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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 December 2000
This is (as far as I understand) the first book written as Lyall Watson began his X-files style quest into the unknown. As such, it comes from a fairly sceptical point of view, unlike his later books such as "The Romeo Error" & "Lifetide". I am not saying that the subject matter is treated scornfully, but throughout it I had the distinct impression that he was waiting to be truly convinced by what he saw and examined. Much of the material contained within here I would say is pretty much out in the open these days, but there are still extremely interesting experiments, such as measuring plants' 'emotions' etc. Ideally this book is for someone who wants to look into basic strange phenominon from a source which as far as researchers go, is pretty well respected as genuine.
Watson does tend to take a very clinical attitude towards what he encounters and does not gush with emotion or make up stupid "facts" about ghosts and ghoulies.
If you're used to paranormal experiments, then it will be of limited value, but overall is a must read book and quite an important one for your collection.
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on 25 October 2009
This is an important book because it opens up the possibility of some free discussion between traditional beliefs and science. Unlike most contemporary scientists Watson was not one to simply deny phenomena simply because they did not fit into the current physicalistic scientific worldview. Instead he looks at things like ghosts and astrology and palmistry with an openness and honesty, that belies the lie of much current scientific thought on these areas. This was a book that changed my life - it could change yours too.
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on 7 April 2003
This was the second book of Lyall Watson's I has read, the first being "Dreams of Dragons," another fantastic read. Supernature is unlike any other book that I have read. It has given much food for thought, and conversation! The style is such that you do not feel pressured to believe what is written, and there are some truly amazing claims in there, but somehow the evidence provided is so compelling it appears that it must be true.. Amazing "facts," a lively style and a thought provoking read. Could read it again and again and never tire of it!
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on 29 January 2007
Lyall Watson has apparently written better books than this, but this is the one that made him mega-famous and is still the one that friends kept pushing me to read. Eventually I got around to it, and was extremely disappointed.

The trouble is that Watson's PhD and credentials as a practising scientist give him an air of authority, which misleads many readers into thinking that he's making coherent arguments when in fact he's being wildly speculative. His method goes like this: he gives an account of an experiment that, he says, appears to prove the existence of some supernatural phenomenon, like ghosts or psychokinesis. He then covers his ass by saying that the results of the experiment are maybe not as conclusive as all that. Then he says that IF the conclusions were true, the implications would be staggering - and he then goes on to talk about the implications as though they were real, and as though the experiment did indeed prove what he says it proves.

He also makes sweeping generalisations that on closer analysis turn out to be either trivial, tautological or meaningless - such as his opening remarks to the effect that everything on the planet is part of 'one life'. This is true insofar as everything on the planet that's alive, is alive; but does it really mean anything more than that? It certainly doesn't get us anywhere; for example, it doesn't begin to address the hard questions of how we're to behave towards other life forms. Does it mean anything to say that a human being is as alive as a human immuno-deficiency virus? Should malignant viruses have as much right to life as people?

I also think that his fascination with the supernatural is a bit childish when so much of the ordinary things we take for granted are in fact so little understood. The means by which babies acquire language, for example, are still very much (but not totally) a mystery, and that affects all of us - whereas ghosts and PKE are things most of us will never come into contact with. Watson's freakshow is actually less interesting than the things around us every day.

