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Any child of the '80s will remember being captivated by the weird UFOs and creepy supernatural tales in television ads for the Time Life book series "Mysteries of the Unknown." Now, as part of a reboot of the Time Life brand, the series is back in the form of a new book, "Mysteries of the Unknown: Inside the World of the Strange and Unexplained (opens in new tab)."
Here are 12 excerpts from the new book, ranging from the wonder of science to the fringes of pseudoscience, all addressed with recent evidence. (Click on each image to view the full size.)
Rebooting a brand
The new "Mysteries of the Unknown: Inside the World of the Strange and Unexplained," (Time Life Books, 2014) explores the world's strangest and unexplained phenomena. It is available online and wherever books are sold.
Voodoo and Zombies
In the voodoo tradition, the boundary between earthly and spiritual realms can be crossed, and the living and the dead have a duty to serve each other. This belief has linked voodoo to the practice of zombification . But real-life zombies were not hungry, lurching, walking dead icons trivialized by Western ideology; they were human beings rendered tragically passive or catatonic.
More than 700 crop circles appeared in England in the late 1900s, attracting huge crowds of curious viewers. Some believed they were caused by UFOs; others thought that governments might be experimenting with targeted microwaves that caused the affected plants to collapse.
Wonders of the World
At 455 feet (139 meters) tall, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is the only one of the structures to remain intact for more than 7,000 years. Built over approximately 20 years, the pyramid was made from some 2.3 million stone blocks, ranging in weight from 2 to 50 tons (1.8 to 45.4 metric tons) each.
Searching for the Supernatural
The term "ghost" generally applies to any spirit that believers suggest continue to exist in some form after death, but ghosts do come in many forms. Some modern ghost hunters attempt to prove the existence of ghosts — an elusive goal that dates back to the 19th century.
Unidentified Flying Objects
There are a number of unverified theories about unidentified flying objects (UFOs). According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), more than half of all Americans believe that UFOs are real and possibly extraterrestrial in origin. The first reported sighting of a UFO happened in 1947, shortly after the start of the Cold War, fueling paranoia and conspiracy theories about the U.S. and Russian governments.
An American Aviator
American aviator Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an airplane. On July 2, 1937, Earhart attempted to achieve her goal of circumnavigating the globe but disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Like many famous unsolved mysteries, theories abound about the fate of the legendary pilot.
Sailing stones can leave tracks 600 feet (183 meters) long, but until this year, no one had ever seen them move. [The Mystery of the Sailing Stones in Death Valley]
The Nazca people — who lived in one of the driest regions on Earth, along the coast of southern Peru, from about 1 to 750 A.D. — are best known for how they preserved skulls. There are a number of interesting theories about the purpose of these Nazca heads, and whether they were war trophies, human sacrifices or remains of ancient aliens.
The Twilight Zone
The Bermuda Triangle has been a notorious zone for sailors and airmen alike. At least four boats have vanished while passing through the 500,000-square-mile (1.3 million square kilometers) expanse of ocean, and many planes in the airspace above have met the same fate.
The notion of vampires has been around for millennia. Folklore around the world has included stories of real-life human bloodsuckers. Today, the idea of vampires can be seen in popular culture — whether in print, on television or on the big screen.
Monsters of the Deep
For centuries, sailors were haunted by fear of the mighty kraken — a 10-tentacle sea monster believed to be able to topple even the tallest sailing ship, devouring passengers or sending them to a watery death.
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