Jeffrey Kripal, who chairs the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University, is an authority on the mysterious. His books include a wildly controversial study of Ramakrishna’s mysticism; a history of Esalen, an influential spiritual retreat center tucked away in the cliffs of Big Sur; and, now, a probing investigation of several very mysterious thinkers: Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred.
Posts Tagged ‘paranormal phenomena’
Francis Ford Coppola has made Eliade whole again. He has given him back to us. Youth Without Youth is a beautiful example of Eliade’s fascination with the paranormal. It involves an aging mediocre humanist academic named Dominic Matei who, after traveling to Bucharest in 1938 to commit suicide (on Easter day, no less), is struck on the top of the head by lightning while crossing a street in front of a church. Lifted right off the ground in a stunning and literally shocking scene that could be read as a religious ecstasy or as a physical horror, Matei is left lying in the rain, charred over his entire body. Over the next few weeks and months, he magically regenerates in the hospital, eventually metamorphosing not into a giant cockroach, as in Kafka, but into a young handsome man with astonishing, indeed occult, intellectual powers.