Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, February 2017
by: Brent Raynes
Initiation, Secret Chambers, and the Quest for the Otherworld
by Freddy Silva
One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767
2014, 2017, 288 pages, 6 x 9 Paperback, US $18.95
134 b&w illustrations
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
The Lost Art of Resurrection pulls back the curtain of the distant past and reveals long forgotten and hidden ancient secrets going back more than two thousands years before the Biblical description of the resurrection of Jesus. In a sweeping, fascinating, and thorough style of historical documentation, author Freddy Silva takes the reader on an incredible journey through time, introducing us to what he calls the “living resurrection,” an ancient practice that sprang up in many surprisingly similar versions throughout the ancient world of the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Persians, Eastern Indians, Japanese, Chinese, the Celtics, and the Native American Indians.
The ancient Gnostics claimed that “raising the dead” was not to be taken literally. The Gnostic Gospel of Philip declared: “Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.” Philip called fundamental Christianity “the faith of fools.”
Living resurrection, also referred to as “the Mysteries” and “the Knowledge,” was about undergoing initiations designed to acquire special knowledge about the spirit world beyond. The initiates would go into isolation, often a dark cave or a chamber, to be guided with detailed instructions on entering a meditative, altered state of consciousness, many times given some sort of hallucinogen that altogether helped to simulate a near-death/afterlife experience, after which the initiate returned a better person and convinced of the existence of immortality; the classic staging for a simulated transformative death and rebirth experience.
However, if you think Silva is describing mere delusional tricks of the mind alone brought on by techniques of isolation in a dark space, at a site that is a geomagnetic hot spot, during early morning hours like 3 and 4 a.m. when alterations in the GMF (geomagnetic field) occur, significantly influencing the chemistry of the pineal gland with a release of melatonin and seratonin, potentially creating visionary/out-of-body type perceptions, not to mention the frequent use of hallucinagens [all aspects he describes), then you should think again. In Chapter 11, Inside the Great Pyramid and into the Otherworld, Silva describes a very powerful spiritual experience that he himself, along with three other men, had while in the King's Chamber of Egypt's Great Pyramid during a time when the lights unexpectedly went out. Finding themselves in this sacred space in total darkness and silence, they decided to do some toning. In a short time, Silva wrote, from out of the granite walls of their enclosure appeared a group of tall people dressed in white silk who encirled them. They bowed their heads in their direction and Silva recalled how he bowed his in return. He stated that it felt like a reunion with a long lost family. As soon as they stopped toning, the two dim lights came back on and the mysterious tall beings were gone.
Silva later came across the account of a journalist named Paul Brunton who some 70 years before Silva's experience had claimed that he was in a dark chamber of the Great Pyramid when he encountered and communicated with two tall men in white robes, surrounded in a mysterious illumination.
Trying to figure out the identity of these supernatural beings, Silva learned that the Edfu Building Texts described a prehistoric race of semi-divine beings known as the Aku Shemsu Hor, who were credited with bringing civilized arts and sciences to Egypt. They were allegedly as tall as approximately 15 feet, had elongated, elegant heads, and wore long, white garments. Also known as the Watchers, they were also described in the Book of Enoch as “men in white.”
Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon
by Ryan Sprague
Publisher: Richard Dolan Press (October 7, 2016)
Paperback, 6" x 9"
Reviewed by Robert A. Goerman
Somewhere in the Skies: A Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon by Ryan Sprague is not your grandfather's UFO paperback. Sprague wonders and writes, "What are the human implications to these possible alien phenomena? Those who have had sightings, encounters, and even abductions, are unarguably changed. These implications often go ignored when dealing with the phenomenon in a strictly point-by-point, fact-by-fact basis. We often brush aside the individual, focusing solely on the what, where, and when, rather than the who and why. My hopes are to change that."
To this end, Ryan Sprague hits the ground running.
The first five chapters are electrifying. Ominous black triangles, chevrons, and orbs have replaced yesterday's flying saucers. The thirty-something Sprague begins with the catalyst of his own flying triangle sighting one night in 1995 along the Saint Lawrence River when he was twelve years old. The incident terrified him and triggered the UFO obsession that burns within him today. Page after page details how these encounters with the unknown, always dramatic, sometimes traumatic, have influenced the witnesses. Sprague's storytelling genius draws the reader in. His writing holds its own against the best of the best.
In "Chapter Six: A Phantom War," Sprague switches gears and rejoices over the cautious addition of scientists and scientific instrumentation to UFO research. Science today can barely decipher our linear time/matter prison that we call "reality." Historical precedent shows that recording devices and instruments often fail or malfunction in the presence of paranormal phenomena. Excuse me if I do not share his enthusiasm.
