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The Hidden Whisper by JJ Lumsden book review

J.J. Lumsden, a UK-based parapsychologist, who did his postgraduate studies at the Edinburgh’s known Koestler Parapsychology Unit has recently published his book about parapsychology, The Hidden Whisper.


The Hidden Whisper is a great introductory book to the different aspects of parapsychology, its concepts, research accomplishments and criticism. The book tells a fictional story of a UK parapsychologist, Dr. Luke Jackson, who while heading to a professional convention in the US, stays for a week at his grandmother’s house in the deserts of southern Arizona. During this week he is asked to investigate an intriguing poltergeist case in the house of one of the local most known families.

The story-line of the investigation is by itself an interesting and thrilling story, written like a good detective book. Its style actually reminded me of Agatha Christie’s books about Hercule Poirot.

The different concepts of parapsychology are intervened in the book by the means of dialog between Luke and other characters. Since the latter are not scientists, the explanations are all on a very basic language, so that any one could understand. These parts are rich with endnotes references.

In fact, the endnotes themselves are perhaps the more important part of the book. There are about 70 page of endnotes, all going deeper into the subjects of parapsychology described in the story. So, to get more insight into the research, its results and criticism, you’ll need to read the endnotes.

The Hidden Whisper cover

The book covers the following subjects in the field of parapsychology:

  • ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)
  • Skepticism (including the “fundamental”, non-scientific skeptical arguments)
  • Spontaneous ESP, different testing methods of ESP and the results of those
  • Ganzfeld experiments
  • Meta analysis in parapsychology
  • Poltergeists
  • Macro and micro Psychokinesis (PK)
  • Presentiment research
  • Using Random Event Generators in micro PK research,
  • Cold reading and other means of pseudo psychics
  • Near Death Experiences (NDE)
  • Healing, including remote healing
  • Out of body experiences (OBE).

J.J. Lumsden wanted to show the required critical thinking of both sides of the parapsychological debate. He wants the skeptics to see the research and not dismiss everything out of hand. Similarly, he doesn’t like people jumping to fast conclusions and attaching a paranormal label to even the most strange events.

To summarize, The Hidden Whisper is both an interesting read and a book to study. The story is captivating and the quality of 70-some pages of endnotes and over 12 pages of references to studies are an invaluable resource to anyone who takes these subjects seriously.

   

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Stephen King writes horror. Is it too much to ask that an author can write the English language? Or indeed get the manuscript edited? And as I said, I found Lumsden’s attempt at the introduction to parapsychology to be patronising. And yes, I read a very many books. I’m a publisher.

  2. I bought this on the strength of this glowing review and I can’t believe I’ve just read the same book.

    The idea itself may have been a good one and the end notes are just the sort of thing you’d expect from an academic discussing his field but that doesn’t mean it’s a good book.

    Regrettably, writing research papers in no way qualifies anyone to write decent mystery fiction, or indeed fiction of any sort. I should have been warned off by the fact it was produced by a printer brand new to the publishing game. Sadly, I have always found that however much family and friends tell the author how wonderful it is, fiction published out with the established publishing houses is almost always an amateur attempt and this one would not have got past any editor that I know.

    It is absolutely chock full of grammatical errors and Lumsden recycles all of the old mistakes that new fiction writers make but can never see by themselves. It has the effect of jarring the reader out of the story, even if they don’t know why. This is very basic stuff and I’m baffled that no one else seems to have noticed all these mistakes.

    The characters are two dimensional. The author has no ear for dialogue and obviously hasn’t researched American syntax. He tells you how his characters are feeling instead of showing you (another very basic mistake). His use of description is poor at best and does nothing to add to the atmosphere of the story, farther the plot or extend your knowledge of these flat characters. His action scenes are poorly realised and dull. The plot clunks along and his clues are so heavy handed that I knew from Luke’s first visit to the Munroes what was happening and who was doing it to them. I also found his dig at the sceptics out of place and totally unnecessary. Even those end notes lost their appeal when I found that the information is available for free to anyone who cares to look for it.

    I would have liked to say that this book was a brave attempt to help laymen understand the inside world of a paranormal researcher but I cannot. The bad writing and poor storytelling totally undermines the intended message that parapsychologists are serious people who deal in facts and who won’t be conned by anything they may be told. I have serious problems with how patronising dumbing down this particular information was, too. Television is so full of programmes about the paranormal and paranormal researchers nowadays that one would be hard placed not to get the idea. As it turns out, it isn’t even a story about the paranormal.

    It is without a doubt the worst example of a mystery novel that I have ever read.

    • Hello, bookworm.

      I’m sorry if you feel you wasted your time (and money) based on my review.

      Perhaps I’m not such an experienced mystery novel reader as you are so I might have been an easy sale on the story. The book might not be on the same level as the really good mystery stories but I don’t believe it was the goal of the book in the first place.

      I believe the author mostly tried to deliver his message about the various aspects of parapsychology and made it much less boring than it otherwise could be without the story at all.

      The question is whether you found the introduction to parapsychology as new, interesting, educational and credible.

      If you simply wanted a good mystery novel you’d be better off picking a Stephen King’s book, I guess.