George Hansen – The Trickster, the Paranormal, and Liminality

George Hansen is an almost mythical figure amongst those who have a deep interest in the issues discussed on this show. His groundbreaking book The Trickster and the Paranormal is required reading for anyone who wishes to tackle these subjects in a meaningful way. What Hansen proposes is what we call “paranormal” is so fraught with forces and traditions that mean to derail and deceive us at every turn, that we cannot wade into this quagmire without realizing all aspects of the issues that await us. This is not because it is necessarily evil, but because the tradition of the Trickster archetype is present in all cultures (whether some want to admit it or not) and appears to provide a balance to the more structured aspects of culture and even our own psyches by introducing randomness and novelty.

In a wide-ranging talk, we discussed the trickster archetype, how it addresses inequality in cultures, and how excluded elements (such as the LGBT community) are often imbued with this influence. George tells us about his years of research in parapsychology and the history of such groups over the last century. He also talked about his friendship with author John Keel and his New York Fortean Society. He discussed the world of stage magic and how many magicians are not doctrinaire skeptics, and actually endorse some forms of psychic phenomena as currently unexplained. We also touched on how UFO study ignores the trickster at its peril.

There is so much more to unpack in this free-ranging and educational conversation from one of the true originals in the field.

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