JohN LUDI

 

Recommended books, videos, things, stuff…

 

This is a short list of some non-fiction titles I’ve read recently, and a couple old favorites sitting on my shelves that are somewhat obscure. It’s hardly what I’d call comprehensive…I can barely remember most of what I’ve read over the years.
I’ve not included fictional works as I’ve not really read much fiction in the past 10 years, and if I had to attempt to remember all of the fictional works that have influenced me over the years my head would explode!


There are a vast quantity of other titles that I have not included on a whole range of other subjects from classical western philosophy to economics.  Currently my head is into the exploration of Fortean phenomena, the nature of consciousness, The End of the World As We Know It, and the rapidly expanding boundaries of “hard” science, so the titles below will mostly reflect this current narrow range of interests.
You may, in reading the list below, come to the conclusion that I’m kind of a morbid person…and you would be partially correct. However, if anyone out there knows how to have a good time laughing hysterically at the myriad of human follies, it is myself. (I do recall reading a while ago, however, that one of the warning signs of schizophrenia is inappropriate emotional responses to external stimuli. At least I think I might have read it, it might just have been something the voices told me when they were not busy poisoning my soup.)


In addition, I’ve purposely not included titles that fall into the territory of the “deep” occult. While there are many books in the realm of the esoteric that have profoundly influenced me, in my current philosophical state I feel that there are certain systems that I cannot wholeheartedly advocate…for now. Don’t even ask. The books listed below are all in the “safe” zone of philosophical thought, as far as I’m concerned. Any ill effects from reading the titles listed below are your problem. Cheers!


RECENT TITLES I’VE LIKED BUT HAVE NOT REVIEWED
Bruce Rux-ARCHITECTS OF THE UNDERWORLD
Don Henry Ford Jr-CONTRABANDO
Joe Bageant-DEER HUNTING WITH JESUS
Timothy Good-UNEARTHLY DISCLOSURE
Kenneth Ring/Sharon Cooper-MINDSIGHT
Dean Radin-ENTANGLED MINDS
Paco Ahlgren-DISCIPLINE (FICTION)
Elizabeth Gilbert-THE LAST AMERICAN MAN
Lawrence E. Joseph-APOCALYPSE 2012
James Howard Kunstler-THE LONG EMERGENCY
Brad Steiger-ALIEN MEETINGS
Ray Fowler-THE ANDREASSON AFFAIR, PHASE TWO
Preston Nichols-MONTAUK REVISITED
John Keel-OUR HAUNTED PLANET
Christopher O’Brien-SECRETS OF THE MYSTERIOUS VALLEY


RELIGION/BELIEF SYSTEMS

Elaine Pagels-THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS
An overview of the Gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi in 1945. It does not have the texts in question included in anything resembling their entirety, but it’s a good introduction to the subject of early Gnostic philosophy (some of which is quite profound, and some of which is a bit on the demented side…in my opinion).

 

Laurence Gardener-BLOODLINE OF THE HOLY GRAIL
A theory exists that Christ did not actually die on the cross, but that he survived (due to some clever maneuvering by some of his allies) and sired the Merovingian royal bloodline. It’s an intriguing idea that is very well researched by the author, who is something of an expert where royal bloodlines are concerned. Like all of the alternative theories of Christ’s life (like the dual Christ theory, or the mushroom cult theory, or the Christ traveling to Tibet theory, or…or…) it has some VERY big holes, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless. (There has been some suggestion that this whole idea was cobbled up by a group called the Priory of Sion, accused in some circles of being a cabal of French right-wing frauds, but the density of the research in this book is impressive, if far from conclusive.) Gardener has since written several books and articles that wander into the David Icke territory of World Domination by Extraterrestrial Lizard-Men, if that sort of thing appeals to you.

 

Harold Bloom-OMENS OF MILLENNIUM
Despite it’s title, this does not have all that much to do with the approaching millennium, it’s more of a somewhat pedantic diatribe by a hard core Gnostic. Though I found him to be incredibly pompous at times, he does have some insights into various subjects (angels, NDEs, etc) that are worth listening too…even if his delivery is intellectually spiteful at times.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh-ZEN KEYS
An excellent introduction to Zen Buddhism written specifically for us materialists in the west.

 

Pramahansa Yogananda-THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A YOGI
The life story of one of this centuries most celebrated spiritual teachers. It hearkens back to a time when India was still a land of miracles.

 

Glenn H. Mullin-DEATH AND DYING
How to prevent and ultimately prepare for death in the Buddhist mode.

 

Alan Watts-THIS IS IT
No one was more responsible than Alan Watts for bringing the teachings of the East to the West. I suggest reading anything you can by Watts. His biography IN MY OWN WAY is inspirational as is most of his other work.

 

David J. Goldberg and John D. Rayner-THE JEWISH PEOPLE
An excellent introduction to both Jewish history and Jewish religious teachings.

 

P.E.I. Bonewits-REAL MAGIC
Not a new age cookbook of spells, this is the best description of the way “magick” (and ritual in general, even the Mass) works that I’ve ever read. I first read it when I was 12 and it has held a prominent position on my bookshelf since. Explains how symbolism and concentrated force of will can create an effect on our reality. If you ever want to read one book on what is really going on behind the rituals, this is it. I can’t say that I’m a rabid fan of Bonewits in general, but this book had a profound influence on my development as an explorer of the esoteric and I recommend it to anyone who is just starting out.

