Haunted People, Haunted Minds
By: Bobbie Atristain
Publisher: Lulu Publishing 2006
Reviewed by: Dave Schumacher
Science & Technology Advisor
Southern Wisconsin Paranormal Research Group
The book begins by describing why the paranormal is worthy of scientific investigation and why belief in the paranormal has increased over the last 10 years. Next it reviews the areas of neuroscience, neurotheology, and quantum physics. These are relatively new areas to mainstream science and therefore can be unfamiliar even to the veteran paranormal investigator. The brief overview of each topic provides one with a general understanding of the topic and explains why they are important to paranormal research and how they may someday make the paranormal very normal.
The basics of the three-step investigation process used by The Center for Paranormal Research and Investigation (CPRI) is presented next. This is the same process used by the group I am affiliated with and it is good to see others using it. This investigation procedure is very successful and should be used by more paranormal investigators. A little bit more information on what types of questions are asked during the interview and the specifics of the full-scale investigation would have been an added bonus.
The review of theories on infrasound, electromagnetic fields, and geomagnetic fields, their effects on the brain, and how they can be the cause of some subjective paranormal experiences is extremely well done. Complex theories from Michael Persinger and Vic Tandy are presented in a logical and easily understandable format. Examples from the scientific literature and real-life case studies provide the needed support in order to drive the information home. The reader will also enjoy learning about some of the unique equipment the CRPI is using to test these theories in the field.
The next couple of chapters deal with hardcore scientific, psychological, and parapsychological information and concepts as they relate to the paranormal. Bobbie proposes that 90% to 95% of the cases the CPRI have investigated are haunted people/haunted minds and NOT due to a discarnate entity, poltergeist/RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis), or residual haunting (of course there is still that 5% to 10% that may be paranormal for you true believers). She discusses the haunted people/haunted minds concept within the framework of known psychological conditions such as: dysfunctional families, bipolar disorder, childhood trauma and sexual abuse, and temporal lobe epilepsy. It is clear that Bobbie has a firm grasp of the published scientific literature and has done an excellent job of applying that information to her field research.
The book then goes on to describe the various psychological phenomena that can be mistaken for paranormal experiences. Not only does one learn what causes the phenomenon but is also educated on what type of paranormal activity it resembles. Once again I enjoyed how each point was reinforced by real-life examples.
Finally, there are various case studies that have been investigated by the CPRI. The reader will particularly enjoy the Dangerous Orbs chapter!
Only two minor things could have made this book better for me. The first thing is the format. I downloaded the pdf file. Even though I love computers, I like to have a paper copy in my hand. So, I printed out the book. After it printed, I noticed that the text was centered and there were only two or three paragraphs per page. On the positive side, this made for a very quick read of the 203-page book (never thought of myself as a speed reader but I felt pretty smart)! The print version is slightly shorter but more or less formatted the same way. Besides using a lot of paper this isnít a big deal, especially if you are going to just read it on the computer.
The second small thing is that in one of the case file chapters there is a nice review of the three major types of ghostly paranormal phenomena that could have been expanded upon and made a separate chapter. I still think there is a lack of knowledge by most ghost hunters and paranormal investigators on what the differences are between an apparition of the intelligent type, a poltergeist (RSPK), and a residual haunting/place memory.
Overall I think this is an excellent book!
No matter what your level of interest in the paranormal, either amateur ghost hunter or serious paranormal investigator, you need to read Haunted Minds, Haunted People by Bobbie Atristain. It contains the information you will need in order to determine what is normal (though somewhat strange) and what might be paranormal. Knowing and using the up-to-date information in this book will enhance your credibility as a serious paranormal investigator and gain your further acceptance by mainstream science.
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