09 January 2022

Review: John Safran Vs The Occult by John Safran

John Safran Vs The Occult by John Safran cover

The last book for 2021 helped me achieve my reading goals, given that I needed one more book by an Australian male author in order to complete my Aussie Author reading challenge. (See what else I read here).

In John Safran Vs The Occult, Australian satirist John Safran explores his interest in religion, expanding his research to include witchcraft, black magic, satanism and the occult.

If you're expecting to learn more about what these practices are and their brief history, this isn't that book. Rather, Safran researches and then investigates current cases and crimes specifically attributed to witchcraft, black magic, satanism and the occult and takes the reader along for the experience. This makes for an individual case perspective rather than an analysis of these practices as a whole.

Written before the pandemic and published in 2019, Safran travels to Los Angeles, Texas and Vanuatu, and even meets a Muslim woman seeking an Islamic exorcism in his hometown of Melbourne.

Originally published as an Audible Original, Safran's unassuming personality and genuine interest in people and their beliefs enables him to get locals to open up and talk to him. I'll admit I got lost in the sea of people in Vanuatu and the myriad ways in which they were connected to the case, but hearing directly from the people being interviewed via excerpts was definitely a highlight. Safran's interview techniques build trust and rapport and listening to the stories it's clear the interviewees trust Safran to represent them honestly and with respect.

John Safran Vs The Occult is a solid introduction to the author's research style, varied fields of interest and unique delivery. As always, Safran manages to find the lighter moments and there are many chuckles along the way.

For more, you can check out my review of Murder In Mississippi by John Safran or check out my Google Hangout with him in 2013.

My Rating:

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