Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures, 7-11


I. Epistemologies

7. Paranormal Science in Italy

Andrea Molle & Christopher D. Bader


pp. 121 & 131 non-fiction television-show-series about the paranormal

p. 121

"US citizens {read "residents"} of the 1970s and 1980s who desired 'non-fiction' [television] paranormal content were limited to in Search of ... (1976-1982), Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World (1980) ... . In the 2011, ... 28 distinct paranormal television shows aired new episodes, ranging from ... Ghost Hunters (2004-) to The Haunted (2009-)".

p. 131

"recently developed Italian television shows devoted to the paranormal have have {included} ... Stargate -- Linea di confine (1999-2008), Voyager -- Ai confini della conoscenza (2003-), and Mistero (2009-) provide American-style dramatic ... paranormal".

p. 131, fn. 6

"Other examples are Presenze (2005-2007, format Most Haunted) and Top Secret (2002-)."

p. 131 spiritism in Italy

"Italy was greatly influenced by the visit of the famous medium Daniel Douglas Home in 1855. In the wake of Home's well-publicized tour of Italian cities, a number of Spiritualist societies were formed ..., and by 1870 there were more than a hundred Spiritualist societies operating in different parts of the country ... .

A famous Italian spiritist, Gustavo Adolpho Rol, became well known in European aristocratic ... circles, engaging in demonstrations of his ... powers, including telepathy and clairvoyance".

p. 132 ghost-hunting tours in Italy

"the flamboyant and eccentric Mago Otelmo ... operates in the city of Genoa, which has proven to be a hotbed of paranormal activity in Italy.

Another Genoese paranormal operator, Mago Alex, ... has helped spread ... ghost tours across Italy. ...

The 'l'Italia dei Fantasmi, Centro di ricera per lo studio, la ricera e la classificazione dei fenomeni apparizionali in Italia' (Research Centre and Archive of Ghostly Phenomena in Italy) lists h[a]unted places in each Italian province."

p. 135 Eugenio Siragusa

"Sirgusa ... at the foot of Mount Etna ... was approached by two strange, glowing beings ... extraterrestrials visiting Earth ... . ...

{Perhaps Empedoklees had been visited by the same extraterrestrials on the same mountain.}

If mankind would follow these imperatives {for disarming atomic-nuclear weapons}, the aliens told Siragusa, they would appear openly to the world and bestow science and technology that would lead to paradise on earth ... . Siragusa ... In the 1950s ... founded the first Italian UFOlogical group, the Centro Studi Fratellanza Cosmica (Centre for Studies Cosmic Brotherhood), which also published the first Italian UFOlogical magazine : NonSiamoSoli (WeAreNotAlone)".

pp. 135-6 Pier Fortunato Zanfretta

p. 135

"1978 ... Zanfretta ... saw ... a large, triangular object ascend ..., which produced a hissing sound and intense heat. ...

Between 1978 and 1981, Zanfretta ... had close encounters with alien beings on 11 occasions. During these later encounters, Zanfretta ... would be taken aboard the flying saucers ..., and returned with his memory erased ... .

p. 136

... Zanfretta recovered memories of his time aboard the alien spacecraft [by] using hypnosis."

p. 136 ongoing popularity of flying saucers in Italy

"UFOs remain popular in Italy, with several monthly magazines and books published every year, and at least twenty active UFOlogical organizations ... . ... As Italian UFO subculture developed, ... with reports of Greys, Reptilians and Mantids becoming popular in Italy".


I. Epistemologies

8. Platonic Context

Angela Voss


p. 139 upsurge of academic acceptance of the paranormal

"Judging by the number academic conferences, research centres and publications now focused on 'paranormal' experiences, it is clear that there is both an upsurge in scholarly in this challenging field and a wide varity of methodologies harnessed to address it. From psychical research and parapsychology, ... and experiential frameworks based on participator observation, a vast range of extraordinary and anomalous phenomena is open to investigation by all".

pp. 139-40 modern persecution by irrational "positivism" of noe:tic cognition and of revelatory illumination

p. 139

"Platonism has been denounced by

the positivistic strand of twentieth-century philosophy and science, ... mainly because it champions the potential of noetic cognition ... .

