Lyall Watson and the Mysteries of Nature

Lyall Watson was a scientist and author of several books in which he attempted to find a biological and scientific basis for supernatural phenomena as well as looked at many, many other different fascinating subjects through the different lenses of modern science.

He is credited with coining the phrase "hundredth monkey" which is often used to describe instances of apparently spontaneous and accelerated evolution. He is best remembered for his book, "Supernature," which topped the best seller lists for 50 weeks, but he wrote lots of wonderful, inspiring and mind-opening books.

Watson is considered a true modern polymath (from the Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, "having learned much") - that is: a very knowledgeable person whose expertise spans a significant number of very different subject areas. (Being called a polymath puts you in good company; one of the most famous historical polymaths was Leonardo da Vinci).

Background of Lyall Watson

Lyall Watson was born on April 12, 1939 in South Africa. He died at the age of 69 on June 25, 2008.

He had a fond love of nature from early childhood and learned about the outdoors by spending time with the local bushmen. By his first day of school, he already knew over 800 species of birds.

He studied various aspects of nature in college, including paleontology, and earned degrees in zoology and botany. He later went on to study biology, chemistry, anthropology, geology, and ecology. He obtained a doctorate in ethology.

His professional career included writing books, researching, making nature documentaries, and being a zookeeper and expedition leader.

He was a private person, but was often in the media limelight. He became a cult hero in Japan after "Supernature" made him a well-known figure. He dined with the Japanese Royal Family as well as at Buckingham Palace, but also traveled under harsh circumstances to places such as the bush and Antarctica.

Lyall Watson made important contributions to the world through his work conserving whales and researching wildlife. His books opened minds and made people aware of the intelligence and potential of all living things.

While his books aren't filled with self help advice, they have been very popular among self help enthusiasts and New Age book readers because Watson provides an alternative way of looking at the world and offers hope humans can become something greater on an individual and global scale.

Books by Lyall Watson

"Supernature: A Natural History of the Supernatural" was published in 1973 and brought Lyall Watson international acclaim. It became a bestseller, and very popular among readers of New Age books. Supernature is the area between natural and supernatural where Watson says incredible and unexplainable things happen. It is filled with mysterious stories and examples that include things such as psychic powers, the power of the mind, circadian rhythms, astrology, pyramid power, effects of the sun and planets on earth life, and super powers such as eyeless sight. The book is thought provoking and has had readers pondering the mysteries of life and the universe for over three decades.

"The Biology of Death: A Matter of Life and Death" was published in 1974 and takes a spiritual and scientific look at death among humans and the plant and animal world. Watson discusses topics such as when the point of death occurs and touches on the afterlife and ghosts. Although it doesn't offer specific self help advice, this book is helpful for people who fear death as it helps replace the fear with intrigue and hope that life goes on.

"Gifts of Unknown Things: A True Story of Nature, Healing, and Initiation from Indonesia's Dancing Island" was published in 1976 and tells the story of the people of Nus Tarian in Indonesia. Mystical occurrences are commonplace and the local people accomplish magical feats, miraculous phenomena, and psychic healings. Lyall Watson offers an exciting adventure blended with a scientific exploration that encourages readers to challenge beliefs about reality.

"Lifetide: a Biology of the Unconscious" was published in 1979. In this book, Lyall Watson discusses his experiences with the supernatural as well as scientific theories of evolution and DNA. He explains that lifetide is state of the human condition of consciousness and self-awareness. It is the conflict of genetic destiny with the collective unconsciousness. He further states that hypnosis, paranormal events, and dreams give a peak into the collective unconscious that transcends individual minds.

More and more books are also becoming available as ebooks and audibles.

"Whales of the World: A Field Guide to the Cetaceans" was published in 1981 and reflects Watson's love for these creatures. He was active in whale conservation and even founded a marine park out of love for them and other sea creatures. This book gives readers a look at the various types of whales.

"Lightning Bird: The Story of One Man's Journey into Africa's Past" was published in 1982. This book tells the story of an Englishman's adventure into the deepest parts of Africa where he encountered witch doctors and experienced supernatural events. It provides insight into the human spirit and Stone Age man. It gives readers a feel for real Africa and explores the differences between it and modern societies.

"Heaven's Breath: A Natural History of the Wind" was written in 1984. It is an account of how wind has affected humans throughout history and describes various winds around the world such as the Santa Ana winds and Sirrocco. This book is an interesting read for nature lovers.

