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EXPLORING THE UNKNOWN
Overviews, Introductions & Surveys
of Occult, Esoteric, New Age, Mythic, Religious,
Paranormal, Spiritual, Metaphysical, & Mystical Subjects

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The Fringes of Reason:  A Whole Earth Catalog

The Fringes of Reason:  A Whole Earth Catalog
edited by Ted Schultz

Harmony Books, 1988, 224 pp.

"This book is a field guide to New Age frontiers, unusual beliefs and eccentric sciences. From unexplained phenomena to mysteries of the mind, from genuine enigmas to amusing hoaxes, The Fringes of Reason presents all sides of the story from the experts in each field, ranging from true believers, to hard-nosed skeptics."

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Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal

Explaining the Unexplained: Mysteries of the Paranormal
by Hans J. Eysenck and Carl Sargent

Prion, 1997, 274 pp.

"The paranormal is a puzzle in which the pieces are telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, dreams, poltergeists, metal-bending, machine PK, physical mediumship, faith healing, out-of-the-body experiences, near-death experiences, mental mediumship, apparitions, reincarnation....How solid these puzzle pieces are and how they fit together is the theme of this fascinating book."

"This is a popular survey and overview of the paranormal written by a psychologist and parapsychologist."

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Exploring Reincarnation: The Classic Guide to the Evidence for Past-Life Experiences

Exploring Reincarnation: The Classic Guide to the Evidence for Past-Life Experiences
by Hans TenDam

“[Exploring Reincarnation is] the great definitive work on reincarnation; it is hard to imagine it ever being superceded.” Colin Wilson.

"[Here is] the best and most complete book about reincarnation on the book market nowadays. This is the encyclopedia of knowledge on this subject."

"Exploring Reincarnation examines the full range of explanations for past–life recall. This definitive study includes case histories from around the world, as well as intriguing theories about the relationship between body and soul — from general social beliefs about past lives to detailed questions about karma and past–life regression therapy. An outstanding introduction to reincarnation from a historical, scientific, and philosophical point of view".

See the detailed Table of Contents to see the comprehensive nature of this work.

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Illustrated Dictionary of Religions Illustrated Dictionary of Religions
by Philip Wilkinson

"Illustrated it is. A dictionary, not exactly. Only the glossary, index, and bibliography are alphabetically arranged. Instead, this is an illustrated guide. The introduction defines religion, identifies common themes (foundational stories, ethics) and concepts (sacred places, ritual), and discusses the general relationship between religion and society. Aside from two chapters on ancient and primal religions and one on "new religions," the bulk of the book covers major world religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."

"Illustrated Dictionary of Religions uses over 700 full-color illustrations and clear text to explain, identify, and compare the major religions of the world.  The dictionary contains more than 1,000 entries and features double-page spreads on major figures and key events."

"In this new DK offering, the photos jump off the page. Following an introductory section that discusses what religion is and what role it plays in society, content is divided into chapters covering the major religious traditions. There are also sections on ancient and primal religions and on new religions. Occultism, the New Age Movement, and the Moonies are mentioned here. Each chapter is divided into a series of two-page spreads that highlight various aspects of the tradition. Throughout the text, a wealth of illustrations depicts religious practice and artifacts and representations of religion in art."

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Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology

Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology
by Philip Wilkinson

DK Publishing, 1998, 128 pp.

"The Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology covers more than the usual Greek and Roman pantheons, revealing the mythos of major cultures from around the globe--Japan, North America, India and Australia, just to name a few. Divided into geographic regions, every page is packed with descriptions of deities and their exploits, and accompanied by vivid paintings, drawings, and full-color photographs of powerful artifacts that forge a tangible link to the myths and their culture. This DK book makes an excellent starting point for learning about the mythologies of the world."

"Organized by geographic region and with characters from the same stories and episodes grouped together, this book is an excellent reference tool for mythology experts as well as beginners. Legendary heroes appear together with their adversaries to set each myth in context, as do gods and goddesses of the underworld and mythical beasts. Over 2,000 specially commissioned artworks, authentic artifacts, and famous paintings."

