Larry Kettelkamp Randolph Hogan - Essay

Randolph Hogan

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Who among us has not experienced the physical re-enactment of a dream. This feeling, sometimes called déjà vu, is one of the many fascinating and often chilling subjects discussed in ["Sixth Sense," an] excellent book about psychic phenomena….

Beginning with a few documented cases of telepathy and clairvoyance, the author then deals with prediction of the future and its opposite number, the recollection of past events…. From here he goes to traveling consciousness, or the mind's (and sometimes the body's) ability to be in two places at the same time.

Mr. Kettelkamp also discusses mediums …; psychic photography …; mind over matter …; and concludes with some good advice about quacks and frauds and some suggestions about conducting simple psychic experiments.

This is a serious and worthwhile book which adults as well as younger readers will enjoy. (p. 22)

Randolph Hogan, in The New York Times Book Review (© 1971 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), February 21, 1971.

An eight-page chapter, late in [Sixth Sense] on magicians and frauds mentions that much so-called magic is illusion, prestidigitation, or outright fraud, which is true also of some ESP experiences. All phases of the book might well have been subjected to the same type of questioning, and therefore the material in this chapter should have been introduced as the second chapter…. The statement by the publisher on the jacket blurb that the book has been "thoroughly researched" cannot be accepted because the author is not a professional psychologist capable of evaluating human behavior objectively, and because there are no references or literature citations (titles of books and authors strewn in the text without other identifying information is not proper documentation). If the substance of the final chapter, "Understanding Psi," had been used, together with other basic introductory material from psychology, as an initial or orientation chapter, then the author might have been able to embark on a successful book for young readers. The "suggested experiments" in the final chapter should have been worked in at appropriate points in the text to assist the reader in attempting his own evaluations of some of the theories or phenomena presented. As they stand, the youngster will flounder about with no real orientation for conducting a valid test or experiment. (pp. 276-77)

Science Books (copyright 1971 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science). Vol. 6, No. 4 (March, 1971).