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Phenomena

The Secret History of the U.S. Government's Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis
Narrated by: Annie Jacobsen
Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

Non-member price: $41.73

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Publisher's Summary

The definitive history of the military's decades-long investigation into mental powers and phenomena, from the author of Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain and international best seller Area 51.

This is a book about a team of scientists and psychics with top secret clearances.

For more than 40 years, the US government has researched extrasensory perception, using it in attempts to locate hostages, fugitives, secret bases, and downed fighter jets, to divine other nations' secrets, and even to predict future threats to national security. The intelligence agencies and military services involved include CIA, DIA, NSA, DEA, the Navy, Air Force, and Army - and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Now, for the first time, New York Times best-selling author Annie Jacobsen tells the story of these radical, controversial programs, using never before seen declassified documents as well as exclusive interviews with, and unprecedented access to, more than 50 of the individuals involved. Speaking on the record, many for the first time, are former CIA and Defense Department scientists, analysts, and program managers, as well as the government psychics themselves.

Who did the US government hire for these top secret programs, and how do they explain their military and intelligence work? How do scientists approach such enigmatic subject matter? What interested the government in these supposed powers and does the research continue? Phenomena is a riveting investigation into how far governments will go in the name of national security.

©2017 Annie Jacobsen (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"As comprehensive as it is critical, this latest expose from Jacobsen is perhaps her most important work to date...Jacobsen persuasively shows that it in fact happened and aptly frames the dilemma...Rife with hypocrisy, lies, and deceit, Jacobsen's story explores a conveniently overlooked bit of history." ( Publishers Weekly, starred review)
"With Phenomena, Annie Jacobsen has once again produced an utterly absorbing and brilliantly reported chronicle that truly breaks new ground. This is a boundary-breaking story of mental phenomena - extra sensory perception techniques - that is truly a pleasure to read. A mind-bending triumph!" (Alex Kershaw, best-selling author of The Liberator and Avenue of Spies)
"Chilling, compelling, and comprehensive accounting...Jacobsen's impressive book plumbs the dark depths of this postwar recruiting and shows the historical truths behind the space race and postwar US dominance. Highly recommended for readers in World War II history, espionage, government cover-ups, or the Cold War." ( Library Journal, starred review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great ( Read ) listening <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />

Excellent account of events that took place over the 60's to today. Loved hearing the people that were at the forefront of the paranormal and the Author has done a fantastic effort in telling the story...... Very much worth the purchase.

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Well worth a read.

The book was dry and factual ( which I liked ) . My trust of the author from previous books gave me permission to change the way I think about my life, past, and future.

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Another Annie Jacobsen Classic

Like all of her previous works ... loved this latest book and could not put it down. Cannot wait for her next book.

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  • C K
  • 10-12-2018

Superb

An insightful look at a complex topic. Well written and meticulously researched. Jacobsen maintains an objective stance throughout.

Well performed by the author.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • RK
  • 11-06-2017

Strong beginning and ending but sags in the middle

This was an interesting book and well researched but the anecdotal stories in the middle tend to drag on and become almost unbearably maudlin in parts. The strength of the book is in the beginning and end parts where the author talks about the post-war programs that were initiated by the government looking into these areas and the cold war aspects of the programs. It is fascinating how much money has been poured into these programs over the past few decades. The book really drags in the middle and there is far too much time spent on Uri Geller. Nothing really new is revealed but it takes up a significant chunk of the book and it appears that the author has become something of a fangirl of Uri. This story has been told over and over and the book would have benefited from a stronger editor.

The narration of this book was painful. The publisher really should have gotten someone other than the author to narrate. Dull monotone voice that required me to speed up the narration just to get through it. I might have enjoyed this more if they had a more dynamic narrator.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Rulon
  • 07-06-2018

Best non fiction book ever

I loved this book, it changed my sense of reality. It is thoroughly documented and assembled in a way that the reader can make sense of a complex history involving hundreds of people over a seventy year span.

