Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is an American television anthology series created by Lynn Lehmann, presented by Dick Clark Productions, and produced and aired by the Fox network from 1997 to 2002.[2] Each episode featured stories, all of which appeared to defy logic, and some of which were allegedly based on actual events. The viewer was offered the challenge of determining which are true and which are false. At the end of the show, it was revealed to the viewer whether the tales were true or works of fiction.

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction
GenreScience fiction
Created byLynn Lehmann
Presented byJames Brolin (1997)
Jonathan Frakes (1998–2002)
Narrated byDon LaFontaine (1997–2000)
Campbell Lane (2002)
Theme music composerAl Kasha
Composer(s)Al Kasha
Mark Northam
David E. Russo
Tim Simonec
Steve Zuckerman
Robert Alpert
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes45[1]
(225 Segments) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Barry Adelman
Dick Clark
Al Schwartz
Running time7-9 Minutes
(Individual Segments)
44-45 minutes
Original networkFox
Original releaseMay 25, 1997 (1997-05-25) 
September 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

The series was hosted by James Brolin in season one and by Jonathan Frakes in seasons two, three and four. The show was narrated by Don LaFontaine for the first three seasons and by Campbell Lane for the fourth and final season.


The stories told in the program all had some connection with the supernatural, ghosts, psychic phenomena, coincidences, destiny, and/or with other such unusual occurrences.

Each episode of the show, as well as all stories within, were introduced with a pun or some other form of witticism pertaining to the particular story and episode, and they all included the underlying moral that not everything we perceive as truth and falsehood is as such, and that it can often be difficult to truly separate fact from fiction, hence the show's title.

The majority of true stories on the show were based on first-hand research conducted by author Robert Tralins, while many of the ones that turned out to be fiction were simply modern-dressed re-telling of urban legends.

From season two onwards Jonathan Frakes would end each story with a pun related to the story, for comical effect.

Popularity and cancellation

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction has gained a cult following. The show was often aired sporadically, sometimes going for weeks or even months between airings. There is a two-year lag between Don LaFontaine and Campbell Lane's stints as narrator for the show, during which time it was believed that it had been cancelled, only for it to be brought back for another season in the summer of 2002. It was eventually cancelled after its 2002 season. During his stint as narrator, Lane played the character John August in the story entitled 'The Cigar Box' shown in episode 12 of the season 4.

In Germany, where Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is known as X-Factor: Das Unfassbare (The Unfathomable), the show was especially successful and still has a cult following. This led to the X-Factor brand being extended to other shows: The Paranormal Borderline became X-Factor: Die fünfte Dimension (The Fifth Dimension), X-Factor: Wahre Lügen (True Lies) is a German series, and Scariest Places on Earth became X-Factor: Die wahre Dimension der Angst (The Real Dimension of Fear).[3][4]

Starting on 4th November 2018, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series' premiere in Germany, RTL II produced two special episodes under the name X-Factor: Das Unfassbare kehrt zurück (The Unfathomable Returns), hosted by Detlef Bothe. However, this revival was heavily panned by audiences due to the much poorer quality in comparison to the original.[5]


Each episode featured five stories, all of which defied logic, but some of which were based on actual events. The viewer was offered the challenge of determining which were true and which were false. At the end of the show, it was revealed to the viewer which tales were true (the stories bolded on this list) and which ones were works of fiction.

Of the 225 stories told over the course of the 45 episodes, 132 (59%) were revealed to be "fact." Each episode of the series' run had at least one "fiction" story and at least two "fact" stories.

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
16May 25, 1997 (1997-05-25)August 3, 1997 (1997-08-03)
213January 23, 1998 (1998-01-23)July 24, 1998 (1998-07-24)
313May 19, 2000 (2000-05-19)August 18, 2000 (2000-08-18)
413June 27, 2002 (2002-06-27)September 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

Season 1 (1997)

No. in
Story titlesHostNarratorOriginal air date[1]
11"The Apparition, The Electric Chair, On the Road, Number One With a Bullet & Dream House"James BrolinDon LaFontaineMay 25, 1997 (1997-05-25)
22"The Viewing, The Subway, Kid in the Closet, Justice is Served & The Tractor"James BrolinDon LaFontaineJune 1, 1997 (1997-06-01)
33"The Prophecy, Couch Potato, Love Over the Counter, Imaginary Friend & Last Man on Earth"James BrolinDon LaFontaineJune 8, 1997 (1997-06-08)
44"E-Mail, Cup of Joe, Secret of the Family Tomb, Wheezer & The Unknown Patient"James BrolinDon LaFontaineJune 15, 1997 (1997-06-15)
55"Needle Point, Toy to the Rescue, Mystery Lock, The House on Baker Street & The Train"James BrolinDon LaFontaineJune 22, 1997 (1997-06-22)
66"The Candlestick, The Diner, From the Agency, The Magic Rose Garden & The Jeep"James BrolinDon LaFontaineAugust 3, 1997 (1997-08-03)

Season 2 (1998)

