Mind and Society Fads

Frank Hoffman, Ph.D., MLS, and William G. Bailey, M.A.

Ever wondered where the self-affirmation “Every day in every way, I am getting better and better” came from? Find out in this Cliff Notes-like guide to social phenomena. There isn’t deep analysis here, but enough information to allow one to bluff at dinner parties. However, one of the biggest flaws of a book like this (and those of self-proclaimed answer men, such as Cecil Adams) is that they are only as good as their sources. Lack of information and cultural bias can give short shrift to unconventional beliefs. TC

Publisher: Haworth
Paperback: 285 pages

Inside Teradome: An Illustrated History of Freak Film

Jack Hunter

This book falls short of its potential. It purports to be a history of human oddities in film, and a flip through to look at the photos is enough to connive the average freakophile that this is a must-have. However, the author skips from subject to subject, often giving the impression he has not seen the films he is talking about. Huge portions of this volume seem to be regurgitated directly from the book Killing for Culture, available from the same publisher, which contains some of the most complete information about the “mondo” style of filmmaking
After claiming that this book will be about real human oddities on film, the author jumps to films using fakes. This would have been fine if he had given these films a separate chapter or section, but this is not the case. They are mixed in with the real stuff, like dirty socks among the clean laundry. Worse, the author breezes past important films and film makers in a few lines, and then goes on to describe at length horror movies that have little or nothing to do with the book’s subject matter. Hardly a complete loss, an oddity and it remains valuable for any connoisseur of oddities. TC

Publisher: Creation
Paperback: 244 pages

How To Investigate Your Friends, Enemies and Lovers

Trent Sands and John Q. Newman

A basic manual on accessing public record information about an individual, with a few methods absent from most books on the subject. Using the pretense of providing information on protecting oneself from conmen and investigating the claims and backgrounds of celebrities and public figures, this books gives information on obtaining county records, DMV information and state tax and corporation records. Includes how to legally obtain a subject’s Social Security number from credit bureaus, and how to find out what the Social Security numbers mean, using the Social Security number “Group Number” chart provided. Also: accessing vital, criminal and military records, bankruptcy records, information on “deadbeat dads” and other obscure sources of information as well as illegal methods of obtaining credit information. The final chapter offers a short rundown on how to sell one's services as an investigator. TC

Publisher: Index
Paperback: 160 pages

The Sourcebook of State Public Records


A state-by-state listing of sources of public records for the investigative reporter or private eye. More than just a collection of addresses and phone numbers, the information given is very complete and includes fees, turnaround time, what restrictions there may be, and what to expect if access is made by phone or fax as opposed to a personal visit. This book will save the serious researcher phone-call money and legwork. TC

Publisher: Paladin
Paperback: 339 pages

Mother’s Maiden Name


A subject’s mother’s maiden name is one of the key pieces of information that is needed to gain access to all manner of private records. While a Social Security number and date of birth are relatively easy for an investigator to obtain, trying to find someone’s mother’s maiden name can be like hitting a brick wall. It is something that is left out of most do-it-youself background-investigation books. Here is a solution to the problem, with an emphasis on using a mother’s maiden name to obtain an alternative identity, although this is hardly the only reason for obtaining the maiden name. This guide contains invaluable information to the muckraker, private investigator, con man, phony psychic or the just-plain curious. Details a variety of methods to obtain maiden names such as state records, financial institutions, genealogical histories, newspaper records and the subjects themselves. One interesting chapter contains phone scripts in which one masquerades as various semi-authority figures in order to get the subject to give up Mom’s maiden name. TC

Publisher: Index
Paperback: 107 pages