Books Recommended by Division Staff
The following is a list of books on various aspects of psychical research (also known as parapsychology) that are recommended by the faculty at the Division of Perceptual Studies. There are books on psychical research in general, many of which cover a variety of topics, and books on various specific topics as well.
- psychical research in general
- on after-death communications (ADCs)
- apparitions and hauntings
- deathbed visions
- extra-sensory perception (ESP)
- the history of psychical research
- the mind-body relationship and concepts of reality
- near-death experiences (NDEs)
- out-of-body experiences (OBEs)
- physical phenomena (psychokinesis, etc.)
- survival after death
- other selected topics
Many of these books are out-of-print (designated by an OOP at the end of the entry) but may be available through public or university libraries or from used book stores. The OOP designations are based on the March 2000 Books-in-Print database.
While some of the books listed here are by division faculty most are not. Books and articles written by division faculty are listed in the Publications section of this Web site.
1. Broughton, Richard S. Parapsychology: The Controversial Science. New York: Ballantine, 1992. A good general introduction to the problems, findings and implications of the science of parapsychology.
2. Chauvin, Rémy. Parapsychology: When the Irrational Rejoins Science. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1985. Review of selected aspects of modern parapsychological research. OOP
3. Edge, Hoyt L., Morris, Robert L., Rush, Joseph H., and Palmer, John. Foundations of Parapsychology: Exploring the Boundaries of Human Capability. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1986. A more advanced survey of methods and findings in modern parapsychology. OOP
4. Gurney, Edmund, Myers, Frederic, and Podmore, Frank. Phantasms of the Living. 2 vols. North Stratford, NH: Ayer Company Publishers, 1975. A classic. The first major publication (in 1886) of the Society for Psychical Research, primarily reporting hundreds of cases investigated by the authors, but also indispensable reading for anyone seriously interested in psychical research and its problems and methods for investigating spontaneous cases.
5. Hintze, Naomi A. and Pratt, J. Gaither. The Psychic Realm: What Can You Believe? New York: Random House, 1975. The book covers a wide range of psychic phenomena. The first author describes case material in popular language in the first part of each chapter, and the second author then discusses each topic from the scientific point of view. OOP
6. Irwin, H.J. An Introduction to Parapsychology, 3rd edition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. Another general introduction to the field, with chapters on such special topics as NDEs, OBEs, apparitions, poltergeists, and reincarnation.
7. Jahn, Robert G. and Dunne, Brenda J. Margins of Reality: The Role of Consciousness in the Physical World. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987. OOP
8. Krippner, S. (ed.), Advances in Parapsychological Research, 8 vols. An ongoing series of articles reviewing recent research on a wide variety of topics of current interest to parapsychologists.
- Vol. 1 Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books 1977
- Vol. 2 Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books 1978
- Vol. 3 Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books 1982
- Vol. 4 Jefferson, NC: McFarland 1984 OOP
- Vol. 5 Jefferson, NC: McFarland 1987 OOP
- Vol. 6 Jefferson, NC: McFarland 1990 OOP
- Vol. 7 Jefferson, NC: McFarland 1994
- Vol. 8 Jefferson, NC: McFarland 1997 OOP
9. Murphy, Gardner (with Laura A. Dale). Challenge of Psychical Research. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979. (Harper and Row, 1961, 1970). An overview of spontaneous cases, experimental work, and the postmortem survival question by a leading psychologist.
10. Myers, Frederic W.H. Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death. North Stratford, NH: Ayer Company Publishers, 1975. (Originally published in 1903). The other major classic of early psychical research, and indeed of psychology, in which Myers describes a wide range of subconscious psychological phenomena, including dissociation, sleep, genius, hypnotism, automatisms, and trance, within the context of his theory of human personality as extending beyond the confines of normal psychophysiological functioning.
11. Radin, Dean. The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena. New York: HarperEdge, 1997.
12. Rhine, Louisa E. The Invisible Picture: A Study of Psychic Experiences. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1981. Summary of the author’s research with claims of spontaneous psychic experiences. OOP
13. Rhine, Louisa E. Psi: What Is It? New York: Harper and Row, 1975. A comprehensive general survey of the field of parapsychology, written by one of the founders of experimental parapsychology at Duke University. OOP
14. Stokes, Douglas M. The Nature of Mind: Parapsychology and the Role of Consciousness in the Physical World. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1997.
