by J. Allen Danelek
2006 LLEWELLYN WORLDWIDE/$12.95 (Year/Publisher/Pr

With styling at times pedantic and tritely condescending but not technically "top-heavy", this book in the main achieves its purpose, although due to the inherent nature of the paranormal, the author's "objective" viewpoint begins and ends with conjectured premises regarding his topic. The reader must choose to either accept or reject those conjectures. If choosing to accept, then Danelek does make some thought provoking points, especially with reference to the mechanics and psychology behind ghostly occurrences.

It is when he attempts to delve further into the spiritual facets unavoidably associated with the paranormal, that his "objectivity" seems to slip and his own personal philosophies come to the fore. His broad handling of the "tools of the trade", while nominally descriptive of the theories behind their usage, ends with being dismissive of any potential effectiveness, and the five step instructional on "How To Fake A Ghost Photo" is laughable for anyone with the least computer savvy or beyond first grade. Some of the conclusions he draws are more skeptical than objective, nor does he address any contributions to the field by the many undisputed experts currently engaged in research. I would have preferred a chapter along those lines rather than the one detailing methods of finding a personal spirit guide. Also there are a few points in his logic that I found arguable.

Despite its shortcomings and my own personal objections, overall the book is a good introductory work for familiarizing one's self with widely divergent yet popular theories regarding the paranormal and provides the beginning investigator if not "food for thought" at least a healthy appetizer before the main course.

RATING: 3*** out of 5*****/LADYJEM - 2/1/09