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The Road to Strange:
Travel Tales of the Paranormal and Beyond

The Road to Strange: Travel Tales of the Paranormal and Beyond is part of Michael Brein’s travel tales series and contains among the best stories from Michael’s huge collection of travel stories that he has gathered in interviews over the last four decades.

“I’ve interviewed nearly 1,800 world travelers and adventurers in my own travels to more than 125 countries throughout the world. I am weaving their 5,000 or so fantastic travel tales into a psychology of travel as revealed by these very telling stories.”

“These are travelers I’ve met on planes, trains, buses, ships, tours, safaris, and in campgrounds, cafes, and pubs. These travelers have freely shared their most personal travel tales with me, which I, in turn, get to share with you now through my  Travel Tales Series, in general, and The Road to Strange, in particular.

Preface

I’m the “Travel Psychologist.” I originally coined the term “Travel Psychology” during my doctoral studies at the University of Hawaii, and then became the world’s first travel psychologist.

For five decades, I have crisscrossed and traveled the world numerous times over, interviewing nearly 1,800 travelers and adventurers, and collecting and recording more than 5,000 accounts of all sorts of things that happened to them. I have delved into the deeper psychological aspects of their experiences.

It became apparent during my research that many people got far more than they anticipated from travel – they had unusual experiences of a paranormal, supernatural, and even mystical nature. I saw common themes running through them. These stories fascinated me, and so I began a special collection of them, forging new territory in travel lore that had been ignored and neglected by the mainstream physical or social sciences.

Reading the paranormal travel stories of others presents the reader with new and unique events that are often both eye-opening and awesome – just as travel tends to be itself. It is largely through the novel experiences offered by travel and adventure that we achieve more personal growth and gain an understanding of realities that we perhaps did not know even existed. This aspect of travel is nothing short of a paradigm-shifter.

Travel is mind-opening and mind-bending. Maybe it takes the travel experience – namely the condensing, collapsing, and speeding up of time and space, the rush of novelty, all impacting upon us at once at every turn – to pry open the portals to the unknown. Imagine the degree of impact that a travel-related paranormal event can have on one’s life. These events happen to everyone in all walks of life, regardless of belief in the paranormal.

Some of the people in this book acknowledge that they have histories of paranormal and unusual experiences. That is the case with me, as I have had many episodes of premonitions, precognitive dreams, psychic phenomena, and more throughout my life. I call this gift my “Inner Psychic.”

Others in this book say they have no extraordinary psychic sense, and some even profess to be skeptical – that is, until their experiences opened their eyes.

The stories in this unique collection are not intended to provide definitive proof of the paranormal. My main purpose is to show that these kinds of experiences not only happen, but they happen often, and, yes, they happen to you, and to me, too! I have included a few of my own personal paranormal travel experiences, which “seals the deal,” so to speak, for the reality of psychic phenomena, at least for me!

The true stories presented here are a tantalizing mix of topics such as ghosts and hauntings, premonition and precognition, déjà vu, synchronicity, mysticism, spirituality, past lives and reincarnation, clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, black magic, psychic readings, poltergeists, space-time warps, sacred sites, phantom persons, out-of-body experiences, and more. They take place in exotic locations all over the planet, and in all kinds of circumstances.

Reading these stories may help you understand some of the strange events you have encountered in your own travels – and may open you even more to the unknown the next time you venture out.

Perhaps you have a travel story yourself—see the information in the Afterword for how to submit for one of our upcoming volumes.

Before I go, I’d like to share a little more about how this book came into being, something deeply personal to me and which involves an experience like the ones in the stories. It’s about “the Aloha Spirit.”

In the 1960s, I was studying at Temple University in Philadelphia to become a clinical psychologist, and was offered a full four-year fellowship to complete my PhD. Suddenly, I had enough of the depressing world of mental illness and clinical psychology and decided to make an abrupt career change to become the world’s first “travel psychologist.” This switch was much to the chagrin of my parents, for the subfield of the “psychology of travel” had not yet come into existence.

My decision meant departing my life on the gloomy East Coast of the U.S. to answer the call of Pacific island breezes, and the sun, surf, and sands of the Hawaiian Islands. By now, in 1965, the travel bug had fully infested me. I was accepted into the PhD program in the Psychology Department of the University of Hawaii, and was awarded a graduate assistantship, which would help with my now uncertain finances.

