Mysteries of the Unknown

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Cover of Mystic Places

Mysteries of the Unknown is a series of books about the paranormal, published by Time-Life Books from 1987 through 1991. Each book focused on a different topic, such as ghosts, UFOs, psychic powers and dreams. The series was very successful for Time-Life Books. Within 15 months of the series' release, it had broken every sales record for the company.[1]


Time Life's Mysteries of the Unknown commercials would air during prime time through broadcast and cable television networks such as TNN, Nick At Nite, MTV, VH-1, and TNT.

The first commercial advertising Mysteries Of the Unknown aired in September of 1987 which started with Chicago: A man is about to board a routine flight and suddenly he pauses, and walks away. An hour later the plane goes down in flames. It's dismissed as chance. There is a 1 minute and a 2 minute commercial segment of this commercial which the 2 minute commercial can frequently be found on You Tube.

Their second commercial which aired in September of 1988 started off with "How can you explain it, a woman in Wisconsin is doing the dishes while suddenly she has a feeling that her daughter has been just been in an accident she gets a desperate phone call and finds out her feeling has just become true, how can explain various people around the world who have never met before had encounters with beings from outer space and the descriptions of the creature match almost exactly (criminal sketch art of grey aliens appear followed by That's why Time Life books presents a remarkable new series Mysteries of the Unknown which takes a clear and comprehensive look of our own untapped capabilities, maybe no one can explain these things but they can no longer be ignored. How can you explain this? Four men enter a ring of trees and without warning one is grabbed by an unseen force lifted five feet in the air and suspended for thirty seconds. Pictures of Stonehenge, a bloody red picture of hands on a window followed by the order screen for the books appear with the 10 day examination.

In 1989, actress Julianne Moore appeared on a Mysteries of the Unknown commercial explaining premonition the commercial starts off with her daughter who didn't want to get on a school bus.

On New Years Day of 1990, Time life aired another commercial for Mysteries of the Unknown in conjunction with TV Guide.

In 2011, a Greatest Hits compilation of Time Life's Mysteries of the Unknown commercials surfaced on You Tube featuring the 1 minute edited versions advertising these series for archive and historical purposes.

There were 33 volumes in the series:


  1. ^ *Stoffel, Jennifer, (1988) "What's New in New-Age Marketing: Hitting the Air Waves and the Best Sellers List." New York Times, October 9, 1988.