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The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State Paperback – October 1, 2012


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The New York Grimpendium: A Guide to Macabre and Ghastly Sites in New York State + The New England Grimpendium
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Countryman Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881509906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881509908
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

J. W. Ocker is the author of two award-winning macabre travelogues, The New England Grimpendium and The New York Grimpendium. He runs the website OTIS: Odd Things I've Seen (oddthingsiveseen.com), where he chronicles his visits to oddities of nature, history, art, and culture. His work has appeared on CNN.com, TheAtlantic.com, Rue Morgue magazine, The Boston Globe, and other places people stick writing. 

More About the Author

J.W. Ocker is the creator of OTIS: Odd Things I've Seen (Oddthingsiveseen.com), where he writes about his visits to oddities of nature, history, art, and culture. His first two books, "The New England Grimpendium" and "The New York Grimpendium" are personal travelogues of his visits to deathly sites in those regions. Both won Lowell Thomas Awards from the Society of American Travel Writers. His latest book, "Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe" is a travel diary of his time trekking to Poe sites along the East Coast and across the ocean and meeting the people responsible for maintaining Poe's physical legacy.

His work has appeared in Rue Morgue Magazine, The Boston Globe, CNN, The Atlantic, and other places people stick writing. He's from Maryland, but has lived in New Hampshire since 2008.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Info Zombie on October 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
*This review is of the Kindle edition.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, authors would go on extensive journeys and notate all of their experiences. Those unfortunate enough not to have the means to travel would be inspired by and learn from these travel journals. One such person who found his muse in them was an Irishman by the name of Bram Stoker. He would go on to pen THE vampire novel, Dracula.

Moving through the extensive New York Grimpenmdium by blogger/author J.W. Ocker, one wishes that Stoker were alive today. The stories he could glean from the Ocker's travel journal would make Dracula seem like Twilight.

Ocker created and maintains the Odd Things I've Seen website where he and his intrepid photographer and wife, Lindsey, travel to remote locations to find things, well, odd. Ocker's comfortable tone and gee-whiz approach to the most baffling and entertaining artifacts makes the site a daily stop--particularly around Halloween when he posts every day on the celebration of the 31st.

Ocker carries that same friend-telling-you-a-tale-in-a-bar tone for the second grimpendium. Focusing on the 11th state added to the union, the author searches through packed cities, pastoral graveyards, and abandoned buildings to demonstrate just how strange this world, and the state of New York, really is.

I have read some of the "Weird" books that also focus on a particular state and all the eccentricities to be found in its borders. What I have noticed about those books is that they have a layout that looks to be done by an overenthusiastic graphic artist. Where the "Weird" books have the feel of a turnpike rest-stop brochure, Ocker keeps things simple and organized.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Lynch on October 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ocker has a book concept with legs: death-related and macabre sites within a specific geographic area. This, his second book, follows on his New England Grimpendium. Ocker does -not- restrict himself to the obvious places in New York City, but goes afield into all five boroughs, Long Island, and the many counties of "upstate" New York. He covers horror movie locations, murder scenes, graveyards, haunted sites, and all with a special touch of humor.

I've long been a fan of Ocker's writing, through his blog O.T.I.S. (Odd Things I've Seen), and in this book, as there, he has this smarmy touch that borders on "I can't believe I'm writing about this." A classic approach-avoid conflict, like the patron at a horror movie peeking between the fingers they're using to cover their eyes. He uses parallelism wonderfully, coupled with the 1 punch, the 2 punch, and 3, boom, the hay-maker. His vocabulary and his allusions make this a never-boring roller coaster a joy to read.

I haven't read it all, but I've read a good chunk and skimmed more, and learned about places I knew about as well as parts about Brooklyn I never knew at all.

The book is a lot of fun. Seriously.
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By SevenTimesSeven on May 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
There are few explorers of the grim and ghastly who really get it and JW Ocker is one. I'm proud to have made the acquaintance of some of them (Jonathan Kruk, for example, whose "Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow" I've used as an invaluable resource) but not Ocker as yet. The New York and Hudson Valley region is full of wonderful nooks and crannies to explore if you love the extraordinary. What makes Ocker's work so great is the obvious love and time he puts into his wanderings. His webpage emphasizes that these are things he has SEEN. And that shows. The Grimpendiums document an Odyssey of oddity that is really unmatched. I recommend this work, and the author's other work, highly.
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Format: Paperback
*New York Grimpendium* grew on me like ivy on a forgotten headstone. J.W. Ocker has the uncanny knack of luring his reader into the twisted world of the macabre without realizing it. So much at home is he that his narratives are reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe's: bemused in tone (if not a tad cynical also), creepy, yet so much on point that you can't help but sense a disembodied voice mua-ah-ha-ing in the distance in approval. That Ocker knows, however, when to move on from one vignette the next is reassuring, for who's to say he wouldn't otherwise take some delight in seeing us immured in a catacomb over a rare bottle of wine, or strapped to a plank as a scythe swings overhead, or unsuccessfully fending off the Red Death?

Oh, the unmitigated ghoul!
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