Ben Alderson-day


The strange science and true stories of the unseen other

A psychologist’s journey to understand one of the most unusual experiences known to humankind: the universal, disturbing feeling that someone or something is there when we are alone.

When and why do presences emerge? What does this feeling mean, and where does it come from? And how can we even begin to understand a phenomenon that can be transformative for those who experience it, and yet so hard to put into words? The answers to these questions lie in this fascinating exploration through cutting-edge research in contemporary psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience, and philosophy.

Ben Alderson-Day

Ben Alderson-Day is a Professor in Psychology and a Fellow of the Institute for Medical Humanities at Durham University. A specialist in atypical cognition and mental health, his work spans cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry, philosophy, and child development.

A message from the author

Ben takes two minutes to explain some of the stories behind Presence: The Strange Science and True Stories of the Unseen Other.

You can find more videos – including Ben’s interviews with Michael Shermer and Rory O’Connor – on the Media page.

Presence  is a fascinating read. The writing is lively and the stories are compelling.’



FEBRUARY 22, 2024

The Five Best Books on Hallucinations

Ben spoke to Sophie McBain (New Statesman/Guardian) for Five Books about the writers that inspired Presence, including RD Laing, Oliver Sacks, and Ruth Ozeki.


December 15, 2023

Presence wins BPS Book Award

Ben was delighted to receive a British Psychological Society Book Award (2023) in their Popular Science category.  For more details of the award and other BPS awards, see here.


October 12, 2023

The Uncanny – Cheltenham Literature Festival 

Ben was in conversation with the writer Richard Hirst in Cheltenham on October 12th for a session on “the Uncanny” in literature.