The paranormal has gone mainstream. Beliefs are on the rise, with almost half of the British population, and two thirds of Americans, claiming to believe in extra sensory perceptions and hauntings. Psychic magazines like Spirit and Destiny, television shows such as Fringe, Ghost Whisperer and Most Haunted, ghost-cams and e-poltergeists, bestselling books on mind, body and spirit, and magicians like Derren Brown have moved from the outer limits to the centre of popular culture, turning paranormal beliefs and scepticism into revenue streams. Paranormal Media offers a unique, timely exploration of the extraordinary, unexplained and supernatural in popular culture, looking in unusual places in order to understand this phenomenon. Early spirit forms such as magic lantern shows or the spirit photograph are re-imagined as a search for extraordinary experiences in reality TV, ghost tourism, and live shows. Through a popular cultural ethnography, and critical analysis in social and cultural theory, this ground-breaking book by Annette Hill presents an original and rigorous examination of people's experiences of spirits and magic. In popular culture, people are players in an orchestral movement about what happens to us when we die. In a very real sense the audience is the show. This book is the story of audiences and their participation in a show about matters of life and death. Paranormal Media will be a highly interesting read for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as academics, on a wide range of television, media, cultural studies, and sociology courses.
Despite the much vaunted ’end of religion’ and the growth of secularism, people are engaging like never before in their own ’spiritualities of life’. Across the West, paranormal belief is on the rise. The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures brings together the work of international scholars across the social sciences and humanities to question how and why people are seeking meaning in the realm of the paranormal, a heretofore subjugated knowledge. With contributions from the UK and other European countries, the USA, Australia and Canada, this ground-breaking book attends to the paranormal as a position from which to critique dominant forms of knowledge production and spirituality. A rich exploration of everyday life practices, textual engagements and discourses relating to the paranormal, as well as the mediation, technology and art of paranormal activity, this book explores themes such as subcultures and mainstreaming, as well as epistemological, methodological, and phenomenological questions, and the role of the paranormal in social change. The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures constitutes an essential resource for those interested in the academic study of cultural engagements with paranormality; it will appeal to scholars of cultural and media studies, popular culture, sociology, cultural geography, literature, film and music.
This book is based on the author's ten-year research into the politics of belief surrounding paranormal ideas. Through a detailed examination of the participants, issues, strategies and underlying factors that constitute the contemporary paranormal debate, the book explores the struggle surrounding the status of paranormal phenomena. It examines, on the one hand, how the principal arbiters of religious and scientific truths - the Church and the academic establishment - reject paranormal ideas as "occult" and "pseudo-scientific", and how, on the other hand, paranormal enthusiasts attempt to resist such labels and instead establish paranormal ideas as legitimate knowledge. The author contends that the paranormal debate is the outcome of wider discursive processes that are concerned with the construction and negotiation of truth in Western society generally. More specifically, the debate is seen as an aspect of the "boundary work" that defines the contours of religious and scientific orthodoxy. The book paves new ground in understanding the nature of belief relating to a topic that has long held fascination to academics and lay people alike – paranormal ideas. It develops a discursive framework for understanding a contemporary social phenomenon, hence placing the study at the cutting edge of ethnographic development that seeks to integrate discursive perspectives with empirical accounts of sociological phenomena. Most importantly, the study is intended to contribute to the debate surrounding communicative action, by outlining a discursive perspective on the negotiation of ideational differences that goes beyond the incommensurability theories that have dominated the sociology of communication and knowledge.
