The Book of the Bizarre
Freaky Facts & Strange Stories
Author: Varla Ventura
The inside cover states that this book was designed for the depraved, outlandish enough for the eccentric, and freaky enough for even the hardest trivia nut. I might amend that to add writers who are looking for tid bits to add some zest to their work, someone setting up a trivia party (you don’t have to be a trivia nut to set up a trivia party), or someone who is looking for a book they can read for five or ten minutes, put down, and come back to at a later date.
By nature, this book is about the bizarre (otherwise why advertise and promote it as such). It is also well written, interesting (all 303 pages), and broken down into thirteen categories so that finding what you are looking for is relatively easy. The categories include History’s Mysteries, Coincidence Or Synchronicity, Dia De Los Muertos, Passing Strange, The Vapors, and The Dark Side of the Moon. The bibliography at the back give both book sources and online sources, so if you want to do some tracking down on your own – you are welcome to do so!
From the back cover, we find out that Rod Stewart (yes, THAT Rod Stewart!) was a grave digger at one time, that the Bible is the number one book stolen in the U.S. (I don’t even know if Bibles are still pro forma for hotels any more – but I would guess that is where a lot of the theft occurred.) Ulysses S. Grant’s wife’s psychic premonition saved Grant from the bullet of John Wilkes Booth.
Each freaky fact is placed into a paragraph that reads like a short story. Most of the material will be easily recognized. The stories that I was really attracted to included The Magical Skull of Doom, Stonehenge, the Tower of London, a checklist for signs that your house may be haunted, Animal Apparitions, The Flying Dutchman, the Palace of Versailles, the holy Grail, A Memphis Belle, Origins of the Ouija, Fibonacci Flowers, Diamond Jim Brady, Isadora Duncan, The Ghost Ship, British Witches Stop Hitler’s Army, Lady Godiva’s Ride, the Cumaean Sybil, the Amy Fisher Story, Florida’s Female Serial Killer, Black Widow’s, Ouija Magic, Night of Terror, Premature Burial, and Jung and His Patient.
Another really cool sound bit was on what manner of death creates a ghost. The list included murder, suicide, accidents, broken hearts, greed, and lack of proper burial (or desecration of the burial site).
Not a book for everyone, but a definite find for those that are interested in freaky facts and strange stories!
© July 2012 Bonnie Cehovet