Must-Read Parapsychology Books For Paranormal Investigators

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June 20, 2022 1:00 AM ‐ Books
Best Parapsychology Books
From Steven Parsons' 'Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Spontaneous Cases' to James Houran and Rense Lange's 'Hauntings & Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives', these ten books will give you a wide base of knowledge on the history of parapsychology and how it can be applied in the present day to paranormal investigations.

This list contains ten must-read books that are recommended for any paranormal investigator who wants to learn more about parapsychology, anomalistic psychology and their history. We also have a list of parapsychology titles available as audio books.

1. Prof. Richard Wiseman - Paranormality

Prof. Richard Wiseman - Paranormality: Why We Believe The Impossible

Richard Wiseman's 'Paranormality: Why We Believe The Impossible' is a great place to start. Written in an easy to digest style, with the odd bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, the 2012 book is based on Wiseman's career in parapsychology and draws on famous psychology experiments conducted throughout the history of parapsychology. The book covers everything from cold reading psychics, to the human tendency to accept pseudoscientific nonsense. The book explores claims about Ouija boards, table tipping, automatic writing, and how ideomotor motion is involved in all of these. The book touches on the work of James Houran, Tony Cornell, Alan Gauld, Vic Tandy and Michel Pernsinger, covering everything from infrasound and electromagnetism to the power of suggestion.

2. Steven T. Parsons - Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Spontaneous Cases

Steven Parsons - Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Spontaneous Cases: Apparitions, Hauntings, Poltergeists & Similar Phenomena

Steve Parsons has been investigating ghosts, haunted houses and the paranormal for over 45 years and will appear several times in this recommended reading list. If you're going to pick up any of his books, then 'Guidance Notes for Investigators of Spontaneous Cases' written for the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) is a good place to start. The book is more of a small handbook that contains all the basic knowledge that every paranormal investigator should know before embarking on field research, from interviewing witnesses and ethical considerations to planning a field investigation and choosing the right equipment. The guidance promotes a balanced and quantifiable approach for the research of spontaneous paranormal phenomenon, that normally occurs without warning, as such they cannot be predicted or prompted.

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3. James Houran & Rense Lange - Hauntings & Poltergeists

James Houran & Rense Lange - Hauntings & Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

James Houran and Rense Lange's well researched book, 'Hauntings & Poltergeists: Multidisciplinary Perspectives' offers a robust evaluation of parapsychology and the research of paranormal experiences from the view point of various academic fields, including anthropology, philosophy, psychiatry, sociology and literary perspectives. Despite being more than 20 years old, the book presents what is still a very much up-to-date scientific understanding of manifestations and the various reasons for hauntings and poltergeist phenomena. Although written for an academic audience, the book is a must-read for anyone who wants to gain a varied and scientifically grounded understanding of ghosts and hauntings.

4. Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke & Christopher C. French - Anomalistic Psychology

Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke & Christopher C. French - Anomalistic Psychology

Delve into the wider field of anomalistic psychology, the study of extraordinary phenomena, which includes experiences that are often labeled paranormal. The well-balanced book is written by psychology lecturer, Nicola Holt, with contributions from Christine Simmonds-Moore, David Luke, and Chris French, who may be familiar to you from his many appearances in mainstream media including including the Really channel's 'Unexplained: Caught On Camera' and Danny Robin's 'Uncanny' podcast. The book serves as an excellent introduction to parapsychology, covering off such anomalous experiences as apparitions, premonitions, out-of-body and near-death experiences. The book is the perfect follow-on to Prof. Wiseman's 'Paranormality', although drier in tone, it serves as an objective guide allowing readers to gain a great understanding of the key areas of this fascinating subject. Like other books on this list, this publication examines the topic from multidisciplinary perspectives.

5. Steven T. Parsons - Ghostology

Steven Parsons - Ghostology: The Art Of The Ghost Hunter

If you've read 'Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Spontaneous Cases', then you're ready to delve deeper into the world of ghost hunting in Steven Parsons' 'Ghostology: The Art Of The Ghost Hunter'. From the perspective of paranormal investigation, the in-depth book explores our fascination with ghosts, which dates back to the earliest civilisations and is common to all of them. Although not a how to guide to ghost hunting, this publication is an essential read for any serious investigator, as it discusses many of the methods and techniques used by ghost hunters in great technical detail, offering advice on capturing electronic voice phenomenon (EVPs), still photographs and videos. Parsons deals with topics such as critical thinking, the electromagnetic spectrum, the investigative process, collecting meaningful and quantitive evidence, and how environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, electromagnetism and infrasound relate to haunting experiences. 

