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No. 59: Sep-Oct 1988

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In front of us is a 13-page paper dealing at length with phenomena normally considered impossible. The paper's abstract is not as informative as the introductory paragraph, which we now quote:

"Mysterious and unexplained luminous phenomena have fascinated humankind since ancient times. The psychical research literature offers a variety of unexplained luminous phenomena such as reports of glows seen around mag-nets, crystals and minerals, lights reportedly seen with mediums, and luminous apparitions, among others."

The paper then goes directly into a review of specific observations. We shall have to be satisfied here with just one of the many examples:

"D.D. Home was reported to produce many striking luminous phenomena. In one seance Dunraven observed that one of Home's hands 'became quite luminous,' and that two persons 'saw tongues or jets of flame proceeding from Home's head.' On another occasion: 'He was elongated slightly.. and raised in the air, his head became quite luminous at the top, giving the appearance of having a halo round it. When he was raised in the air, he waved his arms about, and in each hand there came a little globe of fire (to my eyes blue)...'

(Alvarado, Carlos S.; "Observations of Luminous Phenomena around the Human Body: A Review," Society for Psychical Research Journal, 54:38, 1987.) This paper concludes with 5 pages of references, illustrating the great extent of the parapsychological literature.

Comment. D.D. Home, to provide a bit of background, was a famous English medium. One of his favorite "stunts" was self-levitation. We have seen sketches of him floating high with his head nearly touching the ceiling. It is perhaps a bit snide to remark that if one can conquer gravity, producing luminous phenomena should be easy.

Reference. Other examples of visible radiation emitted by the human body may be found in BHA22 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Humans I. To order, visit here.

From Science Frontiers #59, SEP-OCT 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987