The woman who literally wrote the book on Area 51 will be back in Santa Monica Monday to talk about her latest project, “Phenomena,” at the Main Library at 7 p.m. The talk promises to attract science fiction fans, military history buffs and mystics.

In 2011, Annie Jacobsen’s “Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base” sat on the New York Time’s best-seller list for thirteen weeks. It is currently being developed into an AMC series.

The Pulitzer Prize finalist has continued her investigative reporting with a series of books looking into military secrets. With “Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokineses,” Jacobsen explored the boundary between science and pseudoscience.

“It’s near and dear to my heart, this is really a quest story,” Jacobson said in a phone interview from her hotel room in Seattle. “It is a battle of science verses the supernatural.”

The book explores the U.S. military’s research into extrasensory perception, or ESP, and its use to find hostages, fugitives, and the secrets of rival nations. Jacobson says researching the book shifted her own ideas of the possibility of developing or harnessing a sixth sense.

“I would say I began neutrally but after all this research I’m open to the idea,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen calls nearby Hollywood home, but will be swinging by Santa Monica as part of a two-week coast to coast book tour. She says the fact she lives in California makes her a friendly face when she travels to Washington, D.C. to do research and conduct interviews for her books. Although, some former military analysts admittedly raised an eyebrow when Jacobsen questioned them for her latest work.

“I generally found scientists who work in this area to be a much friendlier bunch and more open to discussion where as the skeptics take an approach where they suggest that you are somehow intellectually inferior by being open to these ideas,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen says over the past 40 years the government’s research into ESP has moved on from a so-called “psychic arms race” against the Russians to today’s experiments on anomalous cognition and neural biology. After reading Jacobsen’s book, Rumsfeld’s infamous “unknown unknowns” takes on a whole new meaning.

The program at the Santa Monica Public Library is free, although seating is limited and on a first-come-first-serve basis. A book sale and signing follows the author’s presentation.

kate@www.smdp.com