Harris, Melvin (1940-)

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Harris, Melvin (1940-)

Contemporary British author, researcher, and radio commentator who has investigated claimed paranormal phenomena. His position is skeptical and has been bolstered by his own personal detailed research. After years of teaching and lecturing, Harris became a full-time broadcaster with BBC Radio, presenting dozens of programs on such topics as the history of the phonograph, unusual inventions, the telephone centenary, magnetic recording, and the story of the bassoon. He actually makes baroque oboes as a hobby, and the Melvin Harris Collection of early recordings of performances on wind instruments, at the University of Washington, Seattle, is the largest in the world.

He was a researcher for the television series Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World and Strange Powers, and was described by the producer Simon Welfare as "a great detective of the supernatural." His radio series Strange to Relate dealt with many classic mysteries and bizarre events of history, and his book Sorry, You've Been Duped! (1986) debunks many misconceptions about such well-known mysteries as the Amityville Horror, the Bloxham Tapes, the Angels of Mons, and mediums.

Based on scores of earlier books and articles about the celebrated Jack the Ripper case by other writers, his own book Jack the Ripper: The Bloody Truth (1987) exposes fake documents, doctored quotations, and falsified references on the subject. Harris concludes, in a well-argued presentation, that the probable identity of the Ripper was an occultist with a medical background who committed his grisly crimes as part of a black magic ritual. Harris claims that the Ripper was known to Theosophist Mabel Collins and also to journalist W. T. Stead.


Harris, Melvin. Jack the Ripper: The Bloody Truth. London: Columbus Books, 1987.

. Sorry, You've Been Duped! London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986.

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Harris, Melvin (1940-)

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