Publishing the Paranormal

Why do academic authors sometimes dare to study the so-called “paranormal”, like ghosts, spiritual phenomena and UFOs, in spite of opposition from the scientific establishment? The main reason is that they often have their own experiences, like most people, and they want to understand them. In fact, “the paranormal is normal.” Charles and Penelope Emmons discuss their own adventures in publishing the paranormal in academic and other contexts and those of other researchers as well, with examples of popular treatments and the gradual mainstreaming of these subjects.


Charles Emmons is an Emeritus Professor retired from the Gettysburg College Sociology Department. His research has been mainly in the areas of the sociology of science, religion, and the paranormal. Publications include Chinese Ghosts Revisited (2017), At the Threshold: UFOs, Science and the New Age (1997), and “Methodologies for the Mysterious” (in A Greater Reality, Vol. 2, ed. Hernandez, 2022). He is a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration.

Penelope Emmons has a Master’s in Social Work and offers counseling. She is an ordained Spiritualist minister, and does spirit mediumship. She has also been a public and Montessori school educator, and an interior and architectural designer. Together with her husband Charles she is author of Guided by Spirit: A Journey into the Mind of the Medium (2003), and Science and Spirit (2012).

Curated and Hosted by

Shannon Taggart is an artist and author exploring the intersection between Spiritualism, photography, and the representation of belief. Her work has been exhibited and featured internationally, including within the publications TIME, New York Times Magazine, Discover, and Newsweek. Taggart’s monograph, SÉANCE (Fulgur Press, 2019), was named one of TIME’s ‘Best Photobooks of 2019.’

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Shannon Taggart’s Supernatural Mystery Symposium

Selections from the annual event on supernatural mystery and strange cultural history, curated by Shannon Taggart and hosted in Lily Dale, NY, USA—the town home to the world’s largest Spiritualist community.

What Is the Future of the Grave? by Allison Meier – 3 Mar

Dr. Raymond Buckland’s ‘Wide World of Spirit – Steven Intermill and Toni Rotonda – 24 Mar

Spiritual Spectacles: Mother’s Work and the Shaker Era of Manifestations – Maria Molteni – 11 Apr

Ted Serios: The Mind’s Eye, with Emily Hauver – 25 Apr

Séance: Spiritualism, Photography and the Search for Ectoplasm – Shannon Taggart – 2 May

Music from Elsewhere – Doug Skinner – 9 May

Publishing the Paranormal – Charles and Penelope Emmons – 16 May

Supernatural Mystery Symposium: Reclaiming Art – JF Martel – 23 May

The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle – Michael W Homer – 20 Jun

Fall 2024 8:00 pm - 09:30 pm - rescheduled, dated to be confirmed

£6 - £10 & By Donation

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