The Anomalist



The Anomalist Book Awards
& Book List 2001

This year was one of the best ever with regards to anomaly books. I cannot give full reviews of all these books because time is just too pressing. But I have organized this flood of books into categories and give you some idea of which books I think are particularly worth your attention. Thanks to Loren Coleman and Marcello Truzzi for list assistance. And now without further adoo, here are my five Anomalist Book Award winners for 2001.

The Anomalist Book Award Winners for 2001











Anomalies, Forteana, and General Mysteries

Wake Up Down There! The Excluded Middle Anthology by Greg Bishop (Editor).
Several monstrous--and monstrously good--anthologies helped make this a banner year. And this one is the best of them all, a wonderful collection of the first nine issues of The Exluded Middle, a magazine with a close kinship to The Anomalist, though with a little more emphasis on psychedelics and conspriracy. The meaty interviews, articles by top-notch contributors, as well as a bonus "Virtual Issue," and introduction by Kenn Thomas, make this a must buy. Highly recommended.

Electronic Projects from the Next Dimension: Paranormal Experiments for Hobbists by Newton Braga.
I don’t know who Newton Braga is–the author bio describes him as a well-known expert on hobbyist electronics--but he’s produced one of my favorite books of the year. It describes a number of electronic projects in the paranormal that you can make yourself, including a UFO detector, a ghost finder, white noise generators for instrumental transcommunication, random number generators for psi experiments, biofeedback experiments, and more. I’m not much of a hobbyist and I’m not into electronics (this gets technical, as it should) but this book makes me want to learn. Bravo, Braga!

Remarkable Luminous Phenomena in Nature by William Corliss.
This is a greatly expanded (almost double length) version of the first, highly praised Sourcebook catalog. Don't miss this one. I really do not need to describe the Sourcebook catalogs books. If you're familiar with them, you know they are indispensable volumes of genuine scientific anomalies (vs often questionable pseudoscientitific anomalies such as UFOs). If you’re not familiar with them, well, you’re just not a very serious anomalist, now are you? (Order direct: Sourcebook Project, PO Box 107, Glen Arm, MD 21057)

The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen.
Hansen worked on this book for nearly a decade, I believe, and I'm pleased to say that the result is worth the wait. In this 550-page opus he summarizes some often diffucult to understand but key concepts in anthropology, sociology, folklore, semiotics and literary criticism and applies them, often for the first time, to the fields of parapsychology and UFOlogy. He uses these concepts, which include liminality, anti-structure, and totemism to explain why these two fields are marginalized and why psychic phenomna and UFOs are so problematical for science. It's a wild roller coaster of a ride through thick and slippery scholarly theories, via ritual clowns who eat exrement, saints who levitate, and psychics who resort to trickery. In a shift from an often abstract text, his chapter on government disinformation in the UFO field names names and deals in nitty griddy details. So roll up your sleeves, open your mind, and get ready to do some deep thinking about why these fields hold the lowly positions they have in modern society. For taking the discussion on the unknown into unknown territory, Hansen is to be applauded.

Fortean Studies Vol 7 by Ian Simmons and Melanie Quin (editors).
Despite a few lightweigh pieces, most are in-depth explorations that will shatter your beliefs about Nazi UFOs, pre-1930s Nessie sightings, cultural influences on Kenneth Arnold's flying saucer sighting, among other topics. Also contains interesting pieces on the role of hybrids in cryptozoology, the possible identity of Jack the Ripper, and the Bunians--those abducting entities of the Malay Penninsula. A delightful fortean anthology. You should be able to order from Fortean Times, but you can't!

The Franklin Conspriracy by Jeffrey Blair Latta.
Much has been written about the Royal Navy expedition that went in search of the Northwest Passage in 1845 and was never seen again. Latta manages to deduce some new information from some slim bits of recovered evidence and is able to advance the story of just what happened. That's an accomplishment in itself. It's also a riveting mystery read—if you can keep your geography straight. He can't believe that the British Royal Navy could have so bungled the rescue operations sent to rescue the lost 1845 expedition and thinks there was a conspiracy on the part of the Royal Navy. He sure presents some good evidence for it. The question is what were they hiding? Latta makes some intriguing—almost fortean—suggestions without trying to wrap up all the lose ends into one tidy answer. Riveting.

