By Erich Goode
Prometheus Books, $19.00, 320 pages

The Paranormal: Who Believes, Why They Believe, and Why It Matters by Erich Goode takes a comprehensive look at the paranormal. He starts by defining the paranormal as anything outside the traditionally accepted, scientific explanation of “fact” we use today. Throughout the book, we see several themes emerge in a sociological context. Despite science discouraging the belief in the paranormal, paranormal beliefs remain as strong as ever, if not even a surge of belief in the paranormal. Goode takes a long look at how the American educational system discounts the paranormal through what it chooses to exclude from the popular curricula. Finally, how paranormal beliefs originate and are spread throughout our culture completes the keys to further understanding the paranormal, what we believe, and why we believe it. Goode clearly has a strong grasp of sociology, and his book reflects his knowledge and expertise. However, he writes in a very academic style that can be overwhelming and difficult to read for the average person. In some ways, it feels much more like a text book than a pleasure read. This is a great book for budding intellectuals who are interested in the paranormal.

Reviewed by Rachel J. Richards