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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get better than this., 28 Sep 1997
By A Customer
This is truly one of the best books ever written on what might actually be going on with UFOs, fairies, and anomolous events of all kinds. Patrick Harpur has written a profound study of a reality most of us have never imagined, and perhaps would prefer to ignore. With vast erudition, cutting intelligence, and great good humor, he explores all the possibilities--scientific, psychological, philosophical--of what that world of Daimonic Reality might be, and how it interrupts our narrow, earthbound sensibilities. And then, in a burst of glory, he frees the reader from the very need to find "rational explanations" for daimonic events. I reread this book regularly and often, and I urge anyone open-minded enough to wonder about the nature of our world to pick it up immediately.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fortean Delight, 25 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Patrick Harpur poetically captures the splendors and horrors of the paranormal spectrum in this fantastic book. With humor and wit, he continues the exploration into the underlying mechanism of these seemingly unrelated yet disturbingly similar events. As creepy and insightful as Ted Holiday, as world view shifting as Charles Fort, but uniquely beautiful and celebratory, Daimonic Reality is definitely a required field guide for the researcher of Fortean events who wishes to be enlightened and mystified.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't this book a bestseller???, 6 Sep 2007
This review is from: Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Hardcover)
Not since reading Lyall Watson 30 years ago have I had such a paradigm-shifting and enjoyable read. My take on "occult phenomena" had been to honour the experience and try not to get sidetracked into theories and explanations as they are all either scientific blind alleys (Ghosts and UFOs contravene the laws of physics so therefore they do not exist regardless of your life-changing experience of them)or else wacko new-agey self-contradictory baloney about Atlantis and angels and The Akashic Record. By his own admission,Patrick Harpur does expound a grand theory of all occult phenomena but not a dogmatic one. His exploration fully honours the mischievous, shifting, dreamlike but nontheless powerful reality of all sorts of phenomena from the Loch Ness Monster to bogus social workers. Of course it raises as many questions as answers and I think that is rather the point - that we cannot pin these things down and they must remain phenomenological but that we ignore them and their messages at our peril....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Daimonic Reality A Field Guide to the Otherworld, 15 July 2010
This review is from: Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Hardcover)
I love this book. It is a deceptively easy read about awesome and mysterious things. It draws profound parallels between many disparate phenemona (fairies, lake monsters, ufo's, crop circles, etc) and pulls them all under one umbrella concept - Daimonic reality. The writer carefully allows the reader to think in a fluid way about happenings that can't and shouldn't be explained away reductively, but instead can be allowed to float through our imagination to give a more expansive feeling for the amazing flow of cosmic life of which human beings are but one part.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insight to the collective mind, 5 Aug 2003
Mr A. Crowl "qraal" (Brisbane, QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Hardcover)
Harpur has presented the evidence honestly and with a charming shot of whimsy. And what has he evidenced? That the collective human (and more than human) Psyche has a sense of humour, but far too few of us mere mortals have gotten the joke yet.
In this book Harpur sets out, like tawdry market wares, the irrational and comical side of Otherworldly phenomena, an aspect which is so frequently neglected in the popular literature on the Occult. But Harpur isn't setting out to poke fun at us mortals, nor is he pulling our leg. Instead he is trying to awaken us to the playful and comedic aspects of the Anima Mundi, the World Soul, from which springs phenomena as diverse as UFOs, elf-shot, Virgins of all faiths, phantasmic Social Workers, Men-In-Black and the playful dead.
Revealed within are the cross-over points between religious visions and UFO abductions, and the merging of physical and spiritual that surrounds faerie phenomena even in our modern era. This book will cause you to never take overly self-important visions and visitations seriously ever again. But it might just grant you the sight to see into that OtherWorld, however darkly the glass may be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A daimonic book, 22 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld (Hardcover)
"Daimonic Reality" is a difficult book to review. It had an almost "daimonic" effect on me: paradoxical, Trickster-like, annoyingly incomprehensible - yet, somehow profound. I saw the book years ago on Amazon, but was misled by the subtitle into thinking that it was just another compilation of fairy encounters or monster lore. At the time, I couldn't care less. Recently, another Amazon reviewer noticed that I had belatedly struck up an interest in matters crypto-zoological and Fortean, and recommended Harpur's book as an advanced course. Of course, I understand what Harpur is saying, but I can't *relate* to his paradoxical, subjectivist and poetic form of spirituality. I'm apparently too little of a poet, and my favourite field guide to the Otherworld remains John Michael Greer's "Monsters"...

