David V Barrett. The Atlas of Secret Societies: The Truth Behind the Templars, Freemasons and Other Secretive Organisations. Godsfield, 2008

Despite the presence of a number of small maps, this is not in any meaningful sense an atlas, it is however a coffee-table book which unlike many of its kind is written by someone who knows what they are talking about, and provides eminently sensible and rational information on a variety of organisations and traditions which are often the subject of the wildest conspiracy theories.

Unlike some of the other 'skeptical' writers on this subject, David Barrett, a frequent contributor to Fortean Times, does not have some theological axe of his own to grind. The book covers a wide range of occult and related organisations from the Masons to the Golden Dawn, all the way to the Triads and the Yakusa. Excellent debunking of Rosslyn Chapel and Rennes-le-Chateau.

Monte Cook. The Skeptics Guide to Conspiracies. Adams Media, 2009
A rather superficial and at times light-hearted look at the main conspiracies theories, both reasonable and completely wild. While Cook takes a generally skeptical view of these theories, he cannot be said to have done any significant research on any of them.

Any skeptically inclined book like this, especially if it is a library copy, runs the risk of being vandalised by barmpots writing in it in red ink. This book saves them the trouble, and provides its own red ink comments, some almost as crazy as the real thing.

Richard L Gregory. Seeing Through Illusions. Oxford University Press, 2009
For anyone studying the sorts of subjects covered by Magonia or Fortean Times a study of the physiology and psychology of perception is essential. and Richard Gregory, Emeritus Professor of Neuropsychology at the University of Bristol is one of the world's leading experts on this.
In this book he summarises what is know about the psychology and physiology of perception, and in particular what perceptual illusions can tell us about the perceptual process. Not always easy going but well worth the effort.

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