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By Stephen E. Braude

For over thirty years, Stephen Braude has studied the mystical in daily life, from extrasensory belief and psychokinesis to mediumship and materialization. The Gold Leaf girl and different Parapsychological Investigations is a hugely readable and sometimes a laugh account of his so much memorable encounters with such phenomena. the following Braude recounts in attention-grabbing aspect 5 specific cases—some that problem our such a lot basic medical ideals and others that reveal our personal credulousness. Braude starts off with a south Florida girl who could make skinny gold-colored foil look spontaneously on her pores and skin. He then travels to manhattan and California to check psychokinetic superstars—and frauds—like Joe Nuzum, who declare to maneuver items utilizing in basic terms their minds. alongside the best way, Braude additionally investigates the startling allegations of K.R., a policeman in Annapolis who believes he can move photographs from images onto different objects—including his personal body—and Ted Serios, a deceased Chicago elevator operator who can make a number of assorted photos seem on Polaroid movie. eventually, Braude considers his wife’s unusually fruitful experiments with astrology, which she has used to lead expert football groups to the head in their leagues, in addition to his personal own reviews with synchronicity—a phenomenon, he argues, that may wish to be defined when it comes to a sophisticated, huge, and dramatic type of psychokinesis. Heady, provocative, and brimming with eye-opening information and proposals, The Gold Leaf girl and different Parapsychological Investigations will intrigue either adherents and detractors of its debatable subject material alike.

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That’s one of the Historical Interlude [ 31 ] reasons séance phenomena gripped the public’s imagination so deeply and so widely. But as the nineteenth century drew to a close, an interesting shift in belief had begun. More and more serious researchers turned their attention to mediumistic séances, and a growing number of them began to suspect that mediums produced their physical phenomena by PK. Gradually, that idea crept into the public consciousness as well, and at that point the mediums themselves couldn’t ignore it, even if they didn’t believe it.

But that raises an important and interesting issue. Many wonder—reasonably—why such dazzling phenomena occurred during this eighty-year period but not thereafter. After all, we no longer see or hear about the sorts of things that apparently happened frequently during the Spiritualist movement. Of course, this doesn’t surprise those who think all mediumistic phenomena are fraudulent, and they have two standard skeptical explanations for the disappearance of large-scale effects. First is what we could call the Argument from Gullibility: the contention that people simply were more unsophisticated and credulous in former days.

I wish I could report confidently that studies of Katie will continue. But as I write this, the prospects are not encouraging. My academic chemist friends have other pressing obligations, and I’m certain they always have reservations (even when they’re free) about tackling a job that many of their colleagues will ignorantly ridicule. So it’s unclear when—or if—the foil analyses will resume. I’m also not optimistic about the prospects for conducting more tests with Katie. I would be happy to do so, but Bert Schwarz tells me that Katie’s domestic situation makes it unlikely either that she could break free for more testing or that she would be in the appropriate frame of mind.

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