RealityTest's Opening Page

Time Travel -- the State of the Art:

Introduction

Arnold J. Toynbee -- Time Traveler

Mind Loosed from its Tether -- The Channelled H.G. Wells

Bringing the Body Along -- Physical Time Travel

The RealityTest Interviews

An Outline of the Future

Doorways

Old Pages (The Change)

Resources: Authors & Personalities

Joseph Campbell

Edward Gibbon

Heinrich Schliemann

Seth (and Jane Roberts)

Arnold J. Toynbee

H.G. Wells

Colin Wilson

Additional Resources

Consciousness

Controversial Histories

Controversial Histories: 9/11

Less Controversial Changed and Changing Histories

Dreams and Lucid Dreaming

Meditation

Psychical Research

Time

Welcome to RealityTest's continually growing Resources page.

RealityTest will draw on a great many sources of information as it explores its chosen areas of focus, sources chosen from Science, History, Philosophy, Religion, and other more difficult to define areas.

This section will contain a gradually growing collection of book titles, authors, links to relevant websites, and so on, both to acknowledge those sources from which it draws and to also provide readers with additional resources. As time permits, RealityTest will add commentary.

Creating plausible and succinct explanations for its chosen subject areas requires RealityTest to explore numerous regions of knowledge; we would not expect readers to simply accept our conclusions without first laying out a clear path through these regions. This is no simple task, however, and it is barely begun.

Elaborating such a clear path, no matter how well this is accomplished, will not suffice alone. No one, for example, will agree to the apparent nature of linear time (including the apparent continuity of memory) without actually glimpsing a very different view of time, directly.

RealityTest's use of channelling -- the acquisition of information, accomplished in a trance condition, from nonmaterial realms of consciousness -- presents similar challenges; many view such activities as suspect, being unfamiliar with them and lacking any awareness of those techniques which might enable a change of belief, or, at a minimum, an open mind regarding such activities.

Written resources and websites by themselves are insufficient for resolving this conundrum, as they tend to reinforce an egoic perspective of the nature of reality, and that tends to be far too restrictive for exploring those larger realms of identity and consciousness from which a very different understanding may arise.

Our task, then, is seemingly impossible; in addition to wielding impressive resources and charting a course through them, RealityTest must find ways to illuminate pathways to these larger realms. Such pathways have always existed, but tend to be peculiar to the time and place in which they were created.

Fortunately, any number of suitable techniques exist and these, too, comprise some of RealityTest's resources. Aside from the Seth books and books on meditation (see below), RealityTest's slowly growing Doorways section offers specific techniques and exercises while pointing to additional Internet resources.

Then, too, the Internet itself -- an exteriorization of inner processes peculiar to our own present probable mass reality -- offers more or less unexploited potential for entering larger regions of self and consciousness when used as an aid to group focusing. RealityTest will, in time, offer a guide to such activities, and the closely related area of psychic gestalten.

The Changing Nature of the Publishing Industry and the Distribution of Written Expression

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

In our time we have access to thousands of history books, the content of which is being continually updated in the light of changing thought currents and new discoveries. Seen from another perspective, however, all of these histories are probable variations created with all else -- including our memories of the "past" -- in the moment. From that perspective, myth takes on a new significance, and Joseph Campbell remains a master of myth.

"Throughout the inhabited world, in all times and under every circumstance, the myths of man have flourished; and they have been the living inspiration of whatever else may have appeared out of the activities of the human body and mind. It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth."

The above is from The Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell, Copyright © 1949 by Bollingen Foundation Inc.

Transformations of Myth Through Time (Thirteen lectures from a televised series), Copyright © 1990 by Mythology Limited.

Other titles will eventually be added. See also the website for the Joseph Campbell Foundation.

Edward Gibbon (1737-1794)

Gibbon's masterwork, The Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire, published in seven volumes between 1776 and 1788, is worth reading simply for experiencing Gibbon's superb prose, but also serves as an excellent resource for time travelers contemplating trips to probable variations of the Roman Empire. An experience in Rome in 1764 -- not so unlike some of Toynbee's "Time Pocket" experiences -- inspired Gibbon. See also Gibbon's Memoirs of My Life, Penguin Books edition, introduction and editorial material copyright © Betty Radice, 1984.

Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890)

Schliemann is a grand example of the romantic visionary, ignoring scoffing sceptics while questing for knowledge. Persisting in his belief that ancient tales and myths contain more than simply psychological truth, Schliemann discovered the location of Troy.

Finding the Walls of Troy: Frank Calvert and Heinrich Schliemann at Hisarlik Copyright © 1999 by the Regents of the University of California. Author: Susan Heuck Allen.

One Passion, Two Loves: The Story of Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann, Discoverers of Troy Copyright © 1966 by Lynn D. and Gray J. Poole.

Seth (and Jane Roberts, 1929-1984)

The Seth material, a body of information encompassing over thirty published books and additional unpublished material archived at Yale University, was channelled by Jane Roberts and is one of RealityTest's primary sources. Seth's optimistic and expansive teachings have inspired many over the years; the material is also embedded with exercises (see RealityTest's Doorways section for one example and a link to many more). Seth describes himself as an "energy personality essence no longer focused in physical form."

Jane Roberts describes the beginning of her Seth odyssey in the introduction to Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul:

"My psychic initiation really began one evening in September, 1963, however, as I sat writing poetry. Suddenly my consciousness left my body, and my mind was barraged by ideas that were astonishing and new to me at the time. On return to my body, I discovered that my hands had produced an automatic script, explaining many of the concepts that I'd been given. The notes were even titled -- The Physical Universe as Idea Construction.

Because of that experience, I began doing research into psychic activity, and planned a book on the project. In line with this, my husband, Rob, and I experimented with a Ouija board late in 1963. After the first few sessions, the pointer spelled out messages that claimed to come from a personality called Seth.

Neither Rob or I had any psychic background, and when I began to anticipate the board's replies, I took it for granted that they were coming from my subconscious. Not long after, however, I felt impelled to say the words aloud, and within a month I was speaking for Seth while in a trance state.

The messages seemed to begin where Idea Construction left off, and later Seth said that my expansion of consciousness experience had represented his first attempt at contact."

The Physical Universe as Idea Construction also marks the the first appearance of one of Seth's core concepts, reality creation, which runs like a river through the material. Reality creation is also a key component of RealityTest's view of physical time travel and will be explored at length in Bringing the Body Along -- Physical Time Travel.

A partial listing of books by both Seth and Jane Roberts (Robert F. Butts is Jane's husband) includes:

How to Develop Your ESP Power Copyright © 1966 by Jane Roberts.
The Seth Material Copyright © 1970 by Jane Roberts.
Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul Copyright © 1972 by Jane Roberts.

