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The Forgotten Mother of the Paranormal

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Catherine Crowe (1790-1872) could be called the mother of the paranormal. There were no doubt others before her who were interested in strange phenomena and even those who put together collections of true ghost stories, but Crowe went way beyond merely collecting tales.

Crowe’s ground-breaking book, The Night-Side of Naturereveals not just ghost stories but other paranormal tales, which clearly don’t fit that mold. Crowe’s 400-page book includes a variety of unexplained phenomena including what we now call OBEs, NDEs, time slips, and ESP.

Crowe compiled and compared cross-cultural data about a wide variety of strange phenomena, amassing evidence from the 18th and 19th Century and back into antiquity. She was one of those rare multilingual researchers who scoured the literature of non-English speaking countries for anomalies. Inspired by German scholars in particular, Crowe brought the ideas of leading physicians, physiologists, and other scientists, including Justinus Kerner and others too numerous to mention, to English-speaking readers. Her interest initially led Crowe to translate German physician Justinus Kerner’s amazing tale, The Seeress of Prevorst, in 1845, before writing The Night-Side of Nature, her own compendium of psychic phenomena.



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