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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind Paperback – 1 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 710 pages
  • Publisher: Disinformation Company (1 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932857400
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932857405
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 5.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,563,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

When I was East Africa correspondent of The Economist, writing about wars, politics, economics and aid programmes, I had no idea where fate was going to lead me or what strange seas of thought I would find myself sailing on. But in 1983 I made my first visit to Axum in northern Ethiopia, then in the midst of a war zone, and found myself in the presence of an ancient monk outside a little chapel in the grounds of the cathedral of Saint Mary of Zion. The monk told me that the chapel was the sanctuary of the Ark of the Covenant and that he was the guardian of the Ark, the most sacred relic of the Bible, supposedly lost since Old Testament times. What he said seemed ludicrous but for some reason it intrigued me. I began to look into the Ethiopian claim and found much surprising and neglected evidence that supported it, not least the faint traces of a mission to Ethiopia undertaken by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century. I kept adding to that dossier of evidence while also continuing to pursue my current affairs interests (including Lords of Poverty, my controversial book about foreign aid, published in 1989), and finally, in 1992, I published The Sign and the Seal: A Quest for the Lost Ark of the Covenant, my first full-fledged investigation of a historical mystery.

As well as to Ethiopia and to Israel, my research for The Sign and the Seal had taken me to Egypt and opened my eyes to the incredible enigma of the Great Pyramid of Giza, while the "technological" aspects of the Ark (shooting out bolts of fire, striking people dead, etc) had alerted me to the existence of out of place technologies in antiquity. The stage was now set for my next project - a worldwide investigation into the possibility of a lost, prehistoric civilisation that resulted, in 1995, in the publication of Fingerprints of the Gods, undoubtedly my best known book. Keeper of Genesis (co-authored with Robert Bauval) followed in 1996, looking specifically into the mysteries of the Great Sphinx of Giza, and then in 1998 Heaven's Mirror, photographed by my wife Santha Faiia, which shows why many ancient sites in all parts of the globe replicate the patterns of constellations on the ground and are aligned to important celestial events such as the rising points of the sun on the equinoxes and the solstices. In 2002, I published Underworld, the result of five years of scuba diving across all the world's oceans to find ancient ruins submerged by rising sea levels at the end of the Ice Age.

After Underworld, I decided to step away from lost civilisation mysteries for a while and my next non-fiction book, Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, published in 2005, focussed on shamanism, altered states of consciousness and the astonishing universal themes that appear in rock and cave art from deepest antiquity right through to the paintings done by shamans in the Amazon rainforest today.

From my years as a journalist I've always distrusted armchair theorising and believed I have a responsibility to seek out direct personal, "boots on the ground" experience of what I'm writing about. That was why I did five years of often difficult and dangerous scuba diving for Underworld. And it's also why, as part of my research for Supernatural I travelled to the Amazon to drink the visionary brew Ayahuasca with shamans there. As well as better equipping me to write Supernatural, my experiences in the Amazon changed my life and brought out a new side of my own creativity. I've continued working with Ayahuasca ever since and in 2006, during a series of sessions in Brazil, in a ceremonial space overlooked by images of a blue goddess, my visions gave me the basic characters, dilemmas and plot of the book that would become my first novel, Entangled, published in 2010. Entangled tells the story of two young women, one living 24,000 years ago in the Stone Age, and the other in modern Los Angeles, who are brought together by a supernatural being to do battle with a demon who travels through time.

Since the publication of Entangled I have also written the first two volumes of a series of three epic novels about the Spanish conquest of Mexico - the War God trilogy. The first volume, War God: Nights of the Witch, was published in May 2013, and the second volume, War God: Return of the Plumed Serpent, is published in October 2014. The third volume, War God: Apocalypse, is already more than half written and will be published in 2016 but in the meantime I am putting the finishing touches to a new non-fiction book, Magicians of the Gods, which will be published in late 2015. Magicians is the sequel to Fingerprints of the Gods, and presents all the new evidence that has emerged since 1995 for a great lost civilisation of prehistoric antiquity and for the global cataclysm that destroyed that civilisation almost 13,000 years ago - a cataclysm on such a scale that it forced mankind, as Plato put it, "to begin again like children with no memory of what went before."

My ideas on prehistory and on the mysterious nature of reality have made me something of a controversial figure. In 1999, for example BBC Horizon made a documentary ("Atlantis Reborn") attacking my position on the lost civilisation. But part of that documentary was found by the UK's Broadcasting Standards Commission to be unfair - the first time ever that the flagship Horizon series had been judged guilty of unfairness. The BBC took the problem seriously enough to put out a revised re-edited version of the programme a year later. More recently, in 2013, my TED talk "The War on Consciousness" was deleted from the TED Youtube channel on grounds that TED itself later admitted to be spurious by striking out every one of the objections it had originally raised to my talk. TED, however, refused to restore the talk to its Youtube channel resulting in dozens of pirate uploads all over the internet that have now registered well over a million views.

I make mistakes like everyone else, but ever since my time with The Economist I've felt it is important to strive for rigour and accuracy, to check facts, to set out my sources clearly and openly for all to see and to admit my mistakes when I make them. As I continue to explore extraordinary ideas in my works of non-fiction, and in my novels, I'll also continue to do that.


Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS meets Carlos Castaneda in the most exciting development in alternative history for over a decade. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jean Erasmus on 24 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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81 of 86 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 Jan. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By D&D TOP 50 REVIEWER on 9 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lou on 19 Dec. 2012
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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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By H. Reisenhofer on 14 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
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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