24.9.16

On The Road

Ben Mezrich. The 37th Parallel, The Secret Truth Behind America's UFO Highway. Atria Books. (8 September 2016)

This real-life The X-Files and Close Encounters of the Third Kind tells the true story of a computer programmer who tracks paranormal events along a 3,000-mile stretch through the heart of America and is drawn deeper and deeper into a vast conspiracy.

Like Agent Mulder of The X-Files, computer programmer and sheriff’s deputy Zukowski is obsessed with tracking down UFO reports in Colorado. He would take the family with him on weekend trips to look for evidence of aliens. But this innocent hobby takes on a sinister urgency when Zukowski learns of mutilated livestock, and sees the bodies of dead horses and cattle—whose exsanguination is inexplicable by any known human or animal means.

Along an expanse of land stretching across the southern borders of Utah, Colorado, and Kansas, Zukowski discovers multiple bizarre incidences of mutilations, and suddenly realizes that they cluster around the 37th Parallel or 'UFO Highway'. So begins an extraordinary and fascinating journey from El Paso and Rush, Colorado, to a mysterious space studies company and MUFON, from Roswell and Area 51 to the Pentagon and beyond; to underground secret military caverns and Indian sacred sites; beneath strange, unexplained lights in the sky and into corporations that obstruct and try to take over investigations. Inspiring and terrifying, this true story will keep you up at night, staring at the sky, and wondering if we really are alone...and what could happen next.

16.9.16

Satanic Panic Revisited

An overview of a very disturbing episode and its consequences.

Kier-La Janisse, Paul Corupe. Satanic Panic. Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. FAB Press (July 2016)

In the 1980s, it seemed impossible to escape Satan's supposed influence. Everywhere you turned, there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the Satanic Panic, not only sought to convince us of devils lurking behind the dials of our TVs and radios and the hellfire that awaited on book and video store shelves, it also created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, audio cassettes and literature. Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, offers an unprecedented and in-depth exploration of how a controversial culture war played out during the decade, from the publication of the memoir Michelle Remembers in 1980 to the end of the McMartin Satanic Ritual Abuse Trial in 1990.

Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s features new essays and interviews by 20 emerging and established writers who address the ways the widespread fear of a Satanic conspiracy was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons, TV talk shows and even home computers. The book also features case studies on McMartin, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Long Island acid king killer Ricky Kasso. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, the book aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.

14.9.16

Seconds Out, Round One...

Rupert Sheldrake, Michael Shermer. Arguing Science: A Dialogue on the Future of Science and Spirit. Monkfish Book Publishing Company (16 Sept. 2016)

Two controversial authors debate the nature and methods of science, its dogmas, and its future. Rupert Sheldrake argues that science needs to free itself from materialist dogma while Michael Shermer contends that science, properly conceived, is a materialistic enterprise; for science to look beyond materialist explanations is to betray science and engage in superstition. Issues discussed include: materialism and its role in science, whether belief in God is compatible with a scientific perspective, and parapsychology. Michael Shermer is Editor-in-Chief of "Skeptic "magazine and the author of numerous books including "Skeptic." Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of ten books including his most recent, "Science Set Free," which challenges scientific dogma

9.9.16

Friars, Fairies and Flocks

Richard Firth Green. Elf Queens and Holy Friars, Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church. University of Pennsylvania Press. (September 2016)

From the publisher's websiteIn Elf Queens and Holy Friars Richard Firth Green investigates an important aspect of medieval culture that has been largely ignored by modern literary scholarship: the omnipresent belief in fairyland. Taking as his starting point the assumption that the major cultural gulf in the Middle Ages was less between the wealthy and the poor than between the learned and the lay, Green explores the church's systematic demonization of fairies and infernalization of fairyland. He argues that when medieval preachers inveighed against the demons that they portrayed as threatening their flocks, they were in reality often waging war against fairy beliefs. The recognition that medieval demonology, and indeed pastoral theology, were packed with coded references to popular lore opens up a whole new avenue for the investigation of medieval vernacular culture.

