Archive for November, 2012

ImageReview: The World’s Weirdest Places by Nick Redfern, New Page Books 2012

As the author and co-author of two books in the Barnes & Noble Weird US series (WI and MI), I’m more than a little interested in bizarre places. Nick Redfern’s latest book, The World’s Weirdest Places, both piqued and satisfied that interest with his global tour of the most ghoulish, ghastly, and enigmatic locations to be found on planet Earth.

I expected no less. Redfern is always a font of Fortean-inspired nonfiction. He maintains that reputation here with chapters that sweep readers to the four corners of the earth, from the mysterious ancient city of Bhangarh, India, to the mystical vortexes of Sedona, Arizona.

The weird side of India’s gargantuan culture deserves a lot more press than it usually receives from the Western world. Although I’m a fan of archaeological digs in far-flung areas, I had never heard of Bhangarh , a once-bustling place that became a ghost town when its entire population suddenly up and blew town in the late 1700s. Redfern offers both the official explanation that the people disappeared due to unexpected famine and the more locally popular idea that a terrifying curse scared everyone away.  According to Redfern, Bhangarh’s ruins retain an aura of evil to this day, possibly due to a legacy of black magic. The details Redfern reveals about that alleged magic are eye-popping.

Closer to home, I’ve personally visited Sedona, Arizona. My husband and I hiked to several of the vortex locations and spent a little time sitting on them, in fact. We didn’t experience anything weird, but others have reported a variety of odd phenomena. The rocky cliffs are supposed to be inhabited by entities called the Rock People who are apt to wreak havoc on unwary tourists. The site is also a mecca for UFOs, says Redfern. He provides several intriguing examples.

Redfern’s tour of world-wide weirdness also includes Sydney, Australia, Loch Ness, Russia’s Kremlin, the Philippines, Vietnam, and many more places sure to be added to the adventurous traveler’s bucket list. The book confirms what I’ve always suspected – – wherever there are people, there will be unexplainable experiences.

Redfern concludes with his observation that “window areas,” or places that exhibit multitudes of strange phenomena, are distributed throughout the world. He and other researchers speculate that such places may intersect with other dimensions or some sort of spirit world, and that occasionally those intersections open – – to let things in or out.

The book could be thought of as such a window in itself. It opened new possibilities in my own quest to explore baffling locales, eccentric people and strange creatures and phenomena. It’s sure to become another staple on every Redfern fan’s bookshelf, and is also a great entry point for readers uninitiated to the ever-expanding world of Redferneana.  As Redfern says, the weirdness is unrelenting and it’s everywhere. I say, best learn about it from someone who knows his way around the unfathomable parts of the universe.

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