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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind [Paperback]

Graham Hancock
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Oct 2006

"Supernatural: of or relating to things that cannot be explained according to natural laws."

Less than 50,000 years ago mankind had no art, no religion, no sophisticated symbolism, no innovative thinking. Then, in a dramatic and electrifying change, described by scientists as "the greatest riddle in human history", all the skills and qualities that we value most highly in ourselves appeared already fully formed, as though bestowed on us by hidden powers.

In Supernatural Graham Hancock sets out to investigate this mysterious "before-and-after moment" and to discover the truth about the influences that gave birth to the modern human mind.

His quest takes him on a journey of adventure and detection from the stunningly beautiful painted caves of prehistoric France, Spain and Italy to remote rock shelters in the mountains of South Africa where he finds a treasure trove of extraordinary Stone Age art.

He uncovers clues that lead him to travel to the depths of the Amazon rainforest to drink the powerful plant hallucinogen Ayahuasca with Indian shamans, whose paintings contain images of "supernatural beings" identical to the animal-human hybrids depicted in prehistoric caves and rock shelters. And hallucinogens such as mescaline, also produce visionary encounters with exactly the same beings. Scientists at the cutting edge of consciousness research have begun to consider the possibility that such hallucinations may be real perceptions of other "dimensions".

Could the "supernaturals" first depicted in the painted caves and rock shelters be the ancient teachers of mankind? Could it be that human evolution is not just the "blind", "meaningless" process that Darwin identified, but something else, more purposive and intelligent, that we have barely even begun to understand?

Frequently Bought Together

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind + Fingerprints Of The Gods: The Quest Continues (New Updated Edition) + Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution
Price For All Three: 30.38

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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (5 Oct 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099474158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099474159
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 10.8 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Hancock's most important book . . . Quite stunning" (Independent on Sunday)

"Hancock's work is a welcome exploration and celebration of the mystery inside our skulls" (The Guardian)

"Hancock is intelligent and articulate and his writing is as expert as you would expect from an esteemed international correspondent" (The Scotsman)

Book Description

FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS meets Carlos Castaneda in the most exciting development in alternative history for over a decade.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I've followed Hancock since his first bestseller in 1992 with The Sign and The Seal, then the fascinating Fingerprints of the Gods, followed by many more: The Mars Mystery, Keeper Of Genesis, Heaven's Mirror, Underworld, Talisman, and now Supernatural. Like all Hancock's books, this one is too long and wordy but offers fascinating alternative theories about the past. And like all his previous books - albeit on very different subjects - it's both intelligently and cleverly researched but rather slow and repetitious.

He personally explores the places and things of which he writes, basically putting his heart into it. He is a deep-thinking investigative journalist who made himself into an acclaimed alternative historian who invests huge amounts of time, resources and courage towards evidencing his hypotheses, many of which annoy mainstream archeologists, too many of whom are basically close-minded parrots.

This stimulating book starts by explaining paleolithic cave art in terms of hallucinations and entoptic phenomena (tiny bright dots moving quickly in the visual field). It's a compelling hypothesis that actually fits the known facts far better than the theory accepted among most academics, that the paintings were a form of sympathetic magic to ensure a successful hunt.

Hancock makes a compelling case that the trigger was the experiencing of shamanic visions - essentially the first, core, religious experience. He suggests that the content of these early paintings is quite simply the "visions" perceived in such altered states.
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial work and riveting read 14 Jan 2007
This fascinating book by alternative historian Graham Hancock investigates the origins of consciousness with reference to the work of David Lewis-Williams and his theory of the neuropsychological origins of cave art. It also goes further in proposing that those worlds and entities encountered in shamanic visions are not mere hallucinations but very real and that altered states are the means to gain entry to them.

Part One: The Visions, includes the author's experiences with the African hallucinogenic plant Iboga, looks at the cave of Pech Merle and then examines the theory of David Lewis-Williams. It also includes a section on Hancock's use of the South American plant ayahuasca.

