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The Iranian MetaphysicalsExplorations in Science, Islam, and the Uncanny$
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Alireza Doostdar

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691163772

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.001.0001

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The Fantastic

The Fantastic

Chapter:
(p.87) 9 The Fantastic
Source:
The Iranian Metaphysicals
Author(s):

Alireza Doostdar

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691163772.003.0010

This chapter tells the story of a woman's encounter with a rammal to elucidate how secular sensibilities relating to metaphysical pleasures may combine with skeptical empirical inquiry to produce a thrilling experience. The woman, named Shokufeh, consulted Haj Aqa Yusefi, a rammal, about suspicious Hebrew-like markings she had discovered on the ceiling of her living room. She wanted to know if she had been bewitched and if the rammal could help her void the sorcery if necessary. The chapter argues that Shokufeh's encounter with the rammal shows that skepticism can be a condition of possibility for occult experimentation, and that the fantastic quality of the encounter with rammals is precisely what renders the experience a site of possibility. By expressing skepticism, Shokufeh not only laid claim to rationality but also opened up experiential possibilities that she may have missed had she been more credulous.

Keywords:   rammal, metaphysical pleasures, empirical inquiry, occult, sorcery, skepticism, rationality

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