{So-called "Positivism" is mere capitalist-stooge-hireling hypocritical posturing intended to impede the progress of intelligent beings living in the material-plane toward universal communist communion with supernaturals abiding in the subtle-planes-of-existence.}

However, [mystic] writers ... call for scholars to intelligently explore hidden dimensions of experience through building bridges between the public

p. 140

discourses ... and the private ones of authentic anomalous experience".

p. 140 Platonist suprarational teleology

"Within his dialogues, Plato combines dialectic ... in order to articulate the complementary roles of rational analysis and revelatory illumination within a scheme of human knowledge that is teleological -- that is,

progressive in terms of the education and consciousness of the human being.

{It is implied, or course, that non-teleological materialists must (if their actions are in any way consistent with their avowed philosophy) be entirely regressive in terms of education and of consciousness.}

The most effective methods for examining ... phenomena might extend beyond

empiricism {of material objects only?!}

{Because our entire sense-experience is immaterial, our genuine "empiricism" can only be purely immaterial.}

and {so-called} objectivity

{Because all our experience is entirely subjective, there is no conceivable way that we could establish anything as "objective".}

to incorporate the suprarational cognitive faculties recognised by Platonic epistemology, which include ... the intuitive intellect."

p. 140 disorder or order? what is "unreal"?

"the twenty-first-century researcher can no longer assume the ultimate truth of a divinely ordered cosmos,

{By the same token, however, a research cannot rationally simply assume (as all materialists do) a crudely disordered, or (aequivalently) a purposeless and a meaningless universe.}

nor can he or she simply make naive claims for paranormal experiences as 'real'."

{The same token, neither can he or she simply make nai:ve claims for experience of any material universe as "real".}

{Because our experience is itself wholly mental (not in any way material), there is no way whereby it could even conceivably establish the existence of anything material; whereas the mental nature of experience must rendre it the perfect instrument for reliably establishing the real existence of mental, psychic, spiritual, and other subtle planes-of-existence. [written Aug 7 2014]}

pp. 140-1 Immanuel Kant's fundamental error

p. 140

"Kant's ... work ... to establish the impossibility of attaining objective knowledge of the spirit world."

{The only imagery praesented to, or praesent in, our consciousness is mental/spiritual; hence our consciousness can never attain to awareness of any material world; whereas we have every possibility of attaining spiritual knowledge as certifiable truth from the spirit-worlds.}

p. 141

"Kant relegates the entire realm of ... spiritual knowledge to 'negative epistemology' -- that is, to the ultimately unknowable ... .

{In actuality, it is the entire realm of materialist so-called "knowledge" that must be relegated to "negative epistemology", that is, to the ultimately unknowable. Existence of a material universe is merest conjecture, and with neither rational nor empirical basis.}

Even more worrrying for Kant is the tendency to assume knowledge of spiritual matters by concocting fantasies and false or deluded interpretations, which he calls 'surreptitious concepts'".

{In actuality, even more worrying is the tendency to assume knowledge of a material universe by concocting phantasies and false or deluded interpretations, which we call "surreptitious concepts".}

p. 141 need (according to the authoress A.V.) to "turn away from sense perception and quantitative analysis" in order to understand divine reality

"the radically 'other' dimension of spiritual or divine reality is indeed knowable. Such knowledge requires a 'turn' away from sense perception and quantitative analysis to another mode".

{Much direct praesentation to the mind of the contents of divine worlds (i.e., of dreams and trance-visions) assume the guise of sense-perceptions (seeing and hearing in dreams), with rather a quantitative aspect (angles subtended in relative positions of objects observed in dreams). Besides these sensory and sensory-quantitative details, there are, however, also effects on the sentiments (which are also fairly quantitative in their own effects, however) as experienced in dreams, and therethrough on our metaphysics of collective-universal ethics.}

p. 141 perverted metaphysics : ontological inversion

"In severing rational thinking from these 'praeter-rational' roots ..., what were once seen as the higher faculties of the soul have become subverted

{Such subversion of the faculties of the soul is, of course, due to soulless capitalism, which darkened the consciousness with its deliberately misnamed "Enlightenment".}

in what Joseph Milne has termed the 'ontological inversion' of Enlightenment (Milne 2002:5)."

