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Eminent Cornell astronomer and bestselling author Sagan debunks the
paranormal and the unexplained in a study that will reassure hardcore
skeptics but may leave others unsatisfied. To him, purported UFO encounters
and alien abductions are products of gullibility, hallucination, misidentification,
hoax and therapists' pressure; some alleged encounters, he suggests,
may screen memories of sexual abuse. He labels as hoaxes the crop circles,
complex pictograms that appear in southern England's wheat and barley
fields, and he dismisses as a natural formation the Sphinx-like humanoid
face incised on a mesa on Mars, first photographed by a Viking orbiter
spacecraft in 1976 and considered by some scientists to be the engineered
artifact of an alien civilization. In a passionate plea for scientific
literacy, Sagan deftly debunks the myth of Atlantis, Filipino psychic
surgeons and mediums such as J.Z. Knight, who claims to be in touch
with a 35,000-year-old entity called Ramtha. He also brands as superstition
ghosts, angels, fairies, demons, astrology, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster
and religious apparitions.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.