If you're new to Seth, Seth Speaks is an excellent place to start, as it was the first book conceived and dictated by Seth:

"Most of my readers are familiar with the term, 'muscle bound.' As a species you have grown 'ego bound' instead, held in a spiritual rigidity, with the intuitive portions of the self either denied or distorted beyond any recognition."
The Nature of Personal Reality Copyright © 1974 by Jane Roberts.
Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology Copyright © 1975 by Jane Roberts.
The "Unknown" Reality -- Volume One of a Seth Book Copyright © 1977 by Jane Roberts.
The World View of Paul Cezanne: A Psychic Interpretation by Jane Roberts Copyright © 1977 by Jane Roberts.
The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James Copyright © 1978 by Jane Roberts.
The Nature of the Psyche: its Human Expression -- A Seth Book Copyright © 1979 by Jane Roberts.
The "Unknown" Reality -- Volume Two of a Seth Book Copyright © 1979 by Jane Roberts.
The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events -- A Seth Book Copyright © 1981 by Jane Roberts.
Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment Volume I Copyright © 1986 by Jane Roberts.
Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment Volume II Copyright © 1986 by Jane Roberts.
Seth, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness Copyright © 1986 by Rob Butts.
The Magical Approach: Seth Speaks About the Art of Creative Living -- A Seth Book Copyright © 1995 by Robert F. Butts.
The Way Toward Health -- A Seth Book Copyright © 1997 by Robert F. Butts.
The World View of Rembrandt by Jane Roberts Copyright © 2006 by Robert Butts.

Related Resources

Bridging Science and Spirit (Common Elements in David Bohm's Physics, the Perennial Philosophy and Seth) Copyright © 1990, 1994 by Norman Friedman.

The Early Sessions and The Personal Sessions, presented by New Awareness Network Inc. and available at the Seth and Jane Roberts Bookstore and Audio Collection. These are previously unpublished Seth sessions including the first 510 sessions (The Early Sessions) and personal and deleted sessions (The Personal Sessions) in which Seth dictated information through Jane Roberts as her husband, Rob, recorded it.

A Seth Reader (The Essence of the Wisdom of Seth Selected in Chronological Order from the Seth Works of Jane Roberts) edited by Richard Roberts.

Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975)

(See RealityTest's Arnold J. Toynbee -- Time Traveler section.)

A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee. Published in ten volumes between 1934 and 1954 by Oxford University Press.
A Study of History by Arnold J. Toynbee -- abridgment in two volumes by D. C. Somervell; Volume I Copyright © 1946 by Oxford University Press, Inc.; Volume II Copyright © 1957 by Oxford University Press, Inc.
A Study of History -- one volume edition revised and abridged by Arnold J. Toynbee and Jane Caplan Copyright © 1972 by Oxford University Press and Thames and Hudson Ltd. This edition contains numerous images from many times and places.
(Additional titles to be added.)

Arnold J. Toynbee -- A Life Copyright © 1989 by William H. McNeill.

H.G. Wells (1866-1946)

(See RealityTest's Mind Loosed from its Tether -- the Channelled H.G. Wells section, which in time will include a number of channelled essays. Clearly, a distinction must be made between the writings of the living Wells and this much more recent channelled material, one RealityTest illuminates. A small but growing list of Wells' books and other writings, demonstrating the breadth of his interests, follows. This will gradually be supplemented with commentary.)

The Time Machine (1895)
The Invisible Man (1897)
The War of the Worlds (1898)
The First Men in the Moon (1901)
Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life and Thought: An Experiment in Prophecy (1901; second edition, revised, 1902; new introduction added in 1914)
The Country of the Blind (Full text of the 1904 short story; Wells also wrote a revised version, published in 1939)
Tono-Bungay (1908)
The World Set Free (1914)
The Outline of History (Two Volumes -- 1920)
The Open Conspiracy (1928; revised and reissued in 1930)
The Science of Life (With G.P. Wells -- 1930)
What Are We to do With Our Lives (1931 -- This is a reworking of The Open Conspiracy)
Experiment in Autobiography (1934)
H.G. Wells in Love: Postscript to An Experiment in Autobiography (Edited by G.P. Wells) Copyright © 1984 by the Estate of H.G. Wells
World Brain (1938) See World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent Encyclopaedia on Ray R. Larson's site.
The New World Order (1940)

Rising from poor beginnings in stratified Victorian England by virtue of his mind and inclinations and living through the horrors of world war, Wells became an idealist, socialist (of a unique sort) and rationalist, believing a better world was possible and that education was the route to it. His writing reflects this evolution, most of his later books being part of his proposed remedies. Conspiracy theorists lacking Wells' powers frequently cite his work, ignoring the sophistication of his thought. Wells' influence on our world, a world which includes the United Nations and advocates of globalization, cannot be denied, but note the changed perspective of the discarnate Wells of RealityTest's Channelled Wells. This Wells has seen the limits of a strict and narrow rationality.
The Conquest of Time (1942)
The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life (1946)
Mind at the End of its Tether (1946)
The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life (only 50 pages long) is bundled with RealityTest's even shorter (34 pages) copy of Mind at the End of its Tether, very pessimistic and considered Wells' last book. The first book has an optimistic tone, detailing Wells' recurring dream -- while living in the WWII London of The Blitz -- of an unexpected third choice added to his two morning walk routes. He came to look forward, eagerly, to this dream, which RealityTest suggests presaged his expansive afterdeath adventures.

Biographies:

H.G. Wells: Desperately Mortal Copyright © 1986 by David C. Smith
H.G. Wells: Aspects of a Life Copyright © 1984 by Anthony West (son of Wells and Rebecca West)
H.G.: The History of Mr. Wells Copyright © 1995 by Michael Foot (former leader of Britain's Labor Party)

Links:

The H.G. Wells Society
This site includes links to numerous Wells sites on the web.

Wikipedia's Wells article

Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson emerged as a provocative author with the publication of The Outsider in 1956, and has since written over eighty (over one hundred?) books. A very incomplete listing follows:

The Outsider Copyright © 1956 by Colin Wilson.

(The Outsider was the first in a series of books known as the Outsider Cycle; others in the series will eventually be included here.)
The Mind Parasites Copyright © 1967 by Colin Wilson.
Containing a whiff of both Lovecraft and the early Wells (while playing on Wilson's favorite theme), this tale appeared during a time when hallucinogenic experimentation was popular; many are rumored to have made the mistake of reading it in an altered condition, needlessly frightening themselves. The parasites can be seen as metaphors for inducers of Gurdjieff's "sleep" (see below), "Husserlian" techniques developed by the main characters equivalent to some of Gurdjieff's exercises; or, the parasites can be likened to negative beliefs, per Seth's teachings. In how many novels does the primary action take place in an inner space where phenomenology is employed as a life preserving discipline?
Voyage to a Beginning (autobiography) Copyright © 1969 by Colin Wilson.
The Occult Copyright © 1971 by Colin Wilson.
Mysteries: An Investigation into the Occult, the Paranormal & the Supernatural Copyright © 1978 by Colin Wilson.
The Psychic Detectives: The story of psychometry and paranormal crime detection Copyright © 1985 by Colin Wilson.
G.I. Gurdjieff: The War Against Sleep (The life and work of one of the most influential psychological theorists of the twentieth century.) Copyright © Colin Wilson 1986 (First published 1980; 1986 edition revised and expanded.)

