Kirsten's Reviews > The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena

The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena by Bob Rickard
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Mar 14, 08

bookshelves: read-pre-12-07, from-library, crackpots, non-fiction
Read in October, 2004

This is kind of a kick -- it's a huge compendium of just about every weird phenomenon you can think of: crop circles, poltergeists, rains of frogs and other animals, bleeding statues... Of course, nothing is as in-depth as one would like, which is occasionally frustrating, but my main quibbles concern the design of the book. For one thing, many of the black and white illustrations are actually reproduced in purple ink, which causes less contrast and makes them harder to see/understand. Additionally, a lot of the illustrations are blurry. I know to expect photos of Bigfoot or UFOs to be blurry, but even some of the reproductions of engravings and drawings seem blurred and are not as clear as they should be. Also, oftentimes there are photographs or drawings with captions, but the actual text does not go into more detail about these photos or the stories mentioned in the captions. For example, in the section on spontaneous human combustion, there is what would appear to be a rather good photograph (of course, it could be a fake) of a mostly-incinerated woman, supposedly a victim of SHC. Yet the text does not mention her case, although it describes several other similar incidents. It's the kind of shoddy scholarship that calls into question the validity of everything in the book. Also, there are no footnotes or endnotes and no bibliography, so it is difficult if not impossible to learn whether the stories cited are actual events or simply made up whole cloth. So, in any event, it's a good bathroom book, but don't take anything too seriously.
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