Monday, January 01, 2007

Weird Pennsylvania, by Matt Lake

It's no fun being sick, folks. If you're wondering why it's been almost a week since I updated last, I've got two words for you: stomach flu. I went down with it Wednesday morning, and I was too sick to get out of bed until Saturday. Saturday and Sunday, I was too damn tired to update, and I didn't get much reading done anyway.

Still, I have read Weird Pennsylvania, which I got as a Christmas present. As you probably know, I've always been interested in the weird and unusual, so this would probably seem like the perfect gift. Well, it's the thought that counts.

Not that this is a bad book. It's actually a pretty good book, but not for the likes of me. I think it was the book's style that I didn't like. It was a bit too simplistic, and almost condescending in spots. Especially when he tries to define Fortean as gullible true believer,defines his position as as "somewhere between the credulity of true believers and dismissive responses of the critics lies the truth," which is really a far more Fortean stance.

Anyway, the book does have lots of interesting information and stories. You can here about Midgetville, killer albinos, SHC, shoe museums, giant creepy statues, the gates to Hell, ghosts, standing stones, and one of my favorite bits of local history--the Hex Murder. Sadly, by the nature of the book none of the topics are discussed in any depth, which is a shame because they're so interesting. That's the problem with this book, really.

Weird Pennsylvania is great as introduction to weirdness (especially in the great state of Pennsylvania). It could serve as a useful touring guide for weird sites in PA. It would be a great addition to the library of someone who is only marginally interested in the topic of weirdness, but for someone like me, it's like reading Dick and Jane. I can only give Weird Pennsylvania three and a half yo-yos.

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