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The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena (Rough Guides Reference Titles) [Paperback]

John Michell , Bob Rickard
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Aug 2007 Rough Guides Reference Titles

The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena is an exploration of the zone that lies between the known and the unknown, a shadowy territory that's home to the lake monsters, combusting people, teleporting frogs and man-eating trees. Taking a Fortean path between dogmatic scientists and credulous believers, the authors trace tales of wonder back to their sources, drawing from a huge archive of observations, opinions and discussions. This updated second edition boasts new illustrations and plenty of intriguing new sections from near death experiences to ghosts, haunted houses and mysterious mass deaths. There are many things which are not yet known or understood about our world - as this guide shows there are many riddles to solve and wonders to experience.

Decide for yourself with The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomona

Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides; 2 edition (2 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843537087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843537083
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 16.6 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 566,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Both established figures in the field. John Michell's book - 'View over Atlantis' was the cult read of the 1970's. Bob Rickard is editor of the Fortean Times, and the two co-wrote the earlier incarnations of this book, Phenomena and Living Wonders.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Fort was among the first to draw attention to several types of phenomena which are now widely recognized, and he was also original in noticing connections between them – between poltergeist events and the presence of a distressed or mentally disturbed young person; between unknown lights or objects in the sky and possible otherworldly intelligence; between outbreaks of hysteria or religious fervour and fires, earthquakes and other disasters. Of all his conceptions teleportation proved to be the most useful. One of his special interests was in the anomalies of animal distribution, whether it was the spontaneous appearance of life in newly-dug ponds, the mysteries of bird and insect migration or the strange ability of certain pet animals to find their owners, even when they have moved far away to unknown locations. Together with these phenomena Fort collected cases of lost possessions miraculously rediscovered, modern artifacts excavated from ancient geological strata, !
and objects that manifest themselves at spiritualist sessions, at the behest of shamans and holy men, in response to prayer or intense desire or simply of their own accord. In connection with these and other mysteries Fort spoke of teleportation, not as a scientific theory to be proved or clamouring for precise explanations, which will never be forthcoming.

This is a humorous subject, but while laughing at it we are also somewhat respectful towards Fort’s damned facts, and we are wholly respectful towards his inclusive attitude and world-view. There is nothing to be gained by worrying about or wilfully rejecting aspects of our human experience which can never be explained. The greatest of human pleasures (purer and more long-lasting than sex or any of the appetites) is to investigate the world, generally and in its various parts – and much more so if it is done honestly, without regard to prejudices, taboos, inhibitions and other people’s conventions.
In this book we make all sorts of connections between the various types of mysteries and wonders described in it, but we do not ask readers to follow us, believe in us or accept any of our tentative conclusions. The most we hope for is to bring relief to those among us who have experienced strange happenings and have been told by their doctors, parents or contemporaries that this is unnatural and even perhaps a sign of madness. Our message of comfort to such readers is that you are not alone. As we carefully demonstrate in the following chapters, these things have always happened, they can happen to anyone, and at least some of them probably happen to everyone in the course of a lifetime. Our very existence in this world is an unexplained mystery, and that is something we have to accept and be happy with.

John Michell and Bob Rickard --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fairly normal paranormal 6 Sep 2000
By tkwink
This Rough Guide special is an overall good effort, but in the end, it comes of as fairly standard supernatural fare. The authors are knowledgeable, but the book is cobbled together from previous efforts (though updated. There are a number of lesser-known incidents and paranormal events to delight in (see the attack of the Smurfs, for one) as well as the bog standard yeti and Nessie bits. While the illustrations are very well chosen, the majority are in PURPLE, cutting their effectiveness and sometimes even obscuring any detail. Purple is the dominant colour here, in hue and prose alike. And an obvious Fortean tone permeates, often become dull as reference after reference is made to the late, great Charles Fort. Great as a starter book on the unexplained, interesting but not essential for the dedicated student of the strange.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid fare 8 Oct 2003
By A Customer
This book is a very good introduction for a newcomer to the subject of mysterious phenomena. It is an amalgamation of two oldish books, and this is reflected in the fact that few of the incidents cited date from after 1982. Don't let that put you off: although a lot can happen in 20 years, you could argue that nothing really advances in this field: more sightings; more elusive clues; more samples of yeti fur that seem to have been mislaid; more camera shutters jamming. Perhaps Mr. Fort was right to maintain an attitude of amused detachment. One of the best things is that references are given to many other good books, so you can explore each subject in greater detail. The content is a good balance between depth and breadth. I particularly enjoyed the sections dealing with teleportation, talking animals, woodwoses (England's own 'wild men') almas and yetis, and children brought up by animals. The remarkable claim is made that children raised by wolves can develop glowing eyes, just like their adopted family. Best of all are the manifold sightings of Noah's Ark, supposed still to be on top of Mt. Ararat. You don't have to be a believer to enjoy this volume; it will appeal to anyone interested in the more recondite purlieus of human experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting 21 Mar 2010
It is a good reference book. The title sums it up rough guide. As long as you're not looking for indepth explainations, you will enjoy this book.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexplained Phenomena 10 Sep 2010
By Helen
Excellent book, bought for hubby. Arrived in excellent order, very quickly!!
Impressed with service this company provides.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries of the Modern Age! 22 Oct 2005
By Karen Loo. - Published on
Unexplained Phenomena is a collection of articles documenting some of the oddest and most wonderful anomalies of our world. This isn't just your standard ghost and sea monster book, although some of those occurences are certainly covered. Our writers delve into winged cats, Hindu statues that drink, teleportation, spontaneous combustion, man-eating trees, ice discs, rains of frogs, stigmata, and more. Each chapter is complemented by a number of photos and captions.

