Midwestern Strange

Midwestern Strange

Hunting Monsters, Martians, and the Weird in Flyover Country

B.J. Hollars

224 pages
15 photographs, 1 illustration

Paperback

September 2019

978-1-4962-1560-4

$19.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Midwestern Strange chronicles B.J. Hollars’s exploration of the mythic, lesser-known oddities of flyover country. The mysteries, ranging from bipedal wolf sightings to run-ins with pancake-flipping space aliens to a lumberjack-inspired “hodag hoax,” make this book a little bit X-Files, a little bit Ghostbusters, and a whole lot of Sherlock Holmes. Hollars’s quest is not to confirm or debunk these mysteries but rather to seek out these unexplained phenomena to understand how they complicate our worldview and to discover what truths might be gleaned by reexamining the facts in our “post-truth” era.

Part memoir and part journalism, Midwestern Strange offers a fascinating, funny, and quirky account of flyover folklore that also contends with the ways such oddities retain cultural footholds. Hollars shows how grappling with such subjects might fortify us against the glut of misinformation now inundating our lives. By confronting monsters, Martians, and a cabinet of curiosities, we challenge ourselves to look beyond our presumptions and acknowledge that just because something is weird, doesn’t mean it is wrong.
 

Author Bio

B. J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He is the author of The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom RidersFlock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds (Nebraska, 2017), and From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human (Nebraska, 2015).
 

Praise

“What happens when a professor ventures out to discover the unusual? Werewolves, UFOs, and mysterious creatures become his field of study, the road becomes his classroom, and this book becomes your guide to adventure.”—Chad Lewis, author of Minnesota Road Guide to Mysterious Creatures

 

“In this intriguing travelogue of marvels, B.J. Hollars encounters werewolves, giant turtles, mothmen, flying saucers, and other phantoms that haunt the landscape of flyover country. The real wonders in this extraordinary book, however, are the fascinating people that Hollars meets along the way. Midwestern Strange has something for those who want to believe as well as for those who are looking to find the human heart at the center of these charming tales of the unknown.”—Gregory L. Reece, author of Creatures of the Night and Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs
 

Table of Contents

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Author’s Note

Prologue: My Year of Living Strangely

Part 1. Monsters

Case File #1. The Beast of Bray Road: 1936–Present

Case File #2. Oscar the Turtle: March 1949

Case File #3. Mothman: November 15, 1966–Present

Part 2. Martians

Case File #4. Joe Simonton’s Space Pancakes: April 18, 1961

Case File #5. The Minot Air Force Base Sighting: October 24, 1968

Case File #6. The Val Johnson Incident: August 27, 1979

Part 3. The Weird

Case File #7. The Hodag: 1893–Present

Case File #8. Project ELF: 1968–2005

Case File #9. The Kensington Runestone: 1362(?)–Present

Epilogue: And So Concludes My Year of Living Strangely

Sources

Selected Bibliography

Also of Interest