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18 of 18 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but not well argued
The premise of the book is intriguing, and Hancock has certainly digged out a mountain of references. Though most of his arguments consist of hand-waving, the book does leave one with the impression that there might be something to the author's point, even if it's just a fraction of what the author seems to imply. Overall, his argument is not well closed, and he leaves...
Published on 6 Jan 2010 by Bernardo Kastrup


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book, 31 May 2013
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This book is an real eye opener, it questions how and when we became conscious and offers amazing insights into where humanity could be heading. It takes you into fantastic realms and Ideas that I didn't expect it to but glad it did, all the ideas and theories are thoroughly researched and really well written, some are even from personal experience which I found really insightful and interesting. I'd recommend this book to anyone with a open mind who is prepared to go on a epic journey that takes you from the dawn of history and then blasts you off into other dimensions to try and bring back some answers to some fundamental questions about the nature of reality itself. A truly brilliant read. Once you've read this book I'd really recommend reading Graham Hancock's first fiction novel 'Entangled' as it uses some of the ideas brought up in Supernatural but expertly weaves them into a mind blowing adventure story
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm very happy with my shopping!, 15 Jan 2013
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I'm satisfied with all these stuff specially the good prices compare in Italy, so hope to continue buying some more stuff.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Supernatural indeed!, 23 Aug 2008
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Since I'm a conventional "sceptic" of the pro-establishment variety, reading and reviewing this book was a real challenge. Graham Hancock is a controversial "alternativist" writer based in Britain, but constantly on the move all around the globe (and beyond?). Real Egyptologists, archeologists and historians usually regard him as pseudo-scientific. Indeed, his books are filled with all the stuff we sceptics just LOVE to hate: hyper-diffusionism, pyramidology, the face on Mars and (surprise) the Illuminati. "Supernatural" is Hancock's latest work. In some ways, it's even crazier than his earlier ones. But in some other ways, it's actually better. Yes, my new agey chat buddies will be surprised that I of all people said that...

In this book, Hancock has identified some real scientific problems, in contrast to face-on-the-Mars and other pure pseudo-problems. One such real mystery is why our species, Homo sapiens, lacked a real culture for the first 50,000 or even 100,000 years of its existence. The brains of our species have always been as large as they are today. So why was Homo sapiens on Neandertal level until about 40,000 years ago? Then, suddenly, humans started to paint, and developed a religion. How? Why? What on earth is going on?

Hancock quite rightly points out that many scientists have given up trying to explain these things. For instance, many historians of religion prefer not to speculate about how religion came about. We simply don't know. Hancock, however, believes there is an explanation: cave-paintings and religious beliefs are the result of shamanic experiences induced by hallucinogenic drugs. Apparently, a faction within the anthropological community supports such a theory. Hancock succesfully demolishes the semantic jibberish surrounding the term "shamanism", and also demonstrates that hallucinogenic mushrooms were indeed available to Stone Age Man in the Old World. Hancock's own experimentation with hallucinogenes (vividly described in the book) have lead him to the conclusion that essentialy the same experiences appear again and again, thus explaining the similarities between animist notions from different parts of the world. This, of course, is another mystery: why do people all over the world seem to experience the same hallucinations?

It is at this point that Hancock crosses the barrier and boldly goes where no CSICOP-er have dared to go before or after. He claims that the spirit-beings encountered during shamanic ecstasys are...well, real. Where you go, I cannot follow.

But what about the more down-to-earth theories of "Supernatural"? Can humanity's turn to culture really be explained by the discovery of hallucinogenes? Although the speculation is probably just as good (or bad) as any other, it does raise several new questions. Why didn't our ancestors discover hallucinogenes much earlier? After all, they were available before 40,000 BP. Also, trance states can be induced without drugs, for instance by certain body postures, dancing or meditation. Why didn't the turn to shamanism happen much earlier? We may never know. Personally I suspect that the origins of culture might be connected to language. Perhaps our ancestors lacked sophisticated language abilities before 40,000 BP? A language capable of expressing abstract concepts might have speeded up cultural development. But of course, this too raises new questions. Why did language develop when it did and not earlier? After all, our brains have always been large.

All said and done, Hancock has pinpointed a number of real science mysteries and explained them supernaturally. Fair enough. That, after all, was the whole point of his book. The book is a good read, and might merit 4 or 5 stars for that reason, but the sceptic inside me only gives it 3.
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More long, strange trips, 19 May 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Science bashing is easy, particularly if you're a bully. Research over the past century has revealed an immensity of new information. The cosmos has expanded and retracted. Our planet's "skin" proved to be a dynamic surface with continents wandering about dodging and clashing. Humanity, once considered the "peak" of Nature's many living things, has proven to be another member of the animal kingdom. While all those areas of study have resolved many questions, they've raised many more. Journalists like Hancock need only select one of those remaining questions, formulate their own answer, then castigate "mainstream science" for not answering it to his satisfaction. It's a bullying tactic that he's used before. The sniping is boring and the dismissal of good researchers is insulting.

One of the last, and latest, areas being investigated is the human mind. What happens in that gob of porridge-like material in your skull. Is it truly a gateway to another universe? Hancock thinks so, but he follows a tortuous path in arriving at his conclusion. He opens with a physical trip into the Amazon region, and a mental journey prompted by a South American drug. Ayahuasca is a "shaman's drug" which evokes visions while purging the gastrointestinal system. People returning from the trip describe all manner of shapes, colours and creatures they encountered in their heads - or somewhere. Modern shamans apply the visions to many aspects of life, but "healing" and "rites of passage" are the major features [there's probably a fee schedule worked out]. Hancock tripped on ayahuasca with predictable results - including the purging. This isn't a pioneering venture - people like Wade Davis [among others] have made the trip on local ground. Hancock's derivation, however, is rather novel.

