books


Are you a woman? Are you the parent of a daughter? Are you married to a woman? Do you have a mother? In any of these cases you should read the autobiography I Am Nujood, aged 10, Divorced

This is a difficult book to read, not due to the complexity of the verbiage, but because of the poverty and abuse this child had to endure at the hands of her family. It brings up the abhorrent practice of child marriage. Many little girls as young as eight years old are married without their consent to men often decades older than themselves. They are often imprisoned inside the men’s homes as little more than slaves both sexual and domestic. The reasons for this practice are complex and rooted in the culture in which they occur. Poverty can cause a father to give his child away, but that same father may have multiple wives and his children may number in double digits. He often cannot support them all but gives no thought to birth control. This puts into place a cycle of oppression against women and girls because they are not considered equal to men and in Islamic countries the females must uphold the concept of family honor. A rumor against the honor of a girl or woman may be the motive for an honor killing, even in the United States.

Nujood Ali

In this book the eponymous young writer exhibits a bravery which is remarkable and praiseworthy. Credit must also be given to the people who helped her because Yemen’s culture can punish the defenseless and those who seek to defend them. I sincerely hope that Nujood chooses to continue her education and become a lawyer like her champion, Shada Nasr, who represented her in her divorce hearing. But Nujood is not alone. Lots of other children are forced into marriage. One quarter of Yemeni brides are aged 15 or less. It seems to me that supporting the education of women and female children in places where they are abused because they are female, is one of the most important things that can be done to bring about world peace and and end over-population. 


http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/meast/08/26/yemen.divorce/index.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/04/nujood-ali-12-year-old-di_n_485952.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126110751

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Polygamy%2Bharmful%2Bsociety%2Bscholar%2Bfinds/3290757/story.html

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Pamela and Thomas Campbell

As many of my readers already know, I am a big fan of Robert Monroe, author of Journeys Out Of Body and founder of the Monroe Institute. About a year ago, a book with the unlikely name of My Big T.O.E, came to my attention. It was written by Thomas Campbell who worked with Bob Monroe in the early years, when Monroe was beginning the Institute. Initially My Big T.O.E, was published as three separate volumes, but more recently it was republished as a giant paperback and I bought it. T.O.E., by the way, stands for theory of everything. This book is an engaging tome but don’t expect to buzz through it in a weekend. It requires careful thoughtful reading and I rarely was able to read more than 10-20 pages a sitting. Even then I was often forced to reread paragraphs to truly digest their meaning. It is one thing to understand the words and quite another to own the concepts set forth by those words.

Tom Campbell is a nuclear physicist who has spent much of his career working for NASA and the book is based in scientific inquiry. He is well versed in all manner of cosmology and physical theories of the Universe from Newton through Einstein and beyond into Quantum physics and string theory. He is convinced that the known Universe is both virtual and digital and he can prove it to anyone who will listen (or read). But Campbell is also a meta-physician.

Needless to say these ideas had me spellbound, so when I went to his website to glean more information, it was extremely synchronistic to discover that he had a seminar in NYC in a month’s time. I cleared my calendar for that weekend and registered.

The program was held at the MetaCenter on West 29th Street, a very convenient, clean, central NYC location. Friday night was the (free) introduction to the ideas embodied in the book; on Saturday Campbell worked through the theoretical implications of the “Theory of Everything”; and on Sunday those implications were tested on a practical level with exercises in healing and remote viewing.

The basic starting point of the program was to establish the nature of reality. Most models of reality fail to go beyond the physical 3 or 4D world and fail to consider what happened or what existed before or outside the “Big Bang”. Many scientists start with unsupportable assumptions. Reality is not synonymous with the models we make to explain it to ourselves and others. Physical reality as we experience it is an illusion of our senses. We get some data and extrapolate it into this reality model, when it actually exists only as a probability, until we make a measure of it. Consciousness is at the base of each of our realities and is therefore personal and not truly objective.

There is more, much more, that I cannot delve into in the space of this blog. It is all worthwhile considering.

I found myself largely agreeing with the conclusions of Tom Campbell with the exception of a certain (very esoteric) position on the nature of time outside our physical matter reality. That minor difference of opinion really makes no practical difference in the application of the principles set forth in Campbell’s “Big T.O.E.” (As an aside, he is actually a rocket scientist and I am not, so I’m guessing his opinion on this matter might have more sway than mine :-)) The manner in which he has explained some of those things that I had already discovered on my own to be true, was extraordinarily helpful in explaining those principles to others.

