Get this book that I have a chapter in!

Karen Stollznow has edited this book: Would You Believe It?: Mysterious Tales From People You'd Least Expect, and you will find my chapter on page 112.

This is a great idea for a book. Suppose Susan Blackmore told you she had an out of body experience? Or that Don Prothero had an alien abduction story for you? Or that I claimed I had once hunted down and captured a ghost? Would you believe it??? Indeed.

You would probably be skeptical if any of the 30+ established skeptics who authored chapters in this book told you that they had a paranormal, psychic, or otherwise impossible experience. But that is what this book is full of: people who don't believe in any of these things having these very experiences.

In some cases, the teller of the True Tale of Mystery can explain their experience as a natural phenomenon. In other cases, not, but for some reason, they still believe that what happened to them was not paranormal. Why? Well, read the chapters to find out.

Would You Believe It?: Mysterious Tales From People You'd Least Expect has a forward by James Randi, and a few of the chapters are more theory than observation. There is an afterward by James Alcock.

Has anything mysterious ever happened to you?

Experiences of this kind are more common than you think. And they happen to people you'd least expect, even notable scientists and skeptics.

This collection features personal stories and experiences of the mysterious, as told by Banachek, Susan Blackmore, Joe Nickell, Eugenie Scott, Chris French, Ken Feder, George Hrab, Brian Regal, Steve Cuno, Ray Hyman, and many others, with a foreword by James Randi and an afterword by James Alcock. These are tales about a wide range of extraordinary experiences, including ghost and UFO sightings, alien abduction, Bigfoot encounters, faith healing, séances, superstitions, coincidences, demonic possession, out-of-body-experiences, past lives, episodes of missing time and one case where time stood still. You will read about a poltergeist in a bakery, a genius baby, a haunted concert hall, a stone carving that vanishes and reappears mysteriously, a one-time palm reader, and a former Mormon missionary who once believed he healed a woman of a brain tumor.

Indeed, when Karen asked me to write a chapter for the book, and if I had any stories of this kind, several such experiences came to mind. I didn't mention to her two UFO observations I had made as a kid (one seemingly bogus even at the time although all the adults bought it as real, the other very realistic and still a bit difficult to explain). I did have a more recent, adult-age, UFO experience that I could easily explain that I put on the initial list to consider. Also, having grown up in an old-world style religious household (not American evangelical Christian, but rather, Midlevel demonic possession poltergeisty Central European and Irish Catholic style household), I had a lot of stories handed on to me from relatives, including one harrowing story having to do with Exorcist style levitation, vomiting of green goo, and all that. And, of course, there are those non drug induced time shifting experiences and the pets that can read your mind and all that. I settled on the story about the ghost because it is the best story for the telling.

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How about a chilling encounter with a science-denial zombie?

By Brainstorms (not verified) on 28 Feb 2017 #permalink

Ha - your ghost story - if it's the same one you've published on your blog a few times - is a very good tory.

By Douglas C Alder (not verified) on 28 Feb 2017 #permalink

I can believe many have unusual experiences. I saw a large eyed monster in the woods behind my house, and a real UFO with dancing flashing lights over its surface. And yes I know what they were after a while of thinking about it and doing some basic research.

I encountered something that was a very convincing UFO until it wasn't - but I was pretty terrified for about 45 minutes.

By FLwolverine (not verified) on 02 Mar 2017 #permalink

Hi Greg,
Going to look this one up. Sounds like fun. I remember talking about UFOs with you back in grad school, but I can't remember the details. That professor from Psych, ____ Mack, was writing a lot about abductions in those days.
Technically, though, a UFO is any airborne solid object that has not been identified. So, a small shiny speck in the night sky = UFO until you get binoculars out are see the red and green airplane wing lights.
Got a new book out, Stone Tools in Human Evolution, that I think you will like. It is built up around many of the Bioanthro-Archaeology issues we used to talk about.

By John Shea (not verified) on 06 Mar 2017 #permalink

John: Yeah, I had a different essay originally which involved UFOs, but Karen had too many UFOs so I stuck with the haunted museum.

I remember talking about that, including both the mass psychology of what UFOs and what aliens look like (based on movies, etc.) as well as me having seen a large UFO over Boston Harbor that turned out to be a cruise liner, but seen from a tightly turning aircraft at night, which causes one to lose track of which way is down vs. up. In my case, I lived, since I wasn't flying the plane (poor John John) and as noted the aliens were not real!

I'll have to review your book!