This alleged encyclopedia, follow-up to the author's equally mistitled Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Encyclopedia of Monsters, is really an unpretentious compilation of short pieces on assorted real-true-wonders. As such, though, it's not bad. True, collections of marvels are a dime a dozen, and Cohen has nothing very new to add. Taking as his province anything that ""is or once was an object of speculation and wonder,"" he selects a grab bag of perennially popular mysteries and oddities (e.g., ley lines, Lemuria, cryonics, idiots savants, Dunne's theory of time, the Man in the Iron Mask) and rehashes them for beginners. The material is pretty standard and simply--sometimes too simply--told. (Cohen is a veteran explicator of scientific and occult subjects for juveniles as well as adults.) But where most collections of this type recycle earlier assemblages, Cohen makes fresh choices and culls directly from a wide array of recent secondary sources. Thus, where others recite fourth-hand drivel about the mystic meanings of the Great Pyramid, he gives a synopsis of the history of pyramidology; where others pass on hoary nonsense about Stonehenge and the ancient Britons, he gives an account of romantic Druid-mania. It's a frank scissors-and-paste job, yet done with some judgment. Unexciting, then, but a good specimen of its kind, and blessedly free of hype.