 

Margot Adler-DRAWING DOWN THE MOON
THE book to read to explore the rise of modern Paganism/Wicca. An excellent overview for non-pagans. Generally unbiased and credible.

 

Peter Washington-MADAME BLAVATSKY’S BABOON
A jaundiced look at the folks who brought us Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and related schools of thought. Ouspensky, Blavatsky, Olcott, and Krishnamurti get the lambasting they sometimes deserved. He’s nicer to Rudolph Steiner, who had a somewhat cleaner act. If you can be open-minded enough to realize that not all valuable spiritual teachings have to come from saints, and that scoundrels can be legitimate mystics too, then I’d recommend this book to you.

 

K Paul Johnson-THE MASTERS REVEALED-MADAME BLAVATSKY AND THE MYTH OF THE GREAT WHITE LODGE
One of the more ambiguous legacies of Theosophy (besides it’s mangling of Darwinism and spurious racial theories) is the notion of the White Brotherhood, a group of spiritually evolved beings who live in the Himalayas and direct certain actions and behaviors of the rest of us talking monkeys. There are those who feel quite strongly that luminaries like St. Germain keep popping up through human history to keep us from utterly destroying ourselves. Whatever. Myself, I neither buy into this or dismiss it outright, but I do find that the people I know who staunchly believe this have felt justified in surrendering a certain quantity of social/spiritual responsibility, and I find that troubling. This book is interesting in that it points out some of the actual historical figures that Blavatsky hobnobbed with while she was conjuring up her vision of the universe. It gives the names of those who might have provided the inspiration for those “masters” that Blavatsky (probably) invented. (She all but admitted doing so in one of her last works: THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. I do recommend her work as well as that of Steiner, Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, et al, if you are able to get into it while keeping in mind the prejudices and world views of that general era, and you avoid falling for it hook, line, and sinker.) (UPDATE: 6-11-05-Saw a very fascinating talk last night at the Theosophical Society of Detroit regarding…well…a LOT of things, but one of the items that stuck with me was some recent validation of some of the information Blavatsky claimed to have received from her sources.  I was very impressed by this, so I may have to reassess some of my comments pending further verification.)

 

Anthony Storr-FEET OF CLAY
A very interesting look at “gurus” from Gurdjieff to Jim Jones to Carl Jung. Though this book is written from a rationalistic/materialistic perspective by a man who views mystical experience with the eyes of a non-initiate it is a fascinating series of character studies nonetheless.

 

David V. Barrett-SECTS, CULTS, AND ALTERNATIVE RELIGIONS-A WORLD SURVEY AND SOURCEBOOK.
An excellent and amazingly unbiased description of current Alt Religions from all over the world. It is long on description and short on subjective criticism. In those cases where a religion has made itself controversial (Scientology, ECK, Etc) he outlines what led up to said controversy, but he shows great grace and restraint in his treatment of all of these groups.

 

Hugh Milne-BHAGWAN-THE GOD THAT FAILED
Once upon a time, when I was a lad of around seventeen, a friend of mine turned me on to the teachings/books/tapes of Rajneesh, a guru who truly “talked the talk”. I was seriously thinking about doing a pilgrimage to his Oregon ashram, but something about all those Rolls Royces (93!) kind of made me a bit uncomfortable. Later, I started to hear ugly rumors of just how crappy life was amongst the mighty Bhagwan’s disciples, so I abandoned this escapist notion. It’s a good thing I did. This is an expose of the Bhagwan and his band of merry manipulators and psychotic control freaks that came out in 1985 by a former insider: a photographer/bodyguard who stood by his guru for an incredible ten years while enduring pain, indignity, and physical damage. While the author comes across as a terminally whiny and codependant dink, his descriptions of the rise and slow degrading fall of the Bhagwan’s organization (not to mention his heart, mind, and soul) are very valuable as a cautionary tale. Recommended if you can tolerate the author’s monumental spinelessness.

 

Ken Wilbur-GRACE AND GRIT
This book does not really belong in this category, but I had no other place for it. Ken Wilbur is one of the current leading proponents of Transpersonal Psychology and his books (like A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING) are always fascinating and insightful. I recommend them highly. This book, however, brings out a very human side of this brilliant man. It is the story of how he met, married, and lost the woman of his dreams to breast cancer. A brave and emotionally compelling book that touched me deeply, it has just enough philosophical tangents to keep one from having to permanently tie a handkerchief to their nose.

 

Sherwin T. Wine-HUMANISTIC JUDAISM
In my “normal” life I work with a fair amount of religious institutions. I had never even HEARD of this particular brand of Judaism until I was lent this book by one of my clients. While I am not exactly a Humanist myself, I find the focus on self-determination and the overall intellectual tenor of this work admirable. It is also fascinating to see how a people whose culture is so steeped in it’s religiosity can come to terms with the idea of transcending the notion of a personal God. Jewish customs and culture are so permeated by the presence of the God notion that it was almost impossible for me to conceive of their being able to sustain a sense of cultural identity without him (her/it)…but they seem to have done so (at least in text form).

