Welcome to the world of Forbidden Science â€“ something I know at least a little about. Although I have increasingly become involved with other areas of what might be dubiously described as â€˜parascienceâ€™, it is fair to say that this humble foreword writer is best known as â€“ horror! - a crop circle researcher. To a large section of society, thatâ€™s the credibility of these pages gone already, because crop circles, like several of the subjects covered in the book you now hold, have been subjected to an ongoing campaign of dismissal from the sceptics and sniggers from the ignorant.
One can learn to live with this kind of treatment and whether its blows when enough evidence can be uncovered to support the veracity of something, no matter what the masses may believe. The truth is indeed out there when actively looked for. The joy of lifting a corner of the lid on scientific taboos and seeing the astonished looks on the faces of those who dare to peep and suddenly see what lies beneath makes it all worthwhile.
In my totally unexpected career as a researcher of swirled stalks, I have now been faced by the likes of Esther Rantzen and Richard and Judy, and ridiculed on prime-time TV several times, which is always healthy for the soul. But on all of these occasions, what I have discovered is that when you give unexpectedly sensible answers to questions clearly intended to stimulate wacky stuff, the conversations turn around. Interviewers sometimes DO listen when actually met with conviction and logic, and I know from experience that it is possible to turn around the expected three minutes of taunt-the-wacko into something sensible and constructive, but without taking oneself too seriously either.
Forbidden Science manages to achieve something similar, by taking subjects considered â€˜fringeâ€™ or, to use the technical term, â€˜weirdâ€™, and pulling them together into a coherent and understandable presentation which will leave most readers quite convinced of the truth and importance of the subjects covered. It may also lead them to wonder just why conventional science has such a problem with areas that clearly demand further investigation. The trouble is, no-one on the inside wants to re-write the reference books. Instead, it is people like Ian who are changing the paradigms, albeit outside the stifling â€˜peer reviewâ€™ system, which, for all its sensible uses, has held back progress for too long and attempted to keep science in the hands of an elite private club.
Ian Baillie is someone who takes his work seriously, but doesnâ€™t take himself too seriously, as will be clear from the thread of humour in this book, and a general lightness of expression. Last time I saw Ian give a talk, at the Glastonbury Symposium, he managed to blow up the stage with a miniature American Civil War cannon. You donâ€™t get that sort of practical demonstration from every presenter (!), and itâ€™s a refreshing quality. Ian is a teacher by profession, and I envy his pupils â€“ if my teachers had elucidated in his way, maybe I wouldnâ€™t have had to learn everything all over again properly after I left school. Ianâ€™s passion for his chosen subjects shines through his writing too.
This book is an opportunity to understand things you may have heard of somewhere in the â€˜alternativeâ€™ field, but never had explained coherently or accessibly before, mixed seamlessly with the â€˜officialâ€™ world of quantum physics and all its offshoots, which you may also have never had explained coherently or accessibly before.
Take a journey, then, through the terrain of Forbidden Science. There is no better guide to have than Ian Baillie - enjoy the trip.
Andy Thomas is a leading paranormal researcher and author of four books on crop circles, including Vital Signs, described by many as the definitive guide to the phenomenon. Andy is also author of A Oneness of Mind, which explores the power of collective consciousness. He widely writes and lectures and has made numerous radio and TV appearances.http://www.vitalsignspublishing.co.uk/andythomas.html