Part Two explores the cave art of Upper Paleolithic Europe, with a closer look at the half-human half-animal representations that are so widespread. These "therianthropic" designs also occur in the rock art of Southern Africa and elsewhere. Hancock examines recurring themes in this ancient art, like that of the Wounded Man. He also discusses other aspects of this art, like the dots, starbursts, nets, ladders and windowpane-like geometrical figures. He closely examines the similarities and the differences between the art of ancient Europe and that of Africa. For example, the European art is found in dark subterranean caves while in Africa it is most often found in open rock shelters.

Chapter Six looks at the history of the academic study of rock art and concludes that it led nowhere until the theory of Lewis-Williams came along. Hancock demolishes the criticisms leveled at the work of Lewis-Williams and exposes the smear campaign waged against the South African academic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Read 24 Sep 2007
I found answers in this book which I have long been searching for. It is not a book for the reductionist or rationalist who wants easily digestable answers to go with binary thinking patterns. In stead it is a book for those who are looking beyond the veil of rational thinking; those searching for the mostly difficult to digest answers to the archetypal meaning of their dreams that haunt them so.

'Supernatural' is well researched with no 'stab in the dark' tactics. It takes the reader from the present to the past, and from your comfortable belief system to one that challenges. It might just be the book that - sometime in the future - sheds light on topics ranging from misunderstood and maltreated scizophrenia to the origins of mankind's mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Read for the Open-minded. 19 Dec 2012
By Lou
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in the evolution of human consciousness this book is a 'must'. As usual, Graham Hancock provides plenty of factual evidence before giving his interpretation, conclusions, and hypothesis.

The first part of the book is a trifle wearisome and concerned with ancient cave art discoveries and conventional theories, but like a steam locomotive Mr.Hancock gradually accelerates until he thunders along and one simply cannot put the book down until one reaches the end.

Great value and a book that will surely give the reader plenty to think about.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 14 Feb 2007
I've followed Graham Hancock's work for quite some time. Although not entirely disconnected to his previous areas, 'Supernatural' is a somewhat new investigation. I was especially intrigued by the studies into the nature/origin of DNA, and the surprising similarities between Shaman descriptions of their 'visions', ancient rock/cave art, descriptions by alien abductees and European fairy lore. All I can say is it does make you wonder, and if anything the book reminds you of how unexplained many of the questions Hancock raises remain. If we're going to attempt to answer these questions, then surely we need to welcome all open-minded, free thinking into the nature of our origins and the mysteries of the supernatural?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind T|hank god for youtube as you can find a great video documentary about the same thing.
Published 2 months ago by Paul leverell
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Hancock
Book arrived on time and in good condition. It's a book I shall dip into many times. Fascinating and revealing. What a lot of
interesting information.
Published 2 months ago by eileen merryweather
5.0 out of 5 stars Supernatural reading
Great book for those of you who know there's more to life than the world you see. It touches on a lot of theories to do with the human mind and our ability to expand it through... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Martin Moir
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and intrguing
I got the book, was so excited to open it and when I did I couldn't put it down! So interested and so much to learn from it!
Published 3 months ago by Neovi Wales
5.0 out of 5 stars Present
This was a very thought after present and the person was totally delighted when received it. Good postage time as well.
Published 4 months ago by Dr. David Flynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Anything that Graham Hancock turns his hand to is worthy in my eyes ,a brilliant and hugely gifted chap, a very knoweledgable author with vast experience in all his fields of work... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Linda Browne
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Book.
I saw Graham speak at a gathering in Brisbane last year and bought this book from the venue as well. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Brizdaz
4.0 out of 5 stars Graham Hancock's supernatural
thought provoking an immense work.Needs more than one read.Graham creates another world as he enters the caves..of our ancestors . Read more
Published 10 months ago by kate A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing...
Don't carry on until you have read this book? What do we know about history and spirituality - nothing !! Read this to have your eyes opened and your mind expanded.
Published 11 months ago by Harry
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Awesome
It arrived very fast, brand new and it's an awesome book. It wasn't expensive. and I will definitely recommend it
Published 12 months ago by Tatiana
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