Riding the Wild Orb by Roger Jewel.
No doubt about it, former forester Roger Jewel has some good ideas. This book starts out strong by explaining rather convincingly just how some planetary positions affect the Earth's climate. The book then goes into the topic of knowledge held by ancient civilizations and ends with a discussion of Earth changes of the magnetic kind—touching on other topics along the way. In sum, this book is overly ambitious. And why he decides to consult a channel, who does little more than confirm his insights, is beyond me. It certainly diminishes any chance that the work will get the scientific attention the author seeks. (Order from Jewel Histories, 79 Ski Run Trail, Fairfield, PA 17320)

New Age Encyclopedia by J. Gordon Melton, Jerome Clark, and Aidian A. Kelly

Science or Pseudoscience: Magnetic Healing, Psychic Phenomena, and Other Heterodoxies by Henry H. Bauer

Mysterious America: The Revised Edition by Loren Coleman

There are not many publishers devoted to publishing books in the field of anomalies. The Sourcebook Project books by William Corliss are hands down the best. Hampton Roads Publishing also has interesting releases of this kind. So does Llewellyn, though I feel many of their books are lightweight and some represent the worse of New Age babble. Since the middle of 2000 a new publisher named Paraview Press began publishing books of interest to anomalists. As the editor-in-chief of Paraview Press, it would be unfair of me to present awards to my own books, but I do want to bring them to your attention. If you'd like to see more such books, I suggest that you show your support for this new venture by buying copies of these books. You can order these books through Amazon (click on the covers), your favorite bookseller, or directly from Paraview Press itself.

Contemporary Legend

Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Headhunting Panics : A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illnesses and Social Delusion by Robert E. Bartholomew.
If the title doesn't grab you, then Bartholomew's richly detailed telling of the Mad Gasser of Mattoon story, the vanishing penis epidemics of southeast Asia, contagious school and workplace panics, the ghost rockets scare, and the "sickening" Pokemon TV episode, among others, certainly should. As expected from a sociologist who is the expert in mass hysteria, Bartholomew examines the effect of the widespread reporting of weird and anomalous events. The result is a great fortean book.

Aliens, Ghosts, and Cults: Legends We Live
by Bill Ellis
Angels, ghosts, aliens, and other expereinces from the point of view of folklorist Ellis, an expert on urban legends. This worthwhile collection of academic writings highlights the dramatic role of the teller of these stories.

You Are Being Lied To: The Disinformation Guide To Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes & Cultural Myths
by Russ Kick (Editor)
Another one of the year's massive anthologies. This large-format, 400-page anthology is subtitlted "The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes and Cultural Myths." If you are familiar with the search engine, you know what to expect. And yes, it's a little off track as far as anomalous subjects are concerned, veering more toward the political and conspiratorial, but it does apply a healthy dose of fortean doubt toward orthodox subjects and includes some good sections on religion and science

Food for the Dead : On the Trail of New England's Vampires
by Michael E. Bell

The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale by Jan Bondeson

Skeptical Odysseys: Personal Accounts by the World's Leading Paranormal Inquirers by Paul Kurtz (editor)

The Lure of the Sinister: The Unnatural History of Satanism by Gareth Medway

Final Seance: The Strange Friendship Between Houdini and Conan Coyle by Massimo Polidoro

The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense by Michael Shermer

American Exorcism: Expelling Demons in the Land of Plenty by Michael Cuneo

Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends. . . and Pseudoscience Begins
by Charles Wynn and Arthur Wiggins


In Search of Ogopogo: Sacred Creature of the Okanagan Waters by Arlene Gaal..
This is the author's third book on the mystery monster in Okanagan Lake in BC, Canada. Gaal does a good job of covering the sightings, of course, but also all the publicity that has surrounded it. Gaal is an expert at this as she has been the media contact for information on this creature for more than three decades. The book has an excellent section of photos, many in color.

