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Alien Hand Syndrome Paperback – July 10, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A compulsively readable collection, Alien Hand Syndrome brings together over 90 fantastic-but-true stories―absolutely mind-bending gems plucked from the annals of history. Selected and narrated by Alan Bellows―who can take the chaos of an event like the Lake Peigneur Disaster and retell it with harrowing step-by-step suspense―each entry opens a window onto a world where something’s gone terribly, yet fascinatingly, wrong. You can't get enough.

About the Author

Alan Bellows, aka "The Professor," is the writer, designer, managing editor, and marketing mastermind behind DamnInteresting.com. A software designer, he developed his fascination for the odd and unexpected while doing programming for the library industry. He lives with his wife in Orem, Utah.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1 edition (July 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761152253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761152255
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By H. Hogan on June 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
I love Mental_Floss magazine, and as a result a friend recommended me to the Damn Interesting page about a year and a half ago. I check it everyday! The website is great for picking up interesting conversation starters and little fun facts. I always felt like I learned something after reading the articles, and it's great they finally have a book out! This book is perfect intellectual beach reading (or bathroom reading!) The essays are about really interesting and obscure subjects, like ancient birth control methods and ne'er-do-wells who are sole survivors of volcanic eruptions. A lot of learning and a lot of fun!
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Format: Paperback
(In the interest of full disclosure, I am a contributing editor).
The book turned out better than I even anticipated. (The cover has improved, for one thing.) I hadn't been keeping up with the site, and now I see what I've been missing-- and there's other stuff exclusive to the book, if you are a faithful follower. I seriously love it. This is Ripley's for the 21st century. Fascinating, funny, disturbing, awe-inspiring, all in rapid succession. And all in bite-sized chunks. (Dare I say it? It's good bathroom reading...) I've found the book itself is a conversation piece. People laugh at the title and then ask what it's about. And if you've read it, well, you'll have plenty of facts to mesmerize that girl at the cocktail party. And you'll be a better person for it. Moreover, the book is cheap! But why listen to me? See what Scott Adams said about it on the cover. Alan's writing (and everybody else's!) absolutely scintillates. So go find out what a megacryometeor is.
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It's an excellent compliment to the [...] website. The book compiles (and in some cases expands or summarizes) many of the best online articles.

There are a few brand new articles containing subject matter not already published on the website (see below for a list).

Another thing I like about the book is that it has some articles that combine and summarize multiple similar web articles (like Cognitive Glitches).

Many of the article titles in the book are different than titles on the website.

I was going to buy this book even if the authors decided to only use the existing online content. It was an added bonus to see new material. Here are articles that I found to be exclusive to the book (at the time of this writing) :

*Animal Weaponry
*Cognitive Glitches
*Deep Water Mysteries
*Kowloon: The Walled City of Darkness
*The McCollum Memo
*Peculiar Parasites
*The Revelations of Restored Sight
*Sylbaris The Survivor
*Unanticipated Side Effects
*Walking Corpse Syndrome
*Weird Weaponry

Again, some of the above "new" articles contain pieces and summaries of existing online articles, but the writers added a fair amount of interesting fresh content.

Highly recommended!
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Weird psycho facts and conditions. Stuff people believe about themselves. Not scholarly or heavy at all. This one's for a boring night. You just cozy up with some snacks and maybe a cup of tea and read about all the weird things people can do or believe in. Funny sometimes. I enjoyed it.
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This book is obscure, intersting, and a great read. I'd recommend this highly to anyone that enjoys moments of fascination, disgust, horror, or tribulation. [...], this book is more than a pulp version of the site and looks great on the coffee table or toilet tank.
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Format: Paperback
Bellows and crew have written the best possible review of this fascinating book. "DamnInteresting was founded in 2005 and since that time we have written many books' worth of material on all things sciencey and historical. We've spent our spare hours combing through books, newspaper archives, old photo collections, and other such dust-encrusted stuff. We've attended lectures and spoken to experts and scrutinized scientific papers. We mine all this data for obscure nuggets, then smelt and hammer them into non-fiction stories the best we know how. Then we give away the end product for free...no paywall, no advertisements. For the good of humanity and the love of the craft."

Each segment is so well researched, and is a labor of love, so that publication is somewhat erratic. But it is almost always worth the wait. And, to a certain extent, the hard cover version is easier to use than the somewhat clunky online version.

Whatever your reasons, this is a blog and a group well worth supporting.

Robert C. Ross
June 2015
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This book is so intriguing I've read it dozens of times. (I'm one of those geeky, odd factoid kinda guys) I'm not lending it out ever again though, my first one I bought at BJ's and I loaned it out, never saw it again. I bought this one and within a month someone borrowed it and I haven't seen it since. Yeah it's that good, it's been stolen twice! I'll have to buy a new one now. It's worth it!
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Format: Paperback
I cam across damned interesting in my never ending exploration of the internet in search of things that that which would make me more interesting. [...] provided me with what I always wanted: a database of interesting and unique stories that I could use to set me apart from the crowd, and women that my mother was right, I am a catch! The only problem was that i couldn't very well continue to take my computer to the bar. But all that has been remedied! Now, whenever I'm lacking in interesting conversation starters, i can just pull out my Alien Hand, and the odd and intriguing are at my fingertips!

This book really delivers, just like the website, without being merely a text iteration of the site. I love the obscurity of its stories, and the fact that even though i hate doing it, i always learn something after I'm finished reading. If the unknown and obscure is what tickles your pickle, this is the book for you!
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