images-18There’s no point in analyzing Carlos Castañeda’s writings in the section called Is It Real, or Nonsense?  As serious anthropology, as the non-fiction it pretended to be, the writing was clearly nonsense, and a hoax.  As the inspired fiction that it was, it sold widely around the world, and made Castañeda a millionaire.

But there’s more to this psychological and social mystery than the question of how professional anthropologists could award Carlos his doctorate based on the vivid inventions of his imagination.  More than the question of how serious academics could fall for one of the century’s greatest hoaxes, and one of its least honest men.  There’s much more–for example–the Castañeda women.

Unknown-9At least three of his female intimates, after his death, disappeared and their demise opened its own round of pure, amazing speculation.  At least one was found, her bones that is, by a hiker in the barren California desert.

How did one of the great hucksters of his time write such good fiction, animate so many imaginations in positive ways, and yet do so much damage to anthropological science, and the lives of numerous people?  Our common psychology begs that question.  What in the world happened with Carlos Castaneda?

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