Numerous communication technologies, such as the telegraph, telephone, photography, phonograph, radio, and film, have at certain moments been viewed as conduits of a spiritual or spectral presence, possessing capacities for extra-worldly communication. In her latest book, Haunted Data, a curious, unconventional, and often fascinating transdisciplinary experiment in “speculative psychology,” Lisa Blackman revisits this notion to argue that studies into phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, premonition, and precognition, rather than merely being quaint and fanciful remnants of early psychological research (preceding this field’s professionalization), might instead bear the traces of heterodox and heteroclitic histories, both human and technological, that were displaced or neglected in the name of supposedly more rigorous, precise, and scientific approaches to the mind, and that these might in turn be helpful in examining the occlusions and blind spots still present within positivistic modes of research.

Blackman uses the example of...

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