The Trickster and the Paranormal, by George P. Hansen
Hansen spent eight years working in two different parapsychology laboratories and has done many years of research.
The book is a look at how The Trickster, which he refers to as a constellation of common themes & happenings that group together when certain actions and ideas or acted on,1 which seem to always be conjured whenever people become involved in the paranormal to any degree, but particularly when they try to bring about paranormal happenings. (Like working magic and such.)
The book is not light going, bring up as it does a number of obscure or confusing subjects such as abstraction, anti-structure, binary oppositions, deconstructionism, liminality, and reflexivity to name some but not all. However for all that it’s still a rewarding read and gives a person a lot to think about.
The evidence seems to be that if you are trying to organize a group involved in any manner with what is called the paranormal you will call the Trickster in and find in the end that this force will simply not set any structure stand, or if it is able to stand not in any large or well organized fashion. Or at least not so long at those in that group fail to take into account all the things that the Trickster brings with it.
He gives many examples from spiritualism, parapsychology, modern Paganism (which he is very respectful of), schools of philosophy, UFO research, individuals and even CSICOP a part which was most amusing to read about the Trickster having his way with.
I say the book is a must read because it would seem if we ever want to organize to any significant degree we have to understand what that will most likely bring about and figure out how to deal with it.
I have been involved in these sort of things for a number of years, and I have to say that I think Mr. Hansen has a lot to say that it worth looking at.
In the end the things we do seems to invoke a critter that, love it or not, has to be addressed so that when this huge wave appears we can ether be bowled over by it or try to learn to surf with it.
- Some of the things that the Trickster seems to bring in are such things as a lowering of statue and marginally in society, the braking down of structure and organization, deception, hoaxes, & trickery, increased `unorthodox’ sexual activity and promiscuous, the dissolution of boarders, some of which are very dear to some, & increased paranormal activity, much of which is unlooked for. [↩]
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- Review: The Trickster and the Paranormal, by George P. Hansen - October 25, 2003
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