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William James

The Siren's Call: Strange Sightings

The Siren's Call: Strange Sightings

What is a ghost? A disembodied spirit or just the product of a troubled mind? Does it matter? It does for paranormal investigators, whether they're William James and the American Society of Psychical Research or the team on Syfy Channel's "Ghosthunters." Ghostly phenomena have to be measurable to be taken seriously – a hallucination just won't cut it. Investigators devote their lives to finding "reliable" data. (For an entertaining recent view on all this, check out Gregory Lewis' post "Why I Don't Believe in Ghosts" on searchwarp.com. )

The 18th century bookseller John Holdsworth is not one of these devoted ghost hunters in Andrew Taylor's...