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The Occult: The Ultimate Book for Those Who Would Walk with the Gods Paperback – August 25, 2003
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"The Occult" is famed for being probably the premiere book on its subject: the history of magic, its definitions, the paranormal, the limits of human powers and the analysis of the "hidden powers" humans possess, certain forays into specific areas (like clairvoyance, means to achieve it, etc.) , loads of examples from throughout history on people who've influenced this field, as well as a comprehensive review of views that prevail over all these areas.
This is without the slightest doubt a gripping book. Even if you have only a surface interest on all this, Wilson has a way of pulling totally into the matter, absorbing you and letting you get to the very depths of it.
But if you happen to actually care about this field -and it's indeed a field where imagination can really gallop wild- then this book is quintessential to start from.
The market is saturated with books that deal with the "occult" or specific areas of it, but before you should even bother with any of these you should start here. Alone the vast list of sources that will be introduced to you is enough to make the book nothing else than a treasure.
But its main asset is that Wilson approaches the subject with his usual hardcore seriousness and efficiency, and lets remember, this is a topic where charlatanism is often the rule. But it's the scientific approach that puts C.Wilson ahead of the pack. The gathering of evidence through exhaustive reading of anything regarding the issue, the evaluation of it, the personal analysis as well as that of others, the comparisons thereof, the analytical history of the subject.Read more ›
I believe Poltergeist is probably his best, but the range of investigation is far narrower.
'I developed remarkable powers as an algorist - a lowly branch of mathematics concerned with devising methods for solving problems.'
Mr Wilson considers himself an authority on mathematics, so you might think that something sensible is being said here. In fact it is a category mistake, like saying that bars are a lowly branch of music. If he can do this in a subject I know something about, it makes me think twice about trusting his judgment in areas where I know less. For not only is he an authority on mathematics and science, he is also an authority on philosophy, criminology, history and the paranormal.
This book is a long, discursive account of magic and magicians from the Stone Age to the 20th century, written in a souffle-like style which many readers find agreeable. Anyone who ever claimed to do magic is in, and some get in who never claimed to. If you would walk with the gods this is the easy route, but watch out for the boggy patches. On almost every page there are odd misconceptions delivered ex cathedra. The French Revolution was caused by Marie Antoinette's shopping sprees which bankrupted the French state. Numa, a legendary king of early Rome, was 'Emperor' when Roman territory was about ten miles across. The Spanish Armadillo was a better swimmer than the Great Seal - no, he doesn't say that but I suspect he would if he'd read '1066 and All That'. Call it nit-picking, but this rings alarm bells for me. He is a sort of intellectual magpie: a person of very wide reading with no discernible critical sense, least of all in relation to himself. Maybe that helps when you walk with the gods.Read more ›