Wilson is justifiably impressed with the life and thought of "rascal master" George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (1866? to 1949), definitely one of the more colorful and fascinating personalities of modern times, and incorporates some of Gurdjieff's teachings into his "Faculty X" concept, presented in a number of his books. (See The Occult.) RealityTest may tackle the subject of Gurdjieff; whether this happens or not, it recommends Gurdjieff: A Biography -- The Anatomy of a Myth, Copyright © James Moore 1971, and In Search of the Miraculous: Fragments of an Unknown Teaching, by P.D. Ouspensky (published in 1949) as introductions to the complex and controversial "G". (While lauding Gurdjieff's questing spirit and amazing gifts as teacher and advanced tale spinner possessing powerful and unusual knowledge, RealityTest finds his bleaker views unnecessarily pessimistic.)

Beyond the Occult Copyright © 1988 by Colin Wilson.

RealityTest is indebted to Wilson for his inclusion of Arnold J. Toynbee's "time travelling" experiences in Beyond the Occult.

From Atlantis to the Sphinx: Recovering the Lost Wisdom of the Ancient World Copyright © 1996 by Colin Wilson.
Alien Dawn: An Investigation into the Contact Experience Copyright © Colin Wilson 1998.
The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization Copyright © 2000 by Rand Flem-Ath and Colin Wilson.

Wilson and Flem-Ath seem to be involved in a friendly contest with Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, Adrian Gilbert, and others on the topic of predecessor civilizations, which includes Charles H. Hapgood's careful but generally ignored work on the Piri Re'is map and related areas (see the Controversial Histories section below).

RealityTest has something to add to this discussion (not surprising considering its Time Travel section and focus on authors of universal histories such as Toynbee and Wells) and will do so as time permits. Very short version: The past only appears to be static and unchanging; further, there is no single past. Building a solid case for multiple dynamic pasts will tax the imagination; nevertheless, RealityTest intends to do exactly that. Needless to say, the question of predecessor civilizations gains great fluidity when viewed from such a perspective.

In the meantime, please take a look at the so called Pyramids of Montevecchia (Italian site; click here for Czech site) discovered in Italy in 2003. According to obscure websites, these three hills were considered entirely natural until satellite and aerial photographs revealed distinct pyramidal shapes. Sceptics have questioned the alignment of the Giza pyramids as discussed by Bauval, Hancock, and others, who suggest it mirrors the belt of the constellation Orion. Here, supposedly, is the same pattern, and in northern Italy, not Egypt!

RealityTest, in conjunction with The Great Coordination Point Expedition (an informal organization it sponsors), located and inspected the site during two fall 2004 expeditions. If these hills should prove to be nothing more than ancient terraced gardens, as some commentators have suggested, no matter; northern Italy is certainly a fine place to visit. Whatever they are, someone went to a lot of trouble to shape them, long ago; RealityTest suggests they are associated with an unknown and quite possibly prehistoric Mediterranean culture.

We await excavation of this long forgotten sacred site by archaeologists, wondering whether our intimations will be born out.

Oddly, the Pyramid of Amphion (Thivai, Greece) is located on a line perpendicular to and passing through the midpoint of a line drawn from Montevecchia to Giza. Other pyramidal Mediterranean hills include the Spanish hill shown at left (photo by T.J. Marshall). There's also the controversial Bosnian Pyramid and its enthusiastic excavator, Semir Osmanagic.

Whether Osmanagic will ultimately be compared to Heinrich Schliemann is an open question; his activities and theories have certainly stirred up strong opposition in official archaeological circles not unlike that which Schliemann faced in his time. (See this article in the on-line edition of Archaeology Magazine.) As noted elsewhere on this page, Schliemann persisted, despite his critics.

RealityTest does not assert the existence of Egyptian-like stone pyramids buried beneath the soil of the Italian hills -- see the Expedition Reports on the The Great Coordination Point Expedition website. Will the Bosnian Pyramid (pyramids, actually, per Osmanagic) turn out to be any different? Time will tell. (Already, some visitors to the site find no pyramids at all, finding instead a situation P.T. Barnum might have admired -- see, for example, relevant articles at Circular Times, the official website of Dr. Colette M. Dowell, N.D.) Pyramids or hills, shaped and augmented or not, does the site include truly unusual features? RealityTest cannot as yet say.

The ever changing offical views of remote times are built, to a great extent, on that which has been unearthed and the worldviews of those who interpret such discoveries; who can guess what has yet to be uncovered and how that will change future chronologies of the distant past? The Mediterranean region comprises but one small area of our planet -- consider its total surface area and what may lie beneath it, whether underwater or on land.

Dreaming to Some Purpose: An Autobiography Copyright © 2004 by Colin Wilson.

Links:

Colin Wilson World

Consciousness

Animus Meus The Philosophy section of David Chamberlain's site reviews relevant areas of physics and religion and their history. Chamberlain also provides some helpful links as he sets out his own perspective.

Center for Consciousness Studies "Promoting open, rigorous discussion of all phenomena related to conscious experience." Located at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona.

The Institute of Noetic Sciences

Journal of Consciousness Studies "Controversies in science and the humanities."

Karl Jaspers Forum "An Electronic Journal for Target Articles."

Purpose (from the site): "To provide an interdisciplinary international e-mail testing ground for propositions in the areas of psychology, psychopathology, and related fields, including clinical and basic sciences and questions concerning the mind-brain relation and 'consciousness'; with some emphasis on clarification of conceptual pre-suppositions. Target articles are discussed by invited and spontaneous commentators. The articles and commentaries can be quoted as such (i.e., as electronic publications), but the authors retain copyright, and the material may in addition be published elsewhere. In this respect, the purpose is that of a pre-publication 'dress rehearsal', for articles (working papers) as well as commentaries, and thus goes beyond the scope of most e-mail discussion groups. Open interactive peer review is expected to facilitate the exchange of opinions, which is the main aim of this journal. Suggestions how to improve the conditions for this aim are welcome."

The Non-Local Universe: The New Physics and Matters of the Mind by Robert Nadeau and Menas Kafatos, Copyright © 1999 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) -- Scientific Study of Consciousness-Related Physical Phenomena

From the PEAR website, 2007: "At the end of February, PEAR will be concluding its experimental operations at Princeton University. After more than a quarter century of systematic empirical study of consciousness-related physical phenomena, it is our sense that many of the salient correlates of these intriguing anomalies have now been identified. There are many important questions still to be addressed, but these will require an even broader interdisciplinary approach to the topic. Therefore, we will be shifting our base of operations to the International Consciousness Research Laboratories, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization." (See also this February, 2007, New York Times article on PEAR's plan to close its doors.)

The Psychology of Consciousness by Robert E. Ornstein, Copyright © 1972 W. H. Freeman and Company

Psyleron -- "the company that allows you to measure and directly observe the impact that your mind has on physical reality".

Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness Copyright © 2006 by Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner.

RealityShifters.com "Changing the physical universe with our thoughts and feelings" -- Cynthia Sue Larson's website.

