Despite the abundance of paranormal-themed TV shows and websites, books remain our best source of in-depth information, research and leading-edge thinking about ghosts, crypto-creatures, psychic phenomena and other areas of high strangeness. Here are some of the best books on these subjects published in 2010 from respected authors.
The late Mac Tonnies provides a "mediation" on the idea that at least some of the UFO occupants generally thought of as aliens from other planets might actually be from right here on Earth. Perhaps these beings have evolved alongside us, or long before us, and have moved their civilization out of sight, perhaps underground. Perhaps they even walk among us all the time. It's an interesting hypothesis that has been kicking around for awhile, but Tonnies puts the idea into coherent form to explain the often odd behavior and activity of these beings today and throughout history.
Shadow people may be the most commonly reported of ghost phenomena. This may be because people can often mistake normal shadows and other illusions for these ghostly entities, but there may be a genuine phenomenon there. Jason Offutt takes on the subject in this book that explains what they might be -- ghosts, demons, hallucinations, something else? -- from various standpoints: scientific, religious and metaphysical. Of course, many anecdotes of personal encounters are included.
Just about everyone has experienced déjà vu -- the strange feeling that you have done the exact same thing before, the exact interaction, the exact conversation. Is it a trick of the mind or is there something deeper going on? Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman look at the phenomenon from a variety of angles to help us think about it and possibly explain it. From short-term memory loss to alternate realities and parallel universes, you may never think about déjà vu the same way again. From short-term memory loss to alternate realities and parallel universes, you may never think about déjà vu the same way again.
"High strangeness" is one of my favorite areas of the paranormal, and I suppose we could define it as events so odd, so bizarre that they don't even fit neatly into the conventional categories of ghosts, UFOs, crypto-creatures, etc. That's why I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Philip J. Imbrogno. In a way, the book is a continuation of the kind of work done by Charles Fort -- collected reports of strange things like fish and frogs raining down from the sky, time slips, beings that appear to be something between an alien and a ghost, tricksters, and much more. It's enough to make you question reality.
Nick Redfern takes us around the world searching for monsters! What could be more fun? Creatures unknown to science have been reported for hundreds, even thousands of years. Even today with our spreading human population, satellite imaging of the earth's surface, and Google Earth, there are vast areas of land and sea that remain unexplored and mysterious. Are those the hiding places of such creatures as the abominable snowman, chupacabras, Mothman, Goatman, and, of course, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster? Take a trip with Nick and find out about these and many other crypto-creatures.
I don't think a list of best paranormal books for any year would be complete with a few titles from Brad Steiger. His work is always thorough, knowledgeable and engaging, and this book is no exception. It's a virtual encyclopedia of strange creatures that Brad categorizes into out-of-place cats, hairy hominids, demons, living dinosaurs, flying humanoids, goblins and other wee folk, reptilians, sea serpents, vampires, werewolves, and many more -- all of which feature stories of sightings and close encounters with these entities. This is a must for every paranormal enthusiast's bookshelf.
Every paranormal researcher, I'm sure, envies the files that Brad Steiger must have that allow him to be so prolific in delivering these amazing volumes of esoteric information. Yes, zombies happen to be a hot topic right now, and there's no one better qualified than Brad to give us the low-down on the history, context, and occult details on a phenomenon that is usually though of as merely a Hollywood invention. He explores the dark corners of New Orleans, the voodoo and witchcraft traditions, Nazi experiments, the CIA's LSD experiments, even the great zombie war. This book was an eye-opener for me.
This may be the most important book on UFOs written to date. Investigative journalist Leslie Kean delves deep to get experienced pilots and government and military officials from around the world to finally go on the record with what they have experienced, what they know, and what they don't know about the UFO phenomenon. The big take-away here is that, yes, UFOs are real -- there truly are unidentified flying objects. They may or may not be extraterrestrial, but for the purposes of this book that is beside the point. The fact is, there are things, craft, whatever of unknown origin and purpose flying around up there, and they seem to possess a technology far beyond our own. So what are they are where do they come from?
I think this book hits the paranormal from a great angle: Jason Offutt explores the stories, legends, lore and experiences with the unexplained that took place within only 100 miles of his home. That he is able to easily fill the book with this information is testimony to the abundance and commonality of such phenomena as hauntings, poltergeists, UFO sightings, weird creatures and other strangeness. With time and diligence, any one of us could assemble a similar list of the unexplained that happens within 100 miles from us. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
There have been several books written about UFO accounts in history, but none are as fascinating as this one by Jacques Vallee and Chris Aubeck. Presented in chronological order, the authors present excerpts from historical texts, journals, diaries and newspaper reports from 1460 B.C (!) up to 1879, which was around the time that human flight became possible. This is great fun to read and is the kind of book that you can pick and read in bite-size chunks, and many of the accounts will have you setting the book in your lap as you shake your head and wonder What the -- !?
The first edition of this huge book by J. Gordon Melton, PhD was published in 1998, but the enormous popularity of vampires in today's culture has necessitated a new, third edition. For anyone interested in the subject, this 800-plus-page encyclopedia serves as the definitive resource, replete with illustrations and photos. If it's vampire-related, it's in here, including historical information, legends, authors, movies, TV shows, books, and characters -- from ancient superstition right up to Twilight and True Blood.