Jack Parlabane is dead. Or is he? In an unlikely twist of the democratic process, he had been elected Rector of Glasgow's Kelvin University, taking over the post from the celebrity psychic Gabrielle Lafayette. Lafayette's tenure had one unexpected outcome - the establishment of a chair to investigate, using rigorous scientific controls, the causes of paranormal activity: mind-reading, levitating objects, speaking to the dead, all that sort of woo-woo.
Due to his highly honed skills as a sceptic, Jack is invited to be an official observer to the whole exercise. Delighted to have the opportunity to puncture the unquestioning faith of the true believers - the unsinkable rubber ducks - Jack accepts with alacrity. But the outcome of the experiment is wholly other to his expectations and threatens to scupper his own beliefs, and also his own survival.