The book covers such a vast range of intersts that anyone can pick it up and be satisfied. My friends and family love to flip through this book and it's a great conversation piece. Articles are short enough to read casually, but long enough to provide you with decent information. In other words, it's better than an encyclopedia.

This is a fantastic primer of the curiosities around us that go so unnoticed. Anyone looking to delve into the paranormal or merely have a fun read should check out this book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Oasis of Wit in a Desert of Density 20 Feb 2004
By M. Hori - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fortean Times has been a great read since the first issues way back in the 1970's. It brings humor, a playful wit, and INTELLIGENCE to a subject that usually attracts writers lacking in one or more of these virtues. This volume was culled from the pages of the Times and is jam-packed with jaw-dropping pictures, and text that takes one out of oneself long enough to contemplate the "reality" of time slips and poltergeists and levitation and Kaspar Hauser--all in the spirited spirit of the American literary phenomenon who went by the name of Charles Fort.

The only criticism I have of the book is that, contrary to Fort who heavily documents his work--some of the most interesting material goes undocumented. For instance, I for one would like to know where that fossilized sandal-print (the one that appears to be stepping on a trilobite) is located.

Outside of this minor moan, the book is a gem worth collecting.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leave Science in the Dust 23 July 2006
By drew hempel - Published on
The "damned facts" detailed in this amazing book crack the glow light in the middle of anyone's brain. My favorite tidbits are on the tulpas, which the authors assure us, were seen by others when, for example, Alexandra David-Neel was forced to exorcise the malignant, malicious trickster -- her shadow self in physical projection! Usually the big foot-yeti sightings get dismissed fairly easily but this book keeps you wondering with the thought that possibly new types of missing apes lurk in the unreachable sanctuaries of Nature. Then there's those damned highly electromagnetic individuals -- with strong amperage (not just voltage) who create poltergeists or who refuse to decay after death or who project a beautific aura seen by many. These details are well-documented in this treasure trove of rare sightings of the true human potential. We get a strong emphasis on the Western saint tradition which is excellent considering the otherwise delegation of the bizarre to exotic cultures only entertained by the well-to-do.

Of course the Super Conspiracy of Nature being able to rejuvenate Herself despite the apocalyptic destruction of modern technology is what makes this book truly shine. Teleportation as the ultimate tool of ecological justice! Sounds too wacky to be real? The "damned facts" speak for themselves as the authors are all too willing to dismiss hoaxes and sift through a ream of alternative theories while only the unfathomable remains irresistable.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall, few problems... 17 Dec 2009
By Chuck W - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've had this book for a few days now, and with much anticipation flipped through it and scanned it at first. There was certainly a lot of cases, and a good amount of pictures/drawings, but I was a bit disappointed in the lack of details for most cases. Most of the text spoke of interesting occurences, and was mainly "this person claimed they saw X...but then it never appeared again" descriptions. I was looking for more details, explanations, charts, drawings, and photos.

Enjoyed: Stories about the "dinosaur" cuaght by Japanese fisherman (with photo, determined later to be a basking shark); phantom ship stories (most notably the Flying Dutchman); and the lost animal stories--finding their way home over great distances.

Disappointed by: Excessive stories of alleged levitations and psychic movement of objects (complete with obviously staged photos); too many stories of alleged stigmata--again with photos that are easily spotted as fakes; and missing stories that should have been included (Oak Island treasure, missing colony of Roanoke Island, etc.).

For a basic reference it was quite good, albeit lacking detail in most instances. It makes for a good bathroom reader...
4.0 out of 5 stars Things Just Don't Seem to be the Way We Were Told 16 Nov 2012
By Eric Sanberg - Published on
I've been into these sorts of things for longer than I care to admit. And it seems that the more I read the crazier it all gets. Accepted science, which obviously works at some level, is simply missing some fundamental something in the way things work.

I bought an earlier version of this book, used, in 1981. This is an updated and expanded version. Some of the original material has been expanded and some new things, such as "Globsters," have been added. Bob Rickard and John Michell should be deemed national treasures. They cover a lot of territory and are able to keep a sense of humor about it all. There is a tendency, in this field of research, to lambaste the scientific community. There is a bit of that in evidence here but the acid has been kept to a minimum. They report the phenomenon, offer some possible directions for research, but let everyone know that a slippery devil is at play. These phenomenon are rarely well defined. They tend to drift from one into another. For instance: In David Jacobs' book "Secret Life" he documents around 300 cases of alien abductions where the same procedure, to very minute detail, is experienced by the abductees. However, as Pickard and Michell note, there are UFO/alien experiences that are even more surreal and have little, if anything to do with Jacobs' scenerio and contain beings far removed from the ubiquitous "Greys" most often sighted.

One of the things I find frustrating while reading this is that some of these things have been happening and keep happening. They are not isolated instances. They are there to be examined by anyone wishing to do so. They note an instance where a battery, circa 1920s, was found imbedded in rock. It didn't disappear. It's there for anyone who wants to study it. Were I a scientist in some related field (whatever field could be related to something that weird) I'd be all over that.

Statues don't move....sometimes. Photos don't change....sometimes. Frogs don't fall from the sky...sometimes. But there they are. As I mentioned, the scientific community seems to be missing something fundamental in the way the world is made up. One night after a rain I went to walk my dog. When I got to the alley there was a frog (a rather large one) on the ground. At that time I lived nowhere near any source of water that would have played home to such a creature. But there it was.

This book needs to be read by a sizable number of people. I think we need to be reminded that steel, glass and semiconductors play only a partial role in our existence. The world is a far more wonderful place than we might imagine.
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