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'The association of adolescence with supernatural belief is not new. Many social research texts position paranormal belief within the liminality of adolescence – something tested and later outgrown. The particularly North American phenomena of ‘legend tripping,’ for instance, where ‘to test [a] legend, legend trippers will often mark their visits [to sites of urban legends] with specific activities designed to invoke supernatural powers,’ is practiced primarily by older teens and college-age youths as shown by Donald Holly and Casey Cordy in ‘What’s in a Coin?’ and confirmed by Sylvia Ann Grider in ‘Children’s Ghost Stories’.2 Alison Waller’s book Constructing Adolescence in Fantastic Realism similarly attests to the appeal of the supernatural in books written for and about young people. Criticism of these works, however, tends to sideline supernatural content as a site of inquiry and instead ‘prioritise a rational reading of the fantastic focussing on socio-physiological development of adolescents. Magic is explained away as a purely imaginative product of awakened sexuality, and ghosts are read as fabricated alter egos.' (Author's introduction)
'Read the following essay and you will have learnt a lot about the man Brian Medlin. Not just his ideas and values but how these fused with his loves: poetry, philosophy and the Australian bush. For me this essay is special; it was written during our last few months together. It was part of our life, our talk: it had a presence. Brian worked on it between bouts of illness and pain, in doctor’s waiting rooms, in hospital and finally from his bed at home. Three days before he died he completed it and handed it to me. ‘Here, I’ve made you a present,’ he said. ‘I wrote this for you.’ I sat at the end of the bed and read. I was blown away by the ease with which he moved from anecdote to analysis, from philosophy to poetry, back and forth weaving them together, telling a story, in fact several stories. And I was moved by how he saw himself and humanity and its artefacts as part of nature, not separate from it, a rare achievement in western society, and central to understanding the photographs in the final chapter. (Photos that were taken on what turned out to be our last visit to “another Best Place” the Coorong.) I was moved by many things… He asked me what I thought. Then, ‘Do you think I’ve been too hard on Bob Brown?’ ‘It’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever written,’ I said. Ten years on I still think that. (Introduction by Christine Vick)