Milne 2002 = Joseph Milne : "Providence, Time and Destiny".

p. 142 S.ufi self-evidence of certitude

"[There is a true] function of the symbolic in revealing an order of being that has an ontological verity beyond the remit of reason -- a verity that in the S[.]ufi branch of neoplatonism is called 'realisation', in that it carries with it the self-evidence of certainty and as such cannot be undermined {nor even understood?} by those who have not tasted it (Chittick 2007:2-3, 23-5)."

Chittick 2007 = W. Chittick : Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. Oxford : One World Publ.

pp. 142-3 [quoted from Needleman 1975, p. 17 concentric sphaires of conscious energy

p. 142

"The spheres which encompass the earth in the cosmological schemes of antiquity ... represent levels of conscious energy and

{These are macrocosmic aequivalents, sensed by the planetary elemental spirits, to the concentric layers of maya-kos`a-s which surround the microcosmic atman.}

and purpose which which "surround" the earth" ... in this understanding, the earth is inextricably enmeshed in a network of

{Because materialism is in denial of all possible purpose (and of all possible meaning), these concentric layers of purpose and of intent therefore cannot be likened to anything in the material universe, which, according the dogmata of doctrinaire materialism, can have no intent.}

p. 143

purposes, a ladder or hierarchy of intentions."

Needleman 1975 = J. Needleman : A Sense of Cosmos : the Encounter of Modern Science with Ancient Truth. NY : Doubleday.

p. 143 according to the Timaios {a book of Pythagorean provenience, which was recommended by Platon and adopted by his successors, so as to supplement his otherwise quite meagre cosmology}

"In [Timaios] (29c-43d), the human soul is created from the same substance {"consubstantial with", later a point of Christian creeds, though misapplied by Christians to a particular person rather than to all souls} as the world soul, which is primary,

{Likewise, beginning with the, the atman is regarded as self-generated, arising by emergence from out of the brahman.}

indestructible and unchangible and unchanging;

{Likewise, beginning with the, the atman is regarded as indestructible and changeless, alike to brahman.}

it is generated by the supreme intelligence, the active principle of the One or source of all being.

{"Only the One and {Universal} Mind exist in reality ... -- ... an ontological distinction that parallels the Advaitic distinction between nirgun.a and sagun.a brahman." (ShATh, pp. 585-6)}

However, upon descent into the material world and embodied existence, the soul loses its original purity ... .

{"The bodily nature ... is added on to the original true Mind nature of the self, as avidya is added on in Vedanta." (ShATh, p. 563)}

It is the purpose of the Platonic ... education to re-align the soul to its original condition through awakening in it the memory of its original immortal condition".

{"as in the Vedanta, the return to one's own true nature is ... a kind of recollection or realization." (ShATh, p. 564)}

ShATh = Thomas McEvilley : The Shape of Ancient Thought : Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies. Allworth Pr, NY, 2002.


I. Epistemologies

9. Everyday Ghosts

Abby Day


p. 150 participation in relationship with spiritual worlds

"Le'vy-Bruhl ... described as a 'law of participation' (1926:76) ... where 'pre-logical' thinking dissolved distinctions between the material world and the spiritual worlds and all interactions are ... perceived as relational. Even people in contemporary societies, he added, are also ... 'pre-logical' as they seek ... total participation. ... Luhrmann ([1989]) points out that Le'vy-Bruhl's ... interconnection is at the core of many contemporary spiritualist and witchcraft beliefs -- which are deeply relational."

"A. Irving Hallowell's (1960) fieldwork on the Ojibwa ... concluded that their lives and understandings centred in relationships with persons ... other than human. ...

Nurit Bird-David (1999) studied the Nayaka people of southern India in the 1970s and 1980s and found similar beliefs about relationships, which she described ... .

More recently, Harvey (2005) provides an excellent overview of those and related theories and continues the theme of continuing relationships with ... those other than human."

"As Wood ([2007]) observed, ... spiritual experiences ... in certain forms of 'new age' spirituality, are in practice often deeply rooted in social and particularly kinship networks."

