Sunday, April 24, 2011

“Another Piece of the Paranormal Puzzle”: A review of Rosemary Ellen Guiley and Philip J. Imbrogno’s The Vengeful Djinn: Unveiling the Hidden Agenda o

(2011, Llewellyn Worldwide,

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. — Socrates

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,/Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.—Hamlet, Act I, sc. v

The Vengeful Djinn, by two scientifically minded experts in the fields of the paranormal and supernatural, is an important contribution to the ongoing pursuit of answers about the Unknown, an often attacked but nevertheless serious undertaking that attracts controversy and derision from both within its ranks and without.

Guiley and Imbrogno cover a large swath of study and territory in the book’s 260 pages, which include two appendices, a bibliography, and an index. They begin with a detailed and yet well-explained tutorial on quantum physical aspects of alternate realities and the idea of the multiverse, including “string theory,” setting up with science the plausibility of the djinn dwelling in a parallel plane to ours, which allows them to interact with us without being seen.

During my own research of the paranormal/supernatural, theology, and mythology over the past twelve years, I have come to see quantum physics as the nexus between Science and the Unseen, and this lead chapter lent a certain credibility to the explorations to follow, above and beyond what I already knew about the solid reputations of the authors.

This faith in Guiley and Imbrogno’s credentials and commitment to serious scholarship as opposed to the rampant hucksterism infamously attached to their fields of expertise is invaluable to a balanced and enjoyable experience with The Vengeful Djinn because, recalling the infallible insight of Socrates, when it comes to the Unseen, Paranormal, and Supernatural, we truly do know nothing. That is, after all, the whole point. From John Keel to the many disciples, imitators, and exploiters who have come after, there is a great deal of necessary interpretation and trying on of different theories in order to make some semblance of what is just beyond our senses.

Like any work of solid scholarship should, The Vengeful Djinn operates on a number of levels. First and foremost (and most appealing to the widest audience), it is a thorough and enlightening explication of the djinn, using primarily the Quran as well as other sources to historicize, categorize, and analyze their creation, hierarchy, motivations, and tactics. If it were nothing else, this book would be an excellent contribution to the literature of the Mythical and Mystical. The sections on their relationship with Solomon, their commonalities with angels and demons (and faeries and leprechauns!), and their various classifications and range of powers make for fascinating reading, as does the authors’ prescriptions for dealing with them.

But The Vengeful Djinn then goes a step further, out to where some would say the buses cease to run, as the authors apply the fundamental traits and habits of the djinn to a wide variety of areas of the Unexplained. This is dangerous territory, leaving the authors open to sharp criticism. But the scientific methodology and field experience they bring to the table work as a sort of talisman for Guiley and Imbrogno. Their anecdotes from around the world, with at times high-level politicians and military personnel, lend a helpful legitimacy to theories that would otherwise try to cling to steep, slick, and slippery slopes. Their well-known work in identifying and testing portals to other dimensions and planes using a variety of high-tech instrumentation (some of which I have also used) is invaluable in staying with their at times tenuous lines of theory.

Toward the end, the authors delve into the world of Shadow People and the less-than-peaceful agenda of the djinn and their continued manipulations of the human race. Perhaps my own fascination with the Mythological and Mystical and the nature of the Unseen Beings that seem without a doubt (and equally without a solid classification…) to be operating in and amongst us, if we but take the time to pay them some attention, precludes me from commenting too strongly in favor of the value of this exercise in exploration, but I will say that whether you read this book as scholarship, case book, or entertainment, or preferably some combination of all three, Guiley and Imbrogno’s The Vengeful Djinn is well-written, expertly organized, and well worth your time.