Reviews and Comments For Some of
Raymond van Over's Books
Purgatory's Gate

"Raymond van Over is the real thing. Until I read his "Purgatory's Gate," I thought I had put satanic cult thrillers behind me forever. But "Purgatory's Gate" amply makes the case that there's evil life after "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist." Like the best books in any genre, it pushes the genre. Of craft, there is plenty. Van Over knows how to make us keep turning the pages as he recounts a New Hampshire doctor's escalating horror at being drawn into a gruesome paving of the way for the antichrist that begins with his puzzlement over a healthy young woman's death in childbirth. "Van Over succeeds as well as he does in drawing us into the world he specifies by making little things count for a lot. His sense of telling detail is as small as yanking us inside a hospital cafeteria by making us see and hear a tray scraping along the metal tubes on the customers' side of the steam table. It's also as large as a way of making bleak, harsh New England landscapes reinforce a mounting sense of dread and darkness. Incorporating nature into narrative was second nature to 19th century novelists, who were much closer to the natural world than we are. Finding a contemporary writer who does this with the immediacy and atmosphere summoned by van Over is rare. "Yet the book is at its scariest when David Monroe, van Over's physician turned sleuth, penetrates malignant man-made environments -- a mansion where we can feel the off-ness of things and want the doc to get out - fast - almost as much as we want him to flee a crypt he discovers beneath the ruins of an old church in the New Hampshire countryside. The fanatics he's chasing are playing for keeps. They have the beheadings to prove it. As things rush to a blazing climax, the powerful cultists seem too much for the doc and his two confederates: an old but deceptively tough priest and a nurse who seems too good to be true - until she isn't. In the right hands, "Purgatory's Gate" would make - literally! - a hell of a movie." Jay Carr, Boston Globe Film Critic

New England Horror tale "Here's a work which harkens back to the classic Gothic writers of horror. The opening scene of an unexpected death in the obstetrics ward alone gave me a bad case of tachycardia, but what distinguishes "Purgatory's Gate" is Raymond van Over's attention to characterization throughout the book--touching and successfully exploiting that morbid streak which runs through us all. A grand show, executed with taut pacing and nice literary flourishes. Enjoy..." C. Gardner,

"Captivating, thrilling and shocking, Purgatory's Gate makes for a great read…and a good reason to be afraid of the dark.

"I couldn't put this one down. The plot is engaging and frightening at the same time… The book has the perfect thriller, sensuality, and horror mix. I highly recommend it, but think twice before reading it late at night!"

In A Father's Rage

"An excellent true crime novel. A five star rating."

Unfinished Man

"Raymond van Over takes up the gauntlet here against science's model of man as a machine and argues that such a limiting conception cannot account for the still fundamentally mysterious features of human identity and experience--including an apparently irreducible core of evidence of well-tested instances of extrasensory experience abilities in some individuals. His basic thesis is that man is yet an unfinished species in the course of evolution...He thus follows in the train of such others as Teilhard de Chardin, intrigued more by the mystery of human development than by its readily explicable features. Even the skeptic should find this book a useful map of explorations into matters ranging from the ancient practice of dream interpretation to experiments with so-called consciousness-expanding drugs....Mr. van Over makes a useful contribution to the ongoing debate between alternative theories of mind and experience built on the back of partial facts." BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB

" objective account of the study of subjective experiences--thought, imagery, dreams, the unconscious, hypnosis, drug states, ESP, etc. Van Over's book is a good, well-documented review of a difficult area." LIBRARY JOURNAL

Total Meditation

"I have read TOTAL MEDITATION with enormous pleasure. It is perhaps the best overall view of the subject that I have ever read; and it is written with marvelous sympathy and clarity." Colin Wilson, Author

"TOTAL MEDITATION" is a splendid contribution to the literature of meditation and will add balance to a field now characterized by exaggerated claims and obscure ideas." Stanley Krippner, Stanford University

"This book is ground both in first-hand knowledge and wide-ranging scholarship, and what the author has to say is stated clearly and simply. TOTAL MEDITATION is for anyone approaching the field with less than van Over's considerable expertise." Robert Masters, Ph.D. Director of Research, Foundation of Mind Research

".... Well balanced, perceptive, and exceedingly readable considering the complexity of his subject matter. It is another herald of what to me seems a coming explosion in the inner search by man of his essential nature.... Books like this are essential." Walter Houston Clark, Andover Newton Theological School, Professor of the Psychology of Religion

".... It is an impressively erudite book.... I congratulate Mr. van Over on his achievement." Gertrude Schmeidler, Chairman, Dept. of Psychology The City College, New York, NY

Without sacrificing or demeaning the complexity of meditation, the author gives a well-researched, thorough description of meditation, its history, and different techniques from various religions and disciplines around the world. One of the most interesting things he does is to relate different meditations with individual personality types. Highly recommended because the author avoids the normal grandiose mystical pronouncements yet keeps the religious context that supports the use of meditation. Five Star

