Reg Presley, Wild Things They Don't Tell Us (Metro Publishing, 2002)

'He said. "What you are working on is going to cause them to rewrite physics books, rewrite chemistry books and come to a completely new understanding."'

For anyone who isn't already familiar with the name of the author, he is the singer and songwriter with The Troggs. Their biggest international hit was 'Wild Thing,' from which came the title of this book. Wild Things They Don't Tell Us refers to aliens, alchemy and government denials, according to the cover. But don't be deterred if you think you've seen all that before. Presley has something new to offer, in among the usual suspects of conspiracy theory.

At 271 pages, the book is a fairly quick read, and is written like a pub conversation with an old friend. The author rambles and reminisces a little too much at times, but his enthusiasm for his subjects is infectious. Like Fox Mulder, Presley wants to believe, and occasionally gets too caught up in the new mythology to remain objective. But the holes in what is presented are due to sincere naivete, rather than any desire to befuddle or deliberately deceive the reader. Presley is not a band-wagon jumper, in it for the money, he's someone on a personal quest to wake us all up.

Seasoned conspiracy theorists will dismiss much of the anecdotal evidence and informed speculation, but the book is not aimed at experts. Rather, it's an everyman primer for those awakening to the fact that there's more going on in the world than the mainstream tells them. Although light on hard science, and in some ways more accessible for it, the stand-out chapter concerns the highly technical work of an American dirt farmer named David Hudson. His experiments with reducing gold to a powder form, the reason behind this, and where it could eventually lead, sets a fire in the mind.

Crop circles, UFOs, Egyptology, alchemy, religion, evolution and creationism are some of the subjects Presley touches upon. But rather than accuse a secret government cabal of being the font of all evil, his principal targets are big business and certain academics. Specifically, those who are loathe to validate anything that might overturn accepted wisdom simply because it is not in their financial interest, or because it would mean a loss of kudos. Whenever books would need to be rewritten, and careers built on false theory would crumble, the shields go up and the ranks close. Whether a principle can be scientifically demonstrated counts for little if what it proves threatens profits or the reputations of the leaders in any field. For all our apparent advancements, those with power or prestige are still behaving as they did in the days of Copernicus. The most stifling conspiracy theory of all, Presley suggests, is the conspiracy of silence.

[Nathan Brazil]