Ghosts and ghouls, demons, poltergeists, phantoms, haunted houses, and shadow people—why is America so captivated by the creepy and unexplained? Paranormal Obsession is the first book to explore why we have an insatiable interest in spirits, ghost hunting, and all things otherworldly. Paranormal investigator and researcher Deonna Kelli Sayed reveals how and why our fascination with spirits started. She interviewed ghost hunters, religious figures, scientists, academics, and cast members of the popular TV shows Ghost Hunters and Paranormal State, and offers compelling insight into what our fixation on ghostly activity says about American culture. Paranormal Obsession also highlights the author's paranormal group's investigation of the USS North Carolina, the most haunted battleship in the United States. Praise: "Everyone can learn a thing or two from Deonna's writings. Her heart and soul are poured into every sentence."—Jason Hawes, co-founder of TAPS and co-star of the SyFy Channel show Ghost Hunters "Thank you, Deonna, for getting it right."—Grant Wilson, co-founder of TAPS and co-star of the SyFy Channel show Ghost Hunters
This fascinating work provides a complete overview of paranormal phenomena, including the beliefs, attitudes, and notable figures who have attempted to explain, defend, or debunk the mysteries behind the unknown. • Contains more than 120 factual entries as well as extensive excerpts from several primary documents in the area of the paranormal • Features contributions from noted experts in its field from across viewpoints—including believers and skeptics • Profiles a number of important individuals who have contributed to the history and study of the field • Includes such topics as near-death experiences, paranormal dreams, the supernatural, magic, and the occult
This handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the complexity and diversity of audience studies in the advent of digital media. Details the study of audiences and how it is changing in relation to digital media Recognizes and appreciates valuable traditional approaches and identifies how they can be applied to, and evolve with, the changing media world Offers diverse perspectives from which being an audience, theorizing audiences, researching audiences, and doing audience research are approached today Argues that the field works best by identifying particular 'audience problems' and applying the best theories and research methods available to solving them Includes contributions from some of the most outstanding international scholars in the field
Interest in preternatural and supernatural themes has revitalized the Gothic tale, renewed explorations of psychic powers and given rise to a host of social and religious movements based upon claims of the fantastical. And yet, in spite of this widespread enthusiasm, the academic world has been slow to study this development. This volume rectifies this gap in current scholarship by serving as an interdisciplinary overview of the relationship of the paranormal to the artefacts of mass media (e.g. novels, comic books, and films) as well as the cultural practices they inspire. After an introduction analyzing the paranormal’s relationship to religion and entertainment, the book presents essays exploring its spiritual significance in a postmodern society; its (post)modern representation in literature and film; and its embodiment in a number of contemporary cultural practices. Contributors from a number of discplines and cultural contexts address issues such as the shamanistic aspects of Batman and lesbianism in vampire mythology. Covering many aspects of the paranormal and its effect on popular culture, this book is an important statement in the field. As such, it will be of utmost interest to scholars of religious studies as well as media, communication, and cultural studies.
"Based on extensive research and their own unique personal experiences, the authors reveal that a significant number of Americans hold these beliefs, and that for better or worse, we undoubtedly live in a paranormal America. Readers will join the authors as they participate in psychic and palm readings, and have their auras photographed, join a Bigfoot hunt, follow a group of celebrity ghost hunters as they investigate claims of a haunted classroom, and visit a support group for alien abductees."--Provided by publisher.
This book is a study of how people collaboratively interpret events or experiences as having paranormal features, or as evidence of spiritual agency. The authors study recordings of paranormal research groups as they conduct real life investigations into allegedly haunted spaces and the analyses describe how, through their talk and embodied actions, participants collaboratively negotiate the paranormal status of the events they experience.By drawing on the study of the social organisation in everyday interaction, they show how paranormal interpretations may be proposed, contested and negotiated through conversational and embodied practices of the group. The book contributes to the sociology of anomalous experience, and explores its relevance to other social science topics such as dark tourism, participation in religious spaces and practices, and the attribution of agency. This book will therefore be of interest to academics and postgraduate researchers of language and social interaction; discourse and communication, cultural studies; social psychology, sociology of religious experience; parapsychology, communication and psychotherapy.
The field of research on the paranormal has changed enormously in the last 20 years. Examining experiences of ESP, psychokinesis, precognition, ganzfeld, dissociative states, out-of-the-body experiences, alien abductions and near-death experiences, David Marks appraises the best available evidence to date on scientific claims of the paranormal. Each chapter also provides a description of the psychological processes that are likely to contribute to these experiences, and to the high prevalence of paranormal beliefs. Importantly, this book does not take a fixed sceptical or ‘disbelieving’ view of the phenomena but, as far as possible, offers a neutral gaze which will equip readers to make up their own minds, as well as providing them with the critical skills to defend their conclusions.
A Must-Have Guide for Investigating the Paranormal Have inexplicable spheres and fogs ever ruined any of your photographs? If you discarded them, thinking dirt on the lens or camera glitches were to blame, you may want to retrieve them and reconsider. These spheres and fogs may be paranormal light forms. Light forms are mentioned in literature on angels, aliens, UFOs, ghosts, crop circles, near-death experiences, inter-dimensional beings, magick, and thought forms. Hypnotized subjects describe the lights as the forms we become between lives on Earth. This entertaining book examines the many theories about what these energies may be and presents evidence throughout history that confirms their existence. Starting out as a novice photographer, the author captured the apparent spirit of her sister's dog. That began her great adventure into researching orbs, vortexes, and ectoplasms that are appearing in pictures worldwide. In this book, you will learn as she did how, when, and where to photograph and interact with these intelligent life forms. How to Photograph the Paranormal has something for everyone--from the simply curious to ghost hunters and paranormal researchers. The book features dozens of original paranormal photographs--many in full color. Mysterious lights evidently have been with us all along but they are now making extra efforts to reveal themselves to humanity. This book is an eye-opening glimpse into their world.