I highly recommend My Big T.O.E. to seekers and philosophers of all stripes. If you have a chance to go to one of his seminars, do it! In his workshops he is aided by his lovely wife, Pamela (pictured above) and Keith Warner and Donna Aveni (pictured below) who also book the seminars under the name MBT Events and do everything humanly possible to make you feel welcome.

Two books I’ve recently finished are Sight Unseen: Science, UFO Invisibility and Transgenic Beings by Budd Hopkins and Carol Rainey and Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith. Both books are about different areas of the paranormal, but they have something else in common which is dear to my heart: the authors are artists and also deeply interested in anomalous events (just like me :-)). It seems that having those interests in common are far from unusual.

Carol Rainey

In Sight Unseen, Hopkins (also a painter) and Rainey (also a filmmaker) explore some truly bizarre experiences a variety of people have had with purported aliens and hybrid alien/humans (transgenic beings). Budd Hopkins has spent many years researching the abduction phenomena and Carol Rainey adds much insight in terms of possible scientific theories which might explain some of the experiences. The story which stayed with me was that of “Mr. Paige”, an odd but gentle individual that came to stay with a family and had an unusual relationship with a child of that family. Was he not human? Hard to say, but very intriguing. I’ve been aware of very odd persons without auras, but are they aliens or transgenic beings? I believe that Jacques Vallee also made mention of Mr. Paige in one of his books.

Budd Hopkins

Walking Through Walls is the story of interior decorator/psychic healer Lew Smith from the perspective of his son Philip Smith, a painter. It gives a window into the world of a child and teenager growing up in Florida with a parent who is immersed in the paranormal. Smith’s writing style is breezy and sometimes very humorous. Especially valuable to me was his description of a session with spiritualist/psychic Sophie Busch. My grandmother often mentioned having gone to see Sophie Busch on several occasions but I hadn’t read of her in the literature before. Smith’s description added an extra dimension to my memories of my grandmother’s experiences as told to me.

Both books demand that the reader suspend disbelief and have an open mind. I think they are both worthwhile to be read by individuals who have a strong interest in the paranormal.

Lew & Philip Smith (at Coral Castle?)

Related websites:

Philip Smith:  http://www.walkingthroughwallsthebook.com/

Budd Hopkins: http://www.intrudersfoundation.org/

Carol Rainey (under construction):  http://www.carolrainey.com/

Whitley Streiber has written an exciting new novel that I just finished reading. Mr. Streiber is famous for his personal alien and UFO contact and abduction memoirs and his current event driven work like The Coming Global Superstorm which was the basis of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. Once I started Critical Mass, I couldn’t stop reading, it really held my interest.

The current event topic of the novel is loose nuclear material, a subject which seems rather neglected in the media considering the lethal importance it could have on our lives. I am not a nuclear weapons expert, but the general thesis of the book seemed quite plausible. I did not mind that in the lead character, Jim Deutsch, is embodied a superman. He could not be stopped, he was never deterred from his task. In a real life situation the work he accomplished would likely have been completed by a task force, but turning him into a sort of super hero was a literary device that allowed the reader to become invested in the outcome for the protagonist.

The Arab-American brother and sister who were the most prominent auxiliary characters were well drawn. I was particularly impressed with the character of the brother, whose public persona was miles from his private inner reactionary self. Though an exaggeration in the novel, it is not uncommon in life.

The ending was OK but slightly anticlimactic, which is not surprising given the incredible amount of exciting and terrifying action in the story.

Although I can recommend Critical Mass as entertaining reading (which it definitely is), the underlying message of the danger of unaccounted for fissionable materials cannot be overstated.

 

 

 

 

Hans Holzer

Hans Holzer

 

 

When I was a kid between the ages of ten and fourteen there is nothing that I would have rather done than read a book by Hans Holzer. This man wrote scores of books on the paranormal particularly true ghost stories. I gobbled them all up as fast as they were put on the shelves. I wanted to be a Viennese parapsychologist too.

