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March 31, 2017 | History

Charles Panati

13 March 1943 -

Charles Panati was born in Baltimore, MD, and raised in Atlantic City, NJ. His family had worked with the Miss America Pageant, and in his early twenties Panati worked as an escort for pageant contestants. In 1965 he received a B.S. in physics from Villanova University, and in 1966 he received a M.Sc. in Radiation Health Physics from Columbia University. After graduating, he worked in cancer research at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

In 1971 he became a science reporter for Newsweek Magazine. He became interested in parapsychology and his first book , Supersenses: Our Potential for Parasensory Experience (1974) was about extrasensory perception. He followed up with other fringe science books: The Geller Papers (1976), which was about the Israeli psychic Uri Geller; Death Encounters (1979), about the "white light" phenomenon reported by some people who have been resuscitated from the verge of death; and Breakthroughs: Advances in Science, Medicine and Technology (1980), about future developments in technology. He also wrote the psychological suspense novels Links (1978) and The Pleasuring of Rory Malone (1982).

Following the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station in Pennsylvania happened, he co-wrote the book The Silent Intruder: Surviving the Radiation Age (1981) with his brother, Michael Hudson. He used his background in radiation health technology to examine the benefits and dangers of radiation, including nuclear radiation from power plant accidents.

In the 1980s, he learned his father was adopted, and that his birth name was Charles Hudson. Although he legally changed his name to Charles Hudson, he continued to publish under the name Charles Panati.

In 1984 he wrote The Browser’s Book of Beginnings about the origins of everyday objects, which was turned into a weekly TV show called The Start of Something Big. The success of the book and show led to a series of "origins" books, including Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things (1987); Panati’s Parade of Fads, Follies and Manias: The Origins of Our Most Cherished Obsessions (1991); Sacred Origins of Profound Things: The Stories Behind the Rites and Rituals of the World’s Religions (1996); Sexy Origins of Intimate Things (1998); and Words To Live By: Origins of Common Wisdom Expressions (1999). He also wrote an "endings" book, Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody (1989).

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March 31, 2017 Edited by Clean Up Bot add VIAF and wikidata ID
April 12, 2010 Edited by Open Library Bot Added photos to author pages.
December 17, 2009 Edited by caf21 Edited without comment.
December 17, 2009 Edited by caf21 Edited web site
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user initial import