The Hunt for the Buru by Ralph Izzard
This story of the search for a large unknown monitor lizard known as the Buru in a remote valley in northern India is full of adventure, which makes for a great read. The perils of such an expedition are described in vivid detail. Did they get the Buru? If you have to ask, you should read the book. Includes an introduction by Loren Coleman. A welcome reprint of a cryptozoological classic.

Platypus: The Extraordinary Story of How a Curious Creature Baffled the World by Ann Moyal

Beyond the Last Valley: A Journey of Discovery in Asia's Forbidden Wilderness by Alan Rabinowitz

In The Big Thicket: On the Trail of the Wild Man by Rob Riggs

The Hidden Powers of Animals by Karl Shuker

A Gap in Nature: Discovering the World's Extinct Animals by Tim F. Flannery

Forbidden Archaeology and Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Structures : Remarkable Pyramids, Forts, Towers, Stone Chambers, Cities, Complexes by William R. Corliss.
One of the reasons I consider this a banner year is that we have not one but two new volumes by William Corliss to grace our shelves and enlighten our minds. The all new Ancient Structures discusses a variety of remarkable anomalous structures-- pyramids, forts, towers, cities and complexes--almost all based on reports published in the scientific literature. Highly recommended.(Order direct: Sourcebook Project, PO Box 107, Glen Arm, MD 21057)

Sacred Place: The Ancient Origin of Holy and Mystical Sites by Paul Devereux
Another gorgeous coffee table book on sacred geography by Devereux who in our book can do no wrong. Nice one!

From the Ashes of Anbgels: The Forbidden Legacy of a Fallen Race by Andrew Collins.
An entertaining detective tale, based on a few what-if-this-is-literaraly-true assumptions, tracing "angels" back to a flesh-and-blood race who lived in Egypt and built the Sphinx and other monuments. Moving to eastern Turkey during the last Ice Age, these "angels" were eventually responsible for the foundations of Western Civilization. Best of this genre.

Mound Builders: Edgar Cayce's Forgotten Record of Anicent America by Gregory Little and John Van Auken

The Mummy Congress : Science, Obsession, and the Everlasting Dead by Heather Pringle

The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization
by Colin Wilson, Rand Flem-Ath

The Tutankhamun Prophecies: The Sacred Secret of the Maya, Egyptians, and Freemasons by Maurice Cotterell

Maverick Anthropology

Out of the Dark : The Complete Guide to Beings from Beyond by Brad Steiger.
Steiger is an old pro. He can churn books like this one in his sleep. Take a few classic cases, add a few similar cases he's learned about through his own extensive correspondence, and toss in a little speculation—then go on to the next subject. That's what he does here for ghosts, Bigfoot, lake monsters, vampires, aliens, etc. Unfortunately, given the length of time he's been in the field, I would expect a little more personal reflection on these subjects. He knows a lot more than he's saying here—and it's no conspiracy. Maybe the next book.

Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings by John Michael Greer

Strange Creations: Aberrant Ideas of Human Origins from Ancient Astronauts to Aquatic Apes by Donna Kossy

At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things
by Diane Purkiss

Strange Talents

New Daughters of the Oracle: The Return of Female Prophetic Power in Our Time by Virginia Adair.
A whirlwind tour of female psychics and healers around the world. The quick portraits, encounters, and interviews are breezy and personal. I'm not sure one can get an understanding of how psi works by asking psychics how they do it, any more than you can get an understanding of how science works by asking scientists how they do it, but given a general lack of scientific interest in psi--which the author, a portait painter, bemoans--it's a good start. I'm not charmed by the book's exclusive female focus, however.

Shamans Through Time: 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge by Jeremy Narby (editor).
Our views of the shaman, those who claim to communicate with spirits in order to learn about life and healing, has changed dramatically over the past 500 years.This anthology of excerpts from published works shows how western descriptions of shamans have evolved from shamans as devil worshipers to psychotics, to master technicians of ectascy. A good pocket reader on the shaman.

