100 books like Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries

By Kenneth L. Feder,

Here are 100 books that Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries fans have personally recommended if you like Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Ted Schick Author Of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age

From my list on evaluating claims of the paranormal.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been interested in philosophy ever since I heard the album Poitier Meets Plato, a product of the 60’s coffee house culture, in which Sidney Poitier reads Plato to jazz music. As a professional philosopher, I investigate the nature of knowledge and reality, and if paranormal claims turn out to be true, many of our beliefs about knowledge and reality may turn out to be false. In an attempt to distinguish the justified from the unjustified—the believable from the unbelievable—I’ve tried to identify the principles of good thinking and sound reasoning that can be used to help us make those distinctions.

Ted's book list on evaluating claims of the paranormal

Ted Schick Why did Ted love this book?

The Dark Ages were a time of superstition and magic, of true causes those living then knew little. The science of the Enlightenment pushed back that darkness and gave us a more clear-headed view of the world.

Sagan showed me how that view was under attack and how to make the candle of truth burn a little brighter.

By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Demon-Haunted World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prescient warning of a future we now inhabit, where fake news stories and Internet conspiracy theories play to a disaffected American populace

“A glorious book . . . A spirited defense of science . . . From the first page to the last, this book is a manifesto for clear thought.”—Los Angeles Times

How can we make intelligent decisions about our increasingly technology-driven lives if we don’t understand the difference between the myths of pseudoscience and the testable hypotheses of science? Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan argues that scientific thinking is critical not only to the…


Book cover of Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths

J.J. Dupuis Author Of Umboi Island

From my list on the mysterious through science and skepticism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, growing up in a family with spiritualist beliefs, I’ve been fascinated with mysterious phenomena. Once I became a little older, and my childhood love of zoos, museums, and dinosaurs became a broader love of science, I began to re-examine certain fantastic claims and beliefs with a skeptical lens. I became fascinated not only with the subject of certain beliefs, but the reason we as humans have these beliefs. The study of ghosts, monsters, or UFOs is really a study of the human condition and our belief systems. It’s the exploration of the human side that motivates the characters in my books and my continued interest in mysterious phenomena. 

J.J.'s book list on the mysterious through science and skepticism

J.J. Dupuis Why did J.J. love this book?

Hunting Monsters zeroes in on some of the more mysterious creatures said to haunt our forests, lakes, and the deep ocean. Darren Naish brings his expertise in zoology and paleontology to the world of cryptids such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Naish, the scientific advisor for Prehistoric Planet, examines both the scientific credibility of creature sightings as well as the culture that influences our belief in mysterious animals. This well-written and fascinating book leaves readers not only with a better understanding of contemporary myths involving cryptids, but zoology as well.

By Darren Naish,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hunting Monsters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Loch Ness Monster. The Yeti. Bigfoot. These are just some of the iconic mythical creatures studied by the discipline of 'cryptozoology'.

The idea of mysterious and terrifying creatures goes back centuries. They are known by the experts as cryptids. Today, these legendary beings continue to capture our imaginations.

Discover the fascinating and often bizarre stories of real life monsters and the scientists who strove to separate the fact from fiction.

In Hunting Monsters, Palaeozoological researcher Professor Darren Naish explores the fascinating science behind these elusive monsters - a science known as 'cryptozoology'. Bizarre stories of ancient sea-monsters and resurgent…


Book cover of Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids

Benjamin Radford Author Of Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction and Folklore

From my list on (real-life) monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by monsters. Growing up I saw television shows and read books about famous ones like Bigfoot and Nessie, and always wanted to search for them and discover the truth. That led me to a degree in psychology to learn about human cognition and perception, and a career in folklore to understand how legends and rumors spread. But I also wanted field experience, and spent time at Loch Ness, in Canadian woods said to house Sasquatch, to the Amazon, Sahara, and the jungles of Central America looking for the chupacabra. Along the way became an author, writing books including Tracking the Chupacabra, Lake Monster Mysteries, Big—If True, and Investigating Ghosts

Benjamin's book list on (real-life) monsters

Benjamin Radford Why did Benjamin love this book?

