Monday, 30 December 2019

Tales of Mystery Unexplained - Steph Young


Tales of Mystery Unexplained....What happened to Elisa Lam, found dead in a water tower atop a hotel roof? Who were the two men who came to see her & what was in the mystery box they gave her? Why did the location of her gravestone match the zip code of a Bookstore, miles away?  

Why was a man found in the same spot he disappeared, but 4 years later, with a hole in his head that no surgeons could explain? And what did this have to do with a séance, doppelgangers & the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?  Why did a man write the Fibonacci sequence as a clue & tell a stranger he was “Looking for the Beast,” before he disappeared in the barren plains of a desert?  Plus many more Tales of Mystery Unexplained.  

Steph Young has appeared on national radio shows & podcasts including the UK's The Unexplained, and Coast to Coast Am, talking about many of these mysteries.  

You can also hear some of these Unexplained Mysteries on her podcast on iTunes ‘Tales of Mystery Unexplained.’


What did I think?

With having so many books to read, it's rare that I read a newly received book, however, Tales of Mystery Unexplained sounded so unique that it didn't even have time to gather a single speck of dust on my TBR.  When you read so much fiction, there's nothing better than reading some real life mysteries and Steph Young has chosen some amazing true stories to recount that are indeed stranger than fiction.

As I've often said, I love reading books that have me pausing to google things and boy did I hit google when reading this book!  I think I would have read the book a lot faster if I hadn't kept stopping to google, but in doing so it made reading a completely three dimensional experience.  I not only experienced the fantastic descriptions provided by Steph Young, but I got to see some things with my own eyes thanks to CCTV shared on the internet.

I love how some of the stories had me revelling in the unexplained but simultaneously considering scientific explanations.  It really made me appreciate how complex the human brain is and just like a computer, how badly things can go wrong when it fails.  Although I felt that psychotic break could maybe explain part of what happened in some cases, it certainly doesn't apply to all of them.  

As per the title, what you won't find in this book is explanations for these mysteries.  They are very much open and unexplained cases and this wasn't as unsatisfying as I first expected.  I admit that part of me would have liked a nice explanation to finish off each story but the fact that they remain unexplained is definitely part of the charm of this book.  I did find myself asking questions and thinking outside of the box, almost as if I was part of the investigation team myself.

I was surprised to find that a good proportion of the stories were from the UK, in fact 7 out of 12, with the remainder being American mysteries.  There's also a good spread of time periods with the earliest story dating back to 1621 and the latest being the intriguing case of Elisa Lam in 2013.  I had never heard of this case but I bet that everyone who reads the book will end up googling the CCTV footage from a Los Angeles hotel elevator of the last known movements of Elisa Lam.  

The content is fascinating and well written, although I did find the text a little repetitive at times; this would work well in a podcast to stress important facts but wasn't really needed in print.  The cover of the book also disturbed me a little with the title appearing to be 'Tales of Unexplained Mystery' rather than 'Tales of Mystery Unexplained' as per the spine and title page.  They were just minor annoyances though, and didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book.  

Tales of Mystery Unexplained is a fascinating and brilliantly written collection of true stories that are most definitely stranger than fiction.  I thought it would be a 'dip in and out of' kind of book but I simply couldn't put it down.  I am completely hooked now and have looked up many of the cases on google already and have subscribed to Steph Young's podcast of the same name.  I'm sure I'll be regaling my family and friends with some of these stories that I've added to my brain's interesting and unusual facts collection.  It may be a quick read but it's one that I'll be thinking about and discussing for a very long time to come.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:


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