The Anomalist



The Anomalist Awards
for the Best Books of 1999

  Another year. Many more wonderful books that impact the field of anomalies. The trouble is I have little time to do them all justice. So this year, I'll have to be brief. This list of recommendations is not meant to be comprehensive; it simply reflects what I came across--and liked or thought important--in the past year.--Patrick Huyghe  

As a convenience to our visitors, you may get more information about--and order if you'd like--most of the books on this page order by simply clicking on the title (exceptions noted with an asterisk).Your order will be processed by . . .

The Award Winners (in alphabetical order by author)

Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity
by Bruce Bagemihl
St. Martins Press
A biologist documents the unbelievable diversity of sexual practices and strategies in about 300 species and shows that homosexuality (and other sexual behaviors) is pervasive and universal.

The Meme Machine
by Susan J. Blackmore

Oxford University Press
A parapsychologist who rejects the paranormal, Blackmore proposes that memes (cultural beliefs, practices, inventions, etc.) shape human behavior just as genes do and takes that idea to its chilling conclusion. A mind-bender.

The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Unnatural History
by Jan Boneson
Cornell University Press
A collection of well-researched essays into such subjects as the feejee mermaid, spontaneous generation, the riddle of the Sailisk, Odd Showers, and the Dancing horse. Top-notch.

Too Good to be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends
by Jan Harold Brunvand
W. W. Norton
A terrific collection of urban legends. People actually fall for some of this stuff, which is well worth knowing about in the context of the paranormal and other anomalies.

Sex and Rockets:The Occult World of Jack Parsons
by John Carter
Feral House
I'm fascinated by the story of Jack Parsons, cofounder the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and his heavy involvement in magick and the occult. Fabulous story with long introduction by Robert Anton Wilson.

Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
Fireside Books
A terrific one-volume overview of the subject of "hidden animals" and the people who investigate their existence, including new material on such subjects as the coelacanth and the pygmy elephant, among the nearly 200 entries.

The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide
by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe
Avon Books
The cover of the January 2000 Scientific America says "We were not alone. Our species had at least 15 cousins. Only we remain." This book argues that we are not alone today and that populations of more than a handful of these cousins still exist today. Ground-breaking, if I may say so myself.

Ancient Infrastructure: Remarkable Roads, Mines, Walls, Mounds, Stone Circles*
Compiled by William R. Corliss
Sourcebook Project
In this remarkable catalog of scientific anomalies--every one of which we highly recommend--Corliss turns its attention to the many mysteries of archeology--and what a bounty it is: the enigmatic stone spheres of Costa Rica, North America's calendar sites, Lake Superior's copper mines, and much more--412 pages worth in all. Corliss has extracted the anomalous material from the scientific literature, organized it, and provided commentary and an evaluation of it. Corliss is the anomalist par excellence.

Reinventing Medicine : Beyond Mind-Body to a New Era of Healing
by Larry Dossey
Harper SanFrancisco
Fortean medicine? You might say that. Dossey, a true visionary, believes that the powers of the non-local mind point to a whole new future for medicine.

CE-5: Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind
by Richard Haines
An examination of 242 cases where humans have deliberately signaled to UFOs--and the outcomes. Though I have reservations about his reliance on the CSETI material, Haines provides some interesting food for thought.

Living Fossils*
by Mark Hall
MAH Publications
One of the most original thinkers and theorists in hominology examines the evidence to support the contention that several existing types of as-yet-undiscovered hominoids live concurrently with Homo sapiens. Includes material on the Gardar Skull of Greenland, the Kennewick People and a behind-the-scenes look at the Minnesota Iceman drama.

The River : A Journey to the Source of HIV and AIDS
by Edward Hooper
Little Brown & Company
A well-researched investigation into the origins of AIDS. Could it have come from contaminated polio vaccines?

Ancient Mysteries
by Peter James and Nick Thorpe
Ballantine Books
A huge tome offering scientific explanations for many of those puzzling "ancient mysteries" like the Nazca lines, Atlantis, King Arthur, etc.

Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters
by John Mack
Crown Books
A more thoughtful, cross-cultural look at the abduction phenomenon than Abduction and what it all means to this positive-thinking Harvard psychiatrist.

Uri Geller: Magician or Mystic
by Jonathan Margolis
Welcome Rain
The remarkable life story of the famous spoon-bending psychic well-told by a Time magazine journalist, who starts out skeptical and ends up a convert.

