Strange Frequencies by Peter Bebergal Strange Frequencies: The Extraordinary Story of the Technological Quest for the Supernatural by Peter Bebergal
Narrator: Will Damron
Published by Penguin Audio on October 23, 2018
Source: Purchased
Genres: Non-fiction, Science, Paranormal
Length: 7 hrs 47 mins
Pages: 256
Format: Audiobook
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three-stars

A journey through the attempts artists, scientists, and tinkerers have made to imagine and communicate with the otherworldly using various technologies, from cameras to radiowaves.

Strange Frequencies takes readers on an extraordinary narrative and historical journey to discover how people have used technology in an effort to search for our own immortality. Bebergal builds his own ghostly gadgets to reach the other side, too, and follows the path of famous inventors, engineers, seekers, and seers who attempted to answer life's ultimate mysteries. He finds that not only are technological innovations potent metaphors keeping our spiritual explorations alive, but literal tools through which to experiment the boundaries of the physical world and our own psyches.

Peter takes the reader alongside as he explores:
* the legend of the golem and the strange history of automata;
* a photographer who is trying to capture the physical manifestation of spirits;
* a homemaker who has recorded voicemails from the dead;
* a stage magician who combines magic and technology to alter his audience's consciousness;
* and more.

I picked up Strange Frequencies for RIP’s Peril of the Real. When it comes to fiction, I stay in the mystery aisles most of the time. Nonfiction, however, can be about anything. I can’t say that I was really interested in the intersection of technology and the supernatural, but I can find most topics interesting and learn fascinating bits and pieces, especially when the writer/speaker presents it well.

Bebergal covers a wide variety of topics, from golems to seances to electronic voice phenomena and he does it from the view of maybe a hopeful skeptic. He researches, but he also experiments. He talks about the history around certain devices or myths and contacts, when possible, experts. He also goes to the seance, tags along with the photographer, builds a Tesla radio, uses his dad’s old tape recorder.

My one complaint is that it jumps from topic to topic. I would have liked there to be more to it, not just the overviews.

About Peter Bebergal

Peter Bebergal is the author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, Too Much to Dream: A Psychedelic American Boyhood and Strange Frequencies. He writes widely on music and books, with special emphasis on the speculative and slightly fringe. His recent essays and reviews have appeared in The Times Literary Supplement, The Quietus, BoingBoing, and The Believer. Bebergal studied religion and culture at Harvard Divinity School, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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