Like Jay Smith’s book, Loxton and Prothero dig deep into the world’s most famous monsters, and help separate fact from fiction.

Everyone has seen the famous 1967 film clip of a Bigfoot—but do you know the story behind it?  From sea serpents to the Loch Ness monster and modern-day dinosaur reports, Abominable Science applies science and critical thinking to the mysteries. Even better, the book includes a very useful discussion on the field of cryptozoology—the search for hidden (and possibly mythical) creatures.

I have personally investigated many of these monsters—including in the field—and learned a lot from this book. Though they take a scientific and skeptical approach, they advocate for taking the topic seriously and doing good research. A fascinating and indispensable book for any monster lover. 

By Daniel Loxton, Donald R. Prothero,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology. Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the…


Book cover of The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal

J.J. Dupuis Author Of Umboi Island

From my list on the mysterious through science and skepticism.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since childhood, growing up in a family with spiritualist beliefs, I’ve been fascinated with mysterious phenomena. Once I became a little older, and my childhood love of zoos, museums, and dinosaurs became a broader love of science, I began to re-examine certain fantastic claims and beliefs with a skeptical lens. I became fascinated not only with the subject of certain beliefs, but the reason we as humans have these beliefs. The study of ghosts, monsters, or UFOs is really a study of the human condition and our belief systems. It’s the exploration of the human side that motivates the characters in my books and my continued interest in mysterious phenomena. 

J.J.'s book list on the mysterious through science and skepticism

J.J. Dupuis Why did J.J. love this book?

Kelly takes apart paranormal phenomena case by case, debunking pretty much every episode of The X-Files in doing so. From spontaneous human combustion to ESP to The Bermuda Triangle and certain famous cryptids, Kelly provides background information, the holes in the story, and the most likely explanations. The strength of this book is simultaneously its weakness, and that’s its specificity. Readers won’t take away as much about the scientific method and concepts of zoology or archaeology that can be applied to other mysteries, but they will come away with the knowledge to debunk some of the most famous tabloid claims. They’ll also come away with some interesting cocktail party conversation topics.       

By Lynne Kelly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can a human being really spontaneously burst into flames? Just how deadly is the Bermuda Triangle? And what's the real story behind all those alien abductions? The answers to these and many other questions lie within the covers of The Skeptic's Guide to the Paranormal. Guaranteed to liven up any dinner party, this delightful, highly readable book offers color photographs and scientific case-by-case explanations for twenty-seven phenomena that appear to defy known science, including ghosts and poltergeists, the predictions of Nostradamus, and yogic levitation, among many others. Speaking directly to the reader, and always with respect for those who believe,…


Book cover of The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen

Jay Penner Author Of Regent Cleopatra

From my list on Cleopatra and ancient Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

The genre I specialize in is Ancient Historical Fiction. I have always been fascinated by history, and my vacations often involve visiting ancient ruins. I’m an avid reader on various periods of our past, especially Egypt, Rome, Mesopotamia, and India, and I enjoy writing about them. On the topic of Egypt and Cleopatra — Egypt is one of my favorite civilizations, and Cleopatra is one of the more interesting figures. I wanted to give her a treatment I felt she deserved—as a capable administrator, brilliant, ruthless, and fighting the circumstances of her times.

Jay's book list on Cleopatra and ancient Egypt

Jay Penner Why did Jay love this book?

Who has not heard of King Tut? Written by the discoverer of the tomb, the book is a fascinating glimpse into the mind of an accomplished archeologist and a window to the fabulous riches of Egypt. Reading firsthand about what they saw and how things were placed gives us an insight into how things may have been in the last few hours of sealing the tomb. I often use such content to fuel my imagination of what might have happened.

