Synopses & Reviews
Rain barrels that refill themselves. Psychic horses. Mind-reading Cold War spies. For many, these phenomena are evidence of an unseen world just beyond the grasp of our five senses. For a group of scientists at Duke University, such mysteries demanded further investigation. From 1930 to 1980, under the leadership of Dr. J. B. Rhine, often considered the Einstein of the paranormal, the scientists at the Duke Parapsychology Lab attempted to test the bizarre, the frightening, and the unexplainable against the rigors of science.
In Unbelievable, Stacy Horn reveals the strange, lost history of these first attempts to prove—or disprove the existence of the paranormal, bringing to light a half-century's worth of ghost stories, poltergeists, and paranormal activity. The Duke scientists were queried by the likes of Albert Einstein, Richard Nixon, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, and Helen Keller; the U.S. Army and blue-chip corporations such as IBM and Zenith seized upon their findings.
Investigating telepathy, clairvoyance, ghosts, poltergeists, and the myriad other strange phenomena that people claim to have experienced, the scientists did find proof that the human mind can exhibit telepathic powers but their discovery would put them at odds with both the scientific community and the community of believers at large, beginning a multidecade battle among unyielding critics, die-hard believers, and scientists themselves. Yet Horn reveals that between the power of belief and the promise of scientific investigation, there is room for everyone to acknowledge that the truth is out there.
"As Horn...tells it, the psych research...is just as fascinating as the ghouls....[S]ome of the explanations here, backed by scientific fact, will send shivers up readers' spines." Bust Magazine
"[A] fond look at J. B. Rhine and his colleagues and protégés in the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory....Writing crisply and fairly objectively, Horn sympathizes enough with Rhine and his work to give her account a perhaps unjustified sunniness. But then...hardly anyone approaches the paranormal without bias." Booklist
"A bit unfocused, but solid on the details of Rhine's life and work." Kirkus Reviews
National Public Radio contributor Horn investigates science's first attempts to prove or disprove the existence of the paranormal, bringing to light a half-century's worth of ghost stories, poltergeists, and paranormal activity.
“Author Stacy Horn dissects all the things that go bump in the night—ghosts, poltergeists, your ex-boyfriend Klaus—in [her] macabre book.”
A fascinating, eye-opening collection of “Investigations into Ghosts, Poltergeists, Telepathy, and Other Unseen Phenomena, from the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory,” Unbelievable by Stacy Horn explores sciences remarkable first attempts to prove—or disprove—the existence of the paranormal. A featured contributor on the popular NPR program “All Things Considered,” Horn has been praised by Mary Roach, bestselling author of Spook, for her “awe-fueled curiosity [and] top-flight reporting skills.” Horn attacks a most controversial subject with Unbelievable—a book that will appeal to armchair scientists as well as fans of TVs Medium, The Ghost Whisperer, and Crossing Over with John Edward.
About the Author
Stacy Horn, a contributor to National Public Radio's All Things Considered, is the author of The Restless Sleep, Waiting for My Cats to Die: A Memoir, and Cyberville. She lives in New York City.