Book & Resource Reviews

World of Strange Phenomena book cover
I'd like to think most people share this to a degree, but I know I have a personal connection between my bathroom, my bedroom, and subway trains, and that connection is that these are the places I do most of my reading.


Now, I don't mind getting into loftier tomes and living and dying by a bookmark when half-way through a chapter, but I admit a marked preference to short pieces... ones I can read, ingest, and move on from with reasonable rapidity... and as a non-fiction fan, this is a fairly easy thing to find in a good book. (Granted, certain non-fiction books can be the exact opposite of "quick and easy reads", but let's ignore that for this review...)


One book that every paranormal investigator, researchers, fan, enthusiast, etc. should own is a book that, indeed, one can pick up, flip into, and read a very quick treatment of a case of the reported paranormal... Charles Berlitz's World of Strange Phenomena.


Now, I just heard several people who I know reading this review and letting out an audible *gasp* in horror at the thought that I'd recommend this... not because the late Mr. Berltiz was "bad" or "problematic" as such, but because this book could never be considered a "text book" by anyone's interpretation... and at 331 pages (in paperback,) and literally hundreds of "cases" laid out in wee paragraph or two chapters(?) it's hardly an in depth study of anything... but what it is and why I love it... and why I do believe everyone should try to find a copy of their own... is it's a fantastic introduction to dozens of types of reported phenomena in terrific little "slightly-more-than-sound-bite" entries. Ufology, cryptozoology, survival of bodily death, ghosts, hauntings, historical "events" and mysteries, and pretty much all points in between are covered in the book in such a way as to be an introductory lesson to perhaps convince people to pursue a deeper study of whatever catches their fancy.


Sadly, I know too many Ufologists who feel "other studies" muddy their waters... too many "ghost hunters" that think other things are at best, passing interests... too many cryptozoologists so assured of their scientific prowess that they fall into the 'sceptical waters' of decrying anything that isn't classical science OR their own pursuit as fraud... and if these people picked up this book, suspended their own prejudices, and leafed through it... if nothing else, when someone brought up one of the other "paranormal topics", they wouldn't sound like they weren't living in a single-study cave with a bag over their head and access to only five or six authors or worse, whatever television had to offer.


In this day where the attention span of the average person does seem to be similar to what you might get by giving a hamster speed what with the fast pace of modern living, a book like this is a perfect companion... less than a minute of your time and voila! Introduction to a case you may not have known about or considered... often with citations built in on who was on the vanguard of the case or directly involved... making this book combined with Google probably the closest thing you'll find to a "BECOME A PARANORMAL AUTHORITY IN SEVEN DAYS OR LESS" kit... well, become someone versed in the paranormal at least!


Like I said, those that may discard this book as akin to a "penny dreadful" of a paranormal text are missing out... because, indeed, it may spark something more with people if given the chance.
Charles Berlitz's World of Strange Phenomena, By Charles Berlitz, Publisher Fawcett ISBN 10: 0449218252