Scientifical Americans

The Culture of Amateur Paranormal Researchers


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About the Book

In the 21st century, reality television and the Internet have fed public interest in ghosts, UFOs, cryptozoology and other unusual phenomena. By 2010, roughly 2000 amateur research and investigation groups formed in the U.S.—ghost hunters, Bigfoot chasers and UFO researchers, using an array of (supposedly) scientific equipment and methods to prove the existence of the paranormal.
American culture’s honorific regard for science, coupled with the public’s unfamiliarity with scientific methods, created a niche for self-styled paranormal experts to achieve national renown without scientific training or credentials. The author provides a comprehensive examination of the ideas, missions and methods promoted by these passionate amateurs.

About the Author(s)

Sharon A. Hill is a geologist, writer and researcher of topics related to science, society, and the paranormal. She lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bibliographic Details

Sharon A. Hill
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 254
Bibliographic Info: appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7247-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3082-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction: Popular Paranormality vs. Skepticism 5

1. Amateur Research and Investigation Groups (ARIGs) 13

2. The Paranormal in Popular Culture 27

3. Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Investigators 45

4. Seeking Monsters: Bigfoot and Other Cryptids 56

5. UFO Spotters 69

6. Twenty-first Century ARIGs 81

7. Science and the Public 100

8. Science and the Paranormal 119

9. ARIG Portrayal of Science to the Public 132

10. Methods and Evidence 156

11. Inquiry and Investigation 180

12. Pseudoscience 187

Conclusion: Beyond the Veil 201

Appendix: Ghost Hunting Guidebooks 221

Chapter Notes 231

References 235

Index 241

Book Reviews & Awards

“[Hill has] found that reports of paranormal phenomena are worthy of serious research…Hill encourages new and better approaches to paranormal field research and investigation…offers some encouragement in digging deeper, past what the popular media presents as paranormal investigation, discoveries become more illuminating”—ProtoView