by John Chambers
Throughout history, many famous men and women have had encounters with the supernatural-what we would today call the paranormal. In most cases, they have kept quiet about these encounters, fearing persecution or death. Often, they have hidden away accounts of their experiences.
Over the past 70 years, as organized religion has bit by bit loosened its hold on the Western world, these secret records have begun to come to light. In The Secret Life of Genius: How 24 Great Men and Women Were Touched by Spiritual Worlds, author John Chambers makes extensive use of these sometimes astonishing documents. They include:
· The transcripts of the 100+ séances attended by Victor Hugo (1802-1885), his family, and his friends, while the author of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was in political exile on the Channel island of Jersey;
· The Red Book by Carl G. Jung (1875-1961), first published in autumn 2009, which describes the psychic and spiritual experiments Jung carried out in private on himself. The Secret Life of Genius examines the sections of this work Jung included in his 1962 autobiography;
· The 3.5 million words Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) wrote on biblical interpretation, Christian history, comparative mythology and alchemy even as he was putting together the Principia Mathematica. These sensational writings, heretical in Newton’s time, have been gradually coming to light only since 1937;
· The complete 2,000-page text of the transcripts of the “automatic writing” seances conducted by Irish poet W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), with his wife Georgie, in 1917-1920. These enigmatic transcripts-a tiny portion of which were brought out in 1925 as A Vision-were published, in their entirety, in three volumes, as The Vision Papers, by a group of scholars at the University of Florida, only in 1992.
Many of these documents, taken together, affirm that we live in a universe suffused throughout with conscious energy-with soul. There are hints of still-undisclosed documents in the life and work of other famous historical figures, such as Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Michel de Nostradamus, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells, among others; The Secret Life of Genius tries to trace these hints to the source and find out its contents.
The Secret Life of Genius begins with the assumption that the collapse in 1620 of Prague, then the capital of occult, astro-magical learning in Europe, is emblematic of the triumph and development of the more scientific and technological worldview that shaped our society into what it is today. The book asserts that the magical and occult world revealed in the hitherto-hidden documents of many of the 24 men and women described in its pages offers us a glimpse of an alternate world that could still be ours. It is a world that, though overshadowed by modern scientific/technological principles, can still be glimpsed, on the horizon, in the lightning flashes of the paranormal-and in the secret writings, now surfacing, of a distinguished group of men and women going back through the centuries.
ISBN-13: 978-1-59477-272-6 / ISBN-10: 1-59477-272-X. Quality Paperback. July 1, 2009. 6’x 9′. 336 pp. 24 b&w illustrations. Imprint: Destiny Books. Inner Traditions/Bear & Co., P.O. Box 388, Rochester, VT 05767. 1-800-246-8648 / (802) 767-3174, Fax: (802) 767-3726, , $18.95.