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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
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Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind

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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,402 ratings  ·  154 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 out ...more
Hardcover, 710 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by Disinformation Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  2,402 ratings  ·  154 reviews


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Mike S
Nov 04, 2007 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
...more
Justin
Dec 18, 2009 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
Dem
Mar 29, 2007 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
...more
Dana O'brien
Jan 26, 2008 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
Erik Graff
Aug 13, 2011 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
...more
Nell Grey
Dec 29, 2013 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
...more
Mark Chadbourn
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well-written and researched book by a master of this field. Hancock goes to some very strange places in this quest - from prehistoric cave art to McKenna's machine-elves - and constructs a strong case, not only for the use of hallucinogens in the origins of art and spirituality, but also for a new view of reality. Read it alongside works by Nick Bostrom and Ray Kurzweil and you may be unsettled, challenged and ultimately enlightened.
KMO
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first half of the book seems to be rigorously researched and reasoned. The second half is more speculative and fanciful. It was an easy and entertaining read that held my attention. If you enjoyed this book, I suggest that you listen to Autumn 2015 Interlude of the Extraenvironmentalist podcast which deals with archaeoacustics:

http://www.extraenvironmentalist.com/...
...more
Andrea Allison
Jul 17, 2010 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
...more
Dave Thompson
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
While he is rather controversial as a writer and researcher (Google him and you'll 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 the vitriol from 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 first-han
...more
Maze Martinez
Nov 10, 2007 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 Amazon.com

"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 perc
...more
Philippa Dowding
May 08, 2013 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
John Naylor
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm nearly speechless, and I cannot recommend this this book and author enough. An incredible eye opener and an incredible experience in and of itself. Suggesting that humanity has most likely learned and developed who we are from our ancestors by taking psychedelic substances and inducing altered states of consciousness/reality. With around 1000 footnotes, G.H. conducted his thorough research and provides the reader with a relatively objective perspective on the topic. Citing arguments from bot ...more
Christopher
Hancock is a world treasure. He is likely not right in many of his propositions (though time has proven him right in at least a few) but his capacity to imagine and his eagerness to share his wonderment (despite the insulting treatment by most of mainstream science) is as big as the universe of which he is perpetually in search of discovering. It's sometimes easy to forget he is not a scientist, historian, or an archaeologist. His dazzling knowledge can be so convincing that when he strays from ...more
Irene
Ended up leaving me with more questions than answers. Too many snakes, dragons, plumed serpents etc. Very repetitive as well. This book shows us some possibilities that are simply way too scary and mind blowing for me to entertain right now. Bleak.
Corey
Jun 19, 2014 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
...more
Kristen
Jan 05, 2008 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
Nick Mather
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although Hancock is not a traditional scholar, this book is very well documented and well argued. In the first 200 some pages Hancock makes the connection between shamanism and the paleolithic cave painitings. This is a no-brainer for me, but Hancock acts as if it is still a controversial thesis to present, which maybe it is. In this first section, the writing can be a bit dull though he is trying to be very, very careful and support all that he presents. When he finishes with the cave paintings ...more
Susie
I was very lucky to pick up a signed first edition by accident in a bookshop one day (seemed he'd been signing there recently) - as I'd already picked up and mostly read Underworld, I was quite intrigued as to what he would offer here and couldn't resist picking up a more-valuable copy for the same price as a standard hardback - just £12, IIRC! I couldn't believe it!

Anyway, my then partner at the time slated it, especially with some of the things he's doing as part of his research, but I must ad
...more
Richard
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Terrible writing style (con)
350 pages too long (con)
Absurd assertations (con)
Can't decide who his audience is (con)

Very interesting and largely ignored subject matter (pro)
Great hypothesis (pro)
Great synthesis of other people's ideas (pro)
Raises awareness on a misunderstood phenomenon (pro)
Interesting Read (pro)
Pscheuring
Jun 06, 2013 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.
Clive Perry
May 18, 2008 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.
kit
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
fun & thought-provoking. good overview. could foster some conflation & over-simplification, though. ...more
Ana Jaber
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Aliens.
Mark
Apr 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good introduction on the topics of consciousness, drugs, shamanism, and certain related areas of history there, so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to beginners.
Unfortunately, I was hoping Hancock would delve deeper and break more ground here in this work. Most of it consists of review, merely citing some source texts and guiding the reader along the way, hence why it is good for those looking for an introduction to the field in question here. You have to give it to him though, fo
...more
Mark Bower
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I always enjoy a bit of Graham Hancock and have been an avid fan of his work over the years. For some reason I've had a recent resurgence of interest in all this whacky, fringe science stuff and have been reading a lot of related material relating to 'ancient origins', Egypt, Pyramids, lost civilisations, ancient aliens etc, etc. Mainly because it's great fun to play with these ideas. But, I think somewhere deep down, I'm actually looking for answers and I'm prepared to 'think the unthinkable' i ...more
Tom Stevens
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myterious
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sehar
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Graham Hancock always fills my mind with more new ideas than any other writer. I really admire his ability to think outside the box.
The first third of the book is all about ancient cave art and makes for an absolutely scintillating read. Cave art was something I knew nothing about. He talks about the dawn of abstract thinking in prehistory and a theory that it might be related to the use of hallucinogens by our ancestors.
The next third of the book kind of lost momentum for me. Hancock tries to
...more
Geezer
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Excellent theory on the practicality of psychedelics for philosophical questions.
However, by the end of the book it seems that the historical accuracy becomes secondary in nature to describing certain human mysteries and their possible correlation with earthly substances and the spiritual meaning of hmanity.
Hans
May 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
A fun exploration into a subject not given nearly as much attention as it deserves, visions. They have been a part of human mysticism for thousands of years and yet they are written off by western empiricism as worthless fancies. I think there is something there, but maybe it isn't for the scientific community, maybe this is a field better left in the hands of mystics.
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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), Supernatural: Mee ...more

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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.” 2 likes
“Most human characteristics that are genuinely universal are easily accounted for in evolutionary terms, and the arguments are widely known. For example, we all live in families and societies because to do so aids our survival and the propagation of our genes. We all have the capacity for love because it is an emotion that promotes family and social life. We all have laws of one kind or another because these, too, reinforce family and social ties and thus make us stronger and more competitive. We all eat food and drink water because we will soon die if we don't. We all use the unique human gift of language to preserve knowledge handed down from previous generations, and to create culture - thus further sharpening our competitive edge.” 0 likes
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