Anthropology of Extra-ordinary Experience, Part IV


IV.1 pp. 273-297 Yves Marton : "The Experiential Approach to Anthropology"

p. 274 temporary redanimation of a corpse

"Grindal ... does ... his own 1983 article describing the extraordinary experience of seeing a corpse animate itself and dance at a Sisala funeral in Ghana."

Grindal, Bruce T. : "Into the heart of sisala experience". JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH 39:60-80.

pp. 277, 279 praeternatural manifestation of a hovering divine glow

p. 277

praeternatural manifestation experienced immediately following "one of numerous ritual initiations in Los Angeles that Afro-Cuban Santeros conduct for their "godchildren."" ["should not be reproduced without the explicit authorization of the author of the article." (p. 289, n. 14) {so that the deity who displayed the manifestation can be ritually informed of such reproduction}] "After having been asleep ..., I was awakened in the middle of the night by a light hovering over me directly in front of my field of vision. It was round and glowed brightly (about the size of a tennis ball ...). It was stationary, but somehow pulsing with the emission of the light and it contained what felt like intelligent energy."

(p. 289, n. 13) authorís doctoral dissertation, U of CA at Los Angeles

p. 279

"Evans-Pritchard (1957) ... recounted [p. 290, n. 16 : "It can also be found in Evans-Pritchard ... (1937:34)"] ...

About midnight ... I was walking in the garden at the back of my hut ... when I noticed a bright light passing at the back of my servantís hut ... . ... I followed its passage until a grass screen obscured the view. ... Shortly afterwards, on the same morning an old ... inmate ... died. This event fully explained the light I had seen." [p. 290, n. 17 : "C. R. Hallpike included Evans-Pritchardís account in his book ... (1979), in a section entitled "The Paranormal and Primitive Notions of Causality," ... as an example of phenomena encountered by anthropologists".]

Evans-Pritchard, E. : "A seance among the Azande". TOMORROW (Quarterly Review of Psychical Research) 5:11-26.

Hallpike, C. R. : The Foundations of Primitive Thought. Oxford : Clarendon Pr, 1979.


IV.2 pp. 298-335 Jean-Guy Goulet & David Young : "Theoretical and Methodological Issues".

pp. 303, 305 reportage of dreams; dream-knowledge from personal experience

p. 303

"among the Zuni, as among their neighbors the Hopi, only "bad" dreams are reported on while "good" ones that concern imminent luck, or a long and healthy life, "are withheld until the dream comes true." ... (B. Tedlock 1987a:31)"

Tedlock, Barbara : "Zuni and Quiche` dream sharing and interpreting". In :- Tedlock, B. (ed.) : Dreaming. Cambridge U Pr, 1987a. pp. 105-31

p. 305

"the Beaver Indians of northwestern British Columbia told Ridington "that knowledge would reveal itself ... from within personal experience. It might even come through myths and dreams" (1988:xi). Similarly, the Malaysians told Lederman "that the only way I could know [about the Inner Winds in a shamanic trance] would be to experience it myself" (1988:805)."

Ridington, Robin : Trail to Heaven. Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 1988.

p. 305-307, 309 effects of instances of personal experience by anthropologists

p. 305

"All the experiences reported in this book occurred in the context of sustained interaction with influential persons [shamans] in the group with which the contributors were working at the time. ... In all cases, the anthropologists progressively ... found that they also

p. 306

experienced dreams, visions, and / or insights that immediately made sense to the people with whom they were working in the field ... . In all cases the extraordinary experiences reported by the anthropologist were received as "normal" when told to others in the "host culture," ... by the spontaneous associations informants made with similar experiences of their own."

p. 307

"More and more often contemporary anthropologists are likely to make their extraordinary experiences an intrinsic part of their narrative ethnography."

p. 309

"E. Turner, et al. (1992:5) observe how earlier anthropologists, such as Peter Huber in New Guinea, Romanucci-Ross in Mexico (1979:57-58, 60) brushed aside, by choice or peer pressure, their extraordinary experiences while in the field."

Turner, Edith et al. : Experiencing Ritual. Philadelphia : U of PA Pr, 1992.

Romanucci-Ross, Lola : "On analyses of event structures as philosophical derivations of the investigating cultures". In :- Grindal, Bruce & Warrier, Dennis (eds.) : Essays in Humanistic Anthropology. Washington (DC) : U Pr of America, 1979. pp. 53-67

pp. 308, 320 dream-beingís emergence into the waking world

p. 308

"Not only did the wife of the scientist dream of this figure, she would clearly see the figure standing by the bed when she woke each morning." (citing de Castillejo 1973:68)

de Castillejo, Claremont : Knowing Woman. NY : Harper & Row, 1973.

p. 320

Peters "begins to awaken, "still captivated by the dream images which carried over into ordinary reality" (1981:16). For a few moments, he could still see and hear his guru."

Peters, Larry : Ecstasy and Healing in Nepal. Malibu : Undena, 1981.

pp. 323-324 experience of praesence of spirits by anthropologists

p. 323

"Goulet (1993) relates an incident in which a recently deceased Dene Tha girl appeared to him in a vision. Gouletís native informants, who reported similar visions of the deceased girl, took this as a sign that the girl was attempting to communicate with him, as she had with them."

Goulet, Jean-Guy : Ways of Knowing.

p. 324

"Robert Lowie in an essay published posthumously by his wife in Current Anthropology (1966) ..., ... who often heard voices or had visions when resting, eyes half-closed, remarks that his experiences greatly helped him in his work with Native Americans."

Lowie, Robert : "Dreams, idle dreams". CURRENT ANTHROPOLOGY 7:378-82.

pp. 324-326 belief in spirits by anthropologists

p. 324

"Shweder (1991:347) proposes that we "start with the assumption that malevolent ancestral spirits do exist ..., that ... their existence lights up an aspect of reality that has import ... ."

Shweder, Richard A. : Thinking through Cultures. Cambridge (MA) : Harvard U Pr, 1991.


Goodman goes a step further when she maintains that in the last analysis spirits are real beings who seek communication with human beings : "... we can call on the Spirits and the Spirits cross over from their world into ours." ... (Goodman 1990:55)"

Goodman, Felicita D. : Where the Spirits Ride the Wind. Bloomington : IN U Pr, 1990.

p. 325

"To simply accept others as experts in the field of communication with spirits is to take their statements about the world literally."


p. 326

"the Kuranko of Sierra Leone believe that some people can change themselves into animals {= [Nahua] nagual}, a process they refer to as "shape-shifting," Lett states (1991:313) ... : ... the Kuranko belief ... can be scientifically validated, in which case scientists would have to profoundly reassess their views of human abilities."

Lett, James : "Interpretive anthropology, metaphysics, and the paranormal". JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGICAL RESEARCH 47:305-29.


David E. Young & Jean-Guy Goulet (eds.) : Being Changed : the Anthropology of Extraordinary Experience. Broadview Press, Peterborough (ON), 1994.