Steve Volk talks about the paranormal and his fascinating book, FRINGE-OLOGY: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn’t; Kim Tredick talks about the â€œsummer slideâ€ and BrainQuest; and Drew Adamek reviews THE HUNGER ANGEL by Herta MÃ¼ller.
A Gallup Poll from 2006 found that three in four Americans believe in one or more paranormal phenomena, like ESP, ghosts, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Many of those — including WV host Francesca Rheannon — have had paranormal experiences.
Francesca: â€œI donâ€™t think of myself as a credulous person. I believe firmly in the scientific method: that is, basing conclusions on randomly assigned, experimental evidence. And I share the in-grained skepticism of most journalists. But I also canâ€™t deny the evidence of my own experience — Iâ€™ve had two outstanding brushes with the paranormal and countless minor ones. I had a clairvoyant vision of the Twin Towers collapsing 10 years before it happened–and, as youâ€™ll hear later–I also had a close encounter with a dark, disembodied entity that I simply cannot explain.â€
Steve Volk, shares a similar history. As he says on his blog, his book Fringe-ology is his attempt to reconcile a mysterious ghost story from his own childhood with his lifelong, down to earth occupation as a journalist.
His â€œsolution was to do journalismâ€”to investigate that family ghost story, and other paranormal topics.â€ He writes,
â€œWhat I found is a great tale thatâ€™s been relegated to the fringe of our discourse for too longâ€”a story filled with ghosts, UFOs, maverick scientists, psychics, spoon-benders and the people who love and hate them. More importantly, I found common ground we can all shareâ€”a place for skeptics and believers, spiritualists and scientists, to stand togetherâ€”not at the fringes, but at the heart of what it means to be human.â€
Steve Volk is a city reporter for alt. weeklies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and for Philadelphia Magazine.
“No more pencils, no more books. No more teacherâ€™s dirty looks.” Thatâ€™s what we used to chant on the last day of school as we ran out to start summer vacation. But, sweet as it is, the summer hiatus takes a toll on kidsâ€™ academic skills. Itâ€™s called the â€œsummer slide.â€
For 20 years, Workman Publishing has been putting out an educational game called Brain Quest in the form of question cards that help to keep knowledge in kidsâ€™ memory banks. Now theyâ€™ve added an app for iPhone and iPad and other tablets. WV talked with Brainquest spokesperson and teacher Kim Tredick about the game in card and e-form.
Drew Adamek reviews Herta MÃ¼llerâ€™s THE HUNGER ANGEL
In January 1945, the victorious Russians sent thousands of Romanian Germans to labor camps in the Soviet Union to rebuild the country that Hitlerâ€™s armies had destroyed. German novelist Herta MÃ¼ller has a personal connection to the story — her mother was one of those prisoners. MÃ¼llerâ€™s new novel The Hunger Angel is about a young man interned in one of the camps. Itâ€™s just been released in translation in the U.S. Writers Voice associate producer Drew Adamek has a review.