For His New Book 'Fringe-ology' Renowned Journalist, Steve Volk, Investigates a Childhood Ghost Story Only to Discover There Are Some Things That Can’t Be Explained

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Fringe-ology will appeal to anyone curious but cautious about reports of paranormal experiences, psychic phenomena, and other unexplainable events—anyone who has ever wondered about the existence an afterlife, intelligent life on other planets, or the limits of extrasensory perception. For fans of Fringe, Mythbusters, Medium, Heroes, Nova, and Lost, Volk’s scintillating journey into mystery illuminates the furthest boundaries of possibility and wonder.

Jacket Image Fringe-ology by Steve Volk

Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable - And Couldn't by Steve Volk

What Volk discovers is that there is enough mystery left in the world to humble us all, and that out of this humility arises the opportunity to answer some of the most fundamental questions about our existence.

Steve Volk remembers the loud booming sounds that emanated from the walls and the roof of his house late at night when he was a child. His family didn’t know what the source of the noise was, but his sisters claimed blankets were pulled from their beds and that they saw an old woman walk through the closed door of their room. People uncomfortable with the inexplicable hear this story and attribute these episodes to faulty pipes or overactive imaginations. But others have no hesitation—the Volk family was visited by a ghost.

Although the paranormal is popular at the Cineplex and New Age sections of bookstores, too often we push it to the fringes of our public discourse. Now, inspired by the noise his family could never trace, reporter Steve Volk brings the conversation front and center in Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable—And Couldn’t (HarperOne; June 2011; $25.99; Hardcover), a rollicking journey into the unexplored territory where modern science and the paranormal converge

In Fringe-ology, Volk regales readers with intimate accounts from people who have had life-changing paranormal experiences, but because of modern social stigmas must be very discreet about sharing them. He peeks over the shoulder of an anesthesiologist who leads us on an exploration of the deepest realm of our being, sits beside a world famous psychologist who concludes death is not the end, and meets a N.A.S.A. astronaut whose trip to outer space turned him into a passionate paranormalist. Volk investigates what happens in the brains of people undergoing a religious experience, and learns how to control his dreams. He goes hunting for specters in some of this country’s most renowned haunted locations, and even wrestles with his own family’s mind-bending ghost story.

What Volk discovers is that there is enough mystery left in the world to humble us all, and that out of this humility arises the opportunity to answer some of the most fundamental questions about our existence. Ultimately, he finds common ground we can all share—a place for skeptics and believers, spiritualists and scientists to stand together, not at the fringes, but at the heart of what it means to be human.


Steve Volk is a longtime staff writer and regular contributor at Philadelphia magazine. His work has been published by Rolling Stone, Vibe, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, The New Republic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The St. Petersburg Times, Volk has received dozens of state and national journalism awards and appeared on numerous radio and television talk shows in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He lives in Philadelphia. His website is

Praise for Fringe-ology:

“This book presents a fascinating review of the most significant unexplained phenomena in a scientifically precise, yet easy to read style. Volk’s valuable contribution has important implications, not only for understanding the world we live in, but also by providing insights that can positively touch our daily lives.”
— Jeffrey Long, MD, author of Evidence of the Afterlife

“FRINGE-OLOGY is one of the most refreshing books in years about so-called paranormal phenomena. Volk transcends the hardened, militant bombast of skeptics who refuse to give an inch, as well as the accepting attitudes of true believers whose critical faculties have deserted them. Volk is open to the great mysteries and strangeness of human experience, and he is willing to let the chips fall where they may. And did I mention this book is pure fun?”    

“Skeptical investigative journalist Steve Volk explores the paranormal and finds—to his astonishment—the leading edge of science. FRINGE-OLOGY is a thoughtful, myth-shattering exploration of discoveries that may be in the process of transforming the paranormal into normal.”
— Dean Radin, PhD, senior scientist, Institute of Noetic Sciences

“Steve Volk has written a fascinating overview of several taboo that defy explanations by mainstream science. He illuminates these fringes of human behavior through scientific data as well as case studies. FRINGE-OLOGY shows that he has clearly done his homework, and where the hard data contradict the beliefs of “true believers,” he lets the reader know. Unlike many other books on the topic, FRINGE-OLOGY has a well-developed story line that keeps up the suspense. From near-death experiences to after-death communications, from haunting to hypnosis, from creative dreams to quantum physics, this book will not make all of its readers happy but it does contain something of interest for everyone.”
— Stanley Krippner, professor of psychology, Saybrook University

“Fringe-Ology brings a poet’s eye to the frayed edges between the known and unknown, belief and skepticism. A beautifully written, gripping read filled with humor, wonder, and vulnerability, Fringe-ology is a dive into the paranormal even a hardcore skeptic like myself can enjoy.”
— Mat Johnson, author of Pym

“Volk takes readers on a roller-coaster ride through what is arguably the most transforming and thrilling period in world history—when science and mysticism merge to become the new reality. What more could you ask for from a book? Volk is smart, persuasive, humorous and always entertaining. Just be sure to strap on your seat-belt.”        
— Sidney Kirkpatrick, author of Edgar Cayce: An American Prophet

How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable—And Couldn’t
By Steve Volk
HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
June 2011 | Hardcover |$25.99 | ISBN: 9780061857713


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