Elf Queens and Holy Friars offers a detailed account of the church's attempts to suppress or redirect belief in such things as fairy lovers, changelings, and alternative versions of the afterlife. That the church took these fairy beliefs so seriously suggests that they were ideologically loaded, and this fact makes a huge difference in the way we read medieval romance, the literary genre that treats them most explicitly. The war on fairy beliefs increased in intensity toward the end of the Middle Ages, becoming finally a significant factor in the witch-hunting of the Renaissance.

Mind: How You Go

An issue that ultimately is at the back of many of the paranormal and Fortean  topics we study:

Imants Barušs, Julia Mossbridge. Transcendent Mind: Rethinking the Science of Consciousness. American Psychological Association. (August 15, 2016)

Where does consciousness come from? For most scientists and laypeople, it is axiomatic that something in the substance of the brain — neurons, synapses and gray matter in just the right combination — create perception, self-awareness, and intentionality. Yet despite decades of neurological research, that "something" — the mechanism by which this process is said to occur — has remained frustratingly elusive. This is no accident, as the authors of this book argue, given that the evidence increasingly points to a startling fact: consciousness may not, in fact, reside in the brain at all.

In this wide-ranging and deeply scientific book, Imants Barušs and Julia Mossbridge utilize findings from special relativity and quantum mechanics, modern and ancient philosophers, and paranormal psychology to build a rigorous, detailed investigation into the origins and nature of human consciousness. Along the way, they examine the scientific literature on concepts including mediumship, out-of-body and near-death experiences, telekinesis, "apparent" versus "deep time," and mind-to-mind communication, and introduce eye-opening ideas about our shared reality. The result is a revelatory tour of the "post-materialist" world — and a roadmap for consciousness research in the twenty-first century.


7.9.16

Dark and Stormy...

A new volume of Darklore is always a cause for celebration!

Greg Taylor, editor. Darklore, Volume 9. Daily Grail (August 20, 2016)

Darklore is an anthology of Forteana, hidden history, the paranormal and esoteric science. Featuring contributions from Alan Moore, Robert Schoch, Blair MacKenzie Blake, Adam Gorightly, Greg Taylor, Mike Jay, John Reppion, Cat Vincent, and Paul Devereux, Volume 9 of Darklore offers only the best writing and research from the most respected individuals in their fields. In Darklore Volume 9 you'll find discussions of subjects such as the relevance of magick in the modern age, the strange science of meteorites, the origins of the werewolf mythos, the influence of cannabis on art and science, the influence of science fiction and fantasy stories on modern paganism, the real fairy lore behind Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, and more. Find out more about the book - including free sample articles - at the Darklore website: darklore.dailygrail.com.

Stories from the Stars

Chris Impey and Holly Henry. Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration. Princeton University Press (8 Sept. 2013)

Dreams of Other Worlds describes the unmanned space missions that have opened new windows on distant worlds. Spanning four decades of dramatic advances in astronomy and planetary science, this book tells the story of eleven iconic exploratory missions and how they have fundamentally transformed our scientific and cultural perspectives on the universe and our place in it. The journey begins with the Viking and Mars Exploration Rover missions to Mars, which paint a startling picture of a planet at the cusp of habitability. It then moves into the realm of the gas giants with the Voyager probes and Cassini's ongoing exploration of the moons of Saturn.

The Stardust probe's dramatic round-trip encounter with a comet is brought vividly to life, as are the SOHO and Hipparcos missions to study the Sun and Milky Way. This stunningly illustrated book also explores how our view of the universe has been brought into sharp focus by NASA's great observatories--Spitzer, Chandra, and Hubble--and how the WMAP mission has provided rare glimpses of the dawn of creation. Dreams of Other Worlds reveals how these unmanned exploratory missions have redefined what it means to be the temporary tenants of a small planet in a vast cosmos.