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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,419 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Less than 50,000 years ago humans had no art, no religion, no sophisticated symbolism, no innovative thinking. Then, in a dramatic change, described by scientists as 'the greatest riddle in human history', all the skills & qualities that we value most highly in ourselves appeared already fully formed, as tho bestowed on us by hidden powers. In Supernatural Hancock sets ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Disinformation Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Nov 17, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in cave art and what it might mean
Shelves: metaphysics
I can't recommend this author highly enough, his writing style is very clear and readable, he does tons of research and supports his ideas extremely convincingly. I recommend ANYTHING this author has written.

This book talks about altered states of consciousness, ayahuasca ("vision vine" used in S. America) experiments, DMT experiments, trance states commonly used by shamans, ancient cave paintings, the San people who once lived in the Kalahari, and commonality of experiences of drug and trance
Mar 29, 2007 Dem rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Truth seekers/Adventurers
I bought and started the book about a two and half weeks ago. I am currently on Part III chapter 11. Being an artist and having a fascination for history and the human mind, I could not help to be drawn to a different point of view about prehistoric cave art.

Well Graham Hancock "takes you there" and I really appreciate that he does. This books is not for everyone but the ideas and inquiries are worth it to all. If we do not take a moment in our daily lives to stop, breath, and question what is r
May 31, 2010 Justin rated it it was amazing
Graham Hancock is the king of speculation. His books will either convince you there’s a lot more to human history or make you scoff at his speculation. Regardless, it is damn entertaining. One of the first books I ever bought was his Fingerprints of the Gods (1996) which discussed how anomalies associated with ancient monuments tend to indicate a wide-spread ancient advanced civilization. Even though I was intrigued by the way Hancock tied all those threads together I’m still deeply skeptical of ...more
Dana O'brien
Jan 26, 2008 Dana O'brien rated it really liked it
A friend suggested I read this - fascinating book tying in Shamanism, Ancient Cave Art, DMT, Aliens, sounds crazy....but Hancock does a convincing job of tying all these things together with a theory that mind altering drugs actually "tune" our brains into a different channel of reality. Hmmmm... after recently watching the movie "What the Bleep do We Know" which is about recent advances in Quantum physics,energy, non-linear time, etc.... I found some of parrallels interesting. If you find any o ...more
Maze Martinez
Jan 19, 2008 Maze Martinez rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who want a condensed repetitive glimpse into the origins of human spirituality
By J. W. Kennedy on

"Hancock repeats himself over and over ad nauseum to drive his point home, but the book can be condensed down to this: Alien abductions = fairy abductions = shamanic spirit journeys. Increased levels (either naturally or artificially induced) of DMT in the brain bring on vivid hallucinations, and for some reason the basic content of these "dreams" is consistent across times and cultures. Could it be that there's an objectively "real" spirit world which we can perce
Philippa Dowding
Dec 15, 2015 Philippa Dowding rated it liked it
What a fascinating, albeit bizarre, read. Again, one of those books suggested to me by my big brother, so not a book I would have picked off the shelf by myself. However, I was drawn in by Hancock's description of ancient European cave art in the early chapters, then found I couldn't put it down. He's a vivid writer and sets out to answer very intriguing questions: why DID humans first turn to symbolic expression 35,000 years ago? Why do so many shamanic cultures from opposite ends of the planet ...more
Nell Grey
Jan 16, 2014 Nell Grey rated it it was amazing

Almost the whole of the first half of the book deals with the images found in prehistoric cave art and Graham Hancock's personal journeys (in the interests of authentic and balanced research), into the realms of hallucinogenic plants used by shamans in all parts of the world past and present.

My focus is on the role of altered states of consciousness in the origins of religion, in the cultivation of authentic religious experiences, and in the inspiration of religious imagery. My own opinion is t
Jun 02, 2015 Dave rated it it was amazing
While he is rather controversial as a writer and researcher (google him and you will find people who think he's a revolutionary thinker, and others who think he's nothing but a crank), you can't deny that this book is fascinating. I began with a rather cynical view on Hancock (I should not have biased myself by reading too much written by passionate web trolls), but he quickly won me over. Hancock's research is cogent, his point of view is fairly objective, and his willingness to experience firs ...more
I'm interested in pre-history so thought this would be an alternative view.

I can see how this would appeal to some readers if they have an interest in spirituality or shaman cultures, but linking pre-historic art to this, although an interesting concept, should probably be left to a magazine article rather than a huge book. I ended up skim-reading the main points after the first few chapters.

