The Mammoth Book Of Unexplained Phenomena by Roy Bainton (book review).

With the ‘Mammoth’ books, the title clearly gives away what their subject matter is. ‘The Mammoth Book Of Unexplained Phenomena’ by Roy Bainton does just that as well, giving a close-up examination of many subjects in this field that we might have a passing acquaintance with. Even more helpful, he gives websites where you can look up more about the many cults and related subject that are out there so you can chase down any detail that you might want to investigate further.


An interesting observation I made when it comes to religions is that if you accept one is correct, then so must the others, ergo, if one isn’t then none are. Does that show more about man or deity?

A lot of the subjects here are ones you are likely to be familiar with. It’s interesting how Bainton describes his own near-death experiences which resurrected (sic) the departed for him. With my one and only diabetic coma, it was more like there was nothing and waking up on an ambulance gurney with no recollection of what happened. With me, I became a born-again atheist, mostly because my brain shutdown with no tunnel of light.

The section devoted to séances and such definitely appears the area where Bainton has done the most personal research, mostly pointing out the charlatans and the doubtfuls. From my perspective, these things need the kind of scrutiny given to ESP, especially as unlike it, people can turn it into a rich money-making job from the, shall we say, the more gullible. As this is essentially a fraud carried out by some people, if nothing else, removing them will at least leave only those who don’t see it as a career, especially as Bainton points out that the more legitimate ones don’t ask for money.

Now, here’s an interesting quandary, Bainton describes apparent blond blue-eyed angels helping people in dire need and yet doesn’t see the similarity to the ‘aliens’ that took George Adamski’s ‘aliens’ off to lunch off-world further in the book.

Bainton says he was in the merchant navy in his youth and so the section on boat mysteries is more extensive. I wish on occasions he would draw more conclusions. It’s pretty obvious that those who go to sea are somewhat superstitious but I can’t help but wonder if this exaggerates their fears when it comes to relating what they discover. Mind you, out in a choppy sea and heavy storms, it would put the heebeegeebees up anyone.

Back when I was in college and the Bermuda Triangle was all the rage, it came up in one of my general studies classes and I somewhat killed the subject dead when I spotted a co-relation to the fact that all the major shipping lanes went through the area so the number of wrecks would have to be somewhat higher there than in the other oceans.

Things I learnt. In a previous review, I pointed out that prior to Galelio’s forced retraction that the sun revolved around the Earth that there had to be less fortunate scientists, Bainton gives the example of Gordiano Bruno who got incinerated for his troubles.

I never knew that the term ‘squaw’ meant ‘vagina’ but can understand why the term has fallen out of favour.

A lot of the time when I read books, I put paper markers in for easy reference when building up these reviews. Here, though, I was using them far more to check up on the Internet references. I suspect a lot of you will end up doing a similar thing. You might have other books on the unexplained but I doubt if you’ll have so many other useful pointers as to where to look to supplement this book. Whether or not any of this will be explained to your own satisfaction, only you can decide. I’m off to find a coral castle.

GF Willmetts

(pub: Constable Robinson. 541 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84529-932-3)

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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