Rosemary Guiley,
Encyclopedia of the Strange, Mystical & Unexplained
(Gramercy, 2001)

My interests outside of the business arena tend to slide toward the eclectic. And "eclectic" is a word that defines Rosemary Guiley's Encyclopedia of the Strange, Mystical & Unexplained.

I believe it is a very serious and much-needed encyclopedia of diverse items that would not normally be found bound into one book. When I say serious, I mean to say each topic is viewed from a well-rounded perceptive. If possible a brief history is given then a more detailed view of the topic. In all topics (more than 500!) the view is provided from a neutral standpoint. The compiler never advocates nor dismisses a particular point. Therefore, it is an excellent starting place for more in-depth coverage as all references are listed or a simple quick overview of the item.

"Much-needed" is defined as being a reference book that is continually in use at my house. Here are some recent examples:

Recently I was watching the trailers for the movie Angels & Demons. The term illuminati was used. I went to this book and read all that I needed to know about this secret society.

Last month, I was reading Fingerprints of God: The Search for the Science of Spirituality and was very interested in the sixth chapter, "Isn't God a Trip?" I was particularly interested in the peyote ceremony the author attended. More information on the ceremony, along with a plethora of similar topics, was readily available in this Encyclopedia of the Strange.

In another religious-themed tome this month, I read several references to a St. Teresa of Avila. Yep. She was in this book, too.

So you see, this is a book that is not flaky, new age or occult in any way or form. It is simply an extremely handy reference for -- as it says -- the strange, mystical and unexplained. My sincere thanks to Rosemary Ellen Guiley for putting this work together for us.

book review by
Michael L. Gooch

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