The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
Strange But True: 10 of the World’s Greatest Mysteries Explained
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
There are many strange mysteries that have the reputation of being unexplained: UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, the curse of Tutankhamun’s Tomb, Atlantis, monsters like the Kraken or the Loch Ness Monster. Are they really mysteries, or could a scientific explanation help us understand the seemingly odd?
Looking at ten well-known mysteries, Kathryn Hulick takes a measured attitude towards strange events and presents alternative explanations. For instance, are reports of zonbis (zombies) in Haiti more likely to be a reflection of how a community thinks of mental illness, or UFO sightings a result of sleep paralysis and subjective memory while under hypnosis?
Each mystery is thoroughly explained and, though Hulick primarily works from the Occam’s Razor principle (the most likely explanation), she does accept that in some cases, mysteries remain unknowable until science gives us the tools to understand further.
In a world of alternative facts and conspiracy theories, it’s nice to find a book which thoroughly respects children’s love of the strange and spooky – and the experiences of the people described - whilst reminding us that rational thinking and exploration should always be our first port of call. It’s an attractive, thoughtful book that upper primary readers will devour.