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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for anyone interested in ancient art, and anthropology and the origins of religion
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...
Published on 9 Mar 2009 by D&D

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good material, dreadful writing
I got this book on the strength of "Fingerprints of the Gods," which I gave 5 stars to, despite reservations about the repetitive nature of Mr Hancock's writing style. Supernatural is something else though. Like so many "alternative" theorists, the author lacks one thing; a decent and ruthless editor.
A sketch of a cave drawing, accompanied by a very detailed...
Published on 8 Feb 2010 by Robin Catbush


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for anyone interested in ancient art, and anthropology and the origins of religion, 9 Mar 2009
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (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. He demonstrates that the same plants, psychoactive substances and tribal drumming/dancing processes have generated a remarkably consistent set of imagistic responses in humans across time and culture and setting, and shows how the icons and symbols of cave paintings are replications and renderings of these visions. For the first time someone has connected the dots between mankind's ancient past, shamanic trances, aliens, fairies, ghosts, the human mind, the spirit world, DMT realms and DNA's mysteries (including so-called "junk DNA").

After reading this book I was even more interested in prehistory and acquired some excellent and relevant books that I had been meaning to buy anyway - like Lascaux, Chauvet, World Rock Art, Cave Art, Rock Art of Africa, Magic Stones - and looking at the many excellent photos they contained was so much more meaningful and enjoyable as a result.
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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
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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. Among other interesting topics, he considers the 19th century notebooks of Bleek and Lloyd on the mythology of the San. These valuable documents provide clues to the religion of the San and the trance or altered state experience.

Part Three: The Beings, starts with discussions of the experiences and work of William James, Aldous Huxley, Albert Hoffman and Rick Strassman. It also looks at the UFO abduction experience and compares it with the shamanic exploration of other-worlds, with supernatural myths and folkloric traditions like that of fairies and elves. There really are fascinating correspondences between fairy lore, the UFO abduction experience and certain hallucinatory states.

Part Four: The Codes, considers the structural similarities and connections and the common themes like therianthropic transformations, small robot-like humanoids, the breeding of hybrid infants, the idea of the Wounded Healer, etc. Hancock is convinced that the mind is a receiver and not simply a generator of consciousness. In this section he relates his impressions after smoking DMT, and then goes into a deeper exploration of the work of Dr Rick Strassman who is famous for his work with this substance. The passages on DNA are particularly gripping, especially the idea that our DNA might contain specific information on our origins and future. Hancock also discusses the work of other researchers like Jeremy Narby, Terrence McKenna, Benny Shanon and Francis Crick, the discoverer of DNA.

Part Five: The Religions, examines the belief in supernatural entities in all the world's major religions. He points out how "Father Christmas" and St Sebastian are ancient shamanic figures, the first for his red and white clothes which resemble the colours of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom and the second for being a therianthrope with a dog's head. Dreams and visions are then investigated, including those of Joan of Arc and Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes. Also the vision of Ezekiel, the mysteries of Eleusis and the role of Soma in Vedic religion. Hancock concludes this section with similar themes in the religion and mythology of ancient Egypt and the Maya.

Part Six: The Mysteries, returns to the work of Lewis-Williams and the fact that the ancient cave art is the oldest surviving evidence of the belief in spirit worlds and supernatural beings that exist at the heart of all religions. He disagrees strongly with Lewis-Williams about the reality of these realms and beings. He observes that people have consistently reported the same pattern of experiences from every part of the globe and from all cultures. Hancock believes that these alternative realms are very real and that we may gain access to them via the trance state, whether it is brought about by ingestion of substances, trance dances, fasting or other practices that cause a change in consciousness.

There are many black and white illustrations and paintings throughout the book and a set of colour plates that includes, amongst others, the paintings of Peruvian shaman Pablo Amaringo plus photographs of San rock art from Southern Africa. The three appendices are: Critics and Criticisms of David Lewis-Williams' Neuropsychological Theory of Rock and Cave Art; Psilocybe Semilanceata: a Hallucinogenic Mushroom Native To Europe by Professor Roy Watling; and an illuminating interview with Dr Rick Strassman. The book concludes with bibliographic references arranged by chapter, and an index.

