The Mysterious & Unknown Reviews

Crop Circles: ISBN 978-1-60152-103-3 / eBook: 978-1-60152-424-9
Werewolves: ISBN 978-1-60152-097-5 / eBook: 978-1-60152-420-1
Booklist, April 1, 2010

Angels, King Arthur, and unicorns have all been subject to the Mysterious & Unknown series, which continues to put its magnifying glass to humankind’s biggest question marks. Although the books may look standard at first glance, they are surprisingly exhaustive. Crop Circles is a perfect example—how much is there to say about some crushed corn stalks? Plenty. Kallen reaches back to a 1678 account of a “Mowing-Devil” before considering numerous potential culprits: plasma vortexes, psychokinesis, UFOs, the military, and even wallabies stoned on opium. Equal time is spent between cereologists (those who study these formations) and plain old hoaxsters—and both are equally interesting. Breakout summaries and quotes enliven the layout, and though illustrations of enticingly described evidence are sometimes omitted, there is still plenty of creepy stuff to scrutinize. Extensive notes and indexes conclude.
—Daniel Kraus

Stonehenge: ISBN 978-1-60152-034-0 (Out of Print)
Ghosts: ISBN 978-1-60152-032-6 (Out of Print)
VOYA, April 1, 2008

This series presents information about topics that have some mystery associated with them. In Ghosts, theories and ideas from many cultures are interspersed with anecdotes by eyewitnesses to create an interesting, readable treatment of the subject. Photographs of sites where ghosts have appeared and other illustrations enhance the text. Beliefs about different types of ghosts and the reasons for their existence, methods of investigating them, and how to deal with ghosts are discussed. The author concedes that their existence "has not been proved to the satisfaction of scientists," but gives historical and anecdotal evidence for readers to examine and form their own opinions.

The Curse of King Tut: ISBN 978-1-60152-024-7 (Out of Print) / eBook: 978-1-60152-388-4 (eBook available)
Booklist,October 15, 2007

Is King Tut’s tomb cursed? This title, part of a series entitled the Mysterious & Unknown,  lays out the incidents that have buoyed public belief in a hex and addresses possible scientific reasons for the many curiously timed deaths that have occurred among those associated with the tomb and its artifacts. Lace approaches the subject with lively, never sensationalized language, and he places the curse in context with careful accounts of the initial discovery of Tut’s tomb as well as background information about archaeology and ancient Egyptian history and burial practices. Researchers may discover one unfortunate misprint (an incorrect date is given for when the Rosetta Stone was translated), but the text on the whole is well-researched, thoughtfully organized and presented, and nicely supported by an uncluttered design and compelling color images, including photos of Tut’s artifacts. Chapter notes and a bibliography conclude this focused volume on a perennially popular subject for students’ personal reading and report work.
—Gillian Engberg

Alien Abductions: ISBN 978-1-60152-023-4 (Out of Print)
UFOs: ISBN 978-1-60152-030-2 (Out of Print)
Witches: ISBN 978-1-60152-031-9 / eBook: 978-1-60152-392-1
School Library Journal,August 1, 2007

Gr 6-9- The lack of scientific evidence of alien abductions means that any nonfiction book on the topic will rely heavily on unverified stories. Therefore, though Alien Abduction tells some good tales, it struggles to fill a 100-page book with substantial information. Witches traces the history of so-called witchcraft from the Middle Ages through the Salem witch trials, detailing the torture methods used on the accused. The final two chapters deal with the Wiccan religion and modern-day practices. Although Parks states that the two movements are not the same, readers may be confused since some Wiccans call themselves witches, and members of both groups claim to cast spells and use magic. The book's tone is matter-of-fact, even when discussing how these people cast spells, tell the future, and communicate with spirits. Only the final two paragraphs mention the absence of scientific proof that witchcraft is real. UFOs, the strongest of these titles, combines numerous stories of sightings with historical and scientific details about investigations, providing a balanced view of a controversial topic. In addition to well-known happenings such as the Roswell incident and the crop circles of the 1970s, Stewart includes some intriguing new cases from the last decade as well as information on what our government and the scientific community are doing (or not doing) to investigate UFO activity. Colorful illustrations and appealing design will encourage readers to pick up these accessible books.
—Marcia Kochel, Olson Middle School, Bloomington, MN