Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other Spiral-Bound | March 28, 2023

Ben Alderson-Day

★★★☆☆+ from 31 to 100 ratings

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A psychologist's journey to understand one of the most unusual experiences known to humankind: the universal, disturbing feeling that someone or something is there when we are alone.

Presence tells the story of one of the most unusual experiences known to humankind: the feeling that someone or something is there, without being seen or heard. These experiences have been given many names—the Third Man, guardian angels, shadow figures, “social” hallucinations—and they have inspired, unsettled, and confounded in equal measure.

While the contexts in which they occur are diverse, they are united by a distinct and uncanny feeling of visitation by another. But what does this feeling mean, and where does it come from? When and why do presences emerge? And how can we even begin to understand a phenomenon that can be transformative for those who experience it, and yet so hard to put into words?

The answers to these questions lie in this tour-de-force through contemporary psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and philosophy. Presence follows Alderson-Day's attempts—as a psychologist and a researcher—to understand how this experience is possible. What is a voice when it isn’t heard, and how otherwise do we know or feel that someone is in our presence? Is it a hallucination connected to psychosis, a deeper neurological dysfunction or something else? The journey to understand takes us to meet explorers, mediums, and robots, and step through real, imagined, and virtual worlds. Presence is the story of who we carry with us, at all times, as parts of ourselves.

Publisher: Macmillan
Original Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket
Pages: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1250278252
Item Weight: 1.0 lbs
Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.0 x 9.6 inches
Customer Reviews: 3 out of 5 stars 31 to 100 ratings