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Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (1842–1914)

Ambrose Bierce

Type: Storyteller
Relevant Bibliography:

  • "Wither?," article in the San Francisco Examiner, 1888
  • Can Such Things Be?, 1893

Fun Fact: Went on a trip to parts unknown in 1913, and was never seen again... which is still an unsolved historic mystery.

Ambrose Bierce was famous for his short stories and scathing commentaries... what he's less known for is his one fling into the realm of the paranormal. His interest in such is hardly a surprise; many of his short stories hinged on plot points of a supernatural and science fictional nature. And though he only committed this particular crime once, he did a damn good job of it... which is very much his style.

        In 1888, as editor of the San Francisco Examiner, he published an article that detailed three accounts of people who supernaturally vanished into thin air, appending on a "scientific explanation" written by a non-existent scientist. The article was later reprinted along with several of Bierce's short stories in his 1893 collection Can Such Things Be? Bierce's three tales of supernatural disappearance have been presented as true tales ever since, and have also acted as the starting point for other people to create new "true" tales from!

        Below is the list of Ambrose Bierce's questionable accounts -- and the newer variations -- that are in Anomalies.