15. West, Donald J. Psychical Research Today. London: Gerald Duckworth, 1954. A short, readable survey of the whole field. OOP
16. White, Rhea. Parapsychology: Sources of Information 1973-1989. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1990. An update of number 18, below. OOP
17. White, Rhea. Surveys in Parapsychology. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1976. A collection of review articles on various aspects of parapsychology, providing comprehensive surveys of the periodical literature of the field.
18. White, Rhea A. and Dale, Laura A. Parapsychology: Sources of Information. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973. Lists a large number of publications in the field of psychical research/parapsychology and directs readers to additional sources. OOP
19. Wolman, B. B., Ed. Handbook of Parapsychology. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1985 (Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1977). A large book with technical papers written by specialists mainly for scientists, but containing abundant details and references to other publications for readers wishing to study the subject more deeply. OOP
1. Guggenheim, Bill and Guggenheim, Judy. Hello From Heaven. New York: Bantam Books, 1995.
2. LaGrand, Louis E. After Death Communication: Final Farewells. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1997.
3. Wright, Sylvia Hart. When Spirits Come Calling: The Open-minded Skeptic’s Guide to After Death Contacts. Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2002.
4. Arcangel, Dianne. Afterlife Encounters: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Experiences. Hampton Roads Publishing Co. Inc, 2005
1. Bayless, R. Apparitions and Survival of Death. New Hyde Park, NY: Basic Books, 1973. OOP
2. Bennett, E. Apparitions and Haunted Houses. Ann Arbor: Gryphon Books, 1971. OOP
3. Finucane, R.C. Appearances of the Dead: A Cultural History of Ghosts. New York: Prometheus, 1984. OOP
4. Flammarion, Camille. Haunted Houses. Detroit: Gale Research, 1971 (originally published in 1924). OOP
5. Green, Celia, and McCreery, Charles. Apparitions. New York: State Mutual Book & Periodical Service, Ltd., 1989.
6. MacKenzie, Andrew. Apparitions and Ghosts. London: Arthur Barker, 1971. The author reports nearly fifty new cases of apparitions investigated by him. OOP
7. MacKenzie, Andrew. Hauntings and Apparitions. London: Heinemann, 1982. Review of classic cases and main ideas on apparitions and hauntings. Emphasis on work of the London-based Society for Psychical Research. OOP
8. Salter, W.H. Ghosts and Apparitions. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1938. OOP
9. Tyrrell, G. N. M. Apparitions. London: Society for Psychical Research, 1973. OOP
1. Barrett, William, Sir. Death-bed Visions: The Psychical Experiences of the Dying. New York: Aquarian Press, 1988 (originally published in 1926).
2. Osis, Karlis, and Haraldsson, Erlendur. At the Hour of Death: A New Look at Evidence for Life after Death, 3rd edition. Norwalk, CT: Hastings House, 1997. OOP
1. Heywood, Rosalind. Beyond the Reach of Sense: An Inquiry into Extra-Sensory Perception. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1974. A readable survey of parapsychology including the earlier investigations bearing on survival of human personality after death. OOP
2. Pratt, Joseph Gaither. Parapsychology: an Insider’s View of ESP. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1977 (originally published by New York: Dutton, 1968). A very readable and largely autobiographical account, first written in 1963, describing the many areas of parapsychology which the author personally investigated, including accounts of his famous ESP experiments with Pearce and Woodruff at Duke University, his investigation of the Seaford poltergeist case, and his research on animal ESP. OOP
3. Sinclair, Upton. Mental Radio. New York: New York: Time-Life Books, 1991 (originally published by Charles C Thomas, 1930, 1962). Upton Sinclair’s report of experiments in extrasensory perception carried out with his wife. Introduction by William McDougall and short preface by Albert Einstein.
1. Beloff, John. Parapsychology: A Concise History. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. A brief historical survey of the field from its origins in renaissance magic, mesmerism, and spiritualism, through 19th-century psychical research, early 20th-century psychical research and experimental parapsychology, to more recent developments.