"Chapter Seven: In A Cornfield" not only beautifully illustrates the absolute futility of instrumentation at the scene of an Active Paranormal Event, it shows what happens when you have the wrong "boots on the ground" in the right place at the right time. Running away is not investigating. It is running away. Professionals do not flee the paranormal Ground Zero like hysterical adolescents. Real investigators observe and record. This was the wasted opportunity of a lifetime! The entity stood before them. We can forgive, but not forget.
The next five chapters deal with the effects of so-called "alien" abductions on the abductees. Sprague refers to these abductions in his conclusions when he writes that, "If the experiences in this book are happening in the reality we can see, smell, hear, and touch, then we are dealing with extremely advanced intelligences that are able to make contact with us in ways we can only imagine. They have the ability to appear out of thin air and pierce through the walls of our homes and even our minds. Afterward, they leave almost no trace other than fragmented memories, begging many questions as to why they are doing this and what they may be capable of."
This reviewer created the Nonhuman Intruder Project in 2013. Men, women, and children worldwide have experienced "accidental awareness" and awakened to the presence of paranormal prowlers in their homes. These are easily differentiated from hallucinations of Awareness during Sleep Paralysis or ASP. These encounters end when the home invaders exit through walls or vanish in plain sight or the witness is compelled to sleep.
My only complaint with this book is the ever-present inference that UFOs are extraterrestrial spacecraft piloted by aliens who originate from some other planet in our known universe. This may or may not be the case. Many researchers have long ago shelved the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis as the least likely explanation for this mystery.
Somewhere in the Skies leaves the reader hungry for more. I look forward to the further adventures of Ryan Sprague.
The Complete Guide to Histories, Rites, and Rituals
by Nick Redfern
Visible Ink Press
43311 Joy Road #414
Canton, MI 48187-2075
448 pages, 140 B&W Photos and Illustrations
March 2017, 7.125” x 9.25”, US $19.95
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
Be it the Illuminati, Freemasonry, MK Ultra, the Skull and Bones, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Knights Templar, Ku Klux Klan, the Montauk Project, and close to a couple hundred other different groups, cults, religious movements, governmental agencies, and personalities with backgrounds that could be described variously as subversive, menacing, and manipulative. Redfern doesn't just delve into notorious human generated mayhem, misdirection, and manipulation either, but includes possible Otherworld influences like the Muslim Djinn, who a well-known British ufologist (editor of the popular and respected Flying Saucer Review) came to believe was the true intelligence behind the perplexing UFO phenomenon, while a secret U.S. Government think tank type group known as Collins Elite, created to investigate UFOs, concluded themselves that instead of being extraterrestrial the intelligence behind it was demonic. And, if that's not bad enough for the ufologist, there is a section entitled “UFO Assassins,” presenting evidence that sometimes when people get too close to the truth about UFOs, a secret cabal of assassins may enter the picture.
In a section entitled “Loch Ness Dragon Cult,” Redfern describes how a dedicated Nessie researcher named Frederick “Ted” Holiday was shocked back in 1969 to uncover clues that a secret dragon cult, that included rumors of human sacrifice, had allegedly tried to conjure supernatural serpents from Loch Ness. In fact, a local hunting lodge, known as Boleskine House, had once been owned by the notorious occultist Aleister Crowley.
Of course, there's plenty of the human variety involved in dark activities, for those who prefer to leave out supernatural explanations, like questions surrounding the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, and others, and riveting details on so many odd and shady secret societies, occult groups, unusual personalities, and as with the section on Heaven's Gate, cases that well illustrate the dangers of lacking discernment and being careful with whom you hang out with.
Plus much, much more. A fascinating compendium to the shadowy and mystery laden world of secret societies.
by John Klann
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
4880 Lower Valley Road
Atglen, PA 19310
2016, 143 pages, 6 x 9, US $16.99
Reviewed by Brent Raynes
“Skeleton Keys” details ten spine tingling firsthand accounts of individuals who unexpectedly came to face paranormal activity in the place where they worked. There's the story of Sara who works in a old brewery restaurant; a real estate agent named Tom who tries to sell a haunted house, again and again without success; a real estate agent who refused to take any more clients to one very creepy home; proprietors of a bed and breakfast where objects would mysteriously disappear and unaccountably reappear later in different locations; paranormal incidents like the apparition of a lady in white, ghostly singing, the apparition of a tall, broad-shouldered man wearing a long, tattered overcoat, a tiny clear sphere moving in a perfectly straight line and at a steady speed through an allegedly haunted hotel, and other unexplained and creepy supernatural occurrences.