-Century Media. Aldershot : Ashgate. pp. 125-35.

Treitel 2004 = Corinna Treitel : A Science for the Soul. Baltimore : John Hopkins Univ Pr.

Owen 2004b = Alex Owen : The Place of Enchantment. Univ of Chicago Pr.

p. 100 low wages resultant in malnutrion, with bodily symptoms of ill heath

"In The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), Friedrich Engels noted how the population of industrial Manchester resembled 'pale, lank, narrow-chested, hollow-eyed ghosts' (... [1845]:109)."

{Only due to stout resistance by labor-unions against capitalism's meagerness in wages to workers, is the health (and longevity) of the working-class substantially better now than it was in the era of Frederick Engels.}

{Engels' choice of the word /ghosts/ was praedicated on the fact that at that time in England (and soon afterward, when capitalism had taken hold there, in the United States of America) the urban population was (due to very low wages) extremely short-lived (and therefore reminiscent of the ghosts of the dead whom workers, perennially in a capitalism-caused state of ill-health, soon became).}

p. 101 social liberal-progressives are often labeled by "the learned" {actually, by capitalist hirelings posing as erudites} as "failures ... discontented"

(quoted from Baring-Gould 1904, p. 295) "Folk called us once Anarchists, ... Socialists, Levellers, now ... The learned talk of [how] ... we are the social failures, the generally discontented, coming up out of our cheap and nasty" habitats.

Baring-Gould 1904 = Sabine Baring-Gould : A Book of Ghosts. London : Methuen & Co.

p. 104 how "humanity {actually, capitalism afflicting humanity} is similar to a noxious disease-microbe

[quoted from the cinema The Matrix] "you humans ... multiply, and multiply, until every resource is consumed. The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows this pattern ... a virus."

{Actually, it is not to "humanity" in general that this indictment is applicable, but rather only to capitalism (or to the capitalist variety of human, or rather, inhumane, "civilization"). But if this [covertly subversive] cinema had been filmed with the word "capitalists" in the place of the word "humans", it would have been prohibited by the government as allegedly "seditious" or "treasonous".}

The Matrix (cinema directed by A. Wachowski & L. Wachowski, 1999). Warner Bro.s.


I. Epistemologies

6. Culture of Disbelief

William J. Dewan


p. 109 scientism as a religion

"de facto disbelief ... may be ... rooted in what Morton Klass describes as scientistic ideology.

This refers ... to the specific belief that only through scientific empiricism can humans ... understand the material universe.

{Scientistic fanatics tend to be extremist materialists; so that their wanton and frivolous scheme of specious doubting is likely to be based on the materialist hypothesis that there is no such thing as meaning, nor as purpose, anywhere in the universe. If so, they are hypocritical self-contradicters : for, no one can actually live a life without practicably accepting meanings and purpose in every decision to be made and in every activity to be carried out.}

For Klass, this represents a 'scientistic religion' ... (1995:152-3)".

Klass 1995 = Morton Klass : Ordered Universes : Approaches to the Anthropology of Religion. Boulder (CO) : Westview Pr.

p. 117 an anomaly among incredulous doubters of spirituality

"Another society that I support, the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE), is a group of credentialled scientists who want to look at the data that are ... anomalies".

{These words denote this member be a communist infiltrater; for, to scientistic unbelievers, to examine any actual data is anathema.}

p. 118, fn. 9 education an indicator of belief in the paranormal

In "a recent study of paranormal beliefs in the USA ... education did appear to be a strong indicator of belief in many paranormal subjects (Bader, Mencken and Baker 2010:153)."

Bader, Mencken, & Baker 2010 = C. D. Bader; F. C. Mencken; J. O. Baker : Paranormal America. NY University Pr.

p. 119 Carl Sagan as promoter of Stalinism (i.e., of genocide by mass-murder)

"In speaking of the collapse of the Soviet Union and its suppression of 'pseudoscience' {read "ethics"}, Sagan discusses the post-Communist {this is another fake term : for, there is nothing communist nor socialist about Stalinism} rise of 'old-time superstition' {read "old-time freedom and democracy"}."

{The only actual "pseudoscience" is materialism, though Carl Sagan's hypocrisy was too intellectually dishonest to admit to this fact.}

{Carl Sagan's book's title The Demon-Haunted World (1996) is a reference to his regarding all freedom and democracy as "demons" (daimones) to be exorcized by Sagan's fanatically doctrinaire Stalinism.}

p. 119, fn. 10 a logical fallacy of Carl Sagan's

"Gregory Schrempp contends that Sagan relies on an antiquated, ambiguous 'folk psychology' to delineate those beliefs he wishes to disparage (1998:248-9)."

Schrempp 1998 = Gregory Schrempp : "Folklore and Fear of Regression". J OF AMERICAN FOLKLORE 111(441):247-56.

p. 120 scientististic doubters of the reality of the paranormal turn out to be hirelings of the nihilist industry devoted to destroying all life on this planet

"the south-western {Arizona and New Mexico} landscape of military bases ... provided a {the scientistics' own} counter discourse {oppositional against all kindliness and against all humane decency} ... . In relation to this, these sceptics {"hypocritical doubters", not "sceptics"} were able to formulate a language of disbelief using the same landscape. With scientific research in New Mexico so closely aligned with ... weapons technology {particularly with the manufacture and deployment of vast numbers of guided-missile-mounted nuclear-bombs}, local defenders of science {i.e., of scientism} are de facto tasked {by trillionaire families who own the nuclear-bombs industries} with taking on {combatting} multiple threats {that is, they treat world-peace and honest goodwill as "threats"} to its practice {of warmongering}."

{The philosophical Skeptics of antiquity did not at all resemble modern-day militarist nihilists so abundant in Arizona and in New Mexico; those antique philosophical Skeptics (such as, Sextus Empiricus) instead resembled in doctrine the praesent-day pacifists of Bharata/India (as expounded in detail in the book The Shape of Ancient Thought) : so that those warmongers self-designation of "sceptics" is thoroughly hypocritical, and consciously so. [written July 30 2012]}


Olu Jenzen & Sally R. Munt (editrices) : The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures. Ashgate Publ Ltd, Farnham (Surrey), 2013.