The authors vivid experiences of taking mind altering concoctions (mostly illegal outside of their nativ
Erik Graff
Aug 13, 2011 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: religion
Michael Miley introduced me to Graham Hancock's work many years ago in that he gave me one of his books to read. But back then it was the book and its topic, ancient Egypt, which was of interest, not the author. Since then, listening to old Art Bell podcasts of interviews with Hancock, I have come to appreciate the author as an individual. Whether or not one agrees with his lay hypothesizing, it is apparent that Mr. Hancock is a sincere and well-meaning fellow.

This book is not original, but it d
May 22, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me start off by saying that if you read a lot of Hancock, this is not his typical style. This read more as a completely fact less and speculative book than the others, until about half way through. It then starts to delve more into the scientific proof less expounding that I love about his writings. I personally enjoyed the detailed analysis of the prehistoric cave art. I have travelled to many of the sites in the Southwest and have always been struck by their many similarities to alien desc ...more
Andrea Allison
Jul 17, 2010 Andrea Allison rated it really liked it
We can agree the supernatural has been apart of our culture for thousands of years. This statement is the subject of Graham Hancock's new novel Supernatural. But who is Graham Hancock?

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Hancock spent most of his younger years in India. Later, he went to school and university in the northern English city of Durham and graduated from Durham University in 1973 with First Class Honors in Sociology and pursued a career in journalism. He wrote for newspapers such as The Time
Jul 19, 2013 Pscheuring rated it really liked it
Clearly an intelligent guy. Lots of fascinating stuff. But TOO much fascinating stuff. Too many tenuous connections. Needs an editor. 588 pages should be 288. You start trying to make too many things connect--ayahuasca, fairies, UFOs, cave paintings--and you start to come across as a tinfoil hat guy. Which is a shame. Because he clearly is smart.
Aug 03, 2015 Adrian rated it really liked it
Supernatural has perhaps the most revolutionary theory yet visited by Graham Hancock, essentially that Shaman trances, and altered states of consciousness are not just a mere trick of the mind, but are the alteration of the mind's power's of perception, enabling us to glimpse normally invisible spirit worlds.
Graham Hancock must have known he would be going up against a very prejudicial and rigid scientific establishment, and has in turn buttressed his work with first class scholarship. The work
Nov 05, 2015 Conor rated it liked it
What a strange book. I came for the discussion of the influence of shamanism on southern African rock paintings and somehow stayed through wandering chapters about faries, aliens, religion, panspermia, and hallucinogenic drugs.

Hancock is at his strongest when he discusses the influence of hallucinations on human history. According to him, humans have a "universal neurological capacity to enter 'altered states of consciousness'... in which extremely realistic hallucinations are seen." (47). These
Jul 25, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Suspernatural is an interesting look at the universal nature of altered states of consciousness across space and time and asking why is this so? The question, of course, comes down to the nature of reality. Are the material reductionists are right and these are nothing more than hallucinations caused by the brain and interpreted through the lens of an individual’s culture, or, are there other types of reality that can be experienced through altered states of consciousness? Hancock has always bee ...more
Clive Perry
May 18, 2008 Clive Perry rated it it was amazing
Absolutely mind blowing made me stop in my tracks and think not the easist book to read but should be read by anyone who thinks.
Aug 06, 2014 Corey rated it it was amazing
Psychedelic. Appropriately. This book is all about psychedelics and their impacts on our society, our history, the formation of our religions, myths, and mysteries. It also delves into the impact on the lives of individuals, how it can help open peoples minds, prepare us for death, alleviate our fear of death, and even potentially cure us of addictions or even cure PTSD.

This book flies in the face of our preconceptions of psychedelic drug use, the misinformation campaigns that have wreaked thei
Jul 08, 2015 Austin rated it really liked it
(Dude) it's good.

Graham takes a closer look at the astonishing similarities between alien abduction stories and plant induced shamanic visions.

This text makes an argument less about UFO as nut-and-bolts technology, but rather as something more similar to what we would consider "supernatural," or inter-dimensional.

