Book talks for readers at Chisago Lakes Middle School.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Scary States of America by Michael Teitelbaum

There's some creepy stuff in this one. The book reminds me a little of the old television show called the X-Files. I feel the need to caution some of you before you check this one out. Be prepared, you might actually start checking to make sure the doors are locked at night.

The short stories from each state are presented as true, based on the narrative of someone who witnessed a paranormal event. Some of them you are probably familiar with, especially if you are a fan of Monster Quest on the History Channel. There's the one from New Mexico about Roswell and Area 51. Another one is from New Jersey about a possible cryptid that has been used to explain strange incidents involving farm animals having the flesh torn off of them. And then there's the story from Wisconsin about the Beast of Bray Road. Supposedly, there have been numerous sightings of the beast. One account goes something like this: A girl was driving on a Wisconsin road at night and got out of the car. She then happened upon the beast. Terrified, she ran back to the car and as she barely turned the ignition on the beast jumped on top of the car. She tore down the road with her unwanted passenger firmly hanging on. She was able to fling the beast off as she made a sharp turn, squealing the tires. When she got home, while trying to breathe, she probably tried to explain to her family and friends what had happened. Who could believe such a story, but then how could they explain all the scratch marks covering the car? (Can you guess what kind of cryptid the beast is supposed to be?)

Scary States of America might make you fascinated with all the forms fear takes in people's imaginations. Scary States of America might intrique you with the notion of how hoaxes are so elaborately constructed and why people keep repeating them. Or, Scary States of America might just make you think that these eyewitness accounts and other forms of evidence point to the possibility that paranormal phenomena exist.

But don't tell me later that I didn't warn you.

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