Despite being sullied by frauds and dismissed by sceptics, the paranormal has exerted a strange fascination over humankind for centuries. In Seriously Strange, the second volume in the ‘Boundaries of Consciousness’ series edited by Sudhir Kakar and Jeffrey D. Kripal, a group of nine intellectuals come together to shed light on some of the most baffling experiences on record—psychical experiences.
Through these illuminating essays, they tell us how such extraordinary events can be decoded and interpreted to become the object of rigorous scientific study. The range is wide: from essays that reveal how Freud and Jung engaged with the notion of the paranormal to a provocative and humorous memoir of a physicist who spent over a decade running a secret psychic spying programme for the US government during the Cold War; from heartfelt accounts by practising psychiatrists who recount the dramatic effects of the anomalous in their healing practice to a learned call for the renewal of professional parapsychology in the light of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras.
By telling their own stories and exploring some of the implications of their work, these men and women map the mind-bending geography of the human psyche and the spectrum of experiences—love and death, desire and sex, hurt and healing, myth and magic—that influence it.
Penguin Books India
15 Jul 2012