Stranger Than Science: "Astounding stories of strange events - all absolutely true!"

Yesterday I mentioned a book I'd read as a child called Strangely Enough, by C.B. Colby. It got me thinking about a similar book that I enjoyed as an 11-year-old called Stranger Than Science, by Frank Edwards. It was first published in 1960. I remembered that I still had a copy and found it in my bookcase.

The cover copy says "Astounding stories of strange events! All authentic – all absolutely true!" Inside the book it says, "Best selling author Frank Edwards has sifted through the overwhelming evidence [and] has chosen only those amazing and dramatic stories that are incontestably true."

Stranger than Science has about 60 stories in it, and each of them are between one-and-a-half and three pages long. I read a few of the stories to my nine-year-old daughter Jane last night. We both loved the stories. The first story is called "The Mystery of David Lang." It's about a man who, in 1880, was standing in his front yard and suddenly vanished into thin air in front of his wife, two children, and a visiting judge.
The grown-ups searched the field around and around, and found nothing. Mrs. Lang became hysterical and had to be led screaming into the house. Meanwhile, neighbors had been alerted by the frantic ringing a huge bell that stood in the side yard, and they spread the alarm. By nightfall scores of people were on the scene, many of them with lanterns. They search every foot of the field in which Lang had last been seen a few hours before. They stamped their feet on the dry hard sod in hope of detecting some hole into which he might have fallen – but they found none.

Next there was a story about abominable snowmen, followed by stories about a man who was swallowed by a fish and lived to tell story, a grotesque monster carcass that washed up on the shore of a British island, and an abandoned Arctic village from which all of its inhabitants had mysteriously disappeared without a trace. The village was called Anjikuni and I looked it up. Some accounts claim that the story is true, and others dismiss it as an urban legend. I think it is probably an urban legend, but I'm not entirely convinced one way or the other. I'm looking forward to reading more of these stories with my daughter, and checking them out online.

You can buy used copies of Stranger Than Science for as little as $.61 on Amazon


    1.  I could have sworn the David Lang story was also published in Strangely Enough, covered yesterday.  However, I was the kind of kid who probably had both of these books plus countless similar others.

  1. Wasn’t there a companion book called stranger than truth? My big brothers scared the heck out of me with these stories.

  2. I’m all over goose bumps. The Lang story has stayed with me my whole life.  There is a postscript to it that said years later his children heard his voice calling as if from far away near that spot at twilight.  It faded and they never heard it again.  Ordered a copy to share with my geeky kiddeaux. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  3. I remember that book well.  When I was a kid, my uncle gave us a tape recorder, the kind with the big spools of tape (this was before cassettes, around 1970).  Among other things, we recorded stories out of that book like we were doing a radio show.  What fun!

  4. That’s it!  I had “Strange World” by this guy.  Little brother and I wore it out going back to these great, crazy stories.

  5. Ah! I was trying to remember Frank Edward’s name when reading Mark’s Strangely Enough story.

    Edwards wrote many books. They, or special abridged versions of them, were sold by Scholastic for the kiddie crowd.

    I was a avid consumer of UFO stories when I was 12 and 13. I soon soured on the whole notion. One reason was the incestuous nature of the books and magazines and TV specials. They reported the same or similar stories, going back decades. Nothing ever really new, with really crappy scientific explanations of alien technology. I was too demanding an audience I guess.

  6. Flying Saucers – Here and Now! from 1967, was I believe his final book. He wrote an autobio called  My First 10,000,000 Sponsors about his radio career, begun in 1923 at Pittsburgh’s KDKA.. I owned copies of all his books, still have a few.

  7. These books are part of a mini-genre of works that collect stories of the unexplained but make no attempt to explain them. They trace back to Charles Fort and are sometimes called Fortean. There were even Fortean societies for people who got really into the stuff.


    1. It’s a step above Weekly World News.  Usually these stories are somewhat true or at least urban legends.  They simply just leave out any facts that might show the story is easy explained.  For example below, yes people thought there was a sea monster on the shoreline, however they fail to mention that biologist quickly identified it.

  8. I had that book!  bought in 1960 or 61 through the Scholastic Book Service.  Seems odd now that it was offered to 4th graders…I kept that book for years (it was the perfect ‘bathroom book’!) and credit it with imbuing me with a skepticism for authority.

    1. I still have that book, and some of his others, and I’m bummed that it’s only worth 61 cents.  Meanwhile my Skateboarder magazines from the 70s that were stolen are worth big bucks!

  9. The sea monster carcass is most likely based on a real true event.  I know there is a famous sea monster case that took place along the British coastline, it turned out to be a whale carcass  I’ve seen video of vertebra from it in jars that stored at some museum somewhere.

  10. I had all of Frank Edwards’ books as a kid. He also had a radio show in the 60’s called “Strangest of All.”

    1. Edwards had a pretty long career in radio, then switched to TV in Indianapolis after getting dumped as the national voice of the AFL. A firm believer in other-worldly origins of UFOs, he wrote “Flying Saucers, Serious Business” in addition to the “Strange This-and-That” books. Interesting profile can be found here:

  11. I  missed the earlier post. I, too had a copy of Strangely Enough, by C.B. Colby and when I saw the title in your post, I had to google the cover and it was excactly how I remembered it: huge staring eye in a foreboding landscape. I reread that soooo many times as a young teen

  12. I sometimes identify my late high school years as “My Frank Edwards period”. The universe was very interesting in those days.

  13. These things, and the Charles Fort stuff that they were inspired by always annoyed me because they get the readers to think “hey, there’s all this cool stuff science is ignoring!” when in fact if any of this had any real evidence science would be all over this. Who wouldn’t want to earn fame by discovering the Yeti or anti-gravity or whatever?

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