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The Universe Wants to Play: The Anomalist 12: A Nonfiction Anthology


Between official facts and public fantasies, there are INTERMEDIATE STATES. In a mix of the comic and the tragic, John Reppion searches for the truth behind an 1845 bridge collapse said to be caused when spectators rushed to see a clown in a tub drawn by six white geese in the river below. Cliff Willett wonders why UFO aliens would traverse deep space to borrow salt, sample our pizza, or offer us pancakes in his delightful examination of alien eating habits. Technology buffs in the afterlife? Mark Macy traces his involvement in our half-century long history of attempts to use technology to communicate directly with the dead - and them with us. Researcher Ulrich Magin tracks down the oft-repeated story of "the first ever sea serpent sighting" by the Assyrian King Sargon nearly three millennia ago and gets to the slimy truth of it all. As protosciences proliferate, David Hricenak makes the case for a new interdisciplinary field of study called bioanomalistics that overlaps with cryptozoology, UFOlogy, and parapsychology. Pennsylvania geologist Sharon Hill tackles the reports of anomalous lights, sounds, weather, and animal behavior that are said to occur before earthquakes, explains why science has been reluctant to accept them as useful precursors, and suggests a possible mechanism to explain such phenomena. Modern science may finally be shedding light on the paranormal. Biologist Dwight Smith and researcher Gary Mangiacopra look at how recent developments in neuroscience may help unravel the physical and physiological mechanisms that lead to out-of-body experiences. With an obvious passion for her subject, Victoria Alexander reviews the extreme ecstatic practices of medieval saints and mystics and finds a close relationship to the modern use of ayahuasca as a visionary tool. Researcher Theo Paijmans makes use of digital newspaper archives to get to the truth about the Black Flash - not the 1990s fictional comic book character from DC Comics but the phantomlike creature that plagued Provincetown in the 1930s and held its inhabitants in an ice-cold grip of fear. Bad sci-fi movies are a dime a dozen, but there's something special about The Flying Saucer. Nick Redfern wonders if there may not be some truth behind the claims of its star/director, who spread the word that the movie would feature footage of a real flying saucer over Alaska. The U.S. Air Force was certainly interested.

We chose Hakim Bey's wonderful phrase The Universe Wants to Play as the unifying theme for the articles in this volume, the 12th of The Anomalist journal. Since we began publishing in 1994, this highly praised nonfiction anthology has had as its focus maverick science, unexplained mysteries, unorthodox theories, and strange talents.


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The Anomalist; New Scientist; The Upuaut Project; Erowid; Ian Lawton; Robert Schoch; Astraea Magazine; Fortean Times; RLC Research; CryptoMundo; UFO Mystic; Mitch Horowitz