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September 4, 2015

William Shatner on 'Weird or What?,' the Cosmos and How Everything Is Just Plain Odd

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Sep 12th 2011 2:00PM
If you think about it, there's really no one more appropriate to host a show of this nature than sci-fi legend William Shatner. Each episode of 'Weird or What?' contains several stories of bizarre or otherwise unexplained events or phenomena -- such as a man surviving a several-storey fall, or killer ice balls from the sky -- and each is narrated by the former 'Star Trek' star in his own distinct Shatner-esque manner.

This isn't just moonlighting for him, either; Shatner has always been borderline-obsessed with the unexplainable, even when he was a little boy. AOL TV caught up with him to talk about 'Weird or What,' the cosmos and how everything in our world is extraordinary.

You're a fantastic host. Not seeing you in the captain's chair was a bit weird, but it was pretty awesome. Do you enjoy doing that sort of thing?
Very much. I enjoy doing that show, and I enjoy the mystery of our existence and the inexplicable things that happen. I also enjoy trying to explain it. We see around us glimmers of strange things that exist in the universe. Quantum physics is giving us a glimpse into things we never even considered and that are beyond our imagination. We're only beginning to accept those facts. We know the position of the sun going around the Earth and realizing that our universe may not be the only universe. But all these explanations of strange things that happen in our world may be due, partially or totally, to mysterious forces that we never even thought of.

Did you always have that penchant for the scientific? Like when you were young?
I've always had a penchant for the mysterious. I was a city kid, and I remember I went up to the country when I was a teenager and I vividly recall looking up at the night sky; for the first time there was no city lights around and I staggered, and fell over backwards, at the enormity of the number of stars in the sky.

It's mind-blowing, isn't it?
But then, when I was 13, we didn't have any idea of what the number of stars meant. We only looked at the advent of all these telescopes and come to realize how large everything is. It's immeasurable.

Is shooting 'Weird or What?' rigorous for you or is it a fun thing?
It's a fun thing. Periodic fun. You wouldn't be able to have fun all the time. You can only have periodic fun, otherwise you'd become accustomed to it. Basically, life is a lot of sadness and then you get periodic fun.

What is the weirdest thing you've seen on the show?
Psychics. What method, what laws apply when somebody has a psychic experience, and how does it work? A lot of people have had psychic experiences and sometimes don't even realize it. They anticipate something and that thing occurs and they've forgotten that they've anticipated it or discard the fact that there is, among many animals, including the human animal, a psychic ability. What is that?

Have you ever had a psychic vibe yourself?
Well, my wife just did. My wife had a dream the night before which involved animals frothing at the mouth and we didn't know what that meant when she woke up. Next day, 24 hours later, my dogs were poisoned and frothing at the mouth.

You're kidding. What? That's nuts!
They got into snail poison and we just saved their lives by miracle.

Is that the only time she's had that?
No, she's had others like it.

You'd better harness that while you can.
The only problem with being married to a psychic is that they're wrong half the time. You don't know whether it's a fleeting thing or something you should pay attention to.

Other than this strange psychic thing, what about in your life personally? have you experienced crazy, weird things? I imagine you have. You've kissed Iman!
Well, I've tried to remember, and I seem to have entered a period of acceptance, so everything's weird. OK, that's part of my life. But any creative moment that people have is weird. A creative fusion, a synthesis of ideas, resulting in another idea is a miracle in itself. That's weird. How was the wheel invented? Who thought of the wheel? Who thought of getting fire? "Oh, I'll cook a piece of meat." How did that work?

You don't really think about that, do you?
No, until you watch the show and you say "That was weird." What about the look in your child's eye?

Is it weird for you to see someone else playing Kirk? To see Chris Pine playing Kirk, is that weird for you at all?
I'll tell you, no, that's not weird.

What's your weirdest fan experience in your last 40, 50 years of fame?
The weirdest fan experience would be the woman who stole my underwear and wouldn't give it back to me until I signed her breast.

How did she get your underwear?
She snuck into my room while I wasn't there.

I have to ask now: boxers or briefs?
She was very brief.

'Weird or What?' starts its second season in Canada on Sept. 12 on History Television. It airs on the Discovery Channel in the US.

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