The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher

The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher
The Witch of Lime Street by David Jaher has a pub date! I know a lot of people have been looking forward to this book for a while. It’s scheduled for October 6, 2015.

“History comes alive in this textured account of the rivalry between Harry Houdini and the so-called Witch of Lime Street, whose iconic lives intersected at a time when science was on the verge of embracing the paranormal.

“The 1920s are famous as the golden age of jazz and glamour, but it was also an era of fevered yearning for communion with an unseen spirit world, after the loss of tens of millions in the First World War and the Spanish-flu epidemic. A desperate search for reunion with dead loved ones precipitated a tidal wave of self-proclaimed psychics—and, as reputable media sought stories on occult phenomena, mediums became celebrities.

“Against this backdrop, in 1924, the pretty wife of a distinguished Boston surgeon became the idolized focus of the raging national debate over Spiritualism, a movement centered on communication with the dead. Reporters dubbed her the blonde Witch of Lime Street, but she was known to her followers simply as Margery. A socially prominent woman of exceptional charm, her most vocal advocate was none other than Sherlock Holmes’ creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who believed so thoroughly in Margery’s powers that he urged her to enter a controversial contest, sponsored by Scientific American and offering a large cash prize to the first medium declared authentic by its impressive five-man investigative committee. Margery was the best hope for the psychic practice to be empirically verified, and her supernatural gifts beguiled four of the judges. There was only one left to convince…the acclaimed escape artist, Harry Houdini.

“David Jaher’s extraordinary debut culminates in the showdown between Houdini, the world’s greatest unmasker of charlatans, and Margery, the nation’s most credible spirit medium. The Witch of Lime Street, the first book to capture their electric public rivalry and the competition that brought them into each other’s orbit, returns us to an oft-mythologized era to deepen our understanding of its history, all while igniting our imagination and engaging with the timeless question: Is there life after death?”

Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn already has a talk and signing scheduled for October 16th. That would be the event to go to, I think. Morbid Anatomy is a must-see place to begin with so arrive early so you can look around at their collection.

You can pre-order The Witch of Lime Street here.

Michael Jawer and Sensory Sensitivity

Michael Jewer
Michael Jawer, the co-author of The Spiritual Anatomy of Emotion: How Feelings Link the Brain, the Body, and the Sixth Sense has written a serious of blog posts about various conditions which include having heightened reaction to sensory stimuli.

He has a section on Psychology Today called Feeling Too Much: How emotion shapes extraordinary sensitivity, and you can see a list of blog posts like “Children Who Seemingly Remember Past Lives” here. From that post:

“Could there be a mechanism, somewhere between life and death, where memories associated with the struggling person’s circumstances are preserved? It would be akin to the echoes, preserved down the eons, of the Big Bang observable through faint but distinct background radiation. Except in the cases we are considering, the intensity of the person’s feelings – his or her life energy, self-awareness and being – might somehow be captured in a fusion of space and time. This ‘imprint’ might become available for another, nascent life form – not “his” or “her” memories (as in reincarnation) but a transmutation just the same.”

The first in the series is titled, Sensory Sensitivity: An Overlooked Thread.

ESP Cards – Still a Great Stocking Stuffer


I posted this last year: I was browsing the Rhine Research Center website and I noticed again that they have ESP Cards for sale. “The set includes a box of 25 cards, a manual written by Dr. Louisa E. Rhine and a packet of standard ESP record sheets. Cost is $25.00/set includes shipping & handling. International orders please contact us first.

“Zener cards is the original name given to the ESP cards, named after the perceptual psychologist Karl Zener, a colleague of JB Rhine’s who suggested the five symbols to be used on the cards.”

Here is a picture from the Rhine Research Center archives of Gaither Pratt with ESP cards. I don’t know who the woman is, but if someone can identify her I will update this post.

Gaither Pratt, ESP CArds

The Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory Online Conference

NancyCarlos
Thank you to the Parapsychology Foundation for emailing about this. From their email:

The Parapsychology and Psychology: Research and Theory online conference will take place on Saturday, November 1st between 8:00am and 3:00pm Eastern, and on Sunday, November 2nd between 8:30am and 4:00pm Eastern. Registrants will be able to attend the sessions in real time online, and then watch recordings of the sessions as well as sample other information in the online conference indefinitely. A host of international researcher will be giving the live talks, among them Dr. Patrizio Tressoldi from Italy, PF International Affiliate for Argentina, Dr. Alejandro Parra, and Dr. Christine Simmonds-Moore, one of PF’s first recipients of the Frances P. Bolton Fellowship. For more information on registering for the conference go to Parapsychology Online and click on “Conference.”

Rhine Fall Fundraising Dinner and Film Debut

On Saturday, October 25th, there will be a dinner and a screening of Muggins: The Memoirs of Sally Rhine Feather, to benefit the Rhine Research Center. This is a “documentary that consists of personal interviews and reflections of Dr. Sally Rhine Feather, the Executive Director Emeritus of the Rhine and daughter of J.B. and Louisa Rhine who were instrumental in securing an academic presence for the scientific field of parapsychology. This film is a fascinating, illuminating, and fun-filled glimpse into the personal life of the Rhine family through to the creation of what is now the Rhine Research Center.”

For more information and to register, click here.

A couple of early photographs of Sally Rhine Feather. That’s Sally at the lower right, and the late Dr. Elizabeth McMahan (aka BettyMac) on the left.
Parapsychology Laboratory Laboratory of Duke University, PK Party




This is a picture of all the Rhine children in 1935.
The Children of J. B. and Louisa Rhine, 1935

Where are the polls about belief in the paranormal?

Why are there no new polls about people’s beliefs in the paranormal? I was looking at this 2009 Pew Research Poll titled Ghosts, Fortunetellers, and Communicating With the Dead, and I realized this was the last year I know of for polls of this kind. There was also a Harris Poll that year—in it 42% of the respondents said that they believed in ghosts.  71% said they believed the soul survived death.

Actually, Pew has one which looks at the spiritual beliefs of Hispanics, which include some topics that might be considered paranormal. For instance, 42% believe it is possible to communicate with spiritual beings or saints. There’s a similar chapter about the beliefs of Asians. 41% believe in ancestral spirits.

In any case, it’s certainly time for an updated poll of people’s beliefs and attitudes towards subjects like ghosts, ESP, and reincarnation.

A 1956 picture J. B. Rhine, the original director of the former Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University.
J. B. Rhine, Parapsychology Laboratory of Duke University