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Weird US

Weird US

SEACOAST BOOKS

You could say this is a seacoast book or a book from the heartland and the city too. We’re plugging it because Weird US includes stuff from – you guessed it – SeacoastNH.com. And because we like weird stuff.

 

 

Your Travel Guide to America’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

As a kid I lived from one paperback edition of Ripley’s Believe It of Not to the next. I couldn’t get enough of those weird drawings – half comic book, half history and science text. -- a living duck with an arrow through its head, bizarre facts about Shakespeare. Then along came the Guiness Book of World Records. Each edition brought hours of rapt quiet attention. The world is an awesome place. Then you grow up, and things get duller.

Now comes Weird US, brought to you by Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran, the boys who created Weird New Jersey, so you can guess where they live. Their newest hardcover book is a feast for swollen eyes. Scrabbled together from all manner of sources, this highly graphic volume pretends to be a tour guide to strange sites in America. It is that, but really, it is a crazy journey inside the human head. Lots of the facts are dubious, the claims wild, the truth on-hold. But who cares? This stuff is fun.

The real thrill for this over-sized kid is that my own weird contribution fills two full pages of Weird US. Mark (I don’t know which one) contacted SeacoastNH.com a year back asking to use an article I wrote online with some photos from a weird and wonderful New England cemetery.

I truly believe that this kind of enjoyable learning can inoculate kids from the unfun education they often get in school. A hunger for knowledge often begins with the books your parents wish you would put down long enough to finish your homework. If this is how kids find their way, as I did, to a life of loving history – I’m all for it. Teachers, try ordering a set of Weird US for the classroom. The kids will love you for it. The principal may fire you.

According to their web site, Mark and Mark began Weird NJ as a cheesy newsletter. Nothing was too bizarre. By the eighth issue the thing was turning into a real magazine. People from all over the US were submitting ideas. The newsletter became a web site and the web site became a book.That spawned another book.

Whoever said, "all history is local" was half right. Lots of that history is downright weird because, well, because history is about people and people are pretty weird -- and not just in New Jersey.

So if you know a kid, or that kid inside you hasn’t been smothered by too many board meetings, tax forms and talk shows – check this out. Weird US goes equally well on the coffee table, in the bathroom or under the front seat of the car. See American weird. I got my copy. – J. Dennis Robinson

Buy it right from the authors

Weird US

By Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran
Barnes & Noble Books
Hardcover, 350 full color pages
$25 (includes tax, shipping and handling)

About the Authors --

MARK MORAN is a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, where he studied fine art, illustration, and photography. It was a boring and misspent suburban New Jersey childhood that first led him to his lifelong fascination with seeking out and exploring the lost history and forgotten landmarks of his surroundings. Eventually he would seek to share what he had found with others through his pictures and stories.

These days he lives with wife, Barbara, and their two daughters in a boring suburban New Jersey neighborhood (when he is not out tracking down satanic albino cannibals).

MARK SCEURMAN is known as a graphic artist, publisher, and all-around nice guy. His journey to discover the weirder aspects of local history and legends began many years ago when his brother told him tales of an Albino Village, where “they come out at night to get you!” Since then, the roads less traveled have been the only paths he chooses to take.

He has affection for rock and roll, draft beer, and collecting odd stories from newspapers. He resides in New Jersey (which he calls the weirdest state) with his wife, Shirley, and their daughter.

From the Publisher --
For over a decade the Marks, publishers of Weird NJ magazine, have traveled the highways and back roads of their home state, camera and notebooks in hand, searching for the odd, the offbeat, and just plain weird places and people that make New Jersey the truly bizarre place that it is. They met some incredible people along the way, and all of them had a story they wanted to tell.

Their best-selling book, Weird NJ, was a publishing phenomenon, its appeal stretching far beyond the Garden State. So, camera and notebooks again in hand, Mark and Mark expanded their universe and found stories of weirdness in every state of the country. The result is a travel guide of sorts to America's local legends and best-kept secrets. It's chock-full of the crazy characters, cursed roads, abandoned sites, and bizarre roadside attractions that the authors feel reflect the shared modern folklore of our time.

So, come along with the Marks now. Visit places like the Coral Castle and Albino Village, explore abandoned insane asylums and forgotten tunnels—in one of them you just might run into the maniacal Bunnyman! Go off the beaten path and look for Melonheads, Frog People and the Melungeons. Take a ride down the Devil's Road and enter the Gates of Hell. Some of the people and places you'll see are disturbing, others are hilarious, but all are very very weird.

It's a journey you'll never forget.

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