Fortean Studies: 5*
Edited by Steve Moore
John Brown Publishing
Reliable. Scholarly. Fascinating. This 300-page issue features such fortean topics as out-of-place ships, the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdhui, Giants Boas, and Dog-Headed Men.Worth the rather steep price of admission alone, however, is Karl Shuker's "A Supplement to Dr. Bernard Heuvelman's Checklist of Cryptozoological Animals." Don't miss it.

The Great New England Sea Serpent: An Account of Unknown Creatures Sighted by Many Respectable Persons Between 1638 and the Present Day
by June P. O'Neill
Down East Books
Using primary sources the author presents a passionate chronicle of 300 years of sightings of an unusual type of animal that apparently exists off the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts--or did until recently. Convincing.

Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History
by Walter Pitman and William Ryan
Simon & Schuster
Two scientists search for evidence of the biblical flood and find that in 5600BC the rising waters of the Mediterranean broke through the Bosporus into a freshwater lake, creating an event that had enormous consequences for human history.

Scientific Ufology : How the Application of Scientific Methodology Can Analyze, Illuminate, and Prove the Reality of Ufos
by Kevin Randle
Avon Books
A well-done summary of the scientific evidence for UFOs. Everyone can learn something from this book--beginners and experts. Bottom line: the evidence is both better and worse than you think.

The Abduction Enigma: The truth behind the mass alien abductions of the late twentieth century
by Kevin Randle, Russ Estes, and William Cone
The best attempt yet to explain the abduction phenomenon as a combination of pop culture, folklore, dreams, and the current mental health climate--though it falls short of being totally convincing. Good critiques of the works of abduction researchers.

The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age
by Richard Rudgley
Free Press
British scholar urges that the chronology of human cultural evolution be pushed back well into the Paleolithic, a revision which most prehistorians consider heresy.

Voices of the Rocks: A Scientist Looks at Catastrophes & Ancient Civilizations
by Robert Schoch
Crown Books
Maverick geologist surveys theories linking various geological phenomena with the rise or demise of ancient civilizations and evaluates Atlantis, pole shifts, Biblical flood and other claims from a geological perspective.

Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and Other Unexplained Powers of Animals
by Ruppert Sheldrake
Crown Books
The controversial biochemist looks at the "unexplained powers" of cats, parrots, horses, monkeys, sheep, chickens, but mostly dogs and interprets them in terms of his theory of "morphic resonance."

Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence for Past Lives
by Tom Shroder
Simon and Schuster
An editor for the Washington Post accompanies psychiatrist Ian Stevenson on field trips to Lebanon and India to investigated cases of alleged reincarnation. The skeptic ends up with a sympathetic account of Stevenson's life-long, past-life research.

Mysteries of Planet Earth
by Karl Shuker
Carlton Books
A beautiful book by a zoologist examining many often overlooked mysteries: anomalous ailments, therapeutic animals, flying snakes, malign mists, angels relics, monastery imp, and much more. Very enjoyable.

The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings
by Brad Steiger
Visible Ink
Though heavy on the fictional material, Steiger presents interesting background on were-creatures of all types. The shape-shifting nature of much "unknown" phenomena is worth reconsidering.

The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence
by Peter Sturrock
Warner Books
Essentially an overview of the evidence presented by UFO experts to a group of impartial scientists at the Pocantico Conference near Tarrytown, New York in 1997. This attempt to reevaluate the evidence pertaining to UFOs was organized by Peter Sturrock and financially supported by Laurance Rockefeller. This is a mini-Condon Report, if you will, and while it's far from perfect, the book is tremendously important: it has been a long time since a scientist of Sturrock's caliber has come forward in public and said that UFOs deserve the time and attention of scientists.

Dark Life: Martian Nanobacteria, Rock-Eating Cave Bugs, and Other Extreme Organisms of Inner Earth and Outer Space
by Michael Ray Taylor
Maverick science as adventure, about mysterious subterranean creatures that may redefine the concept of evolution. Watch the academic fur fly.

Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy
by Kenn Thomas
IllumiNet Press
Here is everything you would ever want to know about the very real intelligence connections between an early UFO "crash" and the JFK assassination. Weird. Conspiracy buffs will love this one.

Weird Science: An Expert Explains Ghosts, Voodoo, the UFO Conspiracy, and Other Paranormal Phenomena
by Michael White
Avon Books
Provides reasonable scientific answers--without being totally dismissive--to many controversial unexplained phenomena like UFO abductions, zombies, psychic spoon-bending, etc.


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