6. David Fontana - Is There An Afterlife?

David Fontana - Is There An Afterlife?: A Comprehensive Overview Of The Evidence

The late David Fontana, was a British parapsychologist and professor of psychology at Cardiff University. In his 2005 book 'Is There An Afterlife?: A Comprehensive Overview Of The Evidence', the former president of the SPR offers a different perspective on parapsychology. Rather than discussing the overarching academic field, Fontana instead offers a more observational-based perspective on paranormal research. Unlike some of the other authors on this list, Fontana firmly believes that there is an afterlife, and this book explores that belief as he searches for proof in historic research and his own experiences investigating claims of survival of physical death. This includes his research into hauntings, apparitions, poltergeists, mediumship, channelling, near-death experiences, out-of-body experiences and reincarnation.

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7. Steven T. Parsons - Using Equipment: Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Apparitions, Hauntings, Poltergeists & Similar Phenomena

Steven Parsons - Using Equipment: Guidance Notes For Investigators Of Apparitions, Hauntings, Poltergeists & Similar Phenomena

The latest offering from Steven Parsons, released in 2021, builds on his previous Guidance Notes, but brings the topic up to date in response to the growing trend of investigators using electronic ghost hunting devices. The guidance covers everything from thermometers to EMF meters, plus many gadgets off a pseudoscientific nature. The book contains invaluable advice on how to interpret the evidence obtain through such gadgets and when to disregard it. This guide is an essential resource for any investigator who uses any kind of ghost hunting device to attempt to collect evidence of the paranormal or communicate with spirits. For those with a strong belief in instrumental transcommunication (ITC), the book might feel like an attack on your methodology, but it shouldn't be taken as such. The role of an investigator is to research claims of paranormal happenings and obtain meaningful evidence, following the guidance in this book will help you do that better.

8. Benjamin Radford - Investigating Ghosts

Benjamin Radford - Investigating ghosts: The Scientific Search For Spirits

Like some of the other books on this list, Benjamin Radford's 'Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search For Spirits' isn't about debunking paranormal claims, but trying to communicate the importance of using balanced and measurable investigative techniques to ghost hunters. The award-winning and balanced guide on how to research ghosts is based on almost two decades of Radford's own first-hand, science-based investigations, research and his experience as the deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. Radford doesn't just critique ghost hunting methodology and why a scientific approach is so important, but also discusses the psychology behind why people believe what they do in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He also discusses what evidence would be required to prove once and for all that ghosts exist.

9. Jenny Ashford - The Unseen Hand

Jenny Ashford - The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration Of Poltergeist Phenomena

The symptoms of poltergeist activity are well known, but what is a poltergeist, really? This is the question Jenny Ashford attempts to answer in 'The Unseen Hand: A New Exploration Of Poltergeist Phenomena'. If you're interested in poltergeist hauntings, then research tools don't come much better than this 2017 book.

Although sold as a new exploration of poltergeists, the book is actually at its heart a comprehensive collection of well over one hundred historic cases of poltergeist disturbances, many of which are hundreds of years old.

These case summaries are a useful reference, but they offer very little to field of modern day research, since details have been lost over time, the incidents are anecdotal and there's no way to validate them not having been there at the time. Although a little tedious to read through in full, the stories are useful to have to hand and for defining the nature of alleged poltergeist cases.

10. Susan J. Blackmore - In Search of the Light

Susan J. Blackmore - In Search of the Light: The Adventures Of A Parapsychologist

As an inspiration of Prof. Wiseman, Sue Blackmore's 1996 book, 'In Search of the Light: The Adventures Of A Parapsychologist', seems like a good way to end this list. This book is less a parapsychology resource, and more the honest story of one researcher's very personal and emotive journey within the paranormal field, and of course there's lessons for us all to learn along the way. As a student earlier in life, Blackmore was a firm believer in extrasensory perception and psi phenomena, but eventually became more skeptical after applying a more rigorous scientific approach to research of things like consciousness, out-of-body experiences, dowsing, tarot and poltergeists.

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