"Real Encounters, Different Dimensions, and Otherworldly Beings" Book Review
Written by Ron Williams
Published by Visible Ink Press
Written by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger
2013, 383 pages, Reference
Released on October 1st, 2013
One of my favorite memories from elementary school was the Scholastic Books flyer. These seemed to come around randomly, almost magically. This was before gigantic booksellers and the internet, and if you were a kid who read, this was the shit you waited for. Four to eight pages of books suitable for kids 12 and younger, all reasonably priced with free shipping to your school. Fiction, non-fiction, puzzles and reference books. You name it, they seemed to have it. I specifically remember a 96-page book on sharks that I used as a reference to write reports (on sharks) well into college.
This was back before cable TV, when there were not dozens of TV shows about ghosts, aliens, or other assorted paranormal mysteries available at your finger tips. These topics were not popular and definitely weren't mainstream like they are today. But there, amongst the Choose Your Own Adventure books, were tomes on Secret Knowledge, UFO sightings, Alien Abductions, Ghostly Hauntings, Mysteries of the Mayans, the Loch Ness Monster and the Bermuda Triangle. Books that opened doorways to new worlds, other dimensions. Many of these books were written by a man named Brad Steiger.
Brad Steiger has 170 books to his name. Most of which inhabit the spiritual or paranormal world in one form or another. Steiger is the undisputed Godfather of the paranormal fact genre. He's collaborated on books with other bigwigs of that world, like Whitley Strieber and Art Bell. You've seen him interviewed on TV shows and heard him on Coast to Coast.
With this in mind, I was excited when I was asked to review his latest book Real Encounters, Different Dimensions, and Otherworldly Beings, co-authored with his wife Sherry Hansen Steiger. Combined, they have almost a century of research experience on just about everything otherworldly you can imagine.
While familiar with Steiger, it had been years since I had read anything by him. That said, Real Encounters did not disappoint. Steiger has a laid back yet academic style that he uses to present information in a seemingly factual manner. Steiger generally doesn't make any claims to the material he presents, but instead tells the stories of those who eyewitnessed the event and lets the reader draw their own conclusions. Interestingly, Real Encounters is a bit of a departure from that. The style is still there, but with this book the Steigers often firmly place themselves in the action and discuss their own conclusions, thoughts and experiences.
This is not a book that covers all of the same ground that's been covered again and again over the last 60 years. While they do give a brief synopsis of major paranormal events and investigations when needed, it really only serves as a means to bring the reader up to speed so that he or she can join the conversation. And that's exactly how this book reads, like a conversation with the Steigers. They're telling you their stories.
You know how you and your friends stayed up late that one time, and your friends' brother came in and was telling you all about how this guy from work picked up a ghostly hitchiker in front of the cemetery, was followed by a UFO out on a deserted highway, and saw Bigfoot on a fishing trip last year? That's what this book is. Only it's got references, an index and multiple witness accounts. Sometimes the Steigers have that friend tell their own story directly to you.
Real Encounters covers a lot of ground. If it falls under the labels of UFOs, Weird History, the Supernatural, Spiritualism, Conspiracy, you'll find it here. It's a smorgasboard of the paranormal laid out in such a way that you can skip around and read what interests you at the moment. It's a no holds barred look at the unexplainable with people who do a good job of explaining it. This is one of the rare books that has something to offer both the reader new to the topic as well as a life long follower. Definitely worth a read, and this may be the book everyone wants to borrow. You have been warned.