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    An alternative way to explore and explain the mysteries of our world. "Published since 1985, online since 2001."

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Book Reviews Perceptions Magazine, May 2023

MIMICS-The Others Among Us
They’ve Been Called Many Names Throughout Time –
Gods, Angels, Demons, The Good Folk, Shapeshifters,
By Sean Casteel & Tim R. Swartz

Zontar Press
2023, 361 pages, Paperback, 6,69 x 9.61, U.S. $17.95
ISBN: 979-8-9866449-2-9

Reviewed by Brent Raynes

This book has a Foreword by one Brian Young, a self-admitted skeptical historian who at least thoughtfully frames the landscape to be pursued in MIMICS in the following language: “As a historian, I am aware that mimics, in one shape or another (pun intended), seem to be a part of every culture, civilization and religion. Wherever there were people there were legends, myths, stories, and folklore. Call it what you will. However, mimics, by one name or another, have always seemed to be with us.”

Sean Castell and Tim Swartz have assembled in this intriguing volume a wide variety of thought-provoking modern and historical accounts of these enigmatic non-human “mimics” who come to us in the form of supposed ET aliens, or supernatural angels, djinn, demons, shapeshifters, fairies, changelings, etc., etc. The two authors sought contributions from about a dozen other authors who provided chapters detailing their studies into these curious “mimics.” This reviewer was one such contributor, who shared his own compilation of oddball entities in a chapter entitled, “ParaUfology: A Weird Road Less Travelled.” The other guest contributors were Tim Beckley, Scott Corrales, Paul Eno, Chris Holly, Hercules Invictus, Philip Kinsella, Paul Dale Roberts, Gene Steinberg, Lon Strickler, Nigel Watson, and John Weigle.

I believe all of us who contributed to this book will agree with the skeptical historian when he added in his Foreword, “So, what are these beings? I have no shame in admitting, ‘I don’t know!’ Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, the fact remains that the world we share is complex. There are things that we may never understand. However, that shouldn’t stop us from asking questions.” Amen! I can honestly recommend MIMICS! While it does not guarantee to answer all of your questions, it should indeed provide you plenty of reasons to deeply ponder the multitude of mysterious being stories and legends reported throughout the world from our earliest beginnings, all of which should provide you with an endless range of questions to keep your mind quite busy for quite some time.


The First Female Pharaoh: Sobekneferu, Goddess of the Seven Stars By Andrew Collins Inner Traditions
Bear & Company
One Park Street
Rochester, Vermont 05767
2023, 464 pages, Paperback, 6.63 x 9.5, U.S. $26.00
16-page color insert and 99 b&w illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-59143-445-0

Reviewed by Brent Raynes

Acclaimed British author and historian Andrew Collins, the co-discoverer of the cave complex beneath Egypt’s Giza plateau, known today as “Collins’ Cave,” presents a comprehensive biography of the life of the first female Egyptian Pharaoh named Sobekneferu, called the Goddess of the Seven Stars, the first woman to wear the crowns of both Upper and Lower Egypt. This is the first ever biography that has been written about this historical Egyptian figure. Previous to this, other ancient female Egyptian rulers like Cleopatra, Nefertiti, and Hatshepsut have been widely known to us, but Sobekneferu fell between the historical cracks, so to speak, and it was Sobekneferu whose achievements that would in fact later inspire many of these ancient female rulers who followed.

Collins meticulously pieces together the nearly lost history of Sobekneferu. He describes how under her rulership Egypt survived a very dark period in its history known as the Second Intermediate Period and how it managed to become one of the most powerful and influential empires of the ancient world.

In this book we learn of Sobekneferu’s religious beliefs and practices that centered on the crocodile god Sobek, his mother the hippopotamus goddess Neith, goddess of the stars, and Sekhmet, the goddess over divine power. Eltanin, the brightest star in the constellation Draco, was seen as the eye of the god Sobek. We also read her various achievements and the political and religious issues of her time, details of her relationship with Amenemhat IV, her brother, Neferuptah, her sister, and her father Amenemhat III, regarded as one of the most beloved pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom.

Collins notes: “The First Female Pharaoh demonstrates how Sobekneferu's deeds and actions would eventually be suppressed by those who followed her, although the potency of her achievements and the cult ignited in her name would continue to ripple down through the ages, leading to her reemergence during the Victorian age firstly as a historical curiosity and then as a Gothic icon and occult inspiration through her role as the antagonist in Bram Stoker’s shocking Egyptian novel "The Jewel of Seven Stars" (1903).”

Sunday, June 16, 2024