Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Review of Telephone Calls From The Dead

This compact paperback version of this unusual subject had to be ordered from the U.K but it was worth the wait. Written by Callum E. Cooper who is currently based at the University of Northampton as a PhD researcher, lecturer and student mentor of psychology.  He is a member of the Society for Psychical Research, an Academic Member of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies and a Student Member of the Parapsychological Association. His fields of interest include parapsychology, the psychology of death, human beliefs, psychological research methods and Egyptology.  
Cooper holds the 2009 Eileen J. Garrett Scholarship (Parapsychology Foundation Inc) and was awarded the Alex Tanous Scholarship Award (Alex Tanous Foundation for Scientific Research) twice over, first in 2011 and then again in 2012.
Using a classification system devised by type that focuses on key characteristics much in the manner reminiscent of Dr Alan Hynek's methodology in sorting out anomalous aerial phenomenon, Callums book is also a homage to the original researchers who had penned the original study that also includes a brief biography of both interesting gentlemen. At the heart of the book, is the unknown origin of this rare phenomenon which at present falls between P.S.I activity rooted in the subject who underwent this extraordinary experience or actual phone calls from the dead. 
From a ringing telephone in a abandoned railroad station with no phone service to a cell phone buried with a deceased that apparently produced text messages to a bereaved widow, there is enough high strangeness to keep one's mind occupied as much as the author's in attempting to navigate both physical psychic phenomenon alongside human psychology as well as theories involving physics.

One case of high strangeness revolves around a computer that only had a very basic word processing system in the pre-internet era, that managed  that somehow had produced some three hundred messages in a extremely obscure 16th Century local dialect known as Southwestern Middle English with nearly three thousand words and terms, out of which, one hundred and twenty one were unknown and yet their arrangement as well as meaning were perfectly clear. The originator of these messages was one Thomas Harden who had once lived in the same cottage were the messages were received. When an investigation by the SPR  was conducted, it turned out TH was an actual person who indeed had lived in the cottage during the 16th Century, and to make the situation more strange, as if it were not strange enough, Thomas reported that he was sending these messages by the same computer ( which he called a box of lights) that had suddenly appeared in his cottage, and his servant girl called this bizarre event, work of the devil, while Thomas was intrigued..Even more bizarre was a message purportedly from 2019, that this three way transcommunication was an experiment conducted in that distant year. As they say, time will tell.

Cooper manages to balance an open mind with skepticism while navigating hoaxes, over ripe imaginations and cases of misidentification. A complete list of references and a handy index are included from prolonged conversations to warnings, to short simple messages all forthcoming from parts unknown originated, presumably, from the dead or as mentioned earlier a P.S.I effect. This is an easy read and a fascinating one that is well worth your interest. A context for subject is a lecture by Noam Chomsky entitled "The Machine, the Ghost and the Limits of Understanding."

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