Patrick Harpur's spiritual vision is based on Neo-Platonism, Hermeticism and Jungianism. W B Yeats is frequently referenced. "Daimonic Reality" is an attempt to come to terms with fairies, UFO-s, lake monsters, ghosts and other paranormal entities. Who are they? Where do they come from? And what on earth do they want? Harpur believes that paranormal creatures are "daimons". They are temporary, personalized manifestations of an impersonal reality that could be called the World Soul, the collective unconscious or Imagination (in Coleridge's sense). Daimons are real, but not *literally* real. Rather, they are "daimonically" or metaphorically real. Daimons are both physical and spiritual, which explains why UFO-s, Bigfoot or fairies sometimes leave "physical" evidence, while nevertheless remaining highly elusive. Sometimes, daimons work through people, possessing them and forcing them to carry out paradoxical, seemingly meaningless actions, including hoaxes. Thus, Harpur regards crop circles as "daimonic", despite many such circles being the products of human pranksters.

The nature of daimons is fundamentally contradictory. They aren't literally real, but insist on being treated *as if* they were. Yet, if we forget the rules of the game and start regarding daimons as if they were *actually*, literally real, the result might be possession and madness. Daimons can be both divine and devilish, often at the same time. They are both "inside" us, as dream images or psychological archetypes, and "outside" us as seemingly objective entities. They are not our projections, however - in a sense, *we* are their projections or rather projections of the World Soul trapped in a literalism which is really just one perspective among many. With the aid of Imagination, we can overcome "single vision" and glimpse the real, underlying meaning of Nature. Even classical misidentifications (Venus is believed to be a UFO, a log is interpreted as a lake monster) can be daimonically real. From the perspective of Imagination, Venus could be both a dead planet and a goddess...or a UFO.

But what is the point of it all? To Harpur, daimons are the only mediators between us and the Divine. In a sense, they are the gods, initiating us into the World Soul. Daimons have an uncanny propensity to show themselves to non-believers or unimaginative people, as a potent reminder of the reality of the Otherworld. The worst thing we can do is to ignore them (as modern materialism does) or portray them as literal demons (as in Christianity). These are sure ways to provoke even more manifestations, often of a demonic ("evil") character.

Harpur also hints at an even higher reality, a marriage between Soul and Spirit. "Spirit" is the Divine, while "Soul" (or the World Soul) is the intermediary, astral region between Spirit and Earth. Of course, this hierarchical arrangement is simply Spirit's perspective. From the perspective of Soul, only Soul truly exists. Yet, Soul and Spirit somehow need each other. They seem to meet in Man, and at one point the author even suggests that the daimons want to become real, something they can only become by interacting with Man. "Their transformation is our self-transformation". This theme seems to be further developed in Harpur's later book "The secret tradition of the Soul".

"Daimonic Reality" did give me some insights. Anthropologists have often been bewildered by the contradictory nature of "Native" or ancient myths. How can the some cultures be so incoherent as to believe in several different creation myths at once? Nor are "primitive" religions entirely allegorical: a person possessed by a god, actually becomes that god. The concept of "daimonic" reality could be used to unlock a key or two in these contexts! Harpur points out that many modern Westerners also believe in four contradictory versions of an ancient myth. He is, of course, referring to the Gospels. If interpreted "daimonically", rather than literally, the Gospels suddenly make sense. Jesus the God-man is a daimonic man. Ironically, Harpur accepts the paradoxical Nicene creed, which defines Jesus as both God and man. In the author's opinion, Gnosticism and Arianism are forms of "literalism". If Jesus was literally divine, he can't have been really human - and if he was literally human, he can't have been really divine. The daimonic perspective makes it possible to claim that he was both. Of course, mainline Christians will nevertheless find Harpur's viewpoint too allegorical, mushy and polytheistic. Messalian, even!

