In this monthly segment, I will provide a list of books I think anyone interested in folklore, ghost stories, the unusual & the paranormal would enjoy. Most of these can be found on Amazon.com (often at discounted rates) or at your local library. Each list of books will be arranged by topic and will be accompanied by a short description highlighting some themes and commonalities. Enjoy!
- Butko, Brian. Roadside Attractions. Stackpole Books, 2007.
- Cohn, Scotti. Chicago Curiosities. Globe Pequot, 2011.
- Moreno, Richard. Illinois Curiosities. Globe Pequot, 2011.
- Olsen, Russell A. The Complete Route 66 Lost & Found. Voyageur Press, 2008.
- Wolfsie, Dick. Indiana Curiosities. Globe Pequot, 2003.
Before the interstate highway system bypassed small town America and spurred the relentless homogenization of American culture, roadside oddities were favorite destinations for the vacationing family. Mystery spots, giant fiberglass statues, alligator farms, huge balls of twine – all contributed to the uniqueness of local culture. Sometimes, these spots capitalized on popular legends or UFO sightings and became tourist traps, but every state in the country was, at one time, populated by these wonders. In the past few years, roadside oddities and attractions have experienced a kind of renaissance. Whether this has been fueled by baby boomer nostalgia, or a popular hunger for something uniquely American, it is hard to say. One thing is certain, the communities surrounding these oddities need tourist dollars – people need to fill their gas tanks at local gas stations, eat at local restaurants, and sleep in local motels. Most importantly, children today need a sense of wonder cultivated by the world around them. Roadside oddities perfectly support those needs, and we should continue to support these places with our tourist dollars.
Interested in the ghostly legends and lore of Illinois? Check out Michael Kleen’s book Paranormal Illinois. Paranormal Illinois presents in-depth and original research on some of Illinois’ most unusual tales, including the phantom lady of Kennedy Hill Road, the headless horseman of Lakey’s Creek, and the ghost of Ange Milner. Chapters on Archer Avenue, Manteno State Hospital, Ashmore Estates, Airtight Bridge, Devil’s Gate, and other infamous places present information and interviews never before seen in print. Fun, informative, and greatly entertaining, this painstakingly researched book leaves no ghost unturned.