of the Psychics:
Investigating Paranormal Claims
poltergeists real? Can an Indian fakir really stop his heartbeat?
Can individuals bend metal and see through solid objects? Are some
people literally “human magnets”?
Internationally recognized author, journalist, lecturer, and paranormal
investigator Massimo Polidoro began his study of such paranormal questions
at an early age. In Secrets of the Psychics, he uses his more than
fifteen years of experience in investigating extraordinary claims by
examining dozens of supposedly paranormal events, some of them famous
historical incidents, others contemporary claims of psychics, mediums,
healers, “human magnets,” a “girl with X-ray eyes,” and
more. This fascinating book presents in-depth discussions of the claims
and the evidence for each individual case.
Polidoro first explores the psychology of psychic deception in “It’s
All in the Mind” and “When I Was a Psychic . . . for an
Hour.” He then turns to historical events, including “Eusapia’s
Sapient Foot,” a new examination of the Feilding Report, the
most valued account of séances performed by this famous medium; “The
Case of Anna Eva Fay: The Medium Who Baffled Sir William Crookes”; “Houdini
and Conan Doyle: The Story of a Strange Friendship”; “Houdini
versus Margery: When the Magician Met the Blond Witch of Lime Street”;
and other fascinating cases.
Investigating contemporary paranormal claimants, Polidoro reveals the “Secrets
of a Russian Psychic,” carefully examines a demonstration of cold reading
in “Roll Up for the Mystery Tour,” considers the evidence for some
modern-day miracles in “The Miraculous Oil Inside a Glass Tube,” exposes
the tricks of Indian gurus in “Secrets of Indian God-Men,” and pursues
other claims alleging supernatural phenomena.
This intriguing examination of the bizarre and the strange by a top-notch investigator
will delight both skeptics and believers alike.
From the Introduction:
“Those days in Los Angeles represented my initiation into
the scientific investigation of claims of the paranormal; a practice
inevitably became what Carl Sagan aptly called the ‘fine
art of baloney detection.’ I spent over a year in the United
States studying and working with [James] Randi, then returned to
Italy. There I worked to have the Italian Committee for the Investigation
of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP) grow while I studied to earn
a degree in psychology. During those years, I also led dozens of
other investigations and experiments on paranormal claims (most
of which are collected in the fifteen books I have published so
far in Italy).
“In the following pages you will find a selection of some of these studies
and investigations; in a couple of these I have been helped by my good friend
Luigi Garlaschelli. Luigi... is a chemist at the University of Pavia and has
become one of the most accomplished critical experts in the field of ‘miracles’ and ‘supernatural
phenomena.’... We have worked together in countless investigations during
the past ten years or so: traveling all over Italy and abroad in search of strange
phenomena, visiting haunted houses, attending sacred and mysterious rites, attending
séances, testing the claims of all sorts of psychics, from astrologers,
healers, telepaths, seers, and dowsers, to firewalkers and those who sleep on
beds of nails!”