Mysteries of the Unknown
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.
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:
- Alien Encounters Discusses extraterrestrial encounters and possible abductions.
- Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects Includes details on Hermeticism and secret societies.
- Cosmic Connections Discusses mankind's long curiosity about the influence of celestial bodies. Includes extensive looks at the solar system and the zodiac.
- Cosmic Duality The concept of duality (good/evil, black/white, male/female) is discussed in depth. Topics include Zoroastrianism, Satanism, conceptions of God and Goddess, demon possession and exorcism.
- Dreams and Dreaming
- Earth Energies
- Eastern Mysteries
- Hauntings Discusses the apparent haunting of people and places by ghosts, as well as ghosting hunting. Includes information on poltergeists, the Moberly–Jourdain incident, ghost ships and the Bell witch.
- Magical Arts
- Master Index and Illustrated Symbols
- Mind Over Matter Deals predominately with people who possess abilities considered abnormal, though not necessarily supernatural. Discusses hypnosis, poltergeists, levitation and Uri Geller.
- Mysterious Creatures Discusses cryptozoology, with a focus on sea monsters and ape-men. Topics include Nessie, the Patterson-Gimlin film, Ameranthropoides loysi, and mokele-mbembe.
- Mysterious Lands and Peoples
- Mystic Places Discusses places known for supernatural activity or ancient mysteries yet unsolved. Topics include the search for Atlantis, traveling to the earth's center the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge, and the Nazca lines.
- Mystic Quests
- Phantom Encounters Discuses encounters with mysteries apparitions. Includes stories haunted families, banishing ghosts, and various ghost stories from Japan.
- Powers of Healing Discusses unexplained alternatives to traditional medicine. Topics include medicine men, Edgar Cayce, acupuncture, Rasputin and chakras.
- Psychic Powers Discusses ESP and other people who claim to possess psychic abilities. Includes information on Patience Worth and the involvement of psychics in the Yorkshire Ripper case.
- Psychic Voyages Discusses accounts of out-of-body experiences, near death experiences, and reincarnation.
- Search for Immortality
- Search for the Soul
- Secrets of Alchemists
- Spirit Summonings Discusses mediums and seances. Topics include the Fox Sisters, Daniel Dunglas Home, and Harry Houdini's debunking of mediums.
- The Mind and Beyond
- The Mysterious World
- The Mystical Year
- The Psychics
- The UFO Phenomenon Discusses sightings and controversies regarding unidentified flying objects. Topics include alien encounters, the Roswell incident, and allegations of government cover-ups.
- Time and Space Deals predominately with the history of human interpretations of time and space, as well as unusual phenomena associated with the two (such as time slips). Quantum physics and Pythagorean mysticism are discussed at length.
- Transformations Discusses human transformation into animals or other supernatural creatures. Focuses on werewolves and vampires. Topics include tricksters, feral children, Peter Stubbe and Elizabeth Báthory.
- Utopian Visions
- Visions and Prophecies
- Witches and Witchcraft
- *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.