Muddy Tracks: Exploring an Unsuspected Reality by Frank DeMarco
The influencial books, people, and experiences in DeMarco's life, who is chairman of the board of Hampton Roads Publishing. Focused mainly around his Monroe Institute experiences, this book is a detailed personal journey that sees through the "mud" into another "more positive" reality.

Psychic Detectives: The Mysterious Use of Paranormal Phenomena in Solving True Crimes

by Jenny Randles, Peter A. Hough

Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant
by Mel Gordon

The Psychic and the Rabbi: A Remarkable Correspondence
by Uri Geller and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-Of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True Nature by William Buhlman

An Experiment With Time by J. W. Dunne

How to Test and Develop Your Esp by Paul Huson

Mental Radio by Upton Sinclair

The Queen's Conjuror: The Science and Magic of Dr. John Dee by Benjamin Woolley

Secrets of Nature: Astrology and Alchemy in Early Modern Europe by William R. Newman, Anthony Grafton (eds)

Dreaming the Future: The Fantastic Story of Prediction by Clifford A. Pickover

The Notorious Astrological Physician of London: Works and Days of Simon Norman by Barbara Howard Traister

Shamanism by Piers Vitebsky

Super Technology 

Teleportation How to Guide: From Star Trek to Tesla by Commander X

The Tesla Papers: Nikola Tesla on Free Energy & Wireless Transmission of Power by Nikola Tesla, David Hatcher Childress (Editor)

Underwater and Underground Bases by Richard Sauder

I would like to commend
Hampton Roads Publishing for their new book series, Classics in Consciousness. The goal of this series is to bring back into print some of the twentieth century's best texts on the scientific study of consciousness. "Their insights into human consciousness and its dynamics are still valuable and vital," says publisher Frank DeMarco. Indeed, they are. The first foour volumes, An Experiment with Time by J.W. Dunne with a preface by Russell Targ, Mental Radio by Upton Sincliar with a preface by Albert Einstein, Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death by F.W. H. Myers with an Interpretive Introduction by Jefrey Mishlove, and Mind to Mind by Rene Warcollier with an Introduction by Ingo Swann are all very worthwhile, quite attractively produced trade paperbacks. Hats off to DeMarco, and series co-creators Ruseell Targ and Jane Katra, for this fine publishing venture!


The Other Side

DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences by Rick Strassman.
The opening scenes of this volume on a psychiatrist’s research into the biology of near-death and mystical experiences are some of the most exciting your are likely to read this year–it’s heart-pounding, out-on-the-edge scientific research. The book then settles down to explain Strassman’s troubles in getting the DEA to approve his proposed research into DMT, a plant-derived psychedelic that is also manufactured by the human brain. Strassman believes this chemical is the "spirit molecule." While I’m not convinced by Strassman’s hypothesis–everyone seems to promote their own favorite molecule or drug–it’s what happens in the midst of his research that’s truly eye-popping. During their brief DMT experiences, many of his subjects reported the appearance of beings that resemble the "aliens" of UFO abduction lore. These fascinating reports make Straasman quite uncomfortable, and he doesn’t quite know how to deal with them. But to his great credit, he doesn’t shove the reports under the carpet either. This book is one of the highlights of the year.

Hauntings and Poltergeists : Multidisciplinary Perspectives by James Houran and Rense Lange (eds).
This large format anthology features an unusual mix of contributions from parapsychologists and skeptics. They seem to agree on at least two issues: (1) many hauntings and poltergeists cases have “normal” explanations, and (2) beliefs have an impact on what people report seeing. The contribution by Lange and Houran, in particular, does a good job of showing that haunts and poltergeists are often the product of an attempt to by an individual to come to grips with an ambiguous stimulus by labeling the experiences as paranormal in order to allay their fears of the unknown. The book’s chapters are grouped into three perspectives- -sociocultural, psychological, and physical and physiological. The later contain some of the more worthwhile contributions, in particular the lengthy Roll and Persinger chapter which concludes that haunts can be understood as a known process but should not be ignored as they may indicate high EM levels. (The subsequent Persinger and Koren contribution elaborates on this idea.) But poltergeists, according to Roll and Persinger, seem to be some type of “psychoenergetic force that interacts with known forces but is not to be reduced to any of them.” If you are looking for confirmation of the existence of spirits of the dead in these types of experiences, you’ll be disappointed. What you’ll find here is much more interesting.

