Superself: The Hidden Powers Within Ourselves by Ian Wilson - review by Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson

Compliments to Author

Superself: The Hidden Powers Within Ourselves


Sidgwick & Jackson 156pp £12.95 order from our bookshop

Ian Wilson achieved celebrity just over ten years ago with a book on the Holy Shroud, which became a bestseller. But devotees of the paranormal who thought they had found an ally were disappointed by his second book, Mind Out of Time, in which he took a firmly sceptical view of the evidence for reincarnation. It began to look as if he was one of those tiresome debunkers who can pick holes in other people’s cases without having anything positive to say for himself. When it slipped out that he was a Catholic convert, there were more groans and boos – for of course, the Catholic Church has always taken a negative view of reincarnation. Wilson admitted with delightful candour: ‘I was castigated in the Guardian for being selective in what I debunked, arguing that as a Roman Catholic I have my own brand of bunk.’

But when The After Death Experience appeared in 1987, it became clear that, whatever else he might be, Wilson was not one of those ‘just-try-and-convince me’ sceptics. His attitude remains critical, but it was obvious that, by the end of the book, he had been overwhelmed by sheer weight of evidence. I must admit that I chuckled maliciously as I witnessed his obvious embarrassment, having noted repeatedly that anyone who takes the trouble to look at the evidence usually ends up making far more concessions than he intended. This was confirmed by Wilson’s next book, The Bleeding Mind, about religious stigmata, which concluded that if the mind can cause the flesh to change, this could have remarkable implications for the cure of diseases like cancer…

Superself – subtitled ‘The hidden powers within ourselves’ – represents a logical next-step, and is, in my opinion, his most interesting and important book so far. The first chapter makes it sound as if he is fighting a determined rearguard action, explaining that what got him interested in the subject

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