By A.C. Mace, Howard Carter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

November 4, 1922. For six seasons the legendary Valley of the Kings has yielded no secrets to Howard Carter and his archeological team: "We had almost made up our minds that we were beaten," he writes, "and were preparing to leave The Valley and try our luck elsewhere; and then — hardly had we set hoe to ground in our last despairing effort than we made a discovery that far exceeded our wildest dreams."
Join Howard Carter in his fascinating odyssey toward the most dramatic archeological find of the century — the tomb of Tutankhamen. Written by Carter in 1923,…


Book cover of How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement

Linda T. Kaastra Author Of Grounding the Analysis of Cognitive Processes in Music Performance: Distributed Cognition in Musical Activity

From my list on meaningful engagement with objects and people.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an interdisciplinary scholar with professional musical training, I surveyed the literature in cognitive science for conceptual frameworks that would shed light on tacit processes in musical activity. I was tired of research that treats the musician either as a “lab rat” not quite capable of fully understanding what they do or as a “channel” for the mysterious and divine. I view musicians as human beings who engage in meaningful activity with instruments and with each other. Musicians are knowledgeable, skilled, and deeply creative. The authors on this list turn a scientific lens on human activity that further defines how we make ourselves through meaningful work and interactions.

Linda's book list on meaningful engagement with objects and people

Linda T. Kaastra Why did Linda love this book?

I love the way Malafouris delves into deeply philosophical questions about the boundaries of the mind. Working from the perspective of cognitive archeology, he broadly examines what makes us human in our engagement with objects and each other. Why does it help to understand the mind this way? Whenever we want to learn more about how we do the things we do, theories like Malafouris’ material engagement theory can help us to organize familiar tasks and situations in a way that makes the underlying cognitive processes transparent. If you want to improve your performance in any area, conceptual frameworks like this one (and the one in my book) can bring tacit processes into focus. 

By Lambros Malafouris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Things Shape the Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the different ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body, from prehistory to the present.

An increasingly influential school of thought in cognitive science views the mind as embodied, extended, and distributed rather than brain-bound or “all in the head.” This shift in perspective raises important questions about the relationship between cognition and material culture, posing major challenges for philosophy, cognitive science, archaeology, and anthropology. In How Things Shape the Mind, Lambros Malafouris proposes a cross-disciplinary analytical framework for investigating the ways in which things have become cognitive extensions of the human body.…


Book cover of Tunnels

Kevin Moran Author Of Lying Beneath

From my list on fiction books set in underground worlds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember, but more formally for over a decade. I have published a variety of works from short-story collections to children’s books, and my latest is a science-fiction trilogy set in an underground world. I’m passionate about imagination and creativity, and love exploring different kinds of books and different ways of expressing similar ideas.

Kevin's book list on fiction books set in underground worlds

Kevin Moran Why did Kevin love this book?

Another overlooked book because it is targeted for children. It’s the first in a series and is darker in tone than others. The imagination of the underground world here is neat and built in such a way that lets you envision it. The plot can be a bit disjointed for younger readers, and there are some twists to keep it interesting, but overall, is a fast read.

By Roderick Gordon, Brian Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tunnels as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows lives with his family in London. He
has little in common with them except for a passion for digging
which he shares with his father.

When his father suddenly disappears down an unknown tunnel, Will
decides to investigate with his friend Chester. Soon they find themselves
deep underground, where they unearth a dark and terrifying
secret - a secret which may cost them their lives.


Book cover of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society

Ilan Pappé Author Of Ten Myths About Israel

From my list on understanding modern Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ilan Pappé is a professor with the College of Social Sciences and International Studies at the University of Exeter. He was formerly a senior lecturer in political science at the University of Haifa. He is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of PalestineThe Modern Middle EastA History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples, and Britain and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Ilan's book list on understanding modern Palestine

Ilan Pappé Why did Ilan love this book?

The Israeli narrative is particularly strong among Christain and Jewish communities due to a tale full of fabrications that stretches back to ancient times. This methodical and erudite research exposes the role of archeology in providing "scientific" scaffolding for that tale. 