Imagine my surprise some years later when I was introduced to Hans Holzer by a Wiccan friend at the Limelight, a circa 1990 club in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. We became friendly and my friend and I visited Hans several times at his roomy Upper West Side apartment. Hans was a strict vegetarian which made it difficult to go out for a meal. He liked to cook his own food. He was always very kind to me. Once he wrote a letter in my defense to the alumni association of a prominent Catholic university. The association felt it was against doctrine to have me visit there as a psychic. Hans said that the psychic sense was a proven skill and a subject for parapsychological inquiry not medieval witch-hunting (or something of that order) and I got my booking back.

In 2002 he published an updated version of the Psychic Yellow Pages and included an article about me. So events had come full circle for me since reading his books as a kid.

Hans Holzer, you are truly missed.

New York Times obituary

I feel so happy and privileged to know people who write books. In the past few years I’ve lost two author friends, Captain Arthur Haggerty and Serena Wilson. My world lost some of its luster when they passed on. Both of them changed my life for the better. Cap was really my best friend for many years. He wrote primarily about dog training and he helped me to get my late dog, Junior Pie, into show business. One of his books, Dog Tricks, was co-written by Carol Lea Benjamin, who has written a series of dog inspired mysteries that I love to read, and who I am privileged to have met several times in conjunction with Captain Haggerty! Serena Wilson was my first official teacher of Middle Eastern Dance and a dear friend as well. She wrote The Serena Technique of Bellydancing with her husband Alan Wilson, also a friend.

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When I first met Lauren Raine I felt I must have known her in a previous life. So familiar her story and so compatible her personality, she is surely a spiritual sister. She has published a work of great brilliance, Masks of the Goddess. This limited edition art book comprises and chronicles her work of many years. She is featured in several other of my blog pieces on this site.

This past year my friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg have written a handsome volume about flavor pairings, The Flavor Bible, that I adore because I seldom cook by recipe. This book tells which food’s flavor goes well with which other food and which spice, allowing me to invent my own recipes with fervor and greater success.  This book is one of many wonderful food books that this illustrious globetrotting couple have written together.

Frank DeMarco is primarily a writer on metaphysical subjects and a founder of Hampton Roads Books and most recently Hologram Books. His 2008 offering, Babe In The Woods, is both metaphysical and very practical. For anyone who has ever thought about taking a seminar at the Monroe Institute, DeMarco has provided a detailed guide couched in a delightful story that is a thinly veiled account of his own first experience at this awesome place. I personally can’t wait to get back there. Frank DeMarco is one of the wonderfully wise and witty characters one might meet if they venture to the Institute and its surrounding community.

I’m Allergic is Missy Harris‘s first childrens’ book and hopefully not the last. It is a charming book for both those kids with allergies and their young friends who don’t understand what the concept means. I believe that the book provides a great service in telling children who don’t suffer with allergies what happens in the experience of those that do.

All the other books mentioned here have been published in 2008. I feel compelled to mention another book, The Lure of The Edge by Brenda Denzler, published in 2001 but which I only found out about in November of 2008. Finding it was a very serendipidous synchonicity. I was browsing a library catalog for intelligently written books about UFOs when I saw Brenda’s very familiar name. Could it be the very same person with whom I’d been corresponding on an internet listseve about other subjects? Indeed it was.  It is written very thoughtfully on an extremely charged subject and it deals with, among other things,  the onus that falls on many professionals who entertain the reality of UFOs and the unwillingness of much of the scientific community to look further into the UFO mystery.

News item: It is projected that the USA will have 700,000 to one million fewer home owners when George W. Bush leaves office in January of 2009 than when he took office in 2001. Short Book review: Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience by Stanton T. Friedman and Kathleen Marden This book, published this year (2007) is an extraordinarily in-depth look at the UFO experience of an American couple in 1961. Kathleen Marden is the niece of Betty Hill and trustee of her estate. Stanton Friedman is a well known and intrepid ufologist. I had been more or less aware of the Hill’s story previous to reading this book, but the book leaves no stone unturned and all details are explored. I feel that I really understand this historic milestone in UFO history since reading it. For some readers it will be too detailed. For those who have seen something truly unidentified in the sky, it is a must read. What I am impressed with is the sincerity of the authors and the painstaking documentation of the information relating to the case. Whether you are an experiencer or not, you will come away from this book with the impression that without a doubt the Hills, Friedman, and Marden believe this account of alien abduction and are authentic in this presentation of the information.

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