The RetroPsychoKinesis Project

Science & Consciousness Review

The TASTE Journal and online Project: The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences (TASTE) is the creation of Dr. Charles T. Tart, author and prominent consciousness researcher.

Controversial Histories

Many grow up thinking of history as cut and dried, dead and as if set in concrete. It should be obvious to those who have digested the concepts of this site that this is far from the case -- simply because a particular time is viewed as the "past" from a future moment doesn't mean those participating in that past are as automatons, mechanically acting out what, to those in that future moment, has already happened. In this sense, history is quite alive. From their perspectives in their respective living moments, all happening "live" in what Seth calls the "spacious present," Sir Walter Ralegh (see The History of the World published around 1615), H.G. Wells, and Arnold J. Toynbee are even now hard at work conceiving and writing their universal histories, employing the best resources available to them.

Without even touching on probable or alternate histories, equally valid from a greater perspective, it's plain, too, that beliefs and assumptions about the past are in continuous flux. Official and all too frequently quite smug scholarly opinion regarding the course of events for any given previous era exists in great abundance. New evidence -- say a freshly unearthed artifact or one found covered with dust after sitting in some university basement for decades -- comes to light all the time. Frequently, if such a discovery conflicts with the prevailing wisdom, it may be years (if ever) before theories change to incorporate it. Once this is accomplished, however, the whole puzzle of the past must be rearranged to accomodate it. In this way official history and its assumptions and beliefs, perpetually recreated in the present, change.

This will all be readily apparent to those who experiment with mental time travel techniques, but the equivalent of basic maps for such time travelers remain the official histories. Often akin to the wildly imaginative maps of the "New World" before it was actually encountered and thoroughly explored (particulary when dealing with remote times), these remain excellent starting points, serving as required resources for budding time travelers, no matter that they are often so indicative of the beliefs and biases of their creators and _their_ times as to serve more as another kind of history, a history of beliefs.

These are available everywhere in great quantity and profusion (including many excellent websites easily discovered by an Internet search) so there is no point in listing them here. RealityTest believes, however, that more controversial histories -- usually, but not always, written by non-specialists -- can serve to open the minds of time travelers to quite valid possibilities, possibilities which might not otherwise be considered. As such, RealityTest is compiling a growing list of these alternative resources below, adding commentary as time permits.

Any number of ideas contained in these books will have been dismissed by official historians as not being worthy of even the slightest consideration. Some of these ideas will in fact become the new "truth" in various future worlds after long struggles to gain acceptance, while others will pass away as fanciful speculation, and rightly so -- such books make for stimulating reading but a reader is advised to winnow any wheat they may find -- there is endless chaff. For the mental time traveler these resources can serve as very useful supplements to the official histories, in some cases providing insight into experiences which might otherwise make no sense at all. (See also some of Colin Wilson's most recent books, listed above.)

America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World Copyright © 1976 by Barry Fell.

Black Spark White Fire: Did African Explorers Civilize Ancient Europe? Copyright © 1997, 1999 by Richard Poe.

The title and subtitle of this book, written after the "Black Athena" controversy (which Poe covers) had died down somewhat, may mislead some. While romping through the Bronze Age and dipping into the Stone and Iron Ages and later times here and there, Poe, a journalist, covers both sides of a number of fascinating controversies, building a good case for alternative views of the past. The key to the title and subtitle are the questions: "Who is black?" "Who is white?" and "What does that mean?" while focusing on Nubia and Egypt and their influence in and beyond Africa -- in particular the early Mediterranean world of Crete, Phoenicia, and Greece -- while considering Europe. Poe answers these questions quite well, showing how very different beliefs have led to very different answers over the millennia, biasing the interpretation of artifacts and the writing of history.

The Book of Hiram: Freemasonry, Venus, and the Secret Key to the Life of Jesus Copyright © 2003 by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas. This book follows three earlier books by the same authors (see also The Web of Hiram, a related resource, as well as Robert Lomas' official website):

The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus (1996);
The Second Messiah: Templars, The Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasonry (1997); and
Uriel's Machine: Uncovering the Secrets of Stonehenge, Noah's Flood, and the Dawn of Civilization. (1999).

See also Freemasonry and the Birth of Modern Science Copyright © 2002 by Robert Lomas.

For an interesting counterpoint to Lomas' book, centered on the Royal Society and its founding members, see Isaac Newton and the Transmutation of Alchemy Copyright © 2009 by by Philip Ashley Fanning. Fanning identifies and traces the influence of other secretive societies and predecessor personalities -- including Elizabethan mathematician, astrologer, and magus John Dee -- associated with the founding of the Royal Society. Fanning's book is focused on the life and work of Sir Isaac Newton and Newton's re-energization of the Royal Society at a later period. Fanning pays particular attention to Newton's alchemical pursuits, to which Newton devoted great time and energy, and the connections between alchemy and modern science. Some of these are uncomfortably tenuous, particularly on the topics of Roscicrucianism and Francis Bacon, but provocative nevertheless. An Appendix titled Pauli and Alchemy is especially fascinating.

The Daily Grail. This site features daily news summaries often including links to controversial history sites, among its other resources, without shying from presenting sceptical perspectives. The editorial tone is light and informal, a welcome relief for weary webcruisers.

The Fall: The Evidence for a Golden Age, 6,000 years of insanity, and the dawning of a new era by Steve Taylor. Copyright © 2005 O Books.

Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization Copyright © 1995 by Graham Hancock.

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson. Copyright © 1993 by Govardhan Hill Inc. (Noted: Book is thick and hefty -- 914 pages.)

Heaven's Mirror: Quest for the Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock and Santha Faiia. Copyright © 1998 by Graham Hancock. Photographs Copyright © 1998 by Santha Faiia.

Lost Star of Myth and Time Copyright © 2006 by Walter Cruttenden.

Manitou: The Sacred Landscape of New England's Native Civilization Copyright © 1989 by James W. Mavor, Jr. and Byron E. Dix.

Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age Copyright © 1966, 1979 by Charles H. Hapgood.

The Message of the Sphinx: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind Copyright © 1996 by Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval.

The New View Over Atlantis Copyright © 1969, 1972, 1983 by John Michell.

The Orion Mystery: A Revolutionary New Interpretation of the Ancient Enigma Copyright © 1994 by Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert.

Pyramid Quest: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and the Dawn of Civilization Copyright © 2005 by Robert M. Schoch, PhD., and Robert Aquinas McNally. See also Dr. Schoch's official website.

The Secret Vaults of Time: Psychic Archaeology and the Quest for Man's Beginnings Copyright © 1978 by Stephan A. Schwartz.

Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock. Copyright © 2006 Graham Hancock (This book is definitely up RealityTest's alley -- a commentary will appear here just as soon as the editor finishes reading it! See Hancock's website below for more information.)

Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith © Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval 2004.