I don't think "Daimonic Reality" is a suitable book for crypto-zoologists and monster-hunters. My impression of Forteans is that they *don't want* their little mysteries to be solved, since that would make the world (or their world?) incredibly boring. As for the crypto-zoologists, the literal-material world is sufficiently crazy for there to be *some* hairy ape-man somewhere, so they are not going home any time soon, either. That being said, I think Patrick Harpur's magnum opus will suit the Romantics, retro-Romantics, Jungians and (perhaps) the daimons just fine....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Harpur's daimonic universe: a thoughtful essay on paranormal phenomena, 1 May 2013
The Guardian (UK) - See all my reviews
Like other seriously challenging works on the paranormal, British writer Patrick Harpur's `Daimonic Reality: a Field Guide to the Otherworld' is not an easy book to summarise in a couple of paragraphs. In common with writers as diverse as Carl Gustav Jung, Jacques Vallee, Graham Hancock and Michael Talbot, Harpur demonstrates to us that ghosts, apparitions, UFOs and alien abductions, encounters with faeries and elves, bigfoot and lake monsters, stigmata, Marian apparitions, even phantom hitchhikers and `men in black' are objectively real as part of `the otherworld' but can never be understood through the prism of what he terms `scientism': the modern western intellectual convention of scientific reductionism which must always seek "a rational explanation, Mulder". These phenomena Harpur names `daimons'. Both physically real and unreal at the same time, they are manifestations of the `world soul' or `collective unconscious', leaving physical traces sufficient to profoundly affect percipients but to never quite convince the hard-nosed skeptic that they exist.

As the late Michael Talbot approached this vast subject through `the new physics' and the holographic universe model, Harpur settles for the Jungian `anima mundi', the tradition of esoteric alchemy and neo-Platonism, and is more poet than scientist. One of his profoundly interesting ideas is that it may actually be a lack of imagination in seers and psychics which causes `the otherworld' to enter their lives in spectacular, physical manifestations - turning conventional wisdom on its head:

"People who are commonly called `psychic' may be those who are unreflective, not especially well integrated, so that their daimons are experienced not as subtle influences, growing convictions, enlightening intuitions, but as external persons - spirits who bring messages, make demands and predictions, issue orders. People who believe in UFOs and long to see them notoriously do not: they have already imaginatively accommodated the daimonic. If imagination is denied recognition it is forced, as it were, to mount a stronger display - to body forth its images not only externally but concretely, because no more subtle approach will impress the literal-minded percipient" (p118).

Well if Harpur is right about this, Seth Shostak and James Oberg should be having spectacular UFO sightings every day of the week, and getting abducted on a regular basis.

Harpur's case is weakened by his occasionally displaying a merely casual acquaintance with his subject matter. His inclusion of the abduction phenomenon in his daimonic model appears to rest on his having read a single book of some 80 in print on the subject: the late Budd Hopkins' `Intruders', possibly because this work was made into a successful film. A couple of other works are referenced in the bibliography but not in the text, and he interviews no witnesses but merely reports the case of UK police officer Alan Godfrey's encounter in the 1980s. In the author's defence, most serious writings on the subject have appeared since DM was published in 1993. As with crop circles, to which Harpur devotes a chapter, these phenomena cannot be so easily made to force-fit his `daimonic' model. Their proven intergenerational nature exhibits the detailed consistency characteristic of literal, empirical reality and does not appear to be dependent on the percipient's beliefs or state of mind.

Harpur's book can be hard going at times; for example when he tries to categorise relationships between these phenomena using mathematical models, diagrammatic representations and flow charts (see pp153-156), or launches into a prolix essay about the differences between spirit and soul, or hair-splitting dialectics on the distinction between the Jungian collective unconscious and the anima mundi.

Overall however, DR is intelligently written. Though like Jacques Vallee (with his ridiculous `control system' idea borrowed from Bill Powers) Harpur appears to be barking up the wrong tree, DR makes for interesting reading for anyone curious about what may lie behind these diverse phenomena. Proofreading is exemplary; the book has a comprehensive index and a good bibliography and is a serious work with some refreshingly original perspectives.

Readers interested in exploring original ideas about the causative agency of paranormal phenomena may also care to read Michael Talbot's excellent `The Holographic Universe' and (Apollo 17 astronaut) Dr. Edgar Mitchell's difficult but rewarding `The Way of the Explorer'. For a less challenging and more populist perspective, try Graham Hancock's `Supernatural.'
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Daimonic Reality: A Field Guide to the Otherworld by Patrick Harpur (Hardcover - Feb 2003)
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