That someone as well-educated, intelligent, and sophisticated as Phil Jackson (coach of the world champion Chicago Bulls basketball team), along with many team members, believes so strongly in native American spirituality, Zen Buddhism, and other occult powers (as do millions of others equally educated and sophisticate) would seem to negate the idea that such things can be written off as mere superstition. Something convincing is going on—but which of the many explanations being offered is true?
That numerous celebrities and even scientists endorse the existence of psychic powers, however, is no excuse for naiveté. Logic recoils at Jackson’s suggestion that a “bear claw necklace” really possesses occult powers implanted by a medicine man. Common sense also looks askance at Jackson’s claim that such powers could be conveyed to beholders. Is it enough just to “behold?” And what of those who “behold” unintentionally or out of historical or anthropological curiosity but with no desire to imbibe spiritual “benefit” from such totems and fetishes?
There can be no doubt that in our day a belief persists in much that modern skeptics have long ridiculed as old wives’ tales and childish superstitions. This is true even among some of the world’s leading scholars and intellects. Belief and participation in the occult is literally exploding. That fact cries out for a legitimate and definitive explanation—an explanation which we will carefully pursue.