(Commentary in process) Talisman explores the influence of certain ancient currents of thought and belief upon events such as the American and French Revolutions. Cathars, Bogomils, their various predecessors, and the Albigensian Crusades share billing with Templars, Rosicrucians, Masons, assorted revolutionaries, and many others. The authors remind us (as does Ehrman in Lost Christianities, listed below) that present forms of Christianity are but probable variations, other versions -- just as "true" to their adherents as the ultimately surviving versions are to their adherents -- being nearly snuffed out early on (or 1,000 years later), but not completely so. (How often has accepted history become severely distorted by the intolerance of religious believers who, after attaining official acceptance and political power, brand competitors as heretics and seek to destroy their sacred books, visiting upon them that which they themselves once experienced? Talisman accords Gnosticism its rightful and significant place, but some readers may wonder whether the experience of gnosis itself can ever be successfully transmitted, given human tendencies, let alone when wrapped in dualistic Gnostic beliefs.)

Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization Copyright © 2002 by Graham Hancock.

Anyone wondering where remnants of predecessor civilizations might exist could combine present knowledge of sea level changes since the last ice age with the "Heinrich Schliemann approach" to what is often considered mere myth. Schliemann was not always correct in his conclusions, but he did make spectacular discoveries, completely confounding those who, without doing any actual digging, believed myth was myth alone, incapable of guiding those who suspected otherwise. There was no scuba diving technology in Schliemann's time, however. Hancock does more than simply ponder and write in his study; he literally dives for knowledge, too. Will he ultimately confound those who might have scoffed at Schliemann, had they lived in his time? RealityTest believes so; stay tuned. (See also the Official Graham Hancock Website: In Search of the Lost Civilization.)

9/11 Part I. Opposed Beliefs

Controversial History is not restricted to the distant past; consider the politically and emotionally charged events of September 11, 2001. [Editor's Note: Time passes and these events continue to recede within the consciousness of humanity. The possibility of interviewing witnesses and participants decreases, even as pertinent questions remain unanswered. These events already resemble the Reichstag Fire of 1933, which remains a controversial mystery to this day. New details and eyewitness accounts continue to surface, but no credible news organization or government authority seems to take notice, such that the two primary camps of belief remain opposed -- no public investigation, seeking to verify or refute these details and accounts, has arisen. RealityTest periodically updates this section, ever hopeful the mysteries of this murderous event will be unraveled.]

These happened after the rise of the Internet, which allows television broadcasts and video to be viewed and analyzed endlessly by anyone with a computer and Internet access, while also enabling collaboration and information sharing on a large scale. The media of our present world are quite different from those of, say, 1963.

The U.S. government offered immediate explanations for what it described as a terrorist conspiracy and, shocked by these events, many accepted these explanations without question and still do.

Others noticed peculiarities and inconsistencies in the government explanations, however, and began to imagine different scenarios, an activity eventually energized by downloadable films available free-of-charge on the Internet.

The same government then discredited itself in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, offering lies and half-truths in justification, afterwards disgracing itself in the invasion of a country offering no immediate threat to the U.S., creating a situation offering death, injury, and suffering to untold thousands of innocent people, all in the name of bringing democracy to them. A tyrant (at one time supported by an American administration) was usurped and captured but the U.S. government failed to fully consider the consequences of its actions, a poor showing indeed for a country that arrogantly thought of itself as the world's most powerful and righteous nation.

This led additional people to view the events of 9/11 and the official explanations with new eyes -- the perception of government credibility had changed and many began to consider ugly possibilities for the first time, including two basic variations:

1. Those assigned blame by the government werenít responsible; an unknown group within the U.S. government was.

2. Those assigned blame werenít solely responsible; they acted in collusion with unknown agents within the U.S. government -- knowingly or not, implying prior knowledge on the part of those unknown agents. (See The Right Spook for the Job: John O'Neill Investigates 9/11 for an unusual channelled explanation not inconsistent with surveillance of the hijackers as strongly suggested in Gerald Shea's Memo to the 9/11 Commission found at this location. See also Christopher Ketcham's CounterPunch article on the same topic found here. The memo and article are based on facts. Were these facts to receive the attention they deserve, Americans would be shocked and angry, as the facts involve outrageous and unacceptable behavior by agents of a U.S. ally prior to and on 9/11. The questions raised might finally then be investigated, instead of being swept under the rug. Until then, no one except the participants knows exactly what information was collected, who received it, and when. So long as credible news organizations ignore these facts, the odds that only future historians will debate them increase.)

The emotionally charged dividing line between such speculation and the official explanations deals of course with the murder of American civilians. Would unknown members of an American government even consider such a possibility? Many Americans don't believe so, yet the murder of so many civilians in both Afghanistan and Iraq suggests a government having little or no genuine regard for human life. (How could anyone profess such a regard while at the same time being instrumental in the killing so many?) Whether this disregard extends to American civilian lives is one key question.

Further, the murky world of "false flag" and "pseudo" operations (See this Wikipedia entry for Operation Gladio) is becoming increasingly exposed on the Internet. Cold War personalities who held to the tenets of an ideology -- in which the murder of innocents is justified -- had regained political power by 2001.

This all turns on the second key question, that of primary motive: Did the U.S. government respond to the events of 9/11 or were those events influenced, allowed to happen, or deliberately created by a component of that government in order to manipulate the feelings of American citizens such that they would support policies of both aggressive militarism and greatly heightened security? In other words, were the actions of terrorists on 9/11 timely and fortuitous, seized upon as though perfectly conceived and executed to advance the aims of a hideous ideology, or were these actions less coincidental than they appeared to be?

Anyone who has never pondered such possibilities could think back to how quickly the U.S. government blamed Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda and invaded Afghanistan in pursuit of them, killing many civilians. They might then read this MSNBC May 16, 2002 article. See also the following curious paragraph once found in Wikipedia's Osama bin Laden article. (Owing to Wikipedia's interactive nature, articles and references -- particularly those dealing with controversial subjects -- change, sometimes frequently. As of this writing, there is no longer any mention of either the "White Paper" or Rex Tomb's 2006 statement in the current Wikipedia article, while many websites question the evidence firmly linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11):

"The FBI stated that evidence linking Al-Qaeda and bin Laden to the attacks of September 11 is clear and irrefutable.[68] The Government of the United Kingdom reached the same conclusion regarding Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden's culpability for the September 11, 2001, attacks.[69] However, a "White Paper" by the U.S. government, documenting the case against bin Laden and the Al Qaeda organization concerning the September 11 attacks, publicly promised by Secretary of State Colin Powell, was never published. In 2006, Rex Tomb of the FBI's public affairs unit said, "The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden's Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11". [70]"

They might also view Adam Curtisí BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares, found on Google Video. The film provides brief histories of the oddly intertwined militant Islamicist and neoconservative movements.

A concerned viewer might now turn to endlessly proliferating websites exploring alternate 9/11 explanations, but he or she will have quite a mixture to sift through, including a great quantity of questionable material. Two additional problems soon present themselves:

1. The U.S. government has been extremely secretive when it comes to evidence (evidence that wasn't destroyed on 9/11 or soon thereafter). For example, a private video of the Pentagon crash taken from an Arlington, Virginia, hotel was immediately confiscated by the FBI but eventually released, after a lawsuit. The released video shows no airplane, however; it only shows the explosion generated by a crash, adding to speculation based on photos of the damage to the Pentagon building, not reducing it. (Why confiscate the video in the first place? This "classified in the interests of national security" aspect of this situation, a traditional kind of information suppression, is contrary to the freewheeling nature of the Internet. Does Raison d'…tat have any place in a world of over 70,000,000 bloggers and billions of web pages?)

