daniel loxton

anonymous asked:

Any book recommendations?

Oh, boy, yes! I’m assuming you’re talking about non-fiction about weird stuff, so here’s the short list of my very favorites, plus some bonus books. (If you wanted something, else just shoot me another message!)

Scientific Paranormal Research: How to Solve Unexplained Mysteries by Benjamin Radford    
Lots of super good theory, practice, and case studies on scientifically looking at the unexplained. Respectful and interesting and will make you want to go investigate ghosts, even if you prove they’re just bugs walking across security cameras.

Stiff by Mary Roach    
A book on dead bodies. Not for the squemish, but covers mortuary science, consumable mummies, disturbing Chinese urban legends, and a lot more. Roach is a phenomenal researcher and story teller.

Spook by Mary Roach
    Another one by Roach, this one a little tamer. Spook is about the afterlife, or rather the scientific search for the after life. Covers ghost-inducing machines, reincarnation research, how much souls weigh, among others.

Abominable Science! by Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero; Foreword by Michael Shermer    
Respectful and well-researched book that covers the origins and histories of many of the “big name” cryptids like Bigfoot and Mokele-Mbembe.

The Men Who Stared at Goats by Jon Ronson  
 Yes, this is the book that movie was based on. Yes, the government ran a psychic research program. This book is almost too bizarre to be true…except it is. (Bonus fun fact: one of my housemates’ uncles was one of the eponymous Goat Starers.)

The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blume    
This book is such a tight concept it’s difficult to explain. Blume covers the birth of forensic science in NYC in the jazz age, famous poison murders, chemistry, and prohibition politics with one cohesive story.

Fantasy Encyclopedia by Judy Allen and Richard Hook    This beautifully illustrated book is a child’s guide to mythological creatures from around the world, and I include it because it was one of my favorite books to browse as a child.

EDITED to add the Weird US books (Weird US, Weird New England, etc). Lots of bizarre stories and oddities.

SECOND EDIT to move Them: Adventures with Extremists Paperback by Jon Ronson from “bonus” to “recommended”. Ronson follows Islamist extremists, KKK members, and people who believe the planet is run by reptilians.

THIRD EDIT to add: Inside Scientology by Janet Reitman, an in-depth, well researched and sometimes terrifying account of “America’s most secretive religion”. 

The Vanishing Hitchhiker by Jan Harold Brunvand, which manages to be an easy read filled with lots of scholarly research. A little outdated, but super interesting.

I’M NOT EVEN COUNTING EDITS ANYMORE so all other edits are below:

Legend-Tripping Online: Supernatural Folklore and the Search for Ong’s Hat by  Michael Kinsella, a fascinating introduction to legend tripping and all manner of supernatural tourism. Specifically about online phenomena, but takes a thorough, readable approach to covering background knowledge.

Authors to look into include Loren Coleman, Brian Clegg, Mary Roach, and Jon Ronson.


(Books that I would really like to read but haven’t gotten around to yet.)

The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Reveled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders

The Unpersuadables: Adventures With the Enemies of Science by Will Stor

Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City by Mark Adams

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler (about the Museum of Jurassic Technology)

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind by Brian Clegg

Any good book on Victorian Spiritualism, like one of these.