 

Colin Wilson-ROGUE MESSIAHS
I’ve always been a big fan of Mr. Wilson’s writing, so this is but one of many of his books that I’d recommend. It is a bit like Feet of Clay in it’s intent, but being a long-time occult (and otherwise) researcher Wilson has a deeper understanding of the individuals he dissects, as well as a fair amount of empathy and compassion for those whose ego gets in the way of their evolution.


Nevada Barr-SEEKING ENLIGHTENMENT HAT BY HAT
This is more a series of short disconnected essays than a comprehensive narrative.  I recommend it, it’s not “deep” or esoteric, but is very charming and heartfelt and easy to relate to.  Light reading for the thoughtful.

 

UFOS
Jim Marrs-ALIEN AGENDA
This book has it all! Almost every significant approach to the UFO quandary is covered with the skill of the consummate reporter. From the standard extraterrestrial hypothesis to ancient astronauts to nazi saucer technology to hollow earth theories to culturally pervasive myths of “the little people”, all the basics are covered in a highly readable writing style. And to top it all off, Marrs gives a nod to the conspiracy crowd by offering his (highly plausible) theory as to why the masses have been kept in the dark for so long about the true nature of the UFO phenomena: yep, you guessed it…money and power! (Personally, if I were a member of an advanced species I’d have a hard time finding any positive rational for sharing the secrets of my technology with a species that is so shallow as to consider money and power anything more than a transitory illusion that is generally not worth pursuing in the long run. It would be like giving a monkey a hand grenade.) If I had to recommend one book to those in search of a good basic primer on this subject, this would be it. There were only a few facts that I myself (as someone who has been into these things for around 20 years) had not encountered before, but it was put together better than any other book I can think of at the moment. That it just came out in 97 is a plus.

 

Michael Craft-ALIEN IMPACT
While not as detailed and all encompassing as the Marrs book, this is also a highly recommended read. He has a clear bias towards the Vallee school of ufology, but he covers most of the various standard theories quite nicely.

 

Timothy Good-ABOVE TOP SECRET
This is one of the most highly touted books in the annals of ufology, and for very good reason…it’s a brilliant piece of work! This is the best book I’ve read so far that takes the “nuts and bolts” approach to the issue. The reader is inundated by a massive amount of data that is highly methodical but never tedious and, in the end, almost totally irrefutable. It’s a bit dated now, but still well worth reading.

 

Jacques Vallee-UFO CHRONICLES OF THE SOVIET UNION
Vallee is one of my favorite researchers. I’ve always admired the brilliant and honest thinking that has led him to his conclusions, even though I don’t share many of them. Any and all of Vallee’s books are well worth reading, but I am particularly fond of this little book that explores a spectacular but very under reported series of Russian close encounters.

 

Raymond Fowler-THE WATCHERS ll
Like Vallee, Fowler has gone far beyond the position of a strict materialist’s interpretation of the UFO enigma to reach some interesting conclusions that extend well into the realm of the metaphysical. I admire anyone who is brave enough to take a controversial stand of this nature. I’m sure this pissed off a certain amount of his contemporaries, but it is heartening to see that there are other researchers out there who are honest enough to follow even that evidence that leads them into places they are hesitant to go. His other books on the Andreasson abductions are worth a read, but it is in this book where his research culminates to produce some theories with very far-reaching implications.

 

John Mack-ABDUCTION
Mack’s explorations of the abduction phenomenon have taken him well beyond the confines of the rationally explainable. Having seen him speak, I must say that he seems like a sincere and honest researcher and therapist. It does seem that he had reached some metaphysical conclusions well before he began his work in this area, and I’m sure it has effected his outcomes, but I certainly don’t think that it has clouded his judgment to any major degree. This is a good introduction by a fair minded professional of an area of “Ufology” that is swimming with cranks and loons.

 

David Jacobs-THE THREAT
The aliens are here…and they hate us! This book literally spews paranoia and darkness. They are not our friends, those nasty little greys, they just want to limit us, exploit us, and possibly eat us! Yum! My own mental jury is still out regarding the motivations of our spindly little pals, however I did find some of the evidence Jacobs provided fairly compelling. (Hmmm…maybe they are just biding their time till we wipe ourselves out so they can steal ALL of our cows.)

 

Scott Mandelker-FROM ELSEWHERE
For those of us who spent the majority of our childhood’s thinking that we were just dropped on the wrong planet, this a book that attempts to lend some credibility to that sentiment. This is one of the main books behind the Wanderer/Walk-In phenomenon, a movement of people who feel that they (or, more to the point, their souls) originated from somewhere other than this humanity-infected planet. It’s an interesting read and I can definitely sympathize with anyone who wants to distance themselves from the negative aspects of our species. I also feel that I can safely recommend his 2nd book Universal Vision, which he was nice enough to send me a copy of, a full review of which is HERE!

