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  Deep Weird: The Varieties of High Strangeness Experience
Jack Hunter, PhD

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This book is about the stranger reaches of extraordinary experience research. In these pages an intrepid cast of writers, investigators and academics explore the complexities of extraordinary experience, and consider why it is that some of the most unusual experiential reports - what we might call ‘high strangeness’ experiences – come to be neglected, even in what is already a relatively fringe field of inquiry.

The aversion to the most unusual forms of extraordinary experience has resulted in a gulf between the kinds of experiences discussed in the academic parapsychological literature and those experiences discussed by Fortean and popular paranormal researchers, who have more frequently been able to discuss a broader range of extraordinary experiential accounts - from UFO encounters to Bigfoot and fairy sightings, and everything in between.

Notwithstanding this divide,  there are significant themes that run throughout the established academic literature on religious and extraordinary experience, the parapsychological literature, and the canon of popular paranormal research. These similarities suggest that even the most unusual experiences, which are often ignored in academic research, contain elements that connect them to other forms of extraordinary experience that are more broadly accepted, such as certain kinds of spiritual, mystical, religious and other paranormal experiences.

This book is an exploration of the possibility that the ‘highly strange’ might well be a core underlying feature of extraordinary experiences more generally, and that instead of being neglected, ‘high strangeness’ should be granted greater and renewed scholarly and parapsychological attention.

Includes contributions from Jeffrey J. Kripal, Jack Hunter, Sharon Hewitt Rawlette, Gregory Shushan, Samantha Lee Treasure, Michael Grosso,  Zofia Weaver, Alan Murdie, David Luke, Simon Young, Zelia Edgar, Leonardo Breno Martins, Peter M. Rojcewicz, Barbara A. Fisher, Christopher Diltz,  Joshua Cutchin, Anthony Peake, Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes, Susan Demeter and Renée E. Mazinegiizhigo-kwe Bédard.

Praise for Deep Weird

Carl Gustav Jung wrote about “synchronicities,” while Rhea White dubbed them “exceptional human experiences.” Rudolf Otto discussed “the numinous” and Alan Watts cited “these things.” Jack Hunter uses the umbrella terms “deep weird” and “highly strange,” proposing that they be the topic of disciplined inquiry. In this remarkable volume Dr Hunter and his chapter authors provide numerous examples of events that at first glance seem to be absurd, bizarre and surreal. The result is a collection of anecdotes, vignettes, and descriptions that beg for explanation, especially when Occam’s Razor cannot cut to the quick, when the Gordian Knot cannot be sliced, and when mainstream science can only offer reductionism. Readers may react with skepticism to some of these tales, but they will never be bored as they peruse this extraordinary anthology.

~ Stanley Krippner, PhD., co-editor of Varieties of Anomalous Experience: Examining the Scientific Evidence.

Deep Weird features some of the best minds today researching the witness experience of the surreal made real. This book reiterates the rule that the more unbelievable an account of the uncanny is, the more we should pay attention to the details, and the effects on the witness. The world of the numinous is not for the binary-minded.

~ Greg Bishop, author of It Defies Language: Essays on UFOs and Other Weirdness.

This book is a delight to read and timely as both a science and experience based assessment of how consciousness and perception are integral to experiencing weird events. It represents an important step along the yellow brick road that hopefully leads to better understanding. I am still investigating the subtle forces within consciousness that build a bridge between an extraordinary perception and the constructs around it that we seem to create, asking if that resulting ‘strange experience’ provides real meaning within our lives, or is just an illusion. Every now and then something perceptive or insightful can illuminate the way towards better awareness of how and why things happen as they do. The Oz Factor did that for me. I hope this book proves to be that spark for you.

~ Jenny Randles, author of Mind Monsters: Invaders from Inner Space?

Talk about high weirdness! In this potent collection, the intrepid Jack Hunter stakes out an expansive conceptual zone for the paranormal keyed to our anomalous times. Gathering texts between (and beyond) sociology and subjectivity, science and magic, scholars and experiencers, Deep Weird unsettles the borderlands and gets under your skin.

~ Erik Davis, PhD., author of High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica and Visionary Experience in the Seventies.