I admire the authors refrain from injecting the common dogma that keeps this subject confined to the fringes of the mainstream, despite the heretical flack I know he has endured by it.
Jan 29, 2014 Donnary rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Graham Hancock since I’ve first read his Fingerprints of the Gods . His works stand out amidst all the books for Alternative History because of his dedication and extensive research. While this book is as good as The Fingerprints of the Gods and The Sign and Seal , it lacked the scholarly approach that these two books have. He explained the likelihood that mankind have Supernatural teachers that may have influenced the culture of the early civilization. (that will raise the eyeb ...more
Dec 10, 2011 Kati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in alternative history, shamanism, UFOs and fairies
Hancock has managed to select another really interesting topic to write way too many pages about. The first half of the book is fascinating and I am in complete agreement that art and religion most likely came about as a result of shamanic trance (to which end I am planning to read David Lewis-Williams' books on the topic). I also found the suggestion that the Abrahamic religions contain tons of shamanistic elements really interesting as well. The suggestion that fair and UFO abductions are one ...more
Pieter-Jan Beyul
Jul 16, 2012 Pieter-Jan Beyul rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-shelf
This book is an ambitious study on the dark corners of the mind and the relevance of psychedelics in our human evolution. These mindscapes have been explored by shamans and other psychonauts ever since the dawn of man, but have sadly been ignored by modern societies. From the trance-inducing cave paintings of the paleolithicum to the elves of medieval times and the alien abductions of today, Hancock seeks to show the common ground humans in all these epochs shared. We aren't dealing here with me ...more
Jan 13, 2013 Alex rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2012 Fireseed rated it it was amazing
One thing that really impresses me about Graham Hancock's books is the amount of research that goes into them and this one is no different. I thought it may be a hard read for me since I haven't been reading a lot lately but the opposite was true, I had a hard time putting it down. The subject matter is fascinating covering topics including cave art, shamanism, fairies, alien abduction, DNA and the premise that all are linked and what we know as reality is barely the tip of an iceberg.

How is it
Aug 16, 2008 Elfie rated it liked it
I am not a Hancock fan, but I bought this book because of my interest in Upper Paleolithic art and having read Lewis-Williams / Jean Clottes' interpretations (Shamans of Prehistory) I was curious about what Hancock has to say.
Although extensively researched, the book is at times erratic and rambling on repetitively.
Above all it is most doubtful that his counter-arguments (including his personal drug-induced perceptions) to Lewis-Williams' claim that ALL altered states of consciousness are hallu
Tom Stevens
Dec 03, 2012 Tom Stevens rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myterious
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brian Markey
Apr 24, 2008 Brian Markey rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dirty Hippies
This is the second Graham Hancock book I have read. The first was Fingerprints of the Gods.

I didn't like Supernatural quite as much as I did Fingerprints, but it is a good one nonetheless.

Hancock is a good researcher, and he does a lot of interviewing, reading, and traveling to collect information for his books. For Supernatural Hancock took a number of hallucinogens including DMT, Datura the South American Shamanistic brew Ayahuasca.

The details of his experiences are pretty good, but they pale
Michael Sloan
May 12, 2014 Michael Sloan rated it it was amazing
Pretty much the best thing I have read all year. I have been exposed to aspects of Hancock's thesis elsewhere, but never this extensive lineage of the whole picture, of how altered states of consciousness may in fact be more than hallucinations, with evidence spanning as far back as Paleolithic cave art. The less you know about it the better, best to read it yourself. Some dangerous ideas, and even if it is a bullshit story, this is one of the best, most original ideas I have encountered in my l ...more
Marie Harbon
Mar 10, 2012 Marie Harbon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like UFO folklore, alternate history, shamanism
A well researched and thought provoking concept. This was one of the books I used to research my novel series 'Seven Point Eight'. Hancock uses a blend of his own experiments with psychedelic compounds and the history of shamanism. It also covers UFO folklore and faery mythology, which is put into context along with aspects of neuroscience.

He draws much of his key research from the work of Rick Strassman and his experiments with DMT, so readers who enjoyed Hancock's book should check out 'DMT: T
Lee Guthrie
Nov 07, 2015 Lee Guthrie rated it it was amazing
I found this book fascinating and well researched. Mr. Hancock's engaging writing style makes it entertaining too. I was impressed how he offered a plausible answer to one of the greatest riddles in human history, he found in the magnificent cave paintings in France, Spain and other European sites. I will say no more to spoil the answer. However, I would recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in the history of human evolution and art.
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Graham Hancock is a British writer and journalist. His books include Lords of Poverty, The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (released in the US as Message of the Sphinx), The Mars Mystery, Heaven's Mirror (with wife Santha Faiia), Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (with co-author Robert Bauval)and Supernatural: M ...more
More about Graham Hancock...

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“Shamanism is not confined to specific socio-economic settings or stages of development. It is fundamentally the ability that all of us share, some with and some without the help of hallucinogens, to enter altered states of consciousness and to travel out of body in non-physical realms - there to encounter supernatural entities and gain useful knowledge and healing powers from them.” 0 likes
“Iboga is intimately associated with death; the plant is frequently anthropomorphised as a supernatural being, a ‘generic ancestor’ who can so highly value or despise an individual that it can carry him away to the land of the dead.5” 0 likes
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