I suspect that the author was very skeptical as she started putting the history into order, but eventually became overwhelmed by the evidence. She takes you along for the ride in a brilliant and beautifully written history. She made a believer out of me!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • philip
  • 18-05-2017

Phenomenally mediocre narration of a good book

Any additional comments?

I have listened to 3 annie jacobsen books. I listen to well over a hundred books a yr. and have come to believe that the narration is as important as the information. I have struggled through very poor narrations that has made me want to give up or nod off to sleep, but struggled through to get the story. I have also discovered with few exceptions (Malcom Gladwell being the only one that readily comes to mind) that the author make the worst narrator. I loved all three stories in the Jacobsen books, but was very put off by her breathy pronunciation, badly acted and badly paced narration. I know I could never do better, but I have heard many professional narrators that can. Please get one. I almost stopped listening several times and I'm glad I didn't, but it was a struggle. I'll have to get any other books she does on Kindle and forgo the audible. The story was worth the pain, but please try out some other options. Love the story, the narration not so much.

19 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Divka
  • 18-09-2019

Narration is painful

I really wanted to get through this book, as the content is interesting. But the narration is something I just can't tolerate. She speaks really slowly and over-exaggerates the enunciation of every syllable. It was so irritating that it distracted me from whatever she was saying

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  • Christopher Melton
  • 18-09-2019

Endlessly interesting

An extensively researched, well-sourced book, which held my interest throughout. Although I'd heard about the government's interest and involvement with the phenomena of remote viewing and the like, I was surprised by the extent of time and money invested in experiments conducted by the intelligence agencies and military. Excellent narration by the author. As a follow-on I'd also recommend the documentary "Third Eye Spies." Despite its somewhat hokey title, it features interviews with many of the scientists and "psychics" discussed in this book.

I recommend Jacobsen's other books; they are all well researched and credible.

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  • Carole Genovesi
  • 05-08-2018

Author needs to stick to writing

The book is interesting but should be read by a professional or at least someone who knows what words to accent. Half way through the first chapter i wanted to slap her. Half way through the 2nd I quit- couldn't take it any more!\

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Max Casey
  • 20-07-2018

Annie does it again

I really enjoyed this book. Annie Jacobsen seems to always deliver. It’s a long book but very well researched and a very interesting story.

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  • Karen
  • 09-04-2018

Fascinating

I recommend this read to anyone interested in paranormal phenomena.

The narration was ok, but please, authors, hire professional narration. It's the difference between ok and awesome.

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  • Paola B.
  • 02-02-2018

Fantastic book

I enjoyed reading this book. The author is again great in her research and the way she tell the story. It was an awakening experience. Thanks.

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  • Boo Boo
  • 01-07-2019

Bit Of A Curate's Egg

Or, good in parts, as the saying goes.

Firstly, credit should be given to the author for extensive research and illuminating an esoteric subject. The book is generally well written too.

But, there are a number of problems. In common with her other audiobooks where she is the narrator her pronunciation of many names, places and even some fairly common English words is mangled and ear - grating. I'm never sure what the cause of this is, but a little practise might help.

Then, there are some errors of fact which are obvious even while listening. Along with this and again in common with her other works is a fairly extensive padding of content. I would estimate that of the approximately 17 hours of this book a good 3 or 4 is content not pertinent to the subject of US government research into the topic.

My most serious criticism though is the way the author presents some material as fact when the incidents she described have been described differently in the literature or can easily be explained in another way.

For example, the Swann experiments at SRI were deemed to be the result of equipment malfunction at the time by some of the participants and this is not mentioned. Also, her image test with Geller is presented as inexplicable and yet can really be explained with a little thought. The idea that "nobody on earth has explained Geller's powers" is nonsense and indeed she seems to have been bamboozled by this character.

So, as I say good in parts.

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  • Tanika
  • 16-06-2018

Interesting material

I was familiar with much of this but it was very interesting to hear the origins of ESP studies. Well-researched.
However the narration was rather irritating, staccato and with continual mid-pronunciations of names and places. Almost made me give up or turn to the printed copy.