Truly Weird

Jenny Randles. Truly Weird: Real Life Cases of the Paranormal. Collins and Brown, 1998.
A softback semi-coffee-table book with black and white illustrations, exploring sixteen topics in the paranormal and Fortean field, presenting sample cases and giving a range of opinions from the sceptical to the supernatural, with some points in between. Those on topics which Jenny has undertaken a deal of personal research are the better ones, and she expresses a fair degree of scepticism about the Bermuda Triangle, crop circles, the Roswell crash and alien abductions, but still seems more favourably disposed to paranormal claims such as poltergeists, precognition and life after death. 

The problem may well be that the choice she offers, scepticism versus folk explanations may not be the correct one, particularly as paranormal explanations often when closely examined turn out not to actually tell us anything. Many of these topics are caught in the same vicious circle, I suspect; no-one really knows if there is a genuine mystery because no-ons has ever undertaken real open ended, open minded research, most investigations are done by true believers who rely on untested folk beliefs, anyone else is put off by the aura of credulity and the paranormal which surrounds the topics. -- Peter Rogerson, from Magonia 66, March 1999.

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