No. in
Story titlesHostNarratorOriginal air date[1]
71"The Plane, The Gun, The Portrait, The Pass & The Caller"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJanuary 23, 1998 (1998-01-23)
82"Firestation 32, The Computer, The Girl Next Door, The Wallet & The Woods"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJanuary 30, 1998 (1998-01-30)
93"The Wall, The Chalkboard, The Getaway, The Prescription & Summer Camp"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineFebruary 6, 1998 (1998-02-06)
104"The Wrestler, The Escape, Dead Friday, Ghost Visitor & The Lady in a Black Dress (Friday the 13th special)"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineFebruary 13, 1998 (1998-02-13)
115"The Land, Titan, The Diary, Town of Remembrance & The House on Barry Avenue"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineFebruary 27, 1998 (1998-02-27)
126"Bright Lights, Magic Mightyman, The Student, Scribbles & Count Mystery"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineMarch 6, 1998 (1998-03-06)
137"The Mummy, The Perfect Record, Grave Sitting, Murder on the Second Floor & They Towed My Car"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineMarch 20, 1998 (1998-03-20)
148"Kirby, Dust, Malibu Cop, A Joyful Noise & The Hooded Chair"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineApril 3, 1998 (1998-04-03)
159"Rock & Roll Ears, The Bucket, The Bridesmaid, Voice from the Grave & The Chess Game"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineApril 17, 1998 (1998-04-17)
1610"The Motorcycle, Blind Man's Dog, Deer Hunters, Tribal Curse & The Card Game (Animal Stories special)"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineApril 24, 1998 (1998-04-24)
1711"Bon Voyage, The Man in the Model T, The Scoop, Angel on Board & Buenos Dias (Disaster Stories special)"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineMay 1, 1998 (1998-05-01)
1812"Merry-Go-Round, Red Eyed Creature, Used Car Salesman, Surveillance Camera & Graffiti (A Touch of Evil special)"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 17, 1998 (1998-07-17)
1913"The Warning, Bus Stop, The Cure, The Guardian & The Gift"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 24, 1998 (1998-07-24)

Season 3 (2000)

No. in
Story titlesHostNarratorOriginal air date[1]
201"Morning Sickness, The Curse of Hampton Manor, Wax Executioner, Blood Bank & Ring Toss"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineMay 19, 2000 (2000-05-19)
212"One for the Road, The Music Box, Two to One, Damsel & The Horn"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineMay 26, 2000 (2000-05-26)
223"The Find, The Golden Cue, The FBI Story, The Gravedigger's Nemesis & Last Rites"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJune 2, 2000 (2000-06-02)
234"E-Mail, Blood Donor, Epitaph, Stitches in Time & Soldier"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJune 16, 2000 (2000-06-16)
245"The Nightmare, The Stalker, The Impossible Car Dream, The Dresser & The Burial (Dream special)"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJune 23, 2000 (2000-06-23)
256"Red Line, Two Sisters, Eclipse, The Ice Box & The Gathering"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJune 30, 2000 (2000-06-30)
267"Connie, Positive I.D., Trucker, Cook Out & The New House"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 7, 2000 (2000-07-07)
278"Creepy Comics, Louie the Dip, The Wailing, The Landlady & Curse"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 14, 2000 (2000-07-14)
289"For the Record, Halloween, Precious, Get Your Kicks at Motel 66 & Phantom Drifter"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 21, 2000 (2000-07-21)
2910"Devil's Tattoo, Static Man, The Bloody Hand, Where Have All the Heroes Gone & War Surplus"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineJuly 28, 2000 (2000-07-28)
3011"Dead Beat Daddy (alias Deadbeat Dad), Ghost Town, The Sewing Machine, The Sleepwalker & Money Laundry"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineAugust 4, 2000 (2000-08-04)
3112"The Handyman, Anatole, Makeup Magic, Screwdriver & Charlie"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineAugust 11, 2000 (2000-08-11)
3213"The Dealer, Gratuity, The Cake, 1st Time Offender & The Mirror of Truth"Jonathan FrakesDon LaFontaineAugust 18, 2000 (2000-08-18)

Season 4 (2002)

No. in
Story titlesHostNarratorOriginal air date[1]
331"The Devil's Autograph, Mail Order Degree, The News Stand, The Murder of Roy Hennessey & Mysterious Strangers"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJune 27, 2002 (2002-06-27)
342"Writer's Agent, Crypt Ghost, The Doll, Hubert's Curse & Shared Vision"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJune 27, 2002 (2002-06-27)
353"Out of Service, When I Was Big, The Greedy Investor, Seven Hours of Bad Luck & The Secret of the Coins"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJuly 4, 2002 (2002-07-04)
364"Second Sight, The Fine Line, The Wrong Turn, Who Was I & You Are Next (Sixth Sense special)"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJuly 4, 2002 (2002-07-04)
375"House of Shadows, One Hand in the Till, Teasdale's Motor Car, The Vision & The Grave"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJuly 11, 2002 (2002-07-11)
386"The Dorm, The Child Artist, The Weatherman, Sit-Down Comedian & Room 245"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJuly 18, 2002 (2002-07-18)
397"The Wreath, Terror Night, Tants, The Candidate & The Ring"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneJuly 25, 2002 (2002-07-25)
408"Caitlin's Candle, The Flower Jury, The Mentor, The Old Bike & The Music Teacher"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneAugust 1, 2002 (2002-08-01)
419"The Wealthy Widow, The Witness, The Accident, Bad Dreams & Mental"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneAugust 8, 2002 (2002-08-08)
4210"Moonstruck Beach, Healing Hands, Aspen Sunny Side, Night Walker & Hot Car"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneAugust 15, 2002 (2002-08-15)
4311"The Mystery of Douglas Hibbard, Wheelchair Man, The Vigil, The Mandarin's Bowl & Ghost Writer"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneAugust 22, 2002 (2002-08-22)
4412"Witness to Murder, Roulette Wheel, The Phrenologist's Head, The Bridge & The Cigar Box"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneAugust 29, 2002 (2002-08-29)
4513"The Hand, The Battered Doll, Poker Justice, Above the Clouds & Screen Saver"Jonathan FrakesCampbell LaneSeptember 5, 2002 (2002-09-05)

Home media

Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction Season One was released on DVD in Region 1 on August 28, 2007.[6]

As of 2018, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction is available for video streaming via IMDb's Freedive service[7], which is also part of Amazon Prime.[8]

See also


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