For something completely different, I found this marvelous paper on neurological studies of Brazilian mediums. Along the way we get comparitive neuroanatomy of buddhist meditations, Carmelites, and enthusiastic Christians (no sorcerers of any type, more's the pity.). The observations of the mediums' process sound so very similar to what I see Neopagan seers and trancers doing. There's more neuroanatomy than most folks will care about, but the summaries, theories and observations are worth a read.
The paper is by various science folks, including our old Starwood chum Stanley Krippner, certainly a Dean of Weirdo Studies by now.
There's just so much good stuff:
• "The term “severely dissociative” could be reframed as “intensively imaginative” when culture-bound beliefs and practices are taken into account."
• "From the perspective of modern neuroscience, all behaviors and experiences have typically been related to the dynamic matrix of chemical and electromagnetic events within the human brain. However, resuming a rigorous, open-minded and comprehensive investigation of trance and mediumship may provide important evidence and many insights capable of advancing an alternative understanding of mind-brain relationships."
• Eight good reasons why brain research need not lead to materialist conclusions about mind.
Usually these Coolest Thing posts are funnier than this, but this is cool.