Melvin Harris

Melvin Charles Harris (1930 – 2004) was a British author, broadcaster, researcher and skeptic.[1]


Harris was born in Monmouthshire. He later moved to London where he worked in the film and theatre industry.[1] He married the actress Maureen Gavin in 1965. He was interested in solving mysteries and worked for the fifteen-minute slot on BBC Radio 4 called "Strange to Relate".[1]


Jack the RipperEdit

Harris took interest in the Whitechapel murders and the identity of Jack the Ripper. He wrote three books on the subject, Jack the Ripper: The Bloody Truth (1987), The Ripper File (1989) and The True Face of Jack the Ripper (1994).[1] He came to the conclusion that Robert D'Onston Stephenson was a likely suspect for the murders.


Harris, a skeptic of paranormal claims wrote the book Sorry, You've Been Duped (1986), later republished as Investigating the Unexplained by Prometheus Books in 2003.

Harris argued that past life regression cases are not evidence for reincarnation but cryptomnesia.[2] He also investigated psychic detectives but found no evidence for their claims.[3]

Harris also suspected that the Enfield Poltergeist was the result of pranks. A photo allegedly depicting Janet "levitating" in mid air actually shows her bouncing on the bed as if it were a trampoline. Harris called the photos examples of common "gymnastics", and said "It’s worth remembering that Janet was a school sports champion!"[4]



  • Are 'Past Life' Regressions Evidence of Reincarnation? Free Inquiry 6: 18-23 (1986)
  • Past-Life Regression: The Grand Illusion In Robert Basil. (1988). Not Necessarily the New Age. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-490-7


  • Investigating the Unexplained (2003)
  • The True Face of Jack the Ripper (1994)
  • The Ripper File (1989)
  • Jack the Ripper: The Bloody Truth (1987)
  • Sorry, You've Been Duped (1986)
  • Strange to Relate: Book Two (1979)
  • Strange to Relate: Book One (1978)


  1. ^ a b c d "Melvin Harris (1930-2004)". Retrieved 2015-02-18.
  2. ^ Kurtz, Paul (1992). The New Skepticism: Inquiry and Reliable Knowledge. Prometheus Books. p. 159. ISBN 0-87975-766-3. Melvin Harris, a skeptical paranormal investigator, has examined Bloxham's Jane Evans tapes in meticulous detail. Harris believes that he can explain Evans's "memories" in terms of cryptomnesia (or source amnesia) without postulating reincarnation.
  3. ^ Kelly, Lynne (2004). The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal. Allen & Unwin. p. 155. ISBN 1-74114-059-5. In his book Investigating the Unexplained, Melvin Harris, a broadcaster and professional researcher for the BBC, details his investigations into the claims of some of the psychic detectives widely reported in England. He found nothing indicating clairvoyance.
  4. ^ Nickell, Joe (August 2012). "Enfield Poltergeist, Investigative Files". Skeptical Inquirer. Vol. 36, no. 4. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 18 February 2015.