I recently rediscovered the World of Strange Powers series on TV channel The Paranormal Channel (one of the darker undiscovered corners of the Sky lineup I guess). At heart I’m a bit of a Fox Mulder, I want to believe, so to speak. I can’t say I definitely believe that aliens, ghosts and bigfoot exist, but I like to think that there’s a possibility they just might, and would love to see some evidence that proves they do. I think, for better or worse, it must have been this show that first sparked my interest in all things weird and spooky!
Anyway, on seeing the show on my TV planner I just had to watch it again, and it’s just as I remembered it. The spooky theme music and the image of the crystal skull in the middle of an eye used to chill me as a child, whilst curled up on the sofa watching intently, and it still sends a tingle down the spine even now. The weird distorted picture of Mr. Clarke sat on some rocks at the end of the titles also unnerved me as a child.
Arthur C. Clarke’s Mysterious World first aired in 1980 on ITV, and was narrated by TV newsreader Anna Ford. The show consisted of Arthur, usually filmed walking along beaches in Sri Lanka, putting forward the idea that some weird or freaky thing could potentially exist. This series dealt with legendary creatures such as Bigfoot or giant squids, and with eye witness and expert accounts painted a picture of some of the strange animals that just might exist on this planet of ours. At the end Mr. Clarke would appear again to sum things up. I always got the impression that, just like I did, Arthur secretly hoped that these oddities could actually exist, even though there was no strong evidence to suggest they did.
In 1985 a second series, Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers, was aired. Using the same format as Mysterious World, this series was primarily concerned with more human oddities, such as mediumship, ghosts, ESP and the like. The episode I caught recently looked at firewalking, and went into quite some depth about how this particular extreme feat could be carried out.
In 1994 there was yet another series entitled Mysterious Universe, but I don’t remember this show personally and I haven’t been able to find much about it.
I feel that because these shows were fronted by an eminent scientist and author it gave their end conclusions slightly more weight, and there wasn’t much in the way of bizarre things that they didn’t cover.Â I’m sure there must have been similar shows before they came along, but I don’t think there’s been anything as balanced in its approach since.Â Sir Arthur C. Clarke (as he became in 2000) is sadly no longer with us, having died on 19th March 2008, so unless he manages to find a way to communicate with us from beyond the grave, the chance of any further series bearing his name are fairly slim.