Larry Kettelkamp E. Virginia Demos - Essay

E. Virginia Demos

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Investigating Psychics—Five Life Histories is clearly written by a believer in parapsychology, whose treatment of the subject cannot be accurately described as an "investigation". The author, Mr. Larry Kettelkamp, starts with a brief introduction to parapsychology and psychic or "psi" effects that is entirely one-sided. He then proceeds to describe the life stories of five self-declared psychics, using only secondary source materials, which he accepts without question. Since he has chosen to write about people who are alive today, and have been to the United States, or live here, it is odd and distressing that Mr. Kettelkamp has made no effort to interview these people personally, or to obtain first hand information about their psychic abilities, life histories, etc. Finally, the book ends with an almost evangelical chapter on how to increase one's own psychic powers. Throughout the book the author exaggerates the degree of acceptance of psychic events by the scientific community, and fails to mention the considerable contrary evidence. The book represents a distorted and misleading view of the topic. Kettelkamp's purpose seems to have been not to educate, but to convert the young reader. (pp. 19-20)

E. Virginia Demos, in Appraisal (copyright © 1978 by the Children's Science Book Review Committee), Spring, 1978.