Ultimately, I think that the bad reasoning and empty assertions rob this book of value. Watson's books may or may not encourage an interest in the natural world, and insofar as they do, some people would say that that's a good thing. But I don't think so. Insofar as this book encourages people to believe that pseudoscience is more interesting than science, it's a threat to clear thinking.
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on 3 July 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book,and while I don't agree with everything said in it,I found the subject matter quite stimulating,like a fireside conversation between old friends sitting around a campfire,looking up at the stars and wondering what makes it and us tick.
It's still as good a read in 2012 as it probably was in 1973.
Lyall has left us with a great legacy in his books.
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on 23 December 2009
I first read this book in the early seventies. It opened my mind to concepts that I had never considered before. My grand-daughter, is I think, very like me so I think she also will read it and form her own opinions and hopefully expand her world.
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on 23 February 2002
A fantastic book that looks at Supernatural experiences and then compares it to current scientific knowledge of other parts of factual nature. It is wonderfully mind opening and yet purely logical.
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on 14 August 2007
This book has aged considerably but the underlining theme of Watson's book and his works are still sound. It is the theme of "Gaia" of man and nature interlinked within the framework of Earth ecology. Lyall goes further than this and theorises man's and natures interactions with "universal" forces.
Part of the immense charm of this book lies in the ability of Watson to furnish inteersting fact from his experiences as a zoologist and Biologist.To present them in layman's terms and make the book accessible.
To fully appreciate Watson you must know his background. Born in South Africa, Watson had an early fascination for nature in the surrounding bush, learning from Zulu and !Kung bushmen. Watson attended boarding school at Rondebosch Boys' High School in Cape Town, and in 1958 earned degrees in botany and zoology before securing an apprenticeship in palaentology under Raymond Dart, leading on to anthropological studies in Germany and the Netherlands. He has additional degrees in chemistry, geology, marine biology and ecology, indicating a broad range of interests. Watson earned a doctor of philosophy degree in ethology under Desmond Morris at London Zoo.
There are some science writers like Dawkins who can talk about evolution but anything outside their narrow field of knowledge generally leaves them floundering.
It probably reflects the problem with science , fields of knowledge have become to specialised and most scientists are unable to construct a "big picture".
Having said that Watson's work is not the be all and end all he needs help in polishing his works, it would be nice to see a collaborative group of scientists working in this "broad" field.
Readers of this book should avail themselves of his other works they are varied and not all will be to everyones taste. Dark Nature is a fascinating look at the nature of man through a zoologists eyes and is remarkable reading if one takes in the full significance of Watson's prepositions.
I'm giving Watson and his works a 5 star rating because no one is even coming close to summarising man and natures existence.
But only a 4 for this book which was his first attempt.
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on 19 February 2014
I found this paperback edition at a local market for 50p. As is always the case, the title and artwork got my attention.

SUPER NATURE

And a painting on the cover of a seed giving birth to a tree.

From glancing at the random pages in the market to fully submersing myself into the chapters, this book is very addictive and hard to put down.

For anyone with an interest in spirituality, religion, God, philosophy, nature, existence, Gaia Theory, human nature, life and just about any other title in between. This might be a book you'll be into.

There's a certain optimistic charm about the way he writes. And a lot of it seems like the stuff of fantasy and fairy tale. But this was 1973 when the book was written. And now 40 years later, a lot of Watson's thinking is being tested in modern day science.

The book is a great read for when you have short bursts of free time. As some of the ideas presented are radical (still) and mind blowing. But like I said 'trained' scientists are now beginning to use a lot of his ideas in their practical approach.

This book will leave you in either 2 places.

1. Open your mind to a whole new way of looking at nature, life, the universe and existence (and everything in between)

2. Leave you full of deep talk (great for those long ass parties till 7am)

Give this book a try. If you don't like it pass it on or get it back on sale here.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 November 2014
Supernature II by Lyall Watson, Sceptre (p.b.; Hodder and Stoughton), 1986, 352 ff.

Lyall Watson, who died in 2008, was a life scientist born in South Africa. At university he studied palaeontology under Raymond Dart and biology with Desmond Morris. As a scientist he adopts a straightforward, rational exploration of phenomena that used to be called supernatural or paranormal but which are now regarded by an increasing number of enlightened scientists and philosophers as part of the natural world.

In this book, the first edition of which appeared more than a decade earlier, Watson explores subjects ranging from Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis to Richard Dawkins’ memes, Robert Becker’s use of electromagnetic radiation to assist bone healing, but also reports of various biochemical disorders arising from exposure of some individuals to concentrated e.m. fields from power lines. There is discussion of several phenomena in parapsychology and their interpretation in the light of the properties of the world at the quantum level.

This is an eminently readable and thought-provoking book but it needs to be approached with an open mind – as the author says: ‘there are as yet undiscovered ways in which the inner self and the outer world entwine’ and ‘it begins to look as though information about past events can indeed be stored in physical objects.’ This book gives us all an insight into the significance of the philosophy of the New Physics in our everyday lives, but it has no pretentions of being a rigorous scientific explanation.

For those who enjoy this book I would recommend one of the sequels, The Nature of Things, by the same author and publisher from 1990.

Howard Jones is the author of Evolution of Consciousness
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