 

William Bramley-THE GODS OF EDEN
I recommend this book despite my negative feelings towards some of it’s conclusions. The primary notion here is that extraterrestrial have been acting as third party instigators in historical conflicts both minor and massive. He does a lot of excellent research into the myriad rivalries between various factions of secret societies, governments, intelligence agencies, etc., and for that alone it is worth reading, but he seems to feel that humans are of a far more benign nature temperamentally than I could ever agree with in my most optimistic mood. Blaming our generally Darwinian antagonistic behaviors on ET was incredibly hard for me to swallow, but this IS an interesting read nonetheless. 10-10-2000

 

Raymond A. Robinson-THE ALIEN INTENT
As I have alluded to before, one of the many reasons I study UFO/Abduction phenomena is not just the phenomenon itself, but the way it affects others who study it. This is another book that takes a very negative and paranoid approach (which may be entirely justified) that was fairly compelling. It is interesting to note how the phenomenon seems to have gotten darker over the past few decades as our culture has become more negative in general. We hear precious little talk of “space brothers” anymore. (Where is the love, I ask?) The author points out that there seems to be a pattern and an acceleration leading to…potential cataclysm? As with THE GODS OF EDEN, I personally feel that the human species is quite capable, nay INTENT ON, wiping ourselves out and wholly able to accomplish the task without outside intervention, but this was a good read nonetheless.

 

Linda Moulton Howe-GLIMPSES OF OTHER REALITIES, VOLS 1 AND 2
Good God, where to start? This is some amazing and mind-bending stuff, especially the second volume. Like John Keel’s work, these writings and reports point to a universe FAR wierder and FAR more impossible to wholly define then most of ever dare to imagine. Highly recommended.

C.D.B. Bryan-CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE FOURTH KIND, ALIEN ABDUCTION, UFOS, AND THE CONFERENCE AT M.I.T.
This is a very objective and unbiased report of the Abduction Conference back around 10 years ago at MIT. The author was very fair with regards to the subject matter, which was not his usual line of work by any means. Another book by a UFO “outsider” that I strongly recommend.

 

Whitley Strieber-THE SECRET SCHOOL
I’ve always liked Strieber, I’ve been keeping up with his stuff since Communion and he always has something interesting to say on his website, but I thought this book was worth a special mention as it tapped into several areas that resonated with myself on a fairly deep level…and may resonate with you as well.  Some very interesting things happened to Strieber as a child that I found oddly parallel some of my own experiences…of which I will be writing about in the near future.  The pan/poly/uber/whatever-dimensional nature of the “visitor” experience is becoming more evident…and yet more mysterious as to its overall meaning.  There are prophetic elements in this book as well…and some of them seem to have occurred since the publication of this book.

 

THOSE @##%%$%^ NAZIS!
Peter Levenda-UNHOLY ALLIANCE-A HISTORY OF NAZI INVOLVEMENT WITH THE OCCULT
World War Two never ended, it just went underground! A fascinating and frightening look into what the Nazis were REALLY up to…and where they are now. Well researched and rather amusing in it’s narrative style at times. He focuses a lot on Himmler’s obsession with the occult, the attempt to eliminate Christianity in favor of their own rather nasty brand of Nordic Paganism, covert operators and their hijinks, and where our old pal Aleister Crowley fits into all of this.

 

Trevor Ravenscroft-THE SPEAR OF DESTINY
While he has his biases, this is a very interesting book that is backed up by a lot of meticulous research. This is deep and disturbing. I can’t even begin to describe the totality of this book in a way that does it justice, but I can say that, unlike Levenda’s book (which is much more involved in the political nature of the Nazis), this digs down into strata that scared the hell out of me. If you can get by some of aforementioned biases you will find a very harrowing and fascinating read.

 

SCIENCE-“HARD”, “SOFT”, AND “FRINGE”.
John L. Casti-PARADIGMS LOST
An excellent book probing many of the unexplained phenomenon and irritations that plague the modern scientist. Quantum Physics, the origins of language, the shape of the universe.

 

O.B. Hardison-DISAPPEARING THROUGH THE SKYLIGHT
A very interesting look at the frontiers of science. Where we have come from and where we are going.

 

Ed Regis-GREAT MAMBO CHICKEN AND THE TRANSHUMAN CONDITION
A often hysterically amusing book about some of the most far reaching subjects on the frontiers of science. Nanotechnology, cryogenics, etc.

 

Robert Shapiro-ORIGINS
Though this book may be a bit dated for the subject matter it covers, I still recommend it. It explains, then deftly refutes, all of the various theories regarding the origins of life on this planet. He deconstructs both the easy targets (creationism) and the not-nearly-as-easy targets (spontaneous generation) with equal zeal.

 

Guy Murchie-THE 7 MYSTERIES OF LIFE
A book exploring the wonders of the universe in a very friendly and often whimsical way. Murchie has an almost childlike sense of awe and wonder that I found very infectious.

 

Julian Jaynes-THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE BICAMERAL MIND
An interesting approach to the question of the origins of consciousness in the human species. Though his conclusions may leave out a significant volume of facts that run counter to his arguments, this is a thought provoking book and well worth reading.

 

Harold L. Klawans M.D.-TOSCANINI’S FUMBLE
A highly entertaining if somewhat harrowing series of case histories describing many rare and frightening neurological disorders. Also check out any of Oliver Sacks work including THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT. Great stuff, it’ll keep you up all night thinking paranoid thoughts about your own brain.