Le'vy-Bruhl 1926 = L. Le'vy-Bruhl : How Natives Think. London : George Allen & Unwin.

Luhrmann 1989 = Tanya M. Luhrmann : Persuasions of the Witch's Craft. Cambridge (MA) : Harvard Univ Pr.

Hallowell 1960 = A. Irving Hallowell : "Ojibwa Ontology, Behavior, and World View". In :- Stanley Diamond (ed.) : Culture in History : Essays in Honor of Paul Radin. NY : Columbia Univ Pr. pp. 19-52.

Bird-David 1999 = Nurit Bird-David : "'Animism' Revisited : ... Relational Epistemology". CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 40:67-92.

Harvey 2005 = Graham Harvey : Animism : Respecting the Living World. London : C. Hurst & Co; NY : Columbia Univ Pr; Kent Town (So. Australia) : Wakefield Pr.

Wood 2007 = Matthew Wood : Possession, Power and the New Age : Ambiguities of Authority in Neoliberal Societies. Aldershot : Ashgate. [Date stated in the text as "2004" : this was the date of Matthew Wood : The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism.]

{The term "prae-logical" would tend to imply "accepted as as postulate (premiss) prior to commencing a process of propositional deduction/proof"; it is necessary as a praeliminary before beginning any deducing or proving, whether in mathematics or in other system of reasoning. It is especially essential (and often quite elaborate) in systematic logic of ethics.}


I. Epistemologies

10. Appearance of Ghosts

Paul Cowdell


p. 160 literature on experiencing of ghosts

"Professor Richard Wiseman's Science of Ghosts blog" :

fn. 3 "There is a wide ... literature on ... ghosts specifically : some useful starting points are Davidson and Russell 1981, Goldstein, Grider and Thomas 2007".

Davidson & Russell 1981 = H. R. Ellis Davidson & W. M. S. Russell (edd.) : The Folklore of Ghosts. MISTLETOE SERIES, Vol. 15. Cambridge : D. S. Brewster.

Goldstein; Grider; & Thomas 2007 = D. E. Goldstein; S. A. Grider; & J. B. Thomas : Haunting Experiences. Logan : Univ of UT Pr.

p. 168 variation of appearances

"some ghosts are pale (or dark) ..., but not all of them.

Some appear in their own clothes, some do not."


I. Epistemologies

11. Death and the Afterlife

Diane Dobry


p. 171 a forbidden topic

"Discussion of death in the USA has become something to avoid (see Becker 1973, Arie`s 1975, Kearl 1989, Wass and Nemeyer 1995),

to the point that old age and the personal realization of death's inevitability are frequently denied or disregarded. ...

{The hypocrisy wherewith the wishes and intentions of the general population in this regard are suppressed by command of a despotic ruling-class, is something not short of astounding.}

Dying patients were often expected to ignore their fate and fears

{If they were allowed (which they are not) to describe their own expectation of forthcoming afterlife experiences, it would all-too-often be in terms which blatantly contradict the capitalist-enforced atheist materialism dominant now-a-days.}

in order to maintain social decorum."

{The "social decorum" alluded to is, of course, that of hypocritical atheistic materialism which, though generally hated by the populace, is enforced with brutality by the class-enemy.}

Becker 1973 = Ernest Becker : The Denial of Death. NY : Free Pr.

Arie`s 1975 = P. Arie`s : "Changes in Attitudes Toward Death in Western Societies". In :- D. E. Stannard (ed.) : Death in America. Philadelphia : Univ of PA Pr. pp. 134-58.

Kearl 1989 = Michael C. Kearl : Endings : ... Death and Dying. Oxford Univ Pr.

Wass & Nemeyer 1995 = H. Wass & R. A. Nemeyer : Dying : Facing the Facts. 3rd edn. Taylor & Francis. {1st edn by Hannelore Wass.Washington : Hemisphere Publ Corp, 1979.}


Olu Jenzen & Sally R. Munt (editrices) : The Ashgate Research Companion to Paranormal Cultures. Ashgate Publ Ltd, Farnham (Surrey), 2013.