Some of history's greatest stories are clouded in a fascinating and strange inexplicable mystery that we have yet to understand. But with each compelling contribution to the antiquities of time and space are several historians, witnesses, and those who have experienced unexplained phenomena shedding light on the seemingly impossible. At the forefront of such tales is Emmy-winning actor and Star Trek icon William Shatner, who brings the arcane to life with the sophomore season of his non-fiction History series, The UnXplained. No stranger to boldly go where no man has gone before, the Canadian star tells PopCulture.com exclusively the wonderment of life itself is something that propels man to seek answers to the unknown.
"We're surrounded by mystery. Everything is mysterious. We know nothing, even in this advanced stage with electron microscopes, and telescopes that peer into the abyss of space," Shatner told PopCulture. "What we're seeing in the abyss of space is more space. It's like the guy who climbs Mount Everest. He climbs Mount Everest, he looks up, and all he sees is more peaks. Why did he climb it? Because it was there, but it wasn't to discover a new horizon, because the horizon is filled with peaks, but are unclimbed. So, we looked into a quantum phenomenon. We look out into the large phenomena. The science that we know of gravity, and one and one equals two there, but one and one doesn't equal two in minute exploration."
Shatner, a voracious reader of all things, shares all which we know in life is balanced by our own "intuition" in understanding how everything is a whole. "There's not two explanations for quantum and Newtonian. Quantum and Newtonian have different rules we think, but philosophers would say everything is a unity," he said. "So, it can't be different. There has to be some unifying stuff, and we have no idea of what that is."
Reiterating that humankind knows nothing yet, he adds how we get "little hints of weird things" throughout our life. "Floating stars, things that come into being when you examine them, all disparate phenomena and yet, you know that all of nature is a whole, it's just, we humans can't see it, even with our instruments. One day, maybe it'll be revealed, and maybe it's revealed when we die, but we want to be conscious to see the solution, and every so often, we find the answer to some mystery and that answering that mystery only reveals another mystery."
Shatner shares how his interest in the mysteries of life first began when he was around 12 years old, attending summer camp north of Montreal, followed by a trip to the Laurentian Mountains — his first time. The visit, particularly the wonderment of the night sky, was "kind of emblematic of the curiosity" he's had all his life about things and years later would lead him to connect with the History channel series. "When Kevin Burns, who is the producer of The UnXplained, got in touch with me and asked me if I'd like to be a part of it I jumped at the chance because these mysteries that we examine are mysteries that I would have examined by myself if it hadn't been for the show."
The one-hour series, hosted and executive produced by the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner, explores subjects that have mystified mankind for centuries. The Season 2 premiere airing July 11 on History dives deep into mystifying stories of escape that defy explanation, like Harry Houdini's daring feats, Brian Clark's escape from the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the real-life mystery behind Escape From Alcatraz. Are there strange forces these escapees draw upon to beat the odds, where so many others fail? While there are no solid answers, the 89-year-old admits he's "respectful" and receptive of everyone's encounters even if he has yet to personally experience anything as perplexing.
"I'm respectful and an admirer of a mystery I can't explain because I know, as we all should, that there are forces in the universe that we have no understanding of whatsoever," he said. "Either we're incapable of imagining it, or we look at it and we're bewildered because there's no explanation. We know there is an explanation. We just don't know what it is."
The show, with all its hidden curiosities, is something that personally piques Shatner's intrigue, prompting him to read further on specific subjects. He goes on to share that as a believer of mystery, he believes people when they report claims of unexplained phenomena.
"If somebody says, I saw my grandmother sitting on the edge of the bed; I believe they believe they saw their grandmother sitting on the edge of the bed," he said. "What that was is unexplained. Is it part of a phenomenon that we know that people who are asleep think they're awake, and so what happens to them while they're asleep is so real that they think that that is reality. So, in the dream state, they see something, and they think it's real. Is that the explanation, or is there a manifestation?"
Shatner adds on a personal level, he has lost those most beloved to him over the years and the bewilderment of it all is, where does that life force go? "Suddenly, they're all of a sudden filled with the energy of life, filled with the passion of life, whether they're animals or people. And all of a sudden, in the cases I'm thinking of, dogs and horses, suddenly that energy, with the delivery of the vial in a needle, in an instant that energy is gone," he said. "Where did it go? What in fact is that energy? We don't know what life is, we don't know how to make life, but we've seen the disappearance of life instantaneously. Where does that go? Is all that suddenly stopped? And if it stops, where has it been? One of the great mysteries."
Though Shatner has not yet experienced a UFO or any sort of paranormal encounter, he admits if he were to ever encounter some sort of supernatural phenomena, he knows exactly how he would react: "I think that my curiosity would allow my humanity to overcome any fear. I would be curious as to its existence."
The UnXplained premieres Saturday, July 11 at 9 p.m. ET on History. For more with Shatner and everything concerning unexplained and paranormal phenomena, keep it locked to PopCulture.com for the latest.