Russell Martin-MATTERS GRAY AND WHITE
A very interesting and moving account of the day to day challenges faced by a hospital neurologist in confronting both the common and obscure ailments of his patients. Explores many of the frailties that the human brain is subject to.

 

Elizabeth Loftus-THE MYTH OF REPRESSED MEMORY
My god! What kind of paranormalist would recommend a book by THE ENEMY? An honest one. This book is very impressive and very convincing in it’s arguments. Though I feel that regressive hypnotherapy can be a useful tool in the hands of a WELL-TRAINED AND SCRUPULOUS professional, I found this to be a very engrossing book. Memory IS malleable, otherwise there might have been a lot less grief expressed when Nixon died and there would be a lot fewer people marching around claiming that the holocaust never happened.

 

Michael Talbot-THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE
One of the most intriguing and inspirational theories of how we shape our reality I’ve ever encountered. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It was one of the few in the past 10 years that captivated me completely. His other books BEYOND THE QUANTUM and MYSTICISM AND THE NEW PHYSICS are also recommended.

 

Stanislov Grof-THE HOLOTROPIC MIND
A fascinating book on Grof’s groundbreaking way of explaining how our minds (amongst other things) work. Highly recommended.

 

Gary Zukav-THE DANCING WU LI MASTERS
An excellent book that explains the oddities and paradoxes of Quantum Physics in a very readable style. It is also one of a multitude of books that attempts to find connections between eastern philosophy and quantum theory.

 

Danah Zohar-THE QUANTUM SELF
An explanation of the nature of consciousness via Quantum Physics. In this vein I also suggest the work of FRED ALAN WOLF.

 

Joseph Chilton Pearce-THE CRACK IN THE COSMIC EGG
A classic pre new-age-hype book on the way we create our reality based upon our expectations of it, this book and his others laid the foundations for a philosophy that is (fortunately) gaining much broader acceptance despite the flakiness if some of it’s advocates.

 

Lyall Watson-DARK NATURE
Hmmm…the biological basis for Evil. Watson explains how widespread aberrant, anti-social, and just plain rotten behavior is in the world, and why. And not just in the world of us humans (we just happen to be reeeeeaaaallly good at it!), He goes into great detail on the nefarious dealings of our animal and plant friends too! Informative and depressing!

 

“FORBIDDEN” ARCHAEOLOGY

Graham Hancock-FINGERPRINTS OF THE GODS
A fascinating and ground-breaking book that propelled the Fringe Egyptology movement into some semblence of public acceptance.

 

Zecariah Sitchen-THE 12TH PLANET
While I recommend taking ANYTHING one reads with a grain or two of salt, I suggest an entire shaker’s full for the work of Sitchen…But it’s fun stuff nonetheless! He derives his theories from his interpretations of ancient Sumerian writings that allude to extraterrestrial inhabitations of Earth in prehistory, massive cosmic collisions, an extra planet floating around our solar system, and a whole slew of other ideas that fall into the category of “highly speculative”. I found his ideas very intriguing and amusing to ponder and I recommend reading this and several of his other books, but be wary.

 

Michael Cremo-FORBIDDEN ARCHAEOLOGY
This is it! This book details (exhaustively!) the various Archaeological finds of the past several centuries that, if they were not so quickly swept under the rug, would blow apart the current belifes regarding man’s origins and the development of civilization. YOU MUST READ THIS!

 

POLITICS, PARANOIA, DOOM, AND WEIRDNESS
Tim Bennett and Sally Erickson-WHAT A WAY TO GO, LIFE AT THE END OF EMPIRE (DVD)
There is far too much to say about this film than a mere capsule review can contain, so it gets it’s own page!


James Bamford-THE PUZZLE PALACE
Scary! Explores the National Security Agency…these people make the CIA look like cub scouts. The largest intelligence gathering agency you probably never heard of until they started dropping their name on the X-Files. They are the REAL spooks. They dwarf the CIA in size and can make many things disappear…including people!

 

Lewis Yablonsky-ROBOPATHS
One from the dusty vaults of my past, it unfortunately is just as relevant today. The mechanics of dehumanization. Describes how an average person can evolve into a thoughtless and unfeeling killing machine. Fun! This one may be out of print.

 

Philip Lamy-MILLENNIUM RAGE-SURVIVALISTS, WHITE SUPREMACISTS, AND THE DOOMSDAY PROPHECY
A fascinating look into the minds of the backward and paranoid denizens of the far-right fringe. This world view is becoming so pervasive amongst both the mildly and severely inbred that it behooves anyone with any sense of concern for the world to familiarize themselves with what is going on in the cultural hinterlands out where the buses don’t run. Towards that end, this book is a very good start.

 

Neil Jeffrey Kressel-MASS HATE-THE GLOBAL RISE OF GENOCIDE AND TERROR
By the same publishing house as Lamy’s book listed above…what a cheerful bunch of folks they must be! An overview of the bloodiest events in this most bloody century in human history. Recommended.

 

John Hougue-THE MILLENNIUM BOOK OF PROPHECY
Hougue seems to be a regular on every Discovery channel show the deals with End Times topics, and for very good reason: he’s done his homework! Here, he has assembled hundreds of prophecies from a myriad of sources that all point in an amazingly similar direction considering the disparity of background and era.