Perhaps it was a rationalization, but I convinced myself that I should do this so I could study under the tutelage of a former University of Pennsylvania psychology graduate, Herb Weaver, who was now involved in the travel industry of Hawaii, and was also a professor of psychology and the departmental chairman at the University of Hawaii. I became one of his graduate students, and he became my mentor.

We also became quite good friends over time. Completing my doctoral degree at the University of Hawaii was not always perfectly smooth sailing, and I had my share of departmental politics that are probably part and parcel of most graduate students’ careers. I’m sure that my professor friend supported me and intervened a few times on my behalf, probably unbeknownst to me.

Eventually my association with Herb took a rocky turn, albeit for a brief period. I got caught up in a situation whereby I selected another faculty member to be the chairman of my dissertation, which angered my professor friend. I thought I was opting for fairness, but I should have made a more politically savvy choice. Herb was trying to run the other professor out of the psychology department.

Herb turned on me briefly. He threatened to “make things difficult” for me and boycotted my important oral defense of my dissertation, the last step of my PhD program. Not attending my oral defense of my thesis was not only a symbolic pièce de résistance on his part, but a slap in the face – a supreme insult. He made his point.

Fortunately, things got ironed out. I was supposed to go to his office one day for him to “ask his question” relevant to my defending my dissertation. As I entered his office, the tension in the air could have been cut with a knife. His question was, “Well, what are you going to do now?” That was it! The battle was over; he had made his point; and we were now back to being friends again.

I loved Hawaii so much that I stayed on instead of leaving once I had completed my graduate studies. I didn’t keep in touch with Herb after I completed my degree. I knew, however, that he was ailing.

Then one night, I had a dream. It was a lucid dream—real, vivid, and scary. In the dream, I saw a gravestone in a cemetery. I could clearly read a name on the stone: Herbert Weaver. Whoa!

I’d had these sorts of dreams before, prior to the deaths of my parents. I knew full well the meaning of this dream—it was a precognitive dream of impending death. There was no avoiding the stark reality. I knew.

There was more: I was certain that there would be an obituary for Herb in the next day’s newspaper, the Sunday morning edition of the Honolulu Advertiser. Furthermore, I “knew” with absolute certainty that I would receive a phone call in my Honolulu office from one of my best friends, a former roommate I had when I first arrived in Hawaii, telling me of Herb’s death.

I didn’t have time on Sunday to search out the obits in the paper, but, just as if on cue, I did receive the phone call on early Monday morning from my friend, Ken, telling me of Herb Weaver’s passing over the weekend. For you see, I’ve had such expected phone calls before in relation to the deaths of a few family members. And indeed, the obituary was in the newspaper as I had surmised.

But there’s one more aspect to the story.

Aloha is a Hawaiian word that has a variety of meanings, both as a single word and when used together with other words as well. It is most commonly used as a greeting, meaning “hello,” “goodbye,” or “farewell.” Aloha is also used to mean “love.” In addition, it is used to express one’s compassion, regret, or even sympathy. So, when someone says “aloha,” a lot is wrapped up in that term. I felt that the spirit of my good old friend, Herb Weaver, traveled to me in my dream that night to say one final “aloha,” a farewell tinged with love, and perhaps even regret that we’d ever had a brief falling out. Herb was now in spirit form, and he literally was “the Aloha Spirit.”

In a strange and beautiful way, his visit was a bestowal of a blessing on my calling—I have been the “Travel Psychologist” ever since those days at the University of Hawaii.

That I may have accomplished something of distinct and unique value in my career and by co-writing this book is succinctly summed up by the Australian psychologist, Shawn Koller, PhD, in his statement:

“Thanks to Michael Brein… to be the pioneer of this field.”

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HOW TO GET A FREE COPY
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(thru June, 2017)

Order an autographed copy of The Road to Strange: Travel Tales of the Paranormal and Beyond directly from Michael Brein’s eStore for $20 plus postage and receive a complimentary print travel guide of your choice, e.g., London or Paris or one for any other city, written by Michael Brein, plus a handsome vinyl map and document folder (a total value of $20)!

Once you purchase your copy of The Road to Strange: Travel Tales of the Paranormal and Beyond, simply email your choice of travel guide to michaelbrein@gmail.com. Your travel guide plus the map and document holder will arrive with your book.

NOTE: Be sure to order the book in the eStore but do NOT order the travel guide and mapholder from the eStore. (You must email Michael Brein directly at michelbrein@gmail.com with your choice of travel guide.)

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