Randi's Prize argues the case for the existence of genuine psychic phenomena.
The 'prize' of the title is the Million Dollar Challenge offered by stage magician James Randi for anyone who passes his test for psychic powers. So far, Randi says, no one has even passed the preliminaries. This confirms the belief held by sceptics and many scientists that so-called 'psychics' are delusional or dishonest.
Randi's Prize agrees that this is sometimes the case, but sympathises with scientists who have investigated paranormal claims in depth and consider some of what they have observed to be genuinely anomalous. It pays close attention to the arguments of well-known sceptics like Randi, Ray Hyman, Richard Wiseman and Susan Blackmore. However it concludes that these fall short of a full explanation.
Randi's Prize proposes that we develop a more mature and discerning approach to these hugely challenging issues.
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If you want to know more about some of the topics discussed in Randi's Prize, the links below bring up further information and links to relevant source material.
Poltergeists (discussed in Chapter One: Naughty Adolescent Syndrome)
Eusapia Palladino (discussed in Chapter Two: Eusapia Palladino and the Phantom Narrative)
Leonora Piper (discussed in Chapter Three: Communicators)
Experimental Psi Research (discussed in Chapter Four: Uncertain Science)
Out-of-Body Experiences, Near-death Experiences and Past Life Memories (discussed in Chapter Six: Experience and Imagination (II)
A key resource is the archive and library of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), which was founded in 1882. Visit the SPR's excellent website, and if you are ever in London midweek, its lending library near High Street Kensington contains books on a wide range of paranormal subjects (open 1pm-5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday).
The SPR's Journal and Proceedings can be read at the online library Lexscien, along with the Journal of Parapsychology and several other key publications (requires a subscription).
A useful free resource is the Catalogue of the Society for Psychical Research, which contains detailed summaries of research papers, articles, correspondence and book reviews going back to 1882. A quick scan will give you a good impression of the scale of the SPR's research, and of its discerning approach. Full articles can be read at Lexscien.
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