In this remarkable encyclopedia, James Randi casts his cynical eye on the dubious genes of the occult and the supernatural. With 666 entries and hundreds of illustrations throughout, this book examines the shady world of manipulators, occultists, and shamanists in microscopic detail. Topics include Jeane Dixon's long string of failed predictions, the elaborate hoax surrounding the mystery of the Abominable Snowman, and much more.
James Randi, professional magician and skeptic, has put together an encyclopedia with something for everyone. Yes, no matter who you are, unless you're a thoroughgoing atheist, Randi is bound to offend your beliefs at one point or another. As Arthur C. Clarke says in his introduction, the book "should be issued with a mental health warning, as many readers--if they are brave enough to face unwelcome facts--will find some of their cherished beliefs totally demolished." Randi is dryly sarcastic about hundreds of topics, including Catholic relics, speaking in tongues, Jehovah's Witnesses, yoga, the origins of Mormonism, dowsing, magnetic hills, UFOs, and every spiritualist of the past several centuries. A typical entry defines a nymph as: "in the real world, the immature form of the dragonfly and certain other insects, or a young woman with robust sexual interests. Take your choice." Comprehensive, exasperating and exasperated, witty, and unsparing, Randi's encyclopedia provides more debunking per page than any other resource. --Mary Ellen Curtin