While we don't know when hallucinagenic drugs were first used to improve bedside manners, we have some indication of what hallucinations can evoke. The evidence is painted on the walls of caves in France and Spain, rockshelters in Africa and temples in the Western Hemisphere. Hancock introduces us to David Lewis-Williams, a South African palaeoanthropologist who devised the term "neuropsychological" to explain the condition cave artists experienced to produce those beautiful, fantastic images at Lascaux, Chauvet and elsewhere. Hancock accepts Lewis-Williams' thesis the cave art was inspired by images perceived by those in an "altered state of consciousness". Fair enough, says Hancock, who wants the scientist to go further. "Trip out with me!", he says in effect, "Otherwise your conclusions aren't valid". That's like saying if cancer researchers aren't infested with tumours we should scorn their results!

The reason Hancock wants scholars to ingest all those fancy chemicals is that he thinks they're missing something. What they're missing, he argues, is the gateway to another realm. About 2% of us, he contends, can do this without either chemical or physical stimulation. It's those people we should trust to guide us into the "spiritual world" since they don't need stimulation to visit this "outside". Those people, Hancock suggests, have a surplus of a chemical called "dimethyltriptamine" [DMT] in their brains. This tricky molecule turns out to be the gateway to the supernatural. To prove that, one of Hancock's more amenable researchers injected volunteers with DMT. They came back with tales of "the other side". Hancock weaves these studies with alien abduction tales and modern shaman's accounts to declare that the commonality of reactions across humanity says there's something there. Someplace, actually, and for Hancock it's the spirit realm. We can all get there if we try!

Hancock builds his case with style, enthusiasm and scope - sprinkled with a heavy dose of self-esteem. He cites numerous interviews, defends Lewis-Williams against his detractors, and shows us how easy it all is with accounts of his own jaunts into the supernatural. The interviewees seem pretty sympathetic with Hancock's thesis - or at least they don't object to it. Lewis-Williams is quite capable of defending himself. And Hancock's chemistry experiments only show that drugs play havoc with human neuronal nets. He might have learned this prior to his fearsome mental journeys if he'd spoken with some real neurobiologists. They could have explained about "sensory deprivation" and how the brain reacts to it. The information might have opened a few new doors for Hancock, while shutting down a few of his more bizarre speculations. Good writing style doesn't make up for shoddy thinking. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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47 of 89 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nonsense designed to sell books., 19 Feb 2006
By A Customer
I am a paleoanthropologist. It is my job to research and to attempt to explain stone age rock art and engravings from Southern Africa.
And this book is awesomely, embarrassingly bad.
There are perfectly good explanations of southern African rock art to be found in thousands of pages of documented and finely-sifted ethnology, most of which accords with ethnology from South America and Australia. Graham Hancock, I see, has decided to substitute this easily available stuff with theories about, um... aliens.
Read David Lewis-Williams' 'The Mind in the Cave' or Neil Bennun's 'The Broken String' instead of this, because this truth is both much better written and even more amazing than this nonsense. \
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20 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars God-awful, 25 Oct 2008
This was a very difficult book to finish. I wish I hadn't bothered - what an utter waste of time.
In writing his book, Hancock had his premise and proceeded to search for anything that he could slot into his dualistic world view. He makes absurd assumptions and then refers back to them as if they are evidence. It's a shame that so many readers seem to have been taken in by this idiocy - seems we need to educate people in critical thinking a little.
If you have no interest in the scientific process, if you ignore pesky evidence and rational thought if it conflicts with your childish ideology, then this may be the book for you.
If you are an adult however, don't waste your time.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account of a man on the journey, 25 April 2006
The "concept" of shamanistic thought or more "real"istically non thought has to be learnt by the majority of folk not being given the blessing naturally. A lot of folk havn't the function for objective being, so to experience this state, nature or the "world" closest to man, has given us a short cut to realize this state (albeit for a short period) and to gain knowledge from it, to maybe realize its true understanding.

Only when those unblessed have something tangible to use as a goal can the knowledge be understood, hence graham hancocks use of his shortcuts to taste the hidden depths of mans conciousness can only inspire him to become more spiritual, and this can be seen as he descibes each journey in this book.

The cave drawings act only as a subjective trigger to his realization, probably for which they were designed. :)
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool freaky book, 5 Mar 2013
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Bought as a present, an interesting read some nice pictures of what you expect to seen whilst taking LSD or mushrooms
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Hancock, 5 May 2014
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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.
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14 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stay away, 19 Dec 2007
This book is atrociously bad. It's central premise assumes you believe in the supernatural, and if you don't it won't convince you of anything. After reading 150 pages, I did not encounter a single scientific fact. The author makes allusions to a supernatural realm based on his personal interpretations of cave art, as well from his very typical hallucinogenic drug experiences. Early on in the book he mentions the grief and guilt he feels for not being with his father while he was on his death bed and uses this as motivation in his search for a supernatural realm. Wow, now isn't that subjective?!!
This book is a non-serious, unscientific, uninformative, leisurely read which won't impress any logical thinker. A complete waste of time.
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