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The Super Natural: Why the Unexplained Is Real (Paperback)
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Two of today's maverick authors on anomalous experience present a perception-altering and intellectually thrilling analysis of why the paranormal is real, but radically different from what is conventionally
Whitley Strieber (Communion) and Jeffrey J. Kripal (J. Newton Rayzor professor of religion at Rice University) team up on this unprecedented and intellectually vibrant new framing of inexplicable events and experiences.
Rather than merely document the anomalous, these authors--one the man who popularized alien abduction and the other a renowned scholar and "renegade advocate for including the paranormal in religious studies" (The New York Times)--deliver a fast-paced and exhilarating study of why the supernatural is neither fantasy nor fiction but a vital and authentic aspect of life.
Their suggestion? That all kinds of "impossible" things, from extra-dimensional beings to bilocation to bumps in the night, are not impossible at all: rather, they are a part of our natural world. But this natural world is immeasurably more weird, more wonderful, and probably more populated than we have so far imagined with our current categories and cultures, which are what really make these things seem "impossible."
The Super Natural considers that the natural world is actually a "super natural world"--and all we have to do to see this is to change the lenses through which we are looking at it and the languages through which we are presently limiting it. In short: The extraordinary exists if we know how to look at and think about it.
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
WHITLEY STRIEBER is one of today's most influential and bestselling authors of both science fiction and extraordinary fact. He is best known for his groundbreaking memoir Communion, which popularized the alien-abduction thesis, as well as his many bestselling novels, such as The Wolfen and The Hunger. These and other of Strieber's books have formed the basis for many popular movies, including The Day After Tomorrow.
JEFFREY J. KRIPAL is the J. Newton Rayzor professor of religion at Rice University. He is the author of six books, including Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion, Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred, and Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.
From the Hardcover edition.
“A cohesive reframing of the ‘pantheon of the unknown’ … A thought-provoking, intelligent reconceptualization of supernatural events.” –Kirkus Reviews
"This book is a dream come true. It has taken thirty years for the most articulate of abductees to be taken seriously by a senior academic. This dialogue between the famous abductee and the historian of religions is the first major step in ufology since Jacques Vallee’s writings of the 1990s. Whitley Strieber’s intelligence and honesty compel one to take his experiences seriously, though they may sweep the philosophical ground from under our feet. In taking up the challenge, Jeffrey Kripal avoids the simplistic reactions of both skeptic and true believer. Instead of pretending to have the answers, he asks mind-bending questions, whose very asking is an act of self-transformation. Their conversation sets off sparks that should rekindle the search after “rejected knowledge,” and integrate it with the great paradigm change of our time: the end of materialism." --Joscelyn Godwin, Colgate University
“Requires the reader to avoid the first great pitfall of thinking that ‘skepticism’ and belief are the only two options … very well written, surprisingly light, and fast-paced … They don’t pretend to have answers, but we get the feeling the right questions lie in this direction. Every serious fortean needs to read it.”—Bob Rickard, Fortean Times
“If reading The Super Natural doesn't make your hair stand straight up, you need to read it again. This book is at once disturbing and disorienting, fascinating and lucid. Its ‘new vision of the unexplained’ dives headfirst into all sorts of strange but true encounters, from ravishing alien goddesses to loathsome blue gremlins. While this domain of human experience remains strictly taboo, it doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands of ordinary people from continuing to report bizarre encounters with we know not what. This remarkable book does not attempt to explain what is going on. But it does crack open your head long enough to provide a new perspective.” –Dean Radin, Chief Scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences and author of Supernormal; Entangled Minds; and The Conscious Universe
"Something is happening here, and we're not sure what it is, but Kripal and Strieber have a clue: if there are aliens among us, they are ourselves, and we seem eager to make contact. This is a brilliant, provocative, and gripping new inquiry into the mysteries of time, space, and the human -- and not so human -- mind. Absolutely captivating; one could even say I was abducted..." –Gary Lachman, author of The Secret Teachers of the Western World“A modern day descent into the rabbit hole, The Super Natural will blow your mind wide open, overturn beliefs about reality and the imagination, and challenge preconceived notions about life, death, and what falls in-between. Erudite, illuminating, and thoroughly exciting (not to mention quite funny at times), Strieber and Kripal’s collaboration takes a serious look at what many would consider an unserious subject and have written the most thought-provoking and important book on the essence and nature of unexplained phenomena in more than forty years.” –Gary Jansen, author of Holy Ghosts
“Fascination with the UFO phenomenon and with its extreme forms found in ‘abduction’ reports has triggered passionate debates about the nature of the manifestations, the reliability of human testimony, and the unavoidable parallels with initiatory states and certain mystical visions. Yet the ambiguity of the relationship with the creatures involved has remained unresolved. The controversy has reactivated fundamental debates about the role of archetypes, the power of the unconscious, and the transcendental meaning of sex. A novel way to approach the problem emerges in this exceptional book -- the product of a dialogue between an articulate experiencer and an erudite historian of religions. In the process we discover that the experiencer is also something of a historian, and the historian confesses he has not been untouched by the experience...What is at stake is nothing less than the nature of our reality, and our ability as humans to grasp levels of perception that are at once so dangerous and so sublime.” –Jacques Vallee, author of Passport to Magonia, Forbidden Science, and Wonders in the Sky
"Practically anything goes at the American Academy of Religion's annual conference...What was almost impossible to find, at this orgy of intellectual curiosities, was discussion of the paranormal: ESP, premonitions, psychic powers, alien abduction and the like. This is a conference concerned with all sorts of supernatural and metaphysical claims....So why nothing about, say, mental telepathy? That is the question posed by Jeffrey J. Kripal, a professor of religion at Rice University in Houston and a renegade advocate for including the paranormal in religious studies." –The New York Times
"No matter your beliefs, Strieber's writing has impact." –Library Journal