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Superstition
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YA-Based on an actual experiment from the 1970s, this novel takes an unusual turn. Former physicist turned parapsychologist Sam Towne believes that ghosts can actually be created. Called a "tulpas," or "thought form," a "ghost" is energy created from thought. In an effort to prove this theory, he gathers eight people who agree to participate in a bizarre experiment. Together they will create a fictitious character, give him a history, and conjure the presence of this ghost solely from the energy of their collective minds. Unfortunately, the experiment works only too well. Their ghost, Adam Wyatt, is given a past as an assistant to Lafayette in the Revolutionary War. After a move to Paris, he marries and becomes a contemporary of the Marquis de Sade and the infamous alchemist, Cagliostro, according to their script. He makes his presence frighteningly apparent at their gatherings and then, suddenly, history seems to have changed. There is evidence of an Adam Wyatt having lived. Worse, the members of the group begin to die off accidentally. Sam and his lover, Joanna, struggle to resolve this deadly enigma. Just scary enough, this novel grabs readers and keeps them turning pages. Most young adults will enjoy the Stephen King-like aspects of the story and wonder about the original experiment, possibly enough to research it. A short history lesson about the French Revolution is relatively painless, as well. A fascinating romp through parapsychology and ghostly lore.-Carol DeAngelo, American Chemical Society Library, Washington, DC

For a scientific experiment in psychokinesis, university psychologist Sam Towne assembles a group of eight individuals who, using the power of their collective consciousness, create a "ghost" with whom they hope to communicate. With ace investigative journalist (and love interest) Joanna Cross on hand to bear witness, the scientific seances at Manhattan University succeed all too well: the entity the group conjures up not only communicates with them but also becomes integral to their livesā€˜and deaths. British author Ambrose (The Man Who Turned into Himself) takes a poor paranormal premise and eventually overcomes it with a ripping good ending. Despite the publisher's play-up of the novel as supernatural suspense and horror, the book is almost science fictional as Ambrose ultimately speculates on a time-travel theory postulating that the past comes out of the present instead of the present emerging from the past. According to Ambrose's acknowledgments, the story is based on "an experiment that actually took place" in the early 1970s. Unfortunately, the author brings neither his almost comically dated fake psychic schemers nor parapsychology into the '90s. But his well-toned technique and winning characterizations carry patient readers along to the core of the story. The plot falters slightly as it falls into a "Don't-open-that-door!" groove and a lot of people suddenly and mysteriously drop dead. Once over the low hurdles, however, Ambrose plays an unflinching mastergame of reality manipulation right through to a chilling checkmate of an ending that is genuinely frightening. Film rights sold to Interscope for $1 million; foreign rights sold in Germany and Holland. (Oct.)

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