Review – Beyond Bizarre – Frightening Facts and Blood-Curdling True Tales

Beyond Bizarre –
Frightening Facts and Blood Curdling True Tales

Author: Varla Ventura
Weiser Books
2010
ISBN #978-1578634644

“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”
James Joyce

“Beyond Bizarre – Frightening Facts and Blood Curdling True Tales” gifts us with some very strange facts and stories! It is the kind of book that you can pick up, peruse for a few minutes, and put back down, satisfied that you have had a good time, and that you might have even learned something!

The book is divided into thirteen chapters, covering such things as Haunted Hollywood, On the Road: Tales From Haunted Highways and Byways, Murder, She Wrote, Bag of Tricks, and Naturally Strange.

We read about sea creatures (such as the Mighty Kraken), and pick up such gems as pirates wearing gold hoop earrings not as a fashion statement, but so that they could afford to be buried, and that that they imbibed alcohol in copious quantities while at sea because the water was not drinkable.

We also read about the Comisky curse – a curse that followed the then owner of the Red Sox, and was thought to have begun in 1910 with the opening of Comisky Park. Then there was Banjo the Clown that was allegedly hired by a British socialite to kill her stepson and her husband’s ex-wife. He thought better of the offer, though, and reported it to the police.

West Virginia has the world’s only known haunted amusement park (it is on private land, and accessible only by appointment. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was dubbed the “Killer Clown” because he worked as an entertainer at children’s parties. All of the “Little Rascals” cast seem to have come to a bad end!

Heidi Fleiss edged into her career as a madam when she went to work for Los Angeles’s Madame Alex to pay off a gambling debt. Then there are the celebrity superstitions, such as rocker Meat Loaf traveling with two stuffed bears, Tiger Woods believing in the power of red, and Shania Twain appearing at venues with her own bomb sniffing dog.

There is a lot more to go in this book! Scary bits, interesting bits, pieces of history, interesting bits for cocktail conversation, small tokens that can be expanded on and added to a story (writers will understand what I am talking about here!).

One last thought – pirates used nicknames so that government officials couldn’t prosecute their relatives on land!

© July 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

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