Exploring the Haunting Reality of Paranormal Encounters


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About the Book

Reports of paranormal experiences vary tremendously, but are often associated with ghosts, haunted houses, and otherwise eerie circumstances. There exist both classic and modern texts on ghosts and haunted or possessed people, places and spaces; many discuss traditional ideas regarding such phenomena or utilize now-outdated research in highly academic and technical ways.

This book offers a very different approach in reviews provided by a leading-edge research program devoted to who has ghostly experiences and why. With new insights both global in scale and multidisciplinary in scope, this collaboration by five researchers uncovers consistent evidence that anomalous experiences represent a very real “Haunted People Syndrome”—a term describing anomalous experiences that manifest recurrently to the same percipients and are interpreted as “ghostly”—with implications for future research across academia. The participation of new citizen scientists (the field investigators and researchers among us) is invited in furthering the exploration of paranormal mysteries. Photos and figures illustrating concepts and models are included, as is a glossary.

About the Author(s)

Brian Laythe, Ph.D., is the owner of Iudicium psychological consultancy, and the director of the Institute for the Study of Religious and Anomalous Experience (I.S.R.A.E.). He lives in Charlestown, Indiana.

James Houran, Ph.D., is a research professor at the Laboratory for Statistics and Computation, ISLA—Instituto Politécnico de Gestão e Tecnologia (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal) and research director at Integrated Knowledge Systems, Inc. (Dallas Texas). He lives in Dallas.

Neil Dagnall, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). He has been involved with the teaching and researching of the anomalous for 20+ years and is an advocate of public engagement and education in science.

Kenneth Drinkwater, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK). His primary research interests concern the formation and maintenance of scientifically unsubstantiated cognitions, such as paranormal beliefs, conspiracy theories, and urban legends.
Ciarán O’Keeffe, Ph.D., is an associate professor of research and education at Buckinghamshire New University (UK), where he is also associate head of the School of Human and Social Sciences. He is a co-author of a number of popular paranormal books.

Bibliographic Details

Brian Laythe, James Houran, Neil Dagnall, Kenneth Drinkwater and Ciarán O’Keeffe

Foreword by Chris French; Afterword by Loyd Auerbach
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 268
Bibliographic Info: 40 photos, glossary, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8577-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4480-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

“Dead”ications v
Acknowledgments vi
Ghost Gang ix
Foreword by Chris French 1
Introduction 5
Before you begin… 9
1. Spectral Signs … or Symptoms? 11
2. Who Experiences Ghosts and Why It Matters 30
3. Beware, Social Media and Greater Society Are Possessed 50
4. Spooky Settings and Structures 70
5. The Theory of “Haunted People Syndrome” 95
6. What About the Paranormal? 117
7. Citizen Science to the Rescue: Critical Concepts 136
8. Citizen Science in Action: Sample Investigative Tactics 156
9. Wanted! Research on the Syndrome Model and Beyond 181
10. Recommendations for Ongoing Education and Pursuits 207
Afterword by Loyd Auerbach 232
Glossary 239
Index 249

Book Reviews & Awards

• Winner—Parapsychological Association Book Award

• Winner, D. Scott Rogo Award for Parapsychological Media

• “Providing a framework for examining the metaphysical world, Ghosted! offers both intriguing research and quality entertainment while probing the supernatural, whether the reader is a believer or a skeptic.”—Booklist

• “The work laid out in this book will remind people how seriously this field of research should be taken! Readers are given extremely well thought out ideas, insights, arguments, procedures, and investigation techniques. This book is sure to smash some of the tropes in the field of paranormal research, while reinforcing others. A solid foundation for any investigator and a fascinating read for enthusiasts of paranormal research—whatever it may eventually reveal about the nature of all things that go bump in the night.”—Steve Gonsalves, paranormal investigator, television host & producer; executive producer and host of Ghost Nation; director of The House In Between

• “Ghosted! is a major step in the right direction for the advancement of the paranormal field. The mix of science and academia is a breath of fresh air for a genre surrounded by pseudoscience. I highly recommend this book to all paranormal investigators and researchers that want to take paranormal studies credibly.”—Brandon J. Alvis, writer, director/filmmaker (Ephemera, Formula of a Haunting), founder of APRA (American Paranormal Research Association) and paranormal technician for the ‘Ghosthunters’ Team (on A&E)

• “Loved it! Ghosted! is a highly entertaining account of ‘Haunted People Syndrome’—a fresh and intriguing theory deserving of more study. In fact, this innovative book openly invites and guides both academics and citizen scientists to participate in the authors’ quest for a scientific answer to the enduring and meaningful mystery of ghosts.”—Lorraine Sheridan, Ph.D., associate professor, Curtin University, co-author of Stalking and Psychosexual Obsession and Psycho-Criminological Approaches to Stalking Behavior: An International Perspective

• “ Ghosted! at last builds a desperately needed bridge between two camps who should be closely connected but, alas, have been living on seemingly separate planets from the start. From the explosion of the subculture of ‘ghost-hunting’ in the early 2000s, almost no attempt has been made by academic parapsychology to even acknowledge—let alone embrace—the enormous and ever-growing population of self-styled paranormal investigators across the globe (except to ridicule). Similarly, the latter have shown little to no interest in academic parapsychology. The authors of Ghosted!—a group of academic parapsychologists calling themselves ‘The Ghost Gang’—acknowledge from the book’s start that parapsychologists—with their ivory-towered talk and technically-jargoned research findings—have been largely to blame for the disconnect. This volume seeks to change all that. Delving into the world of the lay ghost-hunter and ghost tour aficionado—as well as the realm of innocent bystanders in paranormal experience—the authors explore and dissect the world of the hobbyist ghost-hunter with acceptance and encouragement, while offering much-needed guidance and caution for the future….As someone who has moved for thirty years between the polar worlds of academic parapsychology and hobbyist ghost-hunters, this book is a welcome olive branch from the former to the latter. It is my deep hope that the great-intentioned gesture will be well received—and run with—in the future.”—Ursula Bielski, historian, host of PBS’ The Hauntings of Chicago, author of Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City

• “Inherently fascinating, impressively informative, thought-provoking, expertly organized and presented study…highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review

• “The three authors, widely experienced in the investigation of cases of apparitions and other environmental anomalies, have produced a magnificent and documented compilation of the best studies on ‘ghosts.’”—Institute of Paranormal Psychology