 

Charles B. Strozier-APOCALYPSE
An exploration of the psychology of Christian fundamentalists that is thoroughly engrossing. It really illustrates how off balanced the thinking of these people can sometimes be without being insulting or demeaning.

 

Richard Rhodes-DEADLY FEASTS
Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of Mad Cow disease research, but were too busy eating your steaks and hamburgers to ask. Excellent and very disturbing, glad I’m a vegetarian!

 

Mark Kingwell-DREAMS OF MILLENNIUM-A REPORT FROM A CULTURE ON THE BRINK
Entertaining and humorous, this one deals with a variety of millennium oriented issues with a very reasonable amount of skepticism and ironic detachment.

 

Jim Garrison-ON THE TRAIL OF THE ASSASSINS
Of all of the various people out there speculating about the death of JFK, I still regard Garrison as the most balanced and credible. If, after being confronted with the weight of evidence he provides in this and his other works, you still believe that Oswald acted alone, well you probably also believe that there IS a Santa Claus, that William Shatner does not wear a wig, and that Pauly Shore has talent.

 

Christopher Matthews-KENNEDY AND NIXON
An excellent book that deals with the early quixotic friendship and later bitter rivalry between these two incredibly powerful but tragic politicians.

 

Allan Bloom-THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND
An older one…but even more pertinent than it was back in 1987 when it came out. We are getting stupider by the second. A scathing critique of what our “Liberal” (I have other words for it, I’m still kind of a liberal at heart) educational system (and culture in general) has done to the last few generations of those of us who have inherited the fading echo of Western Culture.

 

John Gray-FALSE DAWN, THE DELUSIONS OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM
An excellent rebuke of Globalization, a bad idea whose time should not have come. This should be required reading for anyone who thinks that NAFTA and GATT were a good idea. This one was written before Baby Bush’s little recession and the outsourcing crisis we are now in the throes of. My personal take is that we are headed for a return to “the good old days”, you know: that period of time that extended from the dawn of recorded history until the advent of the middle class (a historically anomalous phenomenon) that was created during the economic boom after WW2. I predict that we are headed back to the days of the that swell little Master/Servant economic relationship that evolved once we gave up that stodgy old Hunter-Gatherer lifestyle that did not incorporate the notion of hoarding wealth . Global Warming and the results of the Peak Oil situation will likely make all of this a moot point though…

 

Art Bell and Whitley Strieber-THE COMING GLOBAL SUPERSTORM
This book inspired more than a few giggles when it came out, however given the reports coming out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the recent well-publicized Pentagon report on abrupt climate change, the giggles should be tapering off just about now. A pretty damn frightening scenario and an extreme one, but one that has a fair amount of scientific and historical evidence to back it up.

 

HISTORY/CULTURE/PHILOSOPHY/GENERAL NON-FICTION/THINGS/STUFF
William Strauss and Neil Howe-THE FOURTH TURNING
I was so impressed by this book I wrote a song about it! The authors very convincingly describe the cyclical nature of our allegedly linear American culture. It would take far too long to detail the whole theory here, but suffice it to say I found their ideas very compelling. The only argument I might have is that I found some of their conclusions regarding the not too distant future a tad optimistic, but overall I think that they are right on the money.


Thomas Cahill-THE GIFTS OF THE JEW
And speaking of linearity…this excellent book explains how so much, if not all, of our western culture and it’s perspectives have originated from the culture of the Jews. The premise being that, before Abraham decided to set off to parts unknown, the dominant cultures in the world viewed time as cyclical: birth-death-rebirth. The idea of individual destiny was, in a very real sense, foreign to them. The early Jews broke with that collective mindset and gave us the world we are living in today.


Victor Frankl-MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING
Written by a survivor of the holocaust, this book is both an overview of concentration camp life by one of it’s unfortunate participants and a doctrine on Logotherapy, a form of psychoanalysis that focuses on…well…man’s search for meaning as opposed to traditional Freudian analysis which is primarily oriented towards understanding one’s current state by delving into the past. The core essence of his philosophy towards therapy is summed up in his very own words: “self actualization is possible only as a side effect of self transcendence”. As someone profoundly influenced by Zen Buddhism, I have a hard time arguing with a statement like that.

 

Duane Elgin-VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY
An old favorite. The author espouses a lifestyle of simplicity and austerity that makes much more sense than the rampant consumerism that pervades western culture. Everyone who lives under the illusion that more things = more happiness should read this.

 

E.F. Schumacher-A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
Another old favorite from my youth. How we see ourselves, how others see us, and how to make sense of a world much larger than ourselves. Also read SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.

 

Albert Einstein-IDEAS AND OPINIONS
A collection of Einstein’s non scientific writings on topics ranging from politics to economics. Many brilliant insights far from the realm of physics. The man was a GOD.

 

Robert Soloman/Kathleen Higgins-A PASSION FOR WISDOM
I’ve not read much “straight” philosophy in the past ten years or so, but I needed to fill some holes in my understanding of the historical development of certain philosophical themes, so I picked up this great little quick read. It is brief and concise and takes a lot less time to get through than Will Durant’s work, for example.


