The Skeptic’S Guide to the Paranormal


The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal describes some of the best known pseudo-scientific claims and the rational explanations which can be offered to explain what is weird and wonderful.

The real world is awesome - witness the birth of a child and nothing will surpass it. People can be awesome - read the best literature, study the best art, listen to the most glorious music and you will have no doubts. Science is awesome - from the atoms to the universe via the human brain, there is so much we still don't know. We don't need pseudoscience to embellish reality.

The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal is from a personal perspective, just telling it the way I see it.

It is available through all bookshops, including online.



1.   Spontaneous human combustion

2.   Walking on hot coals

3.   Crop circles

4.   The Shroud of Turin

5.   Psychic readings   

6.   DIY Psychic readings

7.   Spiritualism

8.   Past Lives

9.   Astrology

10. Numerology

11. ESP: clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy

12. DIY telepathy

13. Nostradamus

14. DIY Nostradamus: Kabul Khan

15. Psychic detectives

16. Psychics on stage

17. DIY – bending metal

18. UFO sightings

19. UFO physical evidence

20. Alien contact

21. Alien abductions

22. The Bermuda Triangle

23. Levitation

24. Divining and dowsing

25. Ghosts and poltergeists

26. Yeti, abominable snowmen and Bigfoot

27. The Loch Ness Monster

James Randi endorsed the book with a wonderful blurb on the back:

'We find ourselves in a society which erroneously believes it has undergone an Enlightenment, but has only experienced a certain degree of Brightening. Lynne Kelly's informative book should never have been needed, but obviously is. Telling people what they already know - that there is no Tooth Fairy, magic is a subject for children's story books and immortality, ESP and astral projection belong in fantasy stories - is made a more acceptable and communicable message via this book. Kudos and applause to the author. Let's have more ...'
James Randi, President, James Randi Educational Foundation

Above: conclusive proof that I am dead and now a ghost!

Right: UK TV personality, Richard Wiseman, with The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal.

Above: The Australian cover.

Right: The US edition, published by Thunder’s Mouth. This edition is available through bookshops and online, including

Media Comments

'Lynne Kelly's Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal is a lovely book. It covers a wide range of paranormal "mythconceptions" in an entertaining and comprehensive way. The fascinating topics include the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, Astrology, Nostradamus and Spoon Bending. The Universe around us is magnificent enough to fill us with awe and wonder - and this book shows us that we don't have to rely on second-rate re-hashed myths.'

Karl Kruszelnicki, Julius Sumner Miller Fellow, University of Sydney

"Need an answer for New Age or UFO bores? Then this book is for you. Lynne Kelly presents a diverse collection of the popular paranormal - and its rational, DIY explanations. Thus psychic readings are just perceptive psychology, if not outright chicanery, and anyone who can hold a twig can dowse. She does both, DIY-style and successfully. Funniest moment: convincingly interpreting  Coleridge's Kubla Khan in the style of Nostradamus. A thoroughly sensible book that should be promoted as widely as possible."

Lucy Sussex, The Sunday Age, June 6, 2004

"Lynne Kelly carefully debunks hundreds of alleged paranormal phenomena, from UFOs to the Bermuda Triangle. The Loch Ness Monster? Crop Circles? Hoaxes!"

Tony Maniaty, The Weekend Australian, 5-6 June, 2004

"After a new party trick? Read this book and you'll learn how to bend spoons like Uri Geller. The author explains a range of paranormal phenomena, providing rational and scientific explanations to many mysteries - the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot, ghosts and even spontaneous combustion!

* * * * "

New Idea, June 19, 2004

"Many people would like to believe in psychic abilities that can provide an element of wonder and comfort in a difficult world. Lynne Kelly is one of them, but has discovered trickery and delusion instead of enlightenment."

Sunday Herald, Sun, June 6, 2004

"Buy this book.


Lynne Kelly has been teaching science and maths for over 30 years but there are few overt traces of pedagogy in The Skeptic's Guide. Rather she carefully lays out the claims and explanations made for variously commonly held beliefs then leads the reader gently towards consideration of other explanations. ...


This is a book no skeptic can afford to be without. It will give you the wherewithal to answer all those questions which constantly crop up at dinner parties, meetings of the knitting circle or football club, and in terms that require no deep understanding of quantum physics or abnormal psychology."

Barry Williams, the Skeptic, Winter, 2004.

For all those who have ever wanted to get to the bottom of mysteries such as these, and for those who have refused to believe but haven't had the means to disprove the myths, The Skeptics Guide to the Paranormal is a boon. Through case studies and detailed explanation, Lynne Kelly explores the scientfic explanations for more than twenty areas of common paranormal belief.

Ms Kelly does not scoff or ridicule genuine believers - rather she explores in matter of fact language what is commonly believed, the various theories that have been put forward to explain the phenomenon and, finally, the scientific explanation. What is obvious in every chapter is that Ms Kelly has not jumped to any conclusions, but has instead kept an open mind and approached the issues scientifically. From firewalking, to spoon bending, ghostly apparitions and Yetis, she explores all the avaiable evidence in detail.

This is enlightening reading, but it is also very entertaining. Readers will be fascinated by the various beliefs, the evidence and case studies, as well as by the explanations of the various phemonena.

An outstanding read.

Aussie Reviews. Review by Sally Murphy

" I liked that not only were the people who believed in such things as psychics not stupid and gullible, but it was possible that some of the psychics themselves genuinely believed in their powers. ... Plus, there was all the science which was uber-interesting, plus:




I refer mostly now to the chapter on spirituality: When the whole seance was described, a lot of it I could cynically think of how it was done. After all, smoke and mirrors is my trade. But the ectoplasm forming a human figure.... I actually shouted, "HOW ARE YOU GOING TO EXPLAIN THAT, MISS FANCY PANTS SCIENCE? HUH?" much to the confusion of my fellow train passengers. Actually, that's a lie. I didn't read any of it on a train. I read it all in my bed between 3am and 6am this morning.


So... I'd say, a 5 out of 5.


This isn't just, Oh, I know Lynne and have to be nice to her about her book score. I actually, really enjoyed it. It explained things which have puzzled me for years, and thus was goodly."

Cam Smith, Virtual School student

Psychic Readings

For more information on how I perform fake psychic readings, see the page on how I perform real cold readings.