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Helm, F.L. (2020). The paranormal surrounds us: Psychic phenomena in literature, culture and psychoanalysis: by Richard Reichbart, Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2019, US $45 (hardback), $14.74 (e-book), 232 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4766-3368-8. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 101(2):423-427.
(2020). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 101(2):423-427
The paranormal surrounds us: Psychic phenomena in literature, culture and psychoanalysis: by Richard Reichbart, Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company, Inc., 2019, US $45 (hardback), $14.74 (e-book), 232 pp. ISBN: 978-1-4766-3368-8
Review by: Fonya Lord Helm
Richard Reichbart’s book, The Paranormal Surrounds Us, will appeal to the general reader, parapsychologists, literary critics, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists, and anthropologists. Paranormal experiences are universal in that most people have had a paranormal experience, an anomalous experience or an altered state of awareness. Those who haven’t probably know someone who has. For the psychoanalyst and psychotherapist interested in the paranormal, this book will be a page-turner.
Reichbart presents a wide-ranging collection of fascinating examples of paranormal communication in well-known works of literature and film, lively vignettes of psychoanalytic process, with emphasis on his own work and the work of Jule Eisenbud, and the overall influence of culture, with a chapter on Native American culture that grew out of his experience as a young lawyer working with the Navajo before he became a psychoanalyst. He is bold as he not only discusses telepathic communication but also presents his observations of more controversial examples of paranormal communication (psi) such as thoughtography, apparitions, premonitions, remote viewing, psychokinesis and the inclusion of magic. He also discusses the relationship and connection between psi and magic, as seen in both Ingmar Bergmann’s movie The Magician and Navajo ceremonies. Moreover, he presents a detailed exposition of the paranormal in the thoughtography experiments conducted by Eisenbud, his first analyst, with Ted Serios who produced photographs on Polaroid film through psychokinesis.
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