Philosophy, Psychology, Reviews

Review: Braude, The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations

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In a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal, reviewer John Desio delivers an interesting critique of Stephen E. Braude’s new book The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations. While Desio, like most, might remain skeptical about the existence of the paranormal he applauds Braude’s book for its open minded approach to the subject as it works both to confirm as well as debunk a variety of extraordinary parapsychological phenomena. Desio writes:

The world of the paranormal is such a magnet for hustlers and charlatans that any book on the subject might seem at first like just another attempt to separate the curious or the desperate from their cash. But The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations is not a memoir from “Miss Cleo” of 900-number fame or advice from “cold reading” specialist John Edward on how best to contact your late Aunt Sophie. It is a strange work by Stephen E. Braude, a philosophy professor at the University of Maryland who believes in the existence of paranormal abilities in human beings—but who also, thank goodness, goes out of his way to address the concerns of skeptics and to shoot down fakers who populate the field.
The paranormal, for Mr. Braude, includes the possibility of “postmortem communications” and extrasensory perception, but he is primarily interested in psychokinesis, he writes, because examples of the mind’s power over matter is “observable” and “at least potentially easier to document”—and, presumably, to debunk. Mr. Braude does some of both in considering the five case studies that form the heart of The Gold Leaf Lady.

Read an excerpt from the book.