2. Major media organizations have, for the most part, completely ignored the many problems, peculiarities, and coincidences associated with the official conspiracy explanations, often deriding anyone seriously considering alternate explanations. (An exception is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which aired a show on September 10, 2006, found at http://www.cbc.ca/sunday/2006/09/091006_1.html.)

This forces those interested to slog through endless Internet rumors, myth, exaggeration, and misinformation, even while they must often contend with the disdain and derision of believers of either persuasion when seeking more information by interacting on forums devoted to the topic.

One Internet rumor proved to be no rumor at all. A CNN broadcast (once seen in a YouTube clip -- unfortunately this was removed due to "terms of use violation" and must be found elsewhere) showed an E-4B "Flying Pentagon" flying in the restricted airspace over the White House on the morning of 9/11. Note how this happened even as smoke rose from the Pentagon explosion -- this plane was able to reach the vicinity at that time even though no interceptor fighter planes were able to. Official sources denied its existence. Bureaucratic bungling and rivalry may have been a major factor that day, but it's very difficult for members of the public to ascertain to what degree this was so, under the circumstances.

The 9/11 Commission was created in 2002, but as author and activist Peter Tatchell wrote on the guardian.co.uk's Comment is Free page in 2007:

"Six years after 9/11, the American public have still not been provided with a full and truthful account of the single greatest terror attack in US history.
What they got was a turkey. The 9/11 Commission was hamstrung by official obstruction. It never managed to ascertain the whole truth of what happened on September 11 2001.
The chair and vice chair of the 9/11 Commission, respectively Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, assert in their book, Without Precedent, that they were "set up to fail" and were starved of funds to do a proper investigation. They also confirm that they were denied access to the truth and misled by senior officials in the Pentagon and the federal aviation authority; and that this obstruction and deception led them to contemplate slapping officials with criminal charges.
Despite the many public statements by 9/11 commissioners and staff members acknowledging they were repeatedly lied to, not a single person has ever been charged, tried, or even reprimanded, for lying to the 9/11 Commission.
From the outset, the commission seemed to be hobbled. It did not start work until over a year after the attacks. Even then, its terms of reference were suspiciously narrow, its powers of investigation curiously limited and its time-frame for producing a report unhelpfully short - barely a year to sift through millions of pages of evidence and to interview hundreds of key witnesses.
The final report did not examine key evidence, and neglected serious anomalies in the various accounts of what happened. The commissioners admit their report was incomplete and flawed, and that many questions about the terror attacks remain unanswered. Nevertheless, the 9/11 Commission was swiftly closed down on August 21 2004."
9/11 Part II. Not Just the Usual Suspects

For those who accept the official explanations, the conspirators behind the events of 9/11 were Islamic extremists -- agents of Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda.

Those who believe in the possibility of alternate explanations might consider the conspirators to have been neoconservatives, re-energized Cold War covert operations personnel, foreign intelligence operatives, hidden military cells, ex-military mercenaries employed by private security organizations, or some combination of these, including Islamic extremists as unwitting but willing participants. Accomplices or accessories might also include members of the U.S. financial community, certain software company personnel, and those involved in providing security for the World Trade Center, among many other possibilities mentioned on websites.

This speculation tends to ignore another group, however -- certain fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. military. RealityTest chooses to call them neocrusaders -- throwbacks to a more brutal age. Like the original crusaders, they believe in a black and white world of good and evil as presented in the Old Testament, one in which the killing of Islamic people may be necessary, this in the name of their god (regardless of the spirit of the New Testament they claim to hold as dear as the Old Testament). Such militant fundamentalists include those who hold to some of the more peculiar interpretations of the Book of Revelation such as The Rapture, and other apocalyptic beliefs in which Israel, the Middle East, and Islam are prominent.

RealityTest hadnít focused on this group until coming across a blog on The Nationís website (found here).

This was followed by an Internet search on fundamentalism +"U.S. military", which brought up over 410,000 pages. Unless they are a member of some odd fundamentalist sect, anyone choosing to investigate these pages will find some of them very disturbing.

As a result of this discovery, RealityTest expects neocrusaders to be added to the list of possible suspects for alternate explanations of the events of 9/11. In an alternate scenario, their crusade -- their jihad -- could begin with the U.S. population behind them, jingoistically stirred up by the events of 9/11, enabling the fulfillment of what they believed ancient prophesies predicted.

No matter which religious beliefs or ideology drives an extremist, it is a willingness to kill innocents that classifies them as such, in complete contradiction to the actual tenets of their religion and the laws of any civilized nation. Needless to say, such beliefs have no place whatsoever in modern democracies, where the rule of law prevails and murder is dealt with accordingly.

Regardless of which conspiracy theory is accurate, no matter who was behind the events of 9/11 and which ideology and/or extremist beliefs motivated them, only madmen could use those events to initiate a course of "pre-emptive" warfare, invading nations and visiting death, destruction, and misery on so many having nothing to do with those events. Whatever 9/11 was, it was definitely not another Pearl Harbor; innocent citizens of Afghanistan or Iraq are not the pilots of the fighter planes and bombers launched from aircraft carriers -- or the generals and admirals giving them orders -- of a sovereign nation that had declared war on the U.S.

During the first half of the twentieth century Germany was perpetually lambasted for the evil of aggressive militarism, and rightfully so. Kaiser Wilhelm is long dead, but his proclivities live on.

9/11 Part III. The Curious Case of WTC7

Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11, but was not hit by an airliner.

Supposedly, according to official explanations, the collapse resulted from damage to the 47-story building caused by debris from the collapse of the twin towers.

Oddly, two different television broadcasts -- one by the BBC, the other by CNN, reported the collapse before it even happened. Both broadcasts can easily be found by an Internet search and viewed. Lame explanations were offered by the BBC, while the circumstances of the broadcasts have never been thoroughly investigated by any credible news organization or made public by any government agency so far as RealityTest can determine.

Eyewitness accounts of the collapse include those who heard the last part of a countdown -- broadcast over a short-range radio network -- just before the collapse, enabling them to run from the scene. These accounts have never been publicly substantiated by any credible news organization, either, and remain invisible in terms of public government explanations. They can easily be found, along with a great amount of additional information concerning WTC7 -- including its U.S. government agency tenants and the existence of New York City's Emergency Command Center within it -- by an Internet search.

According to transcripts of interviews of fire department personnel, the collapse of WTC7 was anticipated in advance owing to severe damage. It's possible this anticipation was behind the television broadcasts of the collapse before it happened, but no one has determined if this was indeed the case. Those who believe in the official version of events assume this was so; those suspicious of this version wonder, while those who believe in alternate explanations assume otherwise. (Exactly how did these broadcasts come about? Exactly how were the broadcasters informed of what had yet to happen?)

