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.

Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences

Out-of-Body and Near-Death Experiences

[Consciousness] provides the person with the sense of owning or being the subject of his/her conscious experience … ‘the sense of self’. (Marchetti, 2012: 57)

Outline: This chapter provides a scientific account of two of the most tantalising, magical-like experiences: the out-of-body and the near-death experiences (OBE and NDE respectively). Their subjectivity and relative rarity make systematic study difficult under controlled conditions. For the OBE, one needs great clarity about what it is that is alleged to go out of body. For the NDE, to make any research do-able, one needs great clarity about what ‘near-death’ and ‘death’ mean in operational terms. In neither case are these issues simple and rarely are they adequately defined. What exactly do ...

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