2. Gauld, Alan. The Founders of Psychical Research. New York: Schocken Books, Inc, 1968. OOP
3. Grattan-Guinness, Ivor. Psychical Research: A Guide to Its History, Principles and Practices. Wellingborough, England: Aquarian Press, 1982. OOP
4. Haynes, Renée. The Society for Psychical Research, 1882-1982: A History. London: MacDonald & Co., 1982. OOP
1. Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality edited by Edward F. Kelly, Adam Crabtree, and Paul Marshall, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015, 602 pages. ISBN 978-1-4422-3238-9, electronic ISBN 978-1-4422-3240-2. This book is the product of an unusual fellowship of scientists and humanities scholars who dispute the view that reality is purely physical, and that human beings are nothing more than extremely complicated biological machines.
2. Ducasse, C.J. A Critical Examination of the Belief in Life After Death. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, 1961. OOP
3. Ducasse, C.J. Nature, Life, and Death. LaSalle, IL: Open Court Publishing, 1951. OOP
4. Ducasse, C.J. Paranormal Phenomena, Science & Life after Death (Parapsychological Monographs No. 8). New York: Parapsychology Foundation, 1969.
5. Gauld, Alan. Mediumship and Survival: A Century of Investigations. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1984. Review of different types of evidence for survival, classic cases and mediums, theories, and methodological and philosophical problems.
6. Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Edward F. Kelly, Emily Williams Kelly, Adam Crabtree, Alan Gauld, Michael Grosso, and Bruce Greyson co-authored this book. Current mainstream scientific opinion holds that all aspects of human mind and consciousness are generated by physical processes occurring in the brain. This book demonstrates with empirical evidence that this reductive materialism is not only incomplete but false.
7. Penfield, W. The Mystery of the Mind. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975. OOP
8. Popper, K.R., and Eccles, J.C. The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism. New York: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc., 1985.
9. Presti, David. Foundational Concepts in Neuroscience: A Brain-Mind Odyssey. New York, NY: W.W. Norton, December 2015. This book presents neuroscience (the study of brain, mind, and behavior) in easy-to-understand ways, with a focus on concepts of interest to all science readers. Rigorous and detailed , but it is meant for any and all readers interested in learning about contemporary brain science. From molecules and cells to mind and consciousness, the known and the mysterious are presented in the context of the history of modern biology, with an eye toward developing intuition about how the brain works and better appreciating the beauty and growing public presence of neuroscience.
10. Woollacott, Marjorie H., Infinite Awareness: The Awakening of a Scientific Mind. Rowman & Littlefield, October 2015. As a neuroscientist, Marjorie Woollacott had no doubts that the brain was a purely physical entity controlled by chemicals and electrical pulses. When she experimented with meditation for the first time, however, her entire world changed. Woollacott’s journey through years of meditation has made her question the reality she built her career upon and has forced her to ask what human consciousness really is. Infinite Awareness pairs Woollacott’s research as a neuroscientist with her self-revelations about the mind’s spiritual power. Between the scientific and spiritual worlds, she breaks open the definition of human consciousness to investigate the existence of a non-physical and infinitely powerful mind.
1. Holden, Janice, Greyson, Bruce, James, Debbie. The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences. Santa Barbara, CA : Praeger Publishers, 2009.
2. Fenwick, Peter, and Fenwick, Elizabeth. The Truth in the Light: An Investigation of Over 300 Near-Death Experiences. New York: Berkley Publishing Group, 1997.
3. Greyson, Bruce, and Flynn, Charles (eds.) The Near-Death Experience: Problems, Prospects, Perspectives. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas, 1984.
4. Moody, R.A., Jr. Life After Life. New York: Bantam Books, 1984 (originally published by Mockingbird Books in 1975). The first modern account of near-death experiences by the man who coined the term. OOP
5. Ring, Kenneth. Heading Toward Omega: In Search of the Meaning of the Near-Death Experience. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1984.
6. Ring, Kenneth. Life at Death: A Scientific Investigation of the Near-Death Experience. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1980. An in-depth examination of the NDE, derived from the author’s study of over 100 cases. OOP
7. Sabom, Michael B. Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation. New York: Harper & Row, 1982. A cardiologist’s study of NDEs, primarily among his own patients, including a particularly interesting account of some cases apparently involving the patient’s paranormal awareness of objectively verifiable events. OOP
8. Zaleski, C. Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experiences in Medieval and Modern Times. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.