Unsubstantiated evidence, including the reports of a countdown and remarks by the building's owner, suggest the building was deliberately destroyed. If so, this could not have been arranged on that day; rigging a large building for demolition takes days or even weeks. The collapse itself resembled a controlled demolition, evident by viewing a video clip but an impression heightened by watching a European television broadcast in which a demolition expert is shown a video of the collapse for the first time, unaware of the location and date, and asserts that what he has seen must have been a controlled demolition. WTC7 collapsed within its own footprint, just as in the case of the twin towers.

Needless to say, if anyone could prove that WTC7 had been rigged for demolition, this fact would destroy all credibility for the entire government explanation of the events of 9/11; anticipating that a building might collapse is quite different from knowing exactly when it will collapse. This situation contributes to the cloud of suspicion that hovers over the whole affair, a cloud that becomes larger as more videos and eyewitness accounts surface but one that doesn't even exist in the minds of those who accept the official explanations.

Conclusion

We are left with a mystery. RealityTest awaits a solid verdict based on carefully corroborated participant testimony, believing this to be ultimately attainable despite all present obstacles. Should no such evidence be acquired, 9/11 shall be a forever unresolved question complete with the perpetually opposed beliefs of proponents of the two primary explanations -- Controversial History, in other words.

Meanwhile, the amateur sleuths of the Internet are rapidly supplanting the professional investigative journalism of formerly responsible news organizations, owing to a combination of business and technological changes outwardly symbolic of the inner changes in consciousness RealityTest focuses upon. Although the nature of facts can be questioned from a metaphysical perspective, in journalism C.P. Scott's "facts are sacred" still applies. Enthusiastic amateurs would do well to heed Scott's words.

RealityTest suggests the deeper side of this particular story involves a change from a very old "might makes right" egoic consciousness prevalent since at least the time of Sargon of Akkad (no matter which particular surface ideology is favored) to something quite new and different.

Less Controversial Changed and Changing Histories

Certain books by bonafide specialists serve to illustrate how rapidly ideas of history can change and are, in some areas, changing. For example, those who have restricted their reading on the topic of the Dead Sea Scrolls to books and articles published before 1989 may be unaware of how official beliefs about them have changed so drastically since scholarly pressure forced their release from the hands of those who maintained them -- and their interpretation -- to the world at large.

Prehistory

After the Ice: A Global Human History, 20,000-5,000 B.C. Copyright © 2003 by Steven Mithen.

The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization Copyright © 2004 by Brian Fagan.

The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art by David Lewis-Williams, Copyright © 2002 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Paleolithic cave art is explored as one of the earliest expressions of human artistic creativity not just in The Mind in the Cave but also in Graham Hancock's Supernatural, which RealityTest will review in its Controversial Histories section above. Hancock comments on both books here, in an article on his own website. RealityTest will eventually have much to say on this and related topics.

The Paleolithic Indo-Europeans by Cory Panshin.

Cory Panshin's web writings are included here for obvious reasons, even though she is more of an intelligent observer than a specialist.

The Ancient World I.

Empires of the Plain: Henry Rawlinson and the Lost Languages of Babylon Copyright © 2003 by Lesley Adkins.

There's nothing controversial about this book, but many will enjoy reading of Rawlinson's exploits and how the world of ancient Mesopotamia began to emerge in Victorian minds as another rediscovered lost continent.

Genesis of the Pharaohs by Toby Wilkinson, Copyright © 2003 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Whether "pre-sand" civilizations existed in Egypt or not, people did live in what is now the Eastern Desert (it was once a savanna region) thousands of years before pharaonic civilization arose, leaving behind numerous petroglyphs. Wilkinson creates a picture of these people and their lives, linking them to Dynastic Egypt, based on these petroglyphs. Noted: Reading either Graham Hancock's Supernatural or David Lewis-Willams' The Mind in the Cave may create a changed perception of the content of Genesis of the Pharoahs; although Wilkinson doesn't apply Lewis-Williams' neurological cave and rock art theories to the petroglyphs of the Eastern Desert, there is nothing to prevent a reader from doing so.

Imagining Atlantis Copyright © 1998 by Richard Ellis.

Ellis (a writer and artist focused on marine subjects) takes a sceptical approach in his review of theories of Atlantis, which includes a lengthy section devoted to Minoan Crete and Santorini that incorporates recent archeological discoveries. Perhaps the very name Atlantis, associated as it is with centuries of often wild speculation, is a hindrance to those seeking remnants of predecessor civilizations, even if the myth serves as a source of inspiration for present day Schliemanns.

Mesopotamia: The Invention of the City Copyright © 2001 by Gwendolyn Leick.

If you read Empires of the Plain you may wish to review contemporary views of Mesopotamia; reading Leick's excellent survey of ten ancient cities, from Eridu to Babylon, is one way to accomplish this. Leick is quite aware of changing views of ancient times -- from the preface: "It is not just technology, however, but the questions being asked that have changed: cultural diversity, the relation of centre to periphery, social relations, power structures, economic systems, ecological change and gender issues are only some of the most recent concerns of historians and archaeologists. Such perspectives and goals inevitably reflect the thoughts and intellectual 'fashions' of our own time. The same texts, the same architecture, the same pots have been and will in the future be evaluated and understood in quite different ways that often say more about the society seeking such answers than about the ancient society itself."

The Search for Omm Sety Copyright © 1987 by Jonathan Cott (written in collaboration with Hanny El Zeini)

This is the intriguing life story of Dorothy Eady (1904-1981), inseparable from Abydos, Egypt, and Pharoah Sety I of the Nineteenth Dynasty. A unique personal version of time transcendence, informed by an ancient love, was key to Dorothy Eady's (also Omm Sety or mother of Sety, as her son's name was also Sety) life.

The Vanished Library: A Wonder of the Ancient World by Luciano Canfora Copyright © 1987 (California Edition with corrected translation by Martin Ryle Copyright © 1990)

This small book reminds all who read it of just how subjective even official history can be, how assembling "facts" is a creative activity of the historian, and how a combination of facts, errors, and myths are transmitted across time, each gaining momentum until called into question.

The Ancient World II.

Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts Copyright © 2001 by John Dominic Crossan and Jonathan L. Reed.

James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls Copyright © Robert Eisenman, 1997.

Jesus for the Non-Religious Copyright © 2007 by John Shelby Song.

Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew by Bart D. Ehrman, Copyright © 2003 Oxford University Press, Inc.

Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation Copyright © Elaine Pagels, 2012 Viking Penguin

All religions have a mythical dimension (an inevitable result of the passage of time, above and beyond the nature of any particular set of religious beliefs, which may or may not include mythical -- or purely symbolic -- components) and Christianity is no exception. RealityTest is aware of two basic approaches for probing beyond the mythical; one is experiential, the other relies on scholarship and archaeology (RealityTest asserts that a creative combination of both yields the most satisfying results). The above five books will intrigue anyone interested in the origins of Christianity. For those who prefer historical fiction, RealityTest recommends The Secret Magdalene Copyright © 2005 by Ki Longfellow, a highly entertaining and well researched tale.

