Libraries go for weird appeal

7th November 1997 at 00:00
If The X-Files had been made in Britain, agents Scully and Mulder would have had West Country accents. Crop circles, UFOs, alien abductions, and a host of new-age phenomenon seem to happen more often here than anywhere else in the country. There's even the puma-like Beast of Gloucester.

So it's fitting that as part of National Libraries Week's efforts to win new users the library service in Gloucestershire should present "Weird Week".

"We wanted to find a subject that people wouldn't usually associate with us," said Trevor Allen of the county's libraries department.

Launched yesterday and running until November 13, the organisers of Weird Week are inviting local people to detail their own alien sightings or paranormal experiences, with the aim of bringing the testimonies together in a booklet and Internet site. There should be no shortage of entries - a quick search through the Internet produces dozens of eye-witness accounts of UFOs in the area.

The West of England also has a healthy interest in ghosts. Schoolchildren are being invited to hear tales of the supernatural.

An aim of the week is to allow people to hear the cases for and against the existence of supernatural phenomena, using the library to help them make up their minds. So as well as special events such as a talk entitled "UFOs - fact or fiction", the library service has produced its own reading list, suggesting books such as Alien Contact and UFOs 1947-1997 alongside classic fiction such as War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids.

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