Joseph Campbell-PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING
Campbell is my personal hero. I’d recommend starting with THE POWER OF MYTH if you are not already familiar with his work. Read the books but don’t stop there! He has several excellent series of lectures on video (and on cassette) that range from an exploration of eastern philosophy to the legends of King Arthur. You may be able to find them from your local library.


C.G.Jung-PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING AS WELL
Another one of my heroes (despite his anti-Semitism and messiah complex). In my opinion, Jung has done more to influence the gradual awakening of our culture’s imaginal and intuitive side than any other individual of our time. Start with MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS and go on from there. 

PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES is a personal favorite.


Robert Anton Wilson-AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT…READ ALL OF THIS GUY’S STUFF TOO!
I highly recommend the Cosmic Trigger books and, if you have a yen for fiction, The Illuminatus Trilogy. (2-3-2000-Just finished his latest, Everything Is Under Control. Not bad. I recommend it as a fairly OK place to start as kind of a Conspiracy 101, but he does leave a lot out and his favorite areas are blatantly accented.)

 

Terence McKenna-TRUE HALLUCINATIONS
Along with Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary, and a small handful of others, McKenna was one of the pioneers who expanded our view of reality by experiential means (before the 80’s caused that expanded view to snap right back into a brain-dead conservatism that would have made Spiro Agnew dance a merry jig in his grave. What, you don’t remember Spiro Agnew? Kids these days. Grumble.) This is his account of a series of experments, involving our friend the mushroom, that reached a bizzare but fascinating set of philosphical conclusions. Sadly, it seems that Terence may be following Tim Leary into that Good Night as he now has brain cancer. I also suggest THE ARCHAIC REVIVAL and THE INVISIBLE LANDSCAPE. (How sad that some of the most interesting thinkers of our time are leaving us, only to be replaced by absolutely no one at all!)

 

John Strohmeier & Peter Westbrook-DIVINE HARMONY-THE LIFE AND TEACHINGS OF PYTHAGORAS
I had the extreme good fortune to hear Peter Westbrook speak at Transitions Books in Chicago recently and was so impressed with his vast scope of knowledge and insight that I dropped $17.95 on this 152 page hardcover quick-read. The text is divided between a succinct biography of Pythagoras and an explanation of his various systems of thought. In addition to his peerless philosophical genius and his staggering diversity, Pythagoras was on of the earliest progenitors of what we now call “Mystery Schools”. It is regrettable that we do not know more about this most amazing individual who so influenced our history and development, but enough has been salvaged to provide us with this wonderful little book…spendy though it is! 10/10/2000.

 

PARAPSYCHOLOGY/NDE/OBE/REINCARNATION
Ian Stevenson-CHILDREN WHO REMEMBER PREVIOUS LIVES
Some of the most compelling evidence for reincarnation so far. This is not some new age piffle…Stevenson has done his homework. He takes a clinical approach that more than legitimizes the subject. (NOTE: If you can find any of the series “Cases of the Reincarnation Type”, grab them! It’s DRY reading, but very compelling. They may be out of print, managed to find two of them a few years ago…)

 

Jeffrey Mishlove-THE ROOTS OF CONSCIOUSNESS
A classic from 1975 that explores the world of parapsychology in all it’s many facets, there is a revised edition (93) now available. By the host of the excellent THINKING ALLOWED series. Many of the THINKING ALLOWED videos can be found at your local library by the way. And the series runs regularly on the tube as well. This is a series I strongly recommend you catch. The range of guests and subject matter covered is superb.

 

Dean Radin-THE CONSCIOUS UNIVERSE
This is just what the field of PSI research needs! Tons of verified test and research results delivered in a dry and matter of fact way that removes the “flake” factor from the subject matter. Reading this makes the densest Noam Chomsky seem slapstick by comparison, but it is well worth it for the best assemblage of near incontrovertible statistical proof of PSI ever.

 

The Dalai Lama-SLEEPING, DREAMING, AND DYING
This book is the result of a recent symposium/convention of various experts, researchers, and religious leaders regarding three of the biggest mysteries of human existence. It makes me wish I had been there! Highly recommended.

 

Charles Tart-TRANSPERSONAL PSYCHOLOGIES
This is THE seminal work regarding one of the latest and most exciting branches of psychology. These are essays from various authorities from various religions, ranging from Buddhists to Pagans, regarding the psychological and transcendent implications of their respective belief systems.

 

PMH Atwater-BEYOND THE LIGHT
Being fairly well obsessed by the phenomenon of NDEs and their accompanying descriptions of the afterlife, I have read probably over 100 books on the subject…if it has the term “the light” in it I’ve probably read it. A lot of those books can be poorly written, or worse, subject to the often not-so-hidden agenda of the writer. I’m fond of Atwater’s work as she seems to be religiously non-dogmatic and has a fairly good grasp of traditions of both the East and West. As an aside, having read so many first person accounts and having met a fair amount of people who have experienced this phenomenon themselves, I am 99% convinced that the simplest explanation (using the skeptic’s often-misconstrued Occam’s Razor) is the correct one: some form of consciousness does indeed survive death.