Miracles in the Storm: Talking to the Other Side with the New Technology of Spiritual Contact by Mark Macy.
Instrumental Transcommunication (IT), or contact with the dead via electronics, is what this book is all about. It takes many forms, from barely audible voices in radio static, to messages from the departed appearing mysteriously on computers and fax machines, to direct phone calls from the dead! Supposedly some people on the other side are working as hard to communicate with the living, as some of the people in this field are working to contact the other side. Macy recounts the discoveries made in this field during the 1990s (the 'miracles" in the title), as well as his own role in trying to get IT researchers from around the world to cooperate and publicize their efforts (the "storm" in the title). An interesting book that stretches one's beliefs to the limit.

Human Personality and Its Survival of Bodily Death by F.W. H. Myers

Physics of the Soul: The Quantum Book of Living, Dying, Reincarnation and Immortality by Goswami Amit.

Crossing Over
by John Edward

The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts: A Riveting Investigation Into Channeling and Spirit Guides by Joe Fisher

The Haunted Northwoods by Tom Hollatz and Seal Dwyer

Contact the Other Side: Seven Methods for Afterlife Communication by Konstantinos

Grave's End: A True Ghost Story by Elaine Mercado

Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky by William Lynwood Montell

Ghost: Investigating the Other Side by Katherine Ramsland

Haunted Wisconsin by Beth Scott and Michael Norman

The Daisy Sutra by Helen Weaver

Fast Lane to Heaven: Clestial Encoutners that Changed My Life by Ned Dougherty
UFOs, Aliens and Abductions

The UFO Evidence: Volume 2 by Richard Hall.
Volume 1 of The UFO Evidence, originally published by NICAP in 1964, may have been one of the most influencial (scientific as welll as political) UFO publications ever. Like the first volume, this one is a well-organized look at the UFO phenomenon over the past 30 years. A lot has happened in the UFO field since 1964 and Hall does a good job trying to put it all between the pages of this almost 700-page book. Though I don't always agree with Hall's slant on the current controversy, I think this book is indispensible for the true UFO reseracher. A major work..

The Missing Times by Terry Hansen.
Although journalist Hansen does a pretty good job of arguing that influencial news organizations have willingly suppressed their coverage of the UFO phenomenon for national security reasons, he leaves me unconvinced. For one reason, I was there, within one of those news organizations, dealing with one of the UFO episodes he talks about and I know better.(I discuss this in my own book Swamp Gas Times.) While I'm willing to conceed that news organizartion may--on very rare occasions--have suppressed UFO information for national security reasons, Hansen is flat our wrong in jumping to the conclusion that the reason UFOs are a national security issue is that they are extraterrestrial.

If in Doubt, Blame the Aliens : A New Scientific Analysis of Ufo Sightings, Alleged Alien Abductions, Animal Mutilations and Crop Circles by Leslie Howarth
Author Howarth, who was trained as a chemist, uses Kepner-Tregoe Problem Analysis to try to solve the UFO problem. His statistical analysis is quite intriguing. He even dares to tackle UFO-associated issues like crop circles and animal mutilation. I don’t agree with his contention that the signal will emerge from the noise in this kind of analysis of UFO data, but you’ll be surprised with his findings. I was. Unlike any UFO book you are likely to read, if reading is what you do in a book so chock full of tables.

