Review: 'Into The Uncanny' - Danny Robins Explores The Paranormal In New Book

By Steve Higgins
September 17, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ PodcastsParanormalBooks
Danny Robins - Into The Uncanny
Danny Robins, best known as the host of the BBC Sounds podcast 'Uncanny' and a string of other popular paranormal podcasts, has penned a new book, 'Into The Uncanny.' The book serves as a significant extension of the 'Uncanny' universe, delving deeper into four new cases with a new level of scrutiny and detail that a mere 30-minute podcast episode simply can't deliver.

The 'Uncanny' series has achieved its cult status for a very straightforward reason: whether you're a skeptic or a firm believer in the supernatural, Danny excels in storytelling. And as the success of the podcast has shown us, there's a universal appeal to a well-spun ghost tale.

Fans of the podcast will be pleased to hear that the book offers a similar, if not slightly enhanced experience to the podcast. Danny has infused the narrative with a very thoughtful and relevant expansion of the topics at hand, plus he's dropped in plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour.

I should say, rather than reading the book, I listened to the audiobook, which made a day of stripping wallpaper much more bearable. As Danny narrates the book himself, my experience of the book wasn't too dissimilar to listening to the 'Uncanny' podcast. It was just like a nine hour-long special.

I actually enjoyed listening to the audiobook more than listening to the podcast, and I think that was mostly because there's a little more Danny in it. Not only are we hearing the accounts of a handful on supernatural experiencers in the book, but Danny tells us about himself, how he came to accept ghosts but says he still doesn't quite "believe" yet.

In fact, one of the book's most memorable segments had nothing to do with ghosts, UFOs, or anything remotely paranormal. Danny tells us about an amusing incident involving a smoke detector, a tale that perfectly encapsulates our tendency to jump to conclusions. Within the frame of 'Uncanny,' this tendency often manifests as attributing unexplained phenomena to spirits of the deceased.

The book kicks off with Danny reflecting on his whirlwind career as the creator of other hit paranormal podcasts such as 'Haunted' and 'The Battersea Poltergeist,' each featuring ordinary people encountering the extraordinary. 'Into The Uncanny' is built on the same foundation. Four new cases form the backbone of the book, each recounting unique and previously undisclosed stories.

Freed from the time constraints of a podcast, Danny utilises the space to exhaustively explore each case featured in the book, drawing parallels with similar historical incidents and contemplating the existing beliefs and theories that pertain to the paranormal activities reported by his witnesses.

First Danny tells us about Andrew, a film and stage director who grappled with a 'misbehaving kitchen' during a babysitting gig in 1980s Rome. While on the topic of poltergeists, Danny deep-dives into the classic Enfield case. Of course, the story of the Enfield Poltergeist has been done to death. Although it's been told over and over, Danny does it justice, making it interesting and relevant to Andrew's case, and even manages to bring in a rare perspective by interviewing Graham Morris, the first photographer the tabloids sent to photograph the activity at the infamous house.

The second case whisks us off to Aversham, where residents were unnerved by the phantom sounds of galloping horses charging through their bungalow. Here, Danny takes the opportunity to explore concepts like the Stone Tape Theory and electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the paranormal realm.

Danny's third case centres on David, who received an eerily accurate prediction from a Ouija board about a family member's impending demise. This incident sparks a broader conversation about communicating with the afterlife through Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and psychic channels.

The last case, and the one I found to be the most beguiling, involves an uncanny encounter with a potentially extraterrestrial being sighted in snowy Middlesbrough. The tale is both captivating and puzzling, leaving even skeptics scratching their heads.

Although Danny's passion and storytelling abilities can't be faulted, throughout the book, I really struggled with Danny's openness to ghosts and the supernatural. For example, at one point he wrote that he can't help but be scared of the idea of communicating with the dead via a Ouija board, but this is Danny Robins, the guy who once hosted the show 'The Bulls**t Detective'.

In that BBC Three show, Danny donned his skeptical cap to expose charlatan psychics and debunk the paranormal. As I got deeper into the book, I was starting to feel like Danny was hoping we'd conveniently forgotten about his past and quite conflicting role as a skeptical investigator, but then in a later chapter entitled 'The Hardcore Sceptic', Danny does mention his history as a debunker on the show and at this point brings in 'Uncanny' regular and television parapsychologist Ciarán O'Keeffe who does inject some of the rationality and scepticism that Danny no longer seems comfortable saying himself.

This isn't a criticism of Danny's approach. Those who have witnessed something spooky should be listened to and treated with respect, and Danny's impartiality does create the perfect environment to give people the chance to speak. I think this is more of an 'it's not you, it's me' situation. Being open and respectful is commendable, but I just don't buy that Danny really thinks things like Ouija boards are scary.

Regardless of my hang-ups, Danny's book is an excellent read and without a doubt the paranormal book of the year. 'Into The Uncanny' by Danny Robins is currently available in hardcover, as an eBook for Kindle, and as an audiobook on Audible.
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