There is a public face to the paranormal, where Bigfoot is an undiscovered primate and UFOs are visiting scientists from a distant planet. These mainstream conclusions are tidy and logical, all of it above the waterline in bright sunshine. Yet anyone who truly looks into these dark mysteries will confront a baffling strangeness, a shadow realm where real events play out with enigmatic dream logic. The authors in this book have journeyed into the deepest waters, and what they share will stretch the mind of any seeker brave enough to listen. This collection is a testament to the unsettling weirdness that permeates our reality. It’s not just that things are weird – it’s that they’re too weird.

~ Mike Clelland, author of The Messengers: Owls, Synchronicity and the UFO Abductee


Foreword: The Implied Projector - Jeffrey J. Kripal, PhD.

Introducing the Deep Weird: High Strangeness, Boggle Thresholds and Damned Data in Academic Research on Extraordinary Experience - Jack Hunter


1. Synchronicity – Sharon Hewitt Rawlette

2. Near-Death Experiences: Unpeeling the Universal, Cultural, and Individual Layers – Gregory Shushan

3. Out-of-Body Experiences in the Screen Age – Samantha Lee Treasure

4. Superhumanity: An Exercise of Active Imagination – Michael Grosso

5. Ectoplasm: Where Biology Meets Imagination – Zofia Weaver

6. Poltergeists and High Strangeness – Alan Murdie

7. Disembodied Eyes Revisited: An Investigation into the Ontology of Entheogenic Entity Encounters – David Luke

8. Fairy Ain’t What It Used to Be: Traditional vs Contemporary Fairies – Simon Young

9. Anything-but-Standard: High Strangeness Entity Encounters – Zelia Edgar


10. Strange Talk: Epistemological, Methodological and Ethical Aspects of Conducting Interviews about Anomalous Experiences ¬ Leonardo Breno Martins

11. The Extraordinary Encounter Continuum Hypothesis – Peter M. Rojcewicz

12. Creating Project Hera: Application of Deep Neural Networks and Database Architectures to Albert Rosales’ Humanoid Encounter Datasets – Barbara A. Fisher & Christopher Diltz


13. “The Projectionist’s Booth”: High Strangeness Viewed Through the Lens of Cinema – Joshua Cutchin

14. An Introduction to the Egregorial – Anthony Peake

15. Minds in Nature: Panpsychism – Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes

16. Through A Magickal Lens: Towards an Experimental Model of Conjuring – Susan Demeter

17. Jiisakiiwigaan: Shaking Tent Ceremony as Sacred Metamorphosis – Renée E. Mazinegiizhigo-kwe Bédard

Contributor Biographies



About the author

Dr. Jack Hunter is an anthropologist exploring the borderlands of ecology, religion and the paranormal. He lives in the hills of Mid-Wales with his family. He is an Honorary Research Fellow with the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre, University of Wales Trinity Saint David and a Research Fellow with the Parapsychology Foundation, New York.  He is the founder and editor of Paranthropology: Journal of Anthropological Approaches to the Paranormal, the author of Spirits, Gods and Magic: An Introduction to the Anthropology of the Supernatural (2019) and Engaging the Anomalous (2018). He is the editor of Strange Dimensions: A Paranthropology Anthology (2015), Damned Facts: Fortean Essays on Religion, Folklore and the Paranormal (2016), and is co-editor with Dr. David Luke of Talking With the Spirits: Ethnographies from Between the Worlds (2014).
To find out more about his work visit

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published January 31, 2023
420 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inches / 229 x 152 mm
ISBN 978-1-78677-224-4
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The Only Planet of Choice: Visitations – Many people use the word ‘Alien’ to describe a visitor from outer space. Extra terrestrial is another word, which is rather more user friendly. For the sake of the question and answer format, the word used by the questioner has been left, though even Tom questions our use of‘Alien’. Should we wish to foster openess between all beings of the Universe perhaps we should also look at our vocabulary? In a discussion between Andrew and Tom many years earlier, Andrew had asked Tom about UFOs and whether they were created manifestations. Tom had replied: “Many of the flying things that you call UFOs come from our place, but they come from other places also, and they do come in physical form. But many of them are not physical. They are like your movie screen”. Read here
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