1. Blackmore, Susan J. Beyond the Body: An Investigation of Out-of-the-Body Experiences. Chicago: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1991. Review of spontaneous and experimental studies of OBEs. Theories and concepts are also discussed. Blackmore is somewhat negative about paranormal features of OBEs.
2. Gabbard, Glen O., and Twemlow, Stuart W. With the Eyes of the Mind: An Empirical Analysis of Out-of-Body States. New York: Praeger, 1984. OOP
3. Irwin, Harvey J. Flight of Mind: A Psychological Study of the Out-of-Body Experience. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1985. An in-depth examination of the OBE, in support of the author’s hypothesis that the OBE is an imaginal process rather than actual spatial separation of mind and body. OOP
4. Mitchell, Janet L. Out-of-Body Experiences. New York: Ballantine, 1987. Not so comprehensive or critical as Blackmore’s (1), but more positive in its interpretations.
1. Robinson, Diana. To Stretch a Plank: A Survey of Psychokinesis. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1981. Review of laboratory and field studies of paranormal physical phenomena. Physical mediums and theoretical considerations also receive attention.
1. Gauld, Alan, and Cornell, A. D. Poltergeists. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982. OOP
2. Goss, M. Poltergeists: An Annotated Bibliography of Works in English, circa 1880-1975. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow, 1979.
3. Owen, A.R.G. Can We Explain the Poltergeist? New York: Helix Press, 1964. OOP
4. Roll, William G. The Poltergeist. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1976. (Signet, 1972). A survey of poltergeist cases investigated by the author, including a discussion of possible explanations for these phenomena. OOP
5. Thurston, H. Ghosts and Poltergeists. Ridgefield, CT: Roman Catholic Books, 1998 (originally published by Burns Oates, London in 1953).
1. Tucker Jim. Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Previous Lives. New York: St. Martin Press, 2013. This book focuses on recent U.S. cases of children who report memories of previous lives.
2. Tucker, Jim. Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. This book is a review of our research with children who report memories of previous lives written for the general public. Read a review of this book as it appeared in the Journal of Scientific Exploration , 19 (4), 2005 , by Harvard Biologist Michael Levin.
3. Shroder, Tom. Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999. In 1997 Dr. Stevenson agreed to let Tom Shroder, an editor at the Washington Post, travel with him through India, Lebanon and the United States as he investigated cases of children who seemed to remember previous lives. This is Shroder’s book about those experiences. Now out in paperback as Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives from Fireside Books.
4. Stevenson, Ian. Children Who Remember Previous Lives: A Question of Reincarnation, revised ed., 2001. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company (originally published by University Press of Virginia, 1987). Dr. Stevenson describes, for the general reader, research conducted over the past forty years. He also addresses some of the questions frequently asked about these cases.
5. Stevenson, Ian. Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1974 (originally published as Vol. 26, Proceedings of the American Society for Psychical Research, 1966). Detailed reports of twenty cases of children (from five different countries) who claimed to remember previous lives.
6. Stevenson, Ian. Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997. A 200 page synopsis of Dr. Stevenson’s 2 volume, 2000+ page Reincarnation and Biology.
1. Griffin, David Ray. Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration. Albany, State University of New York Press, 1997.
2. Paterson, R. W. K. Philosophy and the Belief in a Life after Death. Library of Religion and Philosophy series. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.
1. Stevenson, Ian. Telepathic Impressions. Ann Arbor: Books on Demand, [no date given] originally published by University Press of Virginia in 1970).
2. Ullman, Montague, and Krippner, Stanley (with Alan Vaughan). Dream Telepathy. 2nd ed., Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 1989. A report of the experiments on telepathic dreams conducted at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, including a limited survey of spontaneous dream telepathy cases.
1. Gauld, Alan. A History of Hypnotism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
2. LeShan, Lawrence. The Medium, The Mystic, and the Physicist. Viking Press, 1995 and 1974. OOP
3. Stevenson, Ian. Unlearned Language: New Studies in Xenoglossy. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1984.
4. Rhine, Louisa E. Hidden Channels of the Mind. New York: Time-Life Books, 1990 (originally published in 1961). A summary and discussion of reports of spontaneous cases, not investigated but taken at face value as sent in by (usually) the person having the experience. Gives interesting indications of the patterns in the cases. OOP