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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind Paperback – September 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Disinformation Books; Revised edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932857842
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932857849
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Graham Hancock is no stranger to controversy. The former journalist, whose books have sold five million copies in the past 10 years, has repeatedly dared to challenge scientific shibboleths, taking a run at entrenched thinking in archaeology, geology and astronomy."
-The Globe and Mail

About the Author

Graham Hancock is the author of the international bestsellers The Sign and The Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, and Heaven's Mirror. His books have sold more than five million copies.

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Customer Reviews

A good start is reading books like this.
Dr. French
Rather, Hancock poses one of the most interesting questions you can find out there, challenging your perception of, well, reality as you know it.
Gustavo Sarraff Lodi
Perhaps the beings sometimes enter our reality and, when they do, they become physical like us and can be seen by everyone.
Theresa Welsh

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

379 of 388 people found the following review helpful By JAMES AGNEW on October 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Graham Hancock, the author of Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind could never be accused of pussyfooting around the revelations of his research, and he certainly postulates the heck out of the place of consciousness altering agents in the shamanic origins of religion and consciousness itself. It's a brilliant, breakthrough book which comes close to being the unified field theory of, if not all of the supernatural, at least of all encounters between humans and supernatural beings.

Hancock begins with a description of his own visionary experiences with the hallucinogen Ibogaine, which he took, with a logical vigor that escapes most academics, in order to truly gauge its effect, and therefore the validity of his theories. He follows this with a (perhaps too) meticulous examination of the cave paintings that represent the beginnings of human art, concentrating on their bizarre and seemingly inexplicable nature, at once representative and fantastic, a contradiction that the bonehead academics have (naturally) been totally unable to puzzle out in over a hundred years of trying.

But just when I thought the book was going to be one of those tedious Fortean catalogues of weird stuff, Hancock brought forth his first thesis, based on David Lewis-Williams's The Mind in the Cave. Lewis-Williams's idea is simple - that the enigmatic cave paintings were produced by shamans in a trance state and are representations of the shamanic experience.
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248 of 254 people found the following review helpful By J. Chasin on September 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that casts an extremely broad intellectual net, but Hancock quite ably holds it all together and offers some compelling and though-provoking insights into the nature of spirituality, cognitive evolution of mankind, and, yes, the supernatural.

Most of Hancock's work is in a field I'd call archeological investigative journalism-- perhaps an arcane field, but he is the best there is at it. In Sign and the Seal he went looking for the Ark of the Covenant (not unlike Indiana Jones); in Fingerprints of the Gods he went looking for Atlantis.

Here, he begins by investigating cave paintings, the earliest known artwork left to us by early man. Beings very much like modern day humans had lived for tens of thousands of years, but suddenly, about 25,000 years ago, they began making cave paintings. Hancock asks the two obvious questions: WHY did they suddenly start painting, and WHAT were they depicting?

In brief, Hancock makes a compelling case that the trigger of the act of cave painting was the experiencing of shamanic visions-- essentially the first, core, religious experience-- resulting from the ingestion of hallucinogenic herbs and plants. And too, he makes a compelling case that the content of these early paintings is quite simply the "visions" one sees in such an altered state. He demonstrates that the same plants and psychoactive substances 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 indeed replications and renderings of these visions (for instance, the part-man, part-animal creatures that dominate cave paintings and indeed Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Native American mythology.
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128 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Pieter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
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.
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