“Ben Radford has provided us with an excellent primer on how any reasonably observant person interested in looking into paranormal, supernatural, or occult claims can do so without having to invent the art from scratch. To prepare his reader, Ben relates how easily even he – as a highly experienced investigator – has been deceived by his own mistakes in perception, and how he has learned from those errors. This is of course an important lesson for anyone who wants to provide accurate information about these matters.
He goes into detail on how one has to be informed in the basics of science and of the design of scientific protocols with which to handle the various puzzles that an investigator will inevitably come up against, and he gives us a selection of examples described by such experts as Martin Gardner, Joe Nickell, Susan Blackmore, Massimo Polidoro, and Richard Wiseman – to name only a few with whom I am closely connected. I’m flattered to be included in these pages among those savants.
Occam’s Razor, the tedious Ghost Hunters shows that bore us on TV, Bigfoot, spectral “orbs,” and spoon-benders are also examined, but the real paydirt here is found in Ben’s own detailed accounts of events he’s personally looked into and revealed as errors, jokes, misperceptions, or outright frauds. First-person descriptions and details – again – are persuasive items that catch the reader’s attention and respect. Ben Radford knows his calling. Read, consider, and learn. It’s all here.”
—James Randi, magician, investigator, author, and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation
“From case studies to detailed instruction on the best paranormal investigative methods, Radford has written a book that is sorely needed, especially as a corrective to the popular TV mystery mongers who seem reluctant to use good science. Radford dares to argue that investigators of the paranormal should approach their work scientifically, and then shows the reader precisely how to do so. Now when someone asks me how she can get involved investigating the paranormal, I have the perfect handbook to refer her to. This is a must-read for any skeptic interested in the front-lines of the war between undue credulity and the scientific worldview.”
— D. J. Grothe, President, James Randi Educational Foundation
“This is the best book I have ever read on the subject of paranormal and ghost investigations… It’s dead-on target about how to do real, scientific investigation. I can’t recommend it enough.”
—Tim Yancey, Encounters Live Paranormal Radio
“This book is about practical, applied skepticism. As a regular participant in TV shows, Radford gives us an insiders view on how these shows are made and their ultimate purpose. With his enthusiasm for pop culture, he is able to deftly connect the influences and effects of culture to paranormal popularity. I have not seen any comparable insight anywhere else. True gems of wisdom are richly strewn throughout the book. This book is a necessity for all paranormal investigators. It ought to be required for those questionable ‘home study’ courses for ghost hunters. At least, then, they might learn how to solve some mysteries instead of inflate them.”
—Sharon Hill, Doubtful, “Solving Unexplained Mysteries: A review of Scientific Paranormal Investigation by B. Radford,” June 21, 2010, http://idoubtit.wordpress.com/category/books/.
“Radford is one of only a handful of professional, scientific paranormal investigators in the world. He has a proven track record of explaining the unexplained and in this book he reveals the scientific principles that can be used to shed light on the most mysterious of phenomena.”
—Prof. Richard Wiseman, psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire and author of many books including Guidelines for Testing Psychic Claimants.
“What does it take to do scientific investigations of ghost stories, the claims of psychics, or the appearance overnight of complex designs in corn fields? Radford not only explains what tools the investigator needs, but shows the reader how he applied those tools in real-life cases. If you’re thinking of becoming a paranormal investigator, Radford’s book is essential…. Some prefer their mysteries unsolved. Others enjoy the chase and the hunt, the tracking and the inference from evidence to hypothesis, the testing of possible explanations, and the ultimate solving of the mystery backed by logic and clear reasoning. If you’re one of these latter types, you’ll enjoy this book. If you want to become a paranormal investigator, Radford’s book is the first thing you should put in your toolkit.”
—Robert Carroll, emeritus professor of philosophy at Sacramento City College and author of The Skeptic’s Dictionary and Becoming a Critical Thinker.
“If you are inclined to believe we are being observed by bug-eyed aliens in UFOs, or in the reality of ghosts, psychic powers, crop circles, clairvoyant cats, sea monsters, Bigfoot, psychics who find murder victims, or mediums who channel the departed, then you probably won’t buy this book. If you do, it won’t alter by two degrees your mindset. On the other hand, if you care to know how professional investigators of bogus science go about solving mysteries, and the amazing – and often amusing – facts they uncover, then this fascinating book is a must. Ben Radford has been there, he has seen and heard and smelled it all!”
—Martin Gardner is the author of many books about science, pseudoscience, mathematics, philosophy, and literature.
“Science and skepticism are the best tools ever devised for baloney detection, and Benjamin Radford has written a brilliant and highly readable manual on how to solve mysteries, investigate claims, and detect baloney. Every student, teacher, and congressman should have a copy at the ready.”
—Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist for Scientific American, author of Why People Believe Weird Things
“I’ve investigated several paranormal claims… and this book definitely resonated with me. If any of you read my blog on a regular basis and enjoy it when I research some paranormal claim, I highly recommend reading this book… it’s fascinating stuff.”
—The Dumbasses Guide to Knowledge, http://www.dumbassguide.info/