Dark Object: The World's Only Government Documented Ufo Crash by Don Ledger, Chris Styles.
In 1967 something crashed into the bay at Shag Harbor, Canada. Call it the Canadian Roswell, if you will. A good attempt to get at the bottom of the story by the two authors. An exciting read.

Abduction In My Life: A Novel of Alien Encounters by Bruce Maccabee.
The controversial physicist best known for his analyses of UFO photos and videos stretches out--way out--this time into the realm of fiction, with a non-ficion book woven into the tale. I wonder if he's ever tried bungee-jumping?

Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe by Karl T. Pflock.
This is no doubt the most definitive study of Roswell to date but probably not the last nail in its coffin. For the pro-crashed saucer camp, it will be a great disappointment and not easily rebutted. Those who have tried to rebut it point out that Pflock tends to dismiss things that don't fit his conclusion. Of course, the pro-crashed saucer faction uses the same tactic all the time. In fact, that's one of the pitfalls of writing history, a pitfall that becomes glaringly obvious in dealing with a subject like UFOs. Truth is hard to come by, but this is as close as you're likely to get on Roswell.

The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters: A Definitive A-Z Guide to All Things Alien by Ronald Story.
My original copy of Ronald Story's UFO encyclopedia , published in 1980, is completely worn out from use, so I was glad to hear that he was putting out a new version. But the new volume, which he calls The Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters, is really mistitled as this 650-page volume is far more anti-alien than alien with Story showing his skeptical bent far more strongly in this volume than the earlier one. Many entries have not been updated and many were written by others and are self-serving (like the one I wrote for The Anomalist!). But all in all it's a very enjoyable volume, a little like the potato chip commercial (bet you can't just read one entry), with the real meat provided by the many excellent long entries contributed by Martin Kottmeyer.

Invasion Washington: UFOs Over the Capitol by Kevin D. Randle
Well done review of the 1952 UFO flap, with particular emphasis on the Washington National sightings--the 50th anniversary of which occurs in 2002. Nothing really new presented, however, and a hasty ET conclusion at the end.

The Lure Of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, And the Pursuit Of UFOs by Brenda Denzler.
A well done academic overview of the "UFO movement," its problematic links to science and religion, and how it manages to straddle both worlds, however uncomforably.
With more books like this one, UFOlogy might one day become respectable!

Disclosure : Military and Government Witnesses Reveal the Greatest Secrets in Modern History by Steven M. Greer
It's a big book, but the heft is deceiving. There is a lot of padding here, which is unfortunate, because the book really shines when it sticks to presenting some truly extraordinary UFO experience testimony from military and government witnesses. Properly edited, this would make for an explosive book, but I'm afraid those for whom it was intended will get bogged down in their reading and move on to something else.

UFO Politics at the White House: Citizens Rally 'round Jimmy Carter's Promise by Larry W. Bryant
Jimmy Carter was the only president to admit to seeing a UFO and the only one to make a campaign promise to release the government's UFO findings to the public. As expected, once Carter became president, he received a flood of mail from the public asking him to make good on that promise. Author and UFO activist Bryant has obtained some of this Carter UFO mail, selected the best of them, and in presenting them in this book, makes some astute comments along the way. Many of the letters are cursory, saying essentially "what are you going to do about your promise?" Others are cranky, but some are genuinely probing or informative. While the letters to Carter on UFOs tend to be repetitive, the Air Force generated replies are even more so, but Bryant thankfully spares us that torture for the most part, only citing their replies when it strays from the routine. In the end, Bryant's book shows that when it comes to UFOs, the White House played--and continues to play--politics.

Extraterrestrial Visitations: True Accounts of Contact by Preston Dennett

Almanac of Alien Encounters
by Eric Elfman (Children's book)

Diary of an Abduction: A Scientist Probes the Enigma of Her Alien Contact
by Angela Thompson Smith

Extraterrestrial Sex Fetish
by Supervert [fiction]

AVROCAR: Canada's Flying Saucer by Bill Zuk

UFO Mysteries by Curt Sutherly

Swamp Gas Times: My Two Decades on the UFO Beat by Patrick Huyghe

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