ABC-CLIO, 2015

Buy:     ABC-CLIO     Amazon     Barnes & Noble

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.

Recent interest in the paranormal as pop culture fodder belies its historical status as an important subject of cultural, philosophical, and scientific significance. This book traces the trajectory of paranormal studies from its early role as a serious academic and scientific topic studied by mainstream scientists and eminent scholars to its current popularity in books, film, and TV.

This compelling reference work details the experiences, encounters, and ideas that make up this controversial field of study. The contributed entries examine the broad phenomena of the paranormal, addressing the history of scientific investigations along with its contemporary media depictions to illustrate the evolution of cultural attitudes about the paranormal. A selection of primary documents provides real-life accounts and contributions from noted experts that explore the full scope of themes from spiritualism to poltergeists to astrology. Accompanying images, timelines, quotations, and sidebars make the content come to life and encourage alternative explanations of these events.


  • 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.


“Subjects range from individuals (Edgar Cayce, Carl Jung, and so on) to important institutions such as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Rhine Research Center and from paranormal ‘powers’ such as telepathy to treatments of the paranormal in the arts and the media. Most entries run from two to four pages, are objective in approach, and are clearly written without being simplistic. . . . Given its currency and its thoughtful, even-handed approach to the field, Ghosts, Spirits, and Psychics is highly recommended for undergraduate and larger public library reference collections.”

— RUSA (The American Library Association)

“Editor Matt Cardin’s encyclopedia of the paranormal . . . proves effective in giving the reader a basic understanding of what a given term encompasses and how one ought to start looking if one wishes to do further research on a topic.”

Religious Studies Review