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KARLA MASS: The week's most talked about book


Do you believe in ghosts? Spirits? Alien abduction? Life after death? Are you an 'X-Files' fan? Read this review and you will soon become one.


"The X-Files: Book of the Unexplained" Volumes I and II by Jane Goldman is right on time. This fully-illustrated guide to paranormal explorations combines two volumes in one and features stunning photographs, anecdotes and testimonials from the world's leading scientists and investigators.

The unbelievable and the unexplained dictate the tone of this encyclopedia of sightings, apparitions, hallucinations and reincarnations. Its content provides few answers, just more questions, much like today's political vibe.

Meet the real Fox Mulder. Meet Nick Pope who works for the British Ministry of Defence in London as a higher executive officer. Pope, nicknamed Spooky, is the government’s expert on UFOs. He gets paid to investigate reports of UFOs. No kidding.

Pope took his investigations extremely seriously ... he was also unique in being the first officer at Desk 2A to have cultivated a friendly working relationship with the UFO lobby. "I initiated an active dialogue. The idea was to be there for each other, to know that you can phone each other up and say, 'Hey, we're beginning to get reports of a wave of sightings over Cornwall, what have you got? What do you think?' And if we found explanations, of course we'd tell each other and we'd both be able to switch inquiries off and concentrate on the real UFOs."

Strange happenings and hallucinations are dissected episode by episode and matched up with real life people and events.

The book explores the supernatural and the unknown, such as the mystique of ball lightning. Ball lightning is an infrequent and unpredictable phenomenon. This type of lighting, according to public sightings, can move in various directions. Its ferocity is reported to last up to 10 minutes. Ball lightning, unlike regular lightning, ignores conductors, metals and water.

There's lots of good trivia-worthy information crammed into 665-plus pages. Illustrations and photographs depict ghostly horror and folklore.


An 18-wheeler, carrying a shipment of auto parts, loses its radio signal; the front headlights flicker and dim and then go dark; and finally, the truck loses all power and comes to a stop in a dark, wooded area. The driver, armed with a shot gun, climbs out, and surveys the isolated area, shooting several rounds into the night air.

Enter agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. In the darkness and with the aid of flashlights, they search for clues and collect spent shotgun shells.

Why was the truck driver, an Army veteran, singled out? Did something peculiar really happen here or was his eyes playing tricks on him? Did he have a close encounter?

Agents Mulder and Scully learn that the government shot down a UFO in Iraq and is hiding evidence of it.

The scene, mentioned above, is from "E.B.E." Episode 17, one of 202 episodes of "The X-Files" created by Chris Carter. The first television episode aired on September 10, 1993, and ended its final season on May 19, 2002.


A new, supernatural thriller "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" arrives in theaters, Friday, July 25.It's my guess that David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) and Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) are at it again - investigating strange sighting and chasing UFOs.

The film's storyline is hush-hush, but one well-publicized element of this sci-fi film is its cast. What's new? Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, host of "Pimp My Ride," a series that replaces junk cars with fabulous wheels. What's predictable? A chain of weird events blend with a familiar, complicated relationship between Mulder the believer and Scully the skeptic. Who knows where this on-and-off-again relationship is headed this time around.

A juicy, hard-to-put-down X-Files manual, a creepy, old TV episode and a cool, new movie ... everything a true fan needs.


The X-Files: Book of the Unexplained: Volumes I and II

Author: Jane Goldman

Publisher: Harper Entertainment

Publication Date: July 2008

Listen to an excerpt from The X Files: Book of the Unexplained Volumes I and II

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Newmarket Press

Publication Date:

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Publication Date: May 2008

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Publication Date: April 2008

"The Week's Most Talked About Book" is a weekly book review and literary criticism column that publishes every Friday. Selected titles are based on popularity, public opinion, research and observation. Questions, comments and suggestions should be sent to book lover and columnist Karla Mass at She is a content producer for McClatchy Interactive.
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