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The Secret Teachings of All Ages:  Reader's Edition The Secret Teachings of All Ages:  Reader's Edition
by Manly P. Hall

Tarcher, 2003, 768 pp.

"In 1928, a 20-something Renaissance man named Manly P. Hall self-published a vast encyclopedia of the occult, believing that 'modern' ideas of progress and materialism were displacing more important and ancient modes of knowledge. Hall's text has become a classic reference, dizzying in its breadth: various chapters explore Rosicrucianism, Kabbalah, alchemy, cryptology, Tarot, pyramids, the Zodiac, Pythagorean philosophy, Masonry and gemology, among other topics. Readers will marvel at the sheer scope of Hall's research and imagination, and at J. Augustus Knapp's famous illustrations."

"The original edition features fifty-four color plates by the artist Knapp and more than two hundred line drawings.  This edition includes some of the finest of the colored plates and approximately one hundred of the most pertinent line drawings."

"Simply put, this is the one of the most beautiful and complete occult book ever published. It represents a lifetime of research into the mythology, symbolism, and magical practices of countless cultures. From the secrets of Isis to the teachings of mystic Christianity, nearly every occult teaching imaginable is represented here. This is the definitive guide to secret societies, famous figures, and more."

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New Age Almanac

New Age Almanac
by J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark, and Aidan A. Kelly

Visible Ink Press, 1991, 479 pp.

"While a product of the occult--psychic--metaphysical movements which preceded it, New Age concepts have in turn permeated the entire metaphysical field and have moved beyond it to include the vast domain of alternative medicine and even political concerns. The New Age Almanac surveys the New Age panorama providing an understanding of the entire movement.  This almanac offers an historical, cultural and social record of the New Age.  The text traces the origins of the New Age from 1875 to the present in a concise, easy-to-read format." 

"In eight chapters the authors describe hundreds of New Age topics, movements, institutions, and personalities.The almanac provides a balanced, objective, and comprehensive overview of the New Age Movement as well as information about its many ideological and structural components and major leaders.   The Almanac brings together the diverse elements of the movement for the first time, providing readers with a convenient and authoritative source for information on the New Age."

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Vanished Civilizations Vanished Civilizations:  The Hidden Secrets of Lost Cities and Forgotten Peoples
by Reader's Digest editors

Reader's Digest, 2002, 320 pp.

"Eons before the glory of Greece, men and women around the globe erected towering structures, created magnificent art, devised ingenious inventions and lived civilized lives. Vanished Civilizations brings long forgotten communities and their amazing accomplishments again to life -- with vivid immediacy and richly intimate insights."

"Exotic cultures, strange customs and astounding achievements come alive in this epic tour of 40 truly awesome ancient cities.  More than 370 full-color illustrations, photographs, detailed maps, specially commissioned reconstructions and photographs of artifacts highlight an intriguing look at some of the world's long-lost civilizations, taking a close-up look at each culture's artifacts and efforts of archaeologists to reconstruct these complex societies--including Catal Huyuk, Mycenae, Babylon, Pataliputra, and others."

"A sampling of ancient ruins, this book presents each vanished civilization in introductory fashion. As a gateway to the wider vistas of archaeology, it touches on the field's basic concepts and timelines but serves mainly to visually excite interest in the societies that built ziggurats, aqueducts, pyramids, and temples. All continents are represented, and although some sites are typical for an album of wonders-that-were (Angkor Wat, Mycenae, Pompeii), many are off the beaten path. Instead of picking Athens to represent ancient Greece, the editors selected the island of Delos; instead of choosing Machu Picchu to stand in for the Incan empire, they decided to include two cultures the Incas either succeeded (the Mocha) or outright conquered (the Chimu). Several pages are devoted to each site, including descriptions of setting, initial excavations, significant artifacts, etc. Within each visual framework is basic information about a site and its parent society."

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See also the following related books of interest:
Sacred Traditions, Art and Cosmology: The "Art and Imagination" Series


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