"Beyond Supernature: A New Natural History of the Supernatural" was published in 1986 and is available also as an ebook. In it, Watson provides examples from nature that show some sort of supernatural unifying bond among life forms. He describes how plants communicate over vast distances and how crowds of people spontaneously form, act together and then disperse. He further suggests there is some force that exists, and cannot be consciously controlled, yet runs through all living things on earth keeping us connected and in communication.

"The Dreams of Dragons: An Exploration and Celebration of the Mysteries of Nature" was published in 1986. In this book, Lyall Watson explains there is truth behind all legends, even the seemingly impossible ones. He takes readers to prehistoric times and present-day villages where he explores legends and phenomenon that defy scientific explanation. Watson leaves readers with a wonder and appreciation of the natural world.

"The Water Planet: A Celebration of the Wonder of Water" was published in 1988 and is an in-depth look at the waters found on earth and how they shape our world and our lives. The book is accompanied by beautiful photographs, making this an enjoyable and educational book for kids and adults.

"The Nature of Things: The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects" was published in 1990. In this book, Lyall Watson explores the mysteries of inanimate objects and theorizes that all things have life in them of some sort. The life could stem from the earth itself or be acquired from living things that came in contact with the objects. Watson relates unusual cases such as bleeding statues and lost wedding rings finding their owners through impossible means. Watson further suggests this life can linger in objects as mental fossils that can affect energy patterns and influence people who come in contact with them.

"Dark Nature: A Natural History of Evil" was published in 1995. In this book, Lyall Watson provides an explanation for evil and violence in the world that political, religious, and human nature explanations can't account for. He takes a scientific look at evil that has biological roots rather than religious, and doing so shows readers that evil can be controlled. Using examples of Nazi Germany, corporate greed, and personal violence, he shows evil does indeed exist but explains it is an expression of human genes and as such can be eliminated if humans become more spiritually evolved.

"Warriors, Warthogs, and Wisdom: Growing up in Africa" was published in 1997. It provides an insider's view of growing up in Africa. The book is accompanied by illustrations throughout and gives readers a real feel for what it was like to grow up in the bush and learn about nature from Zulu bushmen. The love Lyall Watson had for Africa and all aspects of nature shines through in his writing and inspires readers to expand their appreciation for other life forms on the planet.

"Jacobson's Organ and the Remarkable Nature of Smell" was published in 2000 and is a look at how smell affects our lives and relationships. The book is about the two tiny organs inside the human nose that could have properties not fully realized by scientists. Watson explains these organs are responsible for detecting pheromones, and play an important role in emotions, awareness, attraction, and mate selection.

"Elephantoms: Tracking the Elephant" was published in 2002 and pays tribute to these majestic animals. Waton describes elephants as mystical animals and helps readers understand how they are intelligent, highly emotional, self aware creatures. He met elephants in the wild as a child exploring the bush in Africa and continued to have a life long fascination and love for them. In this book, Watson offers metaphorical tales and true stories about these creatures that help readers foster a deeper appreciation and love for them and other living things.

"The Whole Hog: Exploring the Extraordinary Potential of Pigs" was published in 2004. This book by Lyall Watson is a celebration of pigs. It includes trivia, photographs, and illustrations that help readers understand these creatures better. Watson explains that pigs are animals most like humans in that they are smart, friendly, playful, and make combat strategies. He further explains how pigs are misunderstood and mistreated by society. This book will appeal to animal lovers of all kinds and will help readers become more aware of the intelligence present in other life forms on the planet.

The Legacy of Lyall Watson

Watson's books became so popular because he wrote from his heart. His love for nature and animals was evidenced in all his work.

He didn't offer self help advice, so as such he isn't representative of the self help authors presented here, but Lyall Watson did open the hearts and minds of many of his readers and helped them foster compassion, awe, and love for all of nature's creatures. His books also attracted those intrigued by the mysteries of life and the paranormal. Through his books readers could explore supernatural mysteries in the light of modern science and come to realize life is far more complex and mystical than previously imagined.

The books of Lyall Watson have inspired and entertained readers for decades. He was an amazing man, a cultural icon to some, a hippie guru to others, but through it all he retained his love, respect, and awe for all creatures on the planet.

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