Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The New England Grimpendium by JW Ocker
I picked this one up right after Halloween, otherwise I would have mentioned this book in October. AND, I am on a New England kick right now.
I wanted to read this book because, outside of Kentucky, New England is one of my favorite areas. My love of Salem in general is well documented on this site, along with several other areas up north.
Also, I love "macabre and ghastly sites".
Maybe "love" is too strong of a word. "Enjoy a whole heck of a lot" might be more accurate. At the end of the day, I must admit that I have an appreciation of weirdness in general, especially when I travel.
JW Ocker's "The New England Grimpendium" is a great travel guide noting some of the darker sites one might visit in New England.
I have actually visited a couple of sites listed, but there were MANY more listed that I had no knowledge of before.
In fact, as far as odd travel type books go, this is one of the more original volumes out there. I also feel comfortable saying that this is the best dark tourism book I have read in some time.
Ocker's writing style is detailed but fun. He gives you the facts, some history, and most importantly, details about how to get to the places he mentions. BUT, he keeps a humorous style going throughout the Grimpendium. Concerning his entries on Nathaniel Hawthorne he mentions, "it's not stalking if you trace a man's life after he's dead."
Comments like that are common.
Something else I like about this book is that Ocker generally avoids the dime-a-dozen "haunted" locations that fill the pages of many other travel books with skulls on the cover. In fact, he only really brings such sites up if there is something else a bit more substantial going on at the location.
JW Ocker's attention to sites with something truly interesting to offer was one of the main reasons that I enjoyed this book so much. There is a reason he mentions each memorial, museum or other site of interest in his book and thankfully those reasons do not involve the siting of orbs. JW has done actual legitimate research on this book and the sites mentioned.
Also, there is a great section on filming locations (involving mostly horror films) in New England.
Check out JW Ocker's blog and pick this book up before your next New England road trip!