The Paranormal Peninsular: Mondadori’s ‘Guide to Legendary, Mysterious, Unusual and Fantastic Italy’

Being home to the Roman Catholic Church means that much of Italy’s spectral pomp and terror of the incomprehensible is already spoken for. The remaining quota of mystery and conspiracy is filled out by the country’s myriad crypto-political shenanigans and unsolved crimes. Despite the obsession of the Etruscans and ancient Romans with the shades of their ancestors, the Italy of the the ‘60s and ‘70s was an altogether more pragmatic place…

Misbehaved Monsters: Jay Anson’s ‘The Amityville Horror’

There are two Amityville horrors: the first happened in the pre-dawn hours of November 13, 1974, when 23-year-old Ronald Defeo Jr. shot and killed his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters while they slept. He confessed to the murders the following day, and during the trial told the court that “voices” told him to do it. The second happened when a young couple, George and Kathleen Lutz, moved into the former Defeo residence…

‘UFO Drawings From The National Archives’ by David Clarke, 2017

A recent spate of books have sought to analyze the visual culture of 20th-century ufology. 2016’s Flying Saucers Are Real!, which featured the archive of science fiction writer and amateur UFO material collector Jack Womack, offered richly-drawn, full-color images of UFO culture from every decade of the phenomenon. What Flying Saucers Are Real! did for American ufology, David Clarke’s UFO Drawings From The National Archives does for the United Kingdom…

One Step Beyond: ‘Alpha: Probing the Paranormal’, 1979 – 1980

In one of the first episodes of BBC Scotland’s epochal 1979 paranormal drama series The Omega Factor, the program’s psychic protagonist can be seen sitting in his modish Manchester flat, leafing through a magazine with an aquamarine cover. The cover illustration shows a trombonist, the tubes of his instrument drooping in an evocation of psychokinetic metal-bending. That magazine was Alpha

René Alleau’s ‘History of Occult Sciences,’ 1966

The vogue for illustrated mini-encyclopedias of world knowledge came into its own in the postwar period in the West. The spirit of New Frontier, space-age optimism led traditionally non-educational publishers into the educational field, usually by producing striking, lavishly-illustrated, glossy full-color gazetteers on particular areas of knowledge…

The Alan Godfrey Abduction Case, 1980

The 1968 Futuro House—a flying-saucer-shaped prefabricated dwelling originally intended as a skiing cabin—was the brainchild of Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Made of pre-cast fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic elements that could be assembled on site, the Futuro was designed to be easy to construct and heat in rugged environments…

“These Our Poor Afflicted Neighbours”: A Woman’s Powerful Place in Two Alien Abduction Narratives

By Michael Grasso

Two of the most famed alien abduction narratives of the Cold War period were explored through first-person accounts in popular books: John C. Fuller’s The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours Aboard a Flying Saucer (1965), about the abduction experience of Betty and Barney Hill, and Raymond E. Fowler’s The Andreasson Affair (1979), about the experiences of Betty Andreasson…

The Abominable Snowman Debuts at Disneyland, 1978

Walt Disney got the idea for the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction while on location in the Alps during the filming of Third Man on the Mountain (1959). He bought a postcard featuring the Matterhorn, one of the three highest north faces of the alps, and wrote a one line message to Disneyland engineer and art director Vic Greene: “Vic, build this! Walt.”

‘Mysterious Monuments’ on the Moon, 1966

The first spacecraft to land on the Moon and transmit photographs back to Earth was Russia’s Luna 9, launched on January 31, 1966. It landed in the Ocean of Storms on February 3, and sent the first of nine images of the Moon’s surface seven hours later. One of these photos, according to an Argosy article by Ivan T. Sanderson from 1970, showed what appeared to be “two straight lines of equidistant stones that look like the markers along an airport runway…”

‘Ten Do It Yourself Psychic & Occult Tests’, 1972

Occultima, Ltd. produced at least three occult-themed “test” booklets in the early 1970s. This one encompasses palmistry, witchcraft, astrology, crystal ball gazing, graphology (handwriting analysis), mediumship, clairvoyancy, ESP, precognition, and telepathy, with a series of questions in each section meant to gauge your potential in each “mystic skill”…