The Psychology of Freedom

"...this excellent collection offers thoughts from well-chosen writers on how man can cope in the increasingly complex and dehumanizing modern world which insists on alternately confusing and computerizing him: Readings range from John Dewey to Martin Buber, with Sartre representing existentialism, and Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm offering a more humanistic point of view." Publishers Weekly

Sun Songs, Creation Myths From Around the World

"Since the first awakening of the human intellect, the mystery of the creation of the physical world and of life itself has challenged the mind and inspired the mythmaking imagination. Over thousands of years, a myriad of creation myths have come into being and flourished all over the globe. Now these myths have been brought together in a single volume fascinating in its rich variety - and often startling in its depiction of uncanny resemblances among myths of vastly diverse peoples. Ranging from North American Indian fables to the epics of Northern Europe, from the ancient myths of Babylonia, Egypt and Greece to the comparatively recent legends of Pacific Islanders, from the gorgeous poetry of India to the savagely splendid tales of South America, Sun Songs offers a dazzling display of the vision of the seers and the genius of the artists who south to penetrate the darkness beyond the borders of knowledge." TheoSophia Magazine

"These stories are delicious reading…" North Texas Skeptics Magazine,

"...Raymond van Over is the author and editor of over a dozen acclaimed books, among them the Mentor Classics editions of "I Ching," and "Taoist Tales." The variety of myths in this single rich volume range from North American Indian fables to the epics of Northern Europe, from the ancient myths of Babylonia, Egypt and Greece to the gorgeous poetry of India and the savage tales of South America. "Sun Songs" offers a dazzling display... "…The ULO Bookshelf's recommended readings on…favorite books…Sun Songs, Creation Myths from Around the World…edited with Introductions by Raymond van Over."

"A 'Folk Bible' in the form of various nations' myths of creation… a great book of pre-literate humanity (Raymond van Over, Sun Songs, Creation Myths From Around the World). Required Texts: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers; Beowulf; The Odyssey (Robert Fitzgerald Trans); Gilgamesh (Penquin); Aristophanes, Four Comedies, and Raymond van Over, Sun Songs, Creation Myths From Around the World (Mentor Books)." Professor Michael Bell, Western European Literature English Dept., Colorado University

Eastern Mysticism: From Arabia to Japan Volume One: The Near East/Volume Two: The Far East

"This will be the standard and basic reference text and source book for Eastern mysticism for many years to come. It is very rare that a work on a subject can fill two needs: to be a basic reference text and at the same time be coherent and readable as a work in itself. This book is both. He has provided an amazingly clear and complete account of Eastern mystical traditions." Lawrence LeShan, Ph.D. Author of How to Meditate

Taoist Tales

"...every generally educated reader with an interest in the basics of mythology and religious experience and its relationship to some of the most penetrating aspects of our culture will find an acquaintance with this volume rewarding." Walter Houston Clark, Andover Newton Theological School

"…Taoist Tales by Raymond van Over captures the ideas, attitudes, and activities of ancient Taoism….Taoist thought is well represented in this Meridian Classics edition…"

A Treasury of Chinese Literature

"...a solid, readable selection of readings on Chinese mysticism. Those who are new to the field will find van Over's introduction extremely informative and helpful in sorting out fact from fiction." Robert Briar, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, C.W. Post College

Psychology and Extrasensory Perception

Today the science of parapsychology--the study of extrasensory perception and other paranormal psychical phenomena--is gaining wide official recognition after decades of disrepute within the established scientific community. What is still little recognized, however, is that the sciences of psychology and parapsychology were once intimately connected. Such great pioneers as Freud, Jung, and James did valuable work on extrasensory perception--work most often ignored by their latter-day disciples. This volume presents the impressive investigations of these seminal thinkers as well as the more recent breakthroughs in establishing the legitimacy and value of parapsychological study. It goes far to redress the long neglect of this fascination area of knowledge and to open up important new vistas of knowledge of the as-yet unplumbed depths of human psychic potential.

"A fascinating probing of the inmost secrets of the mind. Investigations by great thinkers such as Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Gardner Murphy, William James, Friedrich Schiller, and others."

Monsters You've Never Heard Of

"Raymond van Over is an expert on world mythology, who has edited a number of volumes on the subject: sun myths, creation myths, hero myths, sacrifice myths, and so on. Like Jung, he recognizes that myths are an expression of the deepest longings and creative urges of the human spirit. "This book, Monsters You've Never Heard Of, is far more than a collection of gruesome fairy tales. What Raymond van Over has done is deceptively simple, and sheer literary skill has made it so easy to digest that the whole volume can be gulped down in one reading." Colin Wilson, Author

The Twelfth Child

"The Twelfth Child by Raymond van Over is an electrifying horror novel…an engrossing suspense thriller. The novel adds satanic-like history to make the plot thick and substantial…I highly recommend it." Teenlink Book Reviews

"This column's winners…are The Twelfth Child by Raymond van Over….Van Over has given us an engaging plot and protagonists to match…satanistic trappings and conspiratorial twists….A good yarn." Geocities/West Hollywood Book Reviews