Can people communicate with their thoughts? Is it possible to move objects through sheer willpower, without actually touching them? Are there people who can actually predict the future? In order to address questions such as these, 125 years ago there emerged a field of research that has come to be known as "parapsychology". It has evolved, on the one hand, through the analysis of experiences that occur spontaneously during people's lives, but also through the study of "anomalous" effects obtained in structured laboratory experiments. This book reviews the history of this discipline, and then focuses on parapsychological experimental research, assessing the validity of evidence drawn from studies published in scientific journals. On the basis of findings that can be considered scientifically sound, the text ends with a discussion of explanations and theories that are currently debated among scientists. On sum, the book provides a complete, up-to-date account of a controversial and unusual field at the "outer limits" of science.
Massimo Biondi is a physician and medical science journalist who has conducted university-level research.
Patrizio E. Tressoldi teaches Methodology of Clinical Research and Assessment at the University of Padua.