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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

The Fantastic

The Fantastic

(p.87) 9 The Fantastic
The Iranian Metaphysicals

Alireza Doostdar

Princeton University Press

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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