 

Gary Schwartz, Ph.D-The Afterlife Experiments
Dr. Schwartz put mediums George Anderson, John Edward, Anne Gehman, Suzane Northrop and Laurie Campbell under the microscope with a series of what (in my mind at least) were almost fool-proof tests.  The results are very compelling.  I’d love to see the Not-Particularly-Amazing Randi try to replicate these statistical anomalies under the same conditions.   Even Michael Shermer (he of the perpetual smirk) would be hard pressed to tear this one up in a way that would be convincing to any truly OBJECTIVE observer.  On a personal note, I had the opportunity to see George Anderson in person a few years ago, and suffice it to say I did not see any evidence of a cold reading…and I’ve had my experiences with fake psychics…I eat them for breakfast, in fact.


John Edward-AFTER LIFE
I can’t even begin to tally the amount of people who have asked me “the John Edward question”…eventually almost everyone who knows me will get around to it.  So, for the record, yes, I do think he’s the real thing.  Is he a showman?  Yes.  Is he trying to sell things? Yep.  Has he built a small empire off of his talents? Most certainly.  Has he brought comfort and hope to thousands of people?  Very much so.  Has he done more to open up the world of the paranormal to regular humans than practically any other single human being alive on the planet today?  Can’t think of anyone else I’d give that award to.  To be certain, he is not the best writer on the planet, but he has a down to earth delivery (occasionally bordering on jocularity) that makes his talents even more difficult to dismiss.  You’d have to be an absolute genius to be as conniving as he would need to be to pull off a fraud of this magnitude…and this guy is no genius.  He reminds me of someone you’d run in to playing darts at a sports bar.  His abilities give him a depth and complexity of character that his personality type normally does not possess. Having watched this guy like a hawk in several different environments, I have been impressed by his ability to get into specific details that would be impossible with simple guesswork.

 

David Staume-THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE FOR THE RECENTLY DECEASED
This is a very short, sweet, and gentle-of-spirit book about what happens to you after you die.  From all my own years of research, I think he got it just about right.  I was, in fact, very surprised to find so many similarities between the way I describe my own conceptualizations on the subject and his own descriptions.  So either we share similar delusions or we are both on to something.  Difference is, he wrote this beautiful and succinct little book about it, which is something I lack the subtlety or talent to do…

 

Melvin Morse, M.D.-Transformed by the Light
There are, at last count, some 12,563,239 books that have been published with the phrase “by the Light” somewhere in the title (including “Saved by the Light”, “Embraced by the Light”, “Annoyed by the Light”, “I Got Food Poisoning from Some Bad Salsa Served to me by the Light”, and “The Light Owes me $500 and that B**tch Light Better Pay up or I’m Gonna Break that B**tches Kneecaps”).  Some of them are better than others, unsurprisingly.  This one was rather good.  I was favorably impressed with his focus on the transformative effect of the “Encounter with the Light” experience of the NDE and his attempt to try to find a bridge between the physiological and spiritual aspects of the phenomenon.  His conclusions are definitely worthy of consideration.


FORTEAN

Colm A. Kelleher, Ph.D. and George Knapp-HUNT FOR THE SKINWALKER

Had my mind not already been utterly blown by all of the other books I’ve read (not to mention the various life experiences I’ve had, intentional or otherwise), this one may have done it.  This is an account of a barrage of inexplicable paranormal events that occurred at a ranch in a remote area of Utah…and of the semi-successful attempts by the National Institute for Discovery Science (NIDS) to scientifically document said events.  In a lot of ways this book is an excellent one to read back to back with John Keel’s Mothman Prophecies in that the multiplicity of phenomena occurring in both instances and the directions that the resulting patterns point to are not at all dissimilar.  The various phenomena ranged from cattle mutilations to bullet-proof (but solid) 400 lb wolves to football-field-sized UFOs to intelligently directed orbs to the family dogs being vaporized to holes forming in the sky that…um…entities emerged from (showing an entirely different sky and horizon within the holes) to direct telepathic communication from said entities.  The family that bought the ranch were subjected to a daily dose of weirdness that would have sent all but the most determined and headstrong to the mental ward in short notice. One can’t help but feel an incredible amount of empathy for these people. It’s a very difficult set of possibilities that the authors present, so you’d best have an open mind and a strong constitution to digest them, but I very much recommend this book to anyone who is not frightened by the possibility that we may be living in a “Multiverse”…and that the barriers between worlds may not be all that impenetrable to those who inhabit some of them that are not our own.

 

Nick Redfern-THREE MEN SEEKING MONSTERS
A light-hearted romp that has a couple potentially troubling insights in its mix written by a very astute British Ufologist with a painfully limited taste in music.  Redfern spent six weeks in the company of two other Fortean researchers tracking down Cryptozoological leads, and getting fairly inebriated in the process.  The conclusions he has reached are interesting and the writing is breezy and easily palatable.

 

John A. Keel-THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES
The movie did not do this book justice, though I did enjoy it. This is one of the more mind-warping true-life books on fortean phenomenon, an absolute classic. I have long likened our tiny little human existances to ants crawling on an anthill, with big dark shapes looming all around that occasionally come close enough to us for us to catch a glimpse of a universe incalculably larger and far more mysterious than we could ever imagine in our narrow-mindedness. Reading this book only reinforces this notion.