The book includes a number of chapters of direct interest to skeptics:
Deception and trickery have accompanied psychic phenomena
for millennia. Proponents are oblivious to this fact. Skeptics
point it out, and make an important contribution in doing so.
Shamanism And Its Sham
Conjurors and the Paranormal
Hoaxes and the Paranormal
CSICOP and the Debunkers
The paranormal is also associated with religion and
the irrational. Again, skeptics have brought this point to the fore.
The reasons for all this are explained by anthropological studies of the
The chapter on CSICOP reviews its history, demographics,
constituency, agenda, and organizational structure.
Many magicians (professional tricksters) have joined
the skeptical movement. A full chapter is devoted to their involvement
with paranormal controversies. There is a brief sketch of James Randi;
a 15-page biographical piece on Martin Gardner is included.
Paul Kurtz founded Prometheus Books, naming it after
a trickster of the Greeks. Kurtz produced an interpretation
of Prometheus, and he has many implications for debunkers.
The Trickster and the Paranormal
explains why controversies over psychic phenomena continue and why they
show no signs of abating.
The author has published critiques of Robert Jahn’s
Princeton University remote-viewing research and Budd Hopkins’ UFO investigations.
He helped start a New Jersey skeptics group and has presented at the New
York Area Skeptics.