Mysterious Minds

The Neurobiology of Psychics, Mediums, and Other Extraordinary People

by Stanley Krippner and Harris L. Friedman, Editors


From Ghostbusters to The X-Files to Medium, audiences are fascinated by portrayals of people whose abilities seem difficult to explain in ordinary ways. In real life, women and men claiming to have psychic abilities are, by and large, either ridiculed as fakes or marginalized as pathological. But are all reported extrasensory experiences the work of a duplicitior or a deranged mind? Is there scientific evidence to support the possibility of genuine psychic episodes?

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Cover image for Mysterious Minds

November 2009


Pages 219
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/General

An introduction to the scientific study of psychics and mediums—those who are frauds, those who are psychotic, and those whose claims seem to defy easy dismissal.

Welcome to the world of Mysterious Minds: The Neurobiology of Psychics, Mediums, and Other Extraordinary People. Here, experts in the emerging field of neurobiological study make the case that while many claims of psychic ability are easily proven false, there may well be claimants who can obtain information in ways not easily explained by mainstream science—and there might be scientific tools and approaches available to confirm those experiences.

Written by an expert team of distinguished investigators from a half dozen countries around the world, Mysterious Minds introduces readers to the current state of research into parapsychological experiences, emphasizing the neurobiological data obtained by those who claim to be psychics or mediums. It offers specific examples of paranormal claims of extraordinary people—claims scrutinized through the use of high-tech brain imaging, clinical neurological examinations, and psychotropic drugs. The book concludes by proposing a series of models based on fundamental neurobiology, psychology, and quantum physics that could help us unravel these mental mysteries.


  • Includes essays from several expert contributors, each an accomplished scientific researcher in the fields of parapsychology, neurobiology, and cognitive neuroscience
  • Offers case studies on definitive episodes of both fraudulent and not-easily-disproven psychic events
  • Provides a bibliography of references and additional readings, including print and online resources


  • Looks at the cutting-edge science behind reports and experiences that have inherent appeal to a wide audience, as demonstrated by the popularity shows like The X Files and Medium
  • Provides an accessible scientific assessment of activity often dismissed as spurious or psychotic
  • Looks at controversial topics such out-of-body experiences and the use of psychotropic drugs to examine psychic claimants
  • Proposes viable new paradigms, based on contemporary scientific models, for acknowledging the potential of the mind to engage in activity that appears to transcend usual concepts of time, space, and energy
Author Info

Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco, CA. He coedited Varieties of Anomalous Experiencee: Examining the Scientific Evidence and was the 2002 recipient of the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Psychology.

Harris L. Friedman, PhD, is a research professor of psychology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. He edits the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies and has over 100 professional publications.



"Krippner (psychology, Saybrook U.) and Friedman (psychology, U. of Florida, Gainesville) assemble nine articles that examine claims of parapsychological experiences like telepathy, psychokinesis, and precognition from a neurobiological perspective. Instead of promoting a position on the existence or non-existence of these phenomena, they aim to introduce readers to pioneering efforts exploring the mind through neurobiological perspectives and technologies like neuroimaging and EEG. They consider such phenomena as ESP, trance, and paranormal experiences, as well as the skepticism of mainstream scientists, the neurochemistry of these phenomena, and the relationship between the mind and the body. Contributors are psychologists, neurobiologists, and specialists in behavioral medicine and parapsychology from North America, Europe, Australia, and Brazil."Reference & Research Book News


"There isn't space here to review every chapter in this timely volume, but each one offers worthwhile perspectives on psi and neurobiology. The editors are to be applauded for assembling this range of informative material. The anthology shows that there could be real value in bringing neuroscience into the realms of parapsychology, with potential benefits to both areas of research..."The Noetic Post


"Within a mere five generations, physics has moved from a hard-core materialistic perspective to one that honors consciousness as a primary factor in our concept of reality. As Mysterious Minds makes clear, other areas of science appear to be moving in the same direction. As a result, our current concepts of mind and consciousness will eventually appear as antiquated as the four humors of medieval medicine. No human on earth can consider him/herself decently educated who is unaware of the information, revelations, and controversies contained in this magnificent book."

—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of The Science of Premonitions and Healing Words
Executive Editor of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing

"Mysterious Minds is a welcome addition to our attempts at understanding mental and physical mediums and the phenomena they produce. The book contributes to the development of a much needed transdisciplinary field of inquiry that may help us in conceiving how these mysterious phenomena 'work.'"
—Rosemarie Pilkington, Ph.D., author of The Spirit of Dr. Bindelof: The Enigma of Seance Phenomena

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