When The Flying Cow was first published in 1975, it revealed a world of psychic wonders in Brazil hitherto barely explored by outsiders. Author Guy Lyon Playfair had spent two years as a member of the Brazilian Institute for Psychobiophysical Research (IBPP), the first group of its kind to investigate and document the wide range of inexplicable phenomena – from poltergeists and psychic surgeons to trance artists and children who recall previous lives.
He spent several days and nights in a poltergeist-haunted house, managing to record several inexplicable happenings on tape. He watched as a young man untrained in art dashed off a series of portraits in the styles of numerous deceased masters, some in a matter of seconds. He witnessed some of the country’s unorthodox healers at work, and saw them open bodies with their bare hands, eventually finding out for himself how it feels to be on the receiving end of this most bizarre form of alternative surgery.
He also looked into some of the best known cases from the past, collecting new eye-witness evidence for the mysterious abilities of such legendary figures as Arigó, the ‘surgeon of the rusty knife’, colourful and controversial mediums such as Carlos Mirabelli, Peixotinho and Otilia Diogo. He even obtained an account of the rarest of all psychic phenomena – materialisation – from a chief of police.
The Flying Cow was followed by its sequel The Indefinite Boundary in 1976. Material from the latter has been included in this edition, making it the most comprehensive survey available of the paranormal world of Brazil.