The Roman Empire 27 B.C. - A.D. 476: A Study in Survival by Chester G. Starr Copyright © 1982 by Oxford University Press, Inc.

The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization Copyright © Bryan Ward-Perkins 2005.

Sometimes prevailing historical wisdom turns 180 degrees and then back again, ending up close to where it began. The period between the publication of the two above books is a case in point. Both are short, complement each other, and suitable for anyone lacking the time to tackle Gibbon; Ward-Perkins' book is especially well written.

The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150-750 by Peter Brown. Copyright © 1971 Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Dreams and Lucid Dreaming

In today's "ego-bound" world, in which an emphasis on waking consciousness, logic, and physical evidence predominates in educational and other institutions, dreams may not seem to be nearly as significant as they once were, long before even Sigmund Freud appeared. Regardless of those who may believe dreams are insignificant by-products of rest and regeneration, odd artifacts of a strictly physically or brain-based consciousness, dreams remain as windows into deeper realms of mind. Lucid dreaming, in which waking consciousness is brought into the dream state, can provide unique opportunities for engaging with those vast realms that underly the waking self and world.

The Lucid Dreamer: A Waking Guide for the Traveler Between Worlds by Malcolm Godwin, Copyright © 1994 Labyrinth Publishing (UK) Ltd. Text Copyright © 1994 Malcolm Godwin.

Lucid Dreaming: The Power of Being Awake & Aware in Your Dreams Copyright © 1985 by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D., Stanford University Sleep Research Center.

Meditation

(See also RealityTest's Doorways section.) A great variety of formal meditation techniques exist and have existed since at least the Bronze Age, including those affiliated with various mystical and religious traditions, but many remain unfamiliar with the rudiments, particularly in those societies in which monotheistic religions have prevailed over the centuries. RealityTest chooses not to promote any particular practice, believing the essence of meditation is best discovered by the meditator. RealityTest also suggests that excessively formal or rigid practices are counter-productive, although there are definite advantages to regular practice. The following titles will be gradually supplemented with additional resources.

How to Meditate: A Guide to Self-Discovery Copyright © 1974 by by Lawrence LeShan.

Editor's note: During the spring of 1982, I chose to teach myself how to meditate and took my copy of LeShan's book into the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery of Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to the mortal remains (and ornate funerary monuments) of many well-to-do 19th Century Boston Brahmins.

I sat on the steps of a marble tomb facing a pond (not realizing at the time that this was Mary Baker Eddy's tomb) and proceeded to follow the book's instructions. Shortly after allowing my thoughts to gradually come to a stop, having already relaxed myself and closed my eyes, I was greatly surprised to see (with my mind's eye) a full-color and crystal clear image of the paperback cover of Seth Speaks, by Jane Roberts (see relevant section above), a book I had glanced at in a bookstore and dismissed.

Under these circumstances I decided the book deserved a second look and immediately left the cemetery for Harvard Square, where I purchased a copy. I was quite impressed and soon thereafter purchased and read all of the Seth books then in print. Many future adventures would never have come about had I not made the choices I made that day, including those that followed my discovery of the world's first Seth-related Internet mailing list, years later. (See The Great Coordination Point Expedition.)

Advocates of meditation promote its use for many purposes, but the above experience illustrates how meditation can facilitate the opening of a connection between the egoic conscious self and greater regions of self, regions where time doesn't exist.

What is Meditation? Edited by John White. Copyright © 1974 by by John White.

Mind Science: Meditation Training for Practical People Copyright © 2001 by Charles T. Tart, Ph.D. (Order directly from Tart's TASTE site.)

Psychical Research

Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death Copyright © Deborah Blum. 2006.

This entertaining tale brings an earlier era and some of its brilliant personalities to life, along with their detractors, the endless con artists of the paranormal, and those found to possess genuine gifts, such as Leonora Piper. The issues James and his intrepid fellow investigators faced, not so long after Darwin had sparked a serious collision of beliefs even as the Spiritualism movement was gaining strength, are still with us today. The unexplained paranormal happenstances these early investigators filtered out from far more numerous instances of fraud and hoaxsterism are still unexplained, still provoking dismissal by scientific materialists. (See Greg Taylor's Interview of Deborah Blum at The Daily Grail and also Jane Robert's The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James Copyright © 1978.)

The Gold Leaf Lady (And Other Parapsychological Investigations) by Stephen E. Braude. Copyright © 2007 by The University of Chicago.

Human Personality and Its Survival of Death by Frederic W. Myers. Two volumes; 1903. Reprint, New York: Arno Press, 1975.

Immortal Remains: The Evidence for Life After Death by Stephen E. Braude. Copyright © 2003.

Parapsychology and the Skeptics: A Scientific Argument for the Existence of ESP by Christopher David Carter (see book's website).

The Parapsychology Revolution: A Concise Anthology of Paranormal and Psychical Research by Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D., and Logan Yonavjak. Copyright © 2008.

Phantasms of the Living (Two Volumes) by Eleanor M. Sidgwick, Edmund Gurney, Frederic W. Myers, and Frank Podmore. 1886.

Science and the Afterlife Experience: Evidence for the Immortality of Consciousness Copyright © 2012 by Christopher David Carter.

Science and Psychic Phenomena: The Fall of the House of Skeptics Copyright © 2007, 2012 by Christopher David Carter.

The Scole Experiment: Scientific Evidence for Life After Death Copyright © 1999 by Grant and Jane Solomon; new edition, with additional material, published in 2006 by Campion Books.

William James on Psychical Research compiled and edited by Gardner Murphy and Robert O. Ballou. Copyright © 1960 by The Viking Press, Inc.

See also The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (the Gifford Lectures on Natural Religion Delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902) by William James.

American Society for Psychical Research, Inc.

Society for Psychical Research

SurvivalAfterDeath.org

Time

(Many additional titles will be added here with associated commentary; the range in authors' perspective will vary from mainstream scientific to the experimental and somewhat offbeat, a range RealityTest believes is appropriate for this topic.)

A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes Copyright © 1988 by Stephen W. Hawking.

The End of Time (The Next Revolution in Physics) Copyright © 1999 by Julian Barbour.

An Experiment with Time by J. W. Dunne. First published in 1927.

(Note H.G. Wells' mention of his friend's book and his largely unsuccessful attempts to record his dreams as recommended therein in The Happy Turning: A Dream of Life.)

Making Time: Why Time Seems to Pass at Different Speeds and How to Control It. Text Copyright © 2007 Steve Taylor.

Time's Arrows Today: Recent Physical and Philosophical Work on the Direction of Time Edited by Steven F. Savitt. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995.

Time: A Traveler's Guide by Clifford A. Pickover Copyright © 1998.

Unveiling the Edge of Time: Black Holes, White Holes, Wormholes Copyright © 1992 by John and Mary Gribbon.

The Yoga of Time Travel: How the Mind Can Defeat Time Copyright © 2004 by Fred Alan Wolf.


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