By Nadia Abu El-Haj,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Facts on the Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Archaeology in Israel is truly a national obsession, a practice through which national identity-and national rights-have long been asserted. But how and why did archaeology emerge as such a pervasive force there? How can the practices of archaeology help answer those questions? In this stirring book, Nadia Abu El-Haj addresses these questions and specifies for the first time the relationship between national ideology, colonial settlement, and the production of historical knowledge. She analyzes particular instances of history, artifacts, and landscapes in the making to show how archaeology helped not only to legitimize cultural and political visions but, far more powerfully,…


Book cover of Recreating the Past

T.M. Rowe Author Of A Viking Moon

From my list on transporting you back through time.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have three lifelong passions, the first was reading, then writing, and then archaeology/history. To this end I studied and trained as an archaeologist before I sat down and decided to write stories set in the past as a way of bringing it to life. Of course, there had to be an adventure, a bit of a mystery, and a dash of magic to bring it all together. The books on my list are just a few of those that I have enjoyed reading during my hunt to get to know the past in intimate detail – on my own time travelling journey.

T.M.'s book list on transporting you back through time

T.M. Rowe Why did T.M. love this book?

I have always admired people who can bring the past to life in a visual way and in this book, Victor Ambrose draws and paints the lives of people and places from the past.

The text is provided by Mick Aston, a well-known archaeologist of Time Team fame. Many of the places featured in this book were sites investigated by the Time Team. The book is full to the brim with excellent illustrations of places and perhaps importantly they are then peopled with interesting characters (for fans of Time Team, you may recognize a few faces).

This book makes it easy to travel back in time, to visualize what life may have been like for people way back when which is why I recommend it to any potential time travelers.

PS Look out for the cheeky dog…

By Victor Ambrus, Mick Aston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Recreating the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since 1994, when the first "Time Team" program was broadcast, archaeology has been brought to life for millions of people by Victor Ambrus and Mick Aston. Victor has produced hundreds of sketches and drawings of archaeological sites and the lives of those who would have inhabited them. For the first time, his drawings of individual excavations have been brought together to provide a dramatic chronological survey of British history—from Stone Age to modern via the Romans, the Vikings, and more. Add to this Mick Aston's lively explanations and photographs, and you have an archaeological collaboration which is guaranteed to delight.


Book cover of Beastly Questions: Animal Answers to Archaeological Issues

Sally Coulthard Author Of A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects

From my list on superstitions, sacrifice, and folk history.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having lived in the countryside for more than two decades and fallen for its charms, I find myself fascinated by its heritage. Rural history is often overlooked for the grand stories of royalty, urban life, and warfare. For me, the archaeology and history that speaks of daily life, practical struggles, and the humanity of people–that’s what really switches me on. I constantly yearn to get inside the minds of our ancestors to try and understand how they saw the world. Whether that’s strange superstitions or ingenious inventions, it’s all part of what it means to be human.

Sally's book list on superstitions, sacrifice, and folk history

Sally Coulthard Why did Sally love this book?

Since hunter-gatherer times, our relationship with animals has been full of contradictions. We relied on them not only as a source of food and traction but also worshipped and deified creatures through the millennia.

This feisty and, at times, refreshingly irreverent book pulls together everything we know about the cultural history of human-animal relationships, from pampered pets to sacrificial offerings.

By Naomi Sykes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beastly Questions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Zooarchaeology, the study of ancient animals, is a frequently side-lined subject in archaeology. This 'important and provocative' volume, now available in paperback, provides a crucial reversal of this bizarre situation - 'bizarre' because the archaeological record is composed largely of debris from human-animal relationships (be they in the form of animal bones, individual artifacts or entire landscapes) and many disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and geography, recognise human-animal interactions as a key source of information for understanding cultural ideology. By integrating knowledge from archaeological remains with evidence from texts, iconography, social anthropology and cultural geography, Beastly Questions: Animal Answers to Archaeological…


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