Supernatural deals with so many thought-provoking matters that the interested reader might want more information and/or other perspectives on various aspects of the study. The following books may be helpful: Stone Age Soundtracks by Paul Devereux, DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences by Rick Strassman, Huston Smith's Cleansing The Doors Of Perception: The Religious Significance of Entheogenic Plants and Chemicals, Chaos, Creativity and Cosmic Consciousness by Abraham, McKenna and Sheldrake, White Rabbit: A Psychedelic Reader by John Miller, Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann and Christian Ratsch, Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy by Clark Heinrich, The Cave Of Altamira by Pedro Ramos and The Mind In The Cave by David Lewis-Williams.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Read, 24 Sep 2007
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (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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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
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This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
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
By 
H. Reisenhofer "flippincoins" (Beijing, China) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good material, dreadful writing, 8 Feb 2010
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
I got this book on the strength of "Fingerprints of the Gods," which I gave 5 stars to, despite reservations about the repetitive nature of Mr Hancock's writing style. Supernatural is something else though. Like so many "alternative" theorists, the author lacks one thing; a decent and ruthless editor.
A sketch of a cave drawing, accompanied by a very detailed description of what is clearly shown in the cave drawing could be forgiven as an oversight. Multiply this over and over again for nearly 200 pages though, (and no, I am NOT exaggerating!), and treat all the other subject matter in a similar manner, and you get some idea of what is wrong with this book!
Most of Mr Hancock's ideas are perfectly feasible, to me at least. However, the prospect of anyone reading the addendum , author's notes, etc. after the main body of the book is finished at page 708, this "extra" section weighing in at another 140 pages, must be negligible. Another failing is the refusal to mention David Icke in the reference section at the back, a non-favour returned by Mr Icke himself in his own books. Both authors reach similar conclusions following similar personal research, so their failure to acknowledge one another smacks of book marketing rather than helping the cause of Mankind as they both claim. Are there two sets of reptilians out there, or are they both looking at the same one? It's a hell of a coincidence...
This book could be reduced to a couple of hundred pages by simply removing the almost endless repetitions of key points by the author. You have to plough through the same things over and over agin to avoid missing the occasional new fact or revelation, but this makes reading the book tiresome in the extreme. The book could be so much better by cutting out the dead wood, which amounts to well over half the book, and probably nearer three quarters. Such a shame.
Graham Hancock has now turned his hand to fiction. Being the sort of reader who was attracted to his books in the hope of gaining insight into the unknown, rather than his incessantly repetitive writing style, I shall be steering well clear of any fiction output of his. Well clear!
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... with a pinch of salt, 17 Oct 2006
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
Like most of Hancock's work this is an interesting (even entertaining) read, best enjoyed with an open mind - BUT I wouldn't suggest it should be taken too literally. The value of Hancock's books, I think, is more in encouraging consideration that [whatever] just might be explained differently from the accepted norm. e.g. you might be able to dismiss 50% of it yourself, another 40% if you dig a bit into opposing views... this 90% is still well-written and thought-provoking... and leaves 10% that genuinely deserves broader consideration. If you're looking for something that will stimulate both the analytical and creative parts of your brain, then I would recommend this or indeed any of Hancock's other books
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed :(, 1 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
I was very excited about the prospect of this book, I like Graham Hancock's other work and am currently working on my undergraduate thesis on ancient shamanism, everything about this book looked good until I began reading. I found it to be a lengthy and drawn out discription of other peoples work with no real individual body other than the comparison of alien abduction stories and shamanistic visions and I found myself skipping huge chunks of the book that were spent on needless in depth descriptions of the cave paintings that appeared in the colour pictures. It seemed a little like Graham Hancock had been interested by the idea of shamanism but was unable to express any new ideas fully dispite the size of the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, intriguing read, 18 Jan 2011
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
I must say there's a lot of interesting content in this book following on from his excellent previous work fingerprints of the gods. He links in a lot of different themes, providing intriguing conclusions about the nature of the humanity. If you're someone with an open mind to slightly "out there" topics, you might like this book.

However when making his theories Hancock can be quite speculative with items of evidence, Thus be forewarned! Anyone who religiously subscribes to the scientific method/materialistic paradigm may become bewildered from the way he puts his arguments together.

All in all though a very enjoyable read about the nature of reality!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Gathering, 10 Aug 2010
By 
Earth Angel (East Anglia UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind (Paperback)
This work managed to combine several areas of interest that I had explored at various times in my life, including pre-historic art,psychoactive drugs, near-death experiences, alien abductions,and stories of scary fairies.
The realisation that others could not only credit such experiences as being worthy of study because they could result in benefit to us all , but also that they were connected , was a huge revelation.
Very helpful book , with Graham being brave enough to visit not only remote areas of the world but also some terrifying other "worlds" in his pursuit of information and evidence for his theories.
It has done a lot to convince me there are helpful multi-dimensional experiences available to us all...with or without psychoactive substances.
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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock (Paperback - 5 Oct 2006)
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