3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
excellent book whether you've read the magazine or not,
This review is from: Weird N.J.: Your Travel Guide to New Jersey's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets (Hardcover)
I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, so when I tell you I'm into Weird NJ, I mean I'M INTO Weird NJ. I own every issue available, plus all the specials, have had numerous letters and articles published in recent issues, and have a database of nearly 500 places to visit that have been in the magazine.
I even run a website about my adventures looking for the things that have been in the magazine. [...] I recently asked the Marks at their last book signing if I was their most obssesive fan and they said I ranked pretty high.
So I must say I wasn't expecting anything new in the book, I expected it to simply be a collection of their best work. I was half right. It was indeed a collection of the best, most intriguing stories, but to say there was nothing new would be wrong.
The book really lays out WHY these stories have meaning, and more importantly why they don't investigate ever story presented. Mark Scuerman said at a book signing that they believe that they (and thus the magazine) function in much the same role as the boy scout campfire might have 20 years ago. The magazine is a place where stories can be passed down to others so that they may be told again and again and live on. Every town has an eccentric local like waving willie, or a house that is abandoned because something strange or unusual happened years ago. We've all heard urban legends, but these are different because these are unique to this area. "There is only one Devil's Tower in the US." Mark S quipped. Are the stories of albino attacks in Clifton in the 60's true? Does it really matter? What matters is the stories themselves and how those stories had a life of their own in the hearts and minds of Cliftonites (and those in nearby towns)
Some of the stories in Weird NJ are completely preposterous and yet it doesn't matter. Many times the Marks will investigate if something seems worthy, other times readers are left to decide on their own what to believe. Is the NPDC (aka Skillman) a creepy former mental hospital? Yes. DId one reader find the morgue? His story seems sketchy but I belive from my own experience he did because I almost found it myself. Did another reader get ambushed by someone with an ax while visitng Skillman? I highly doubt it, yet all these tales add to the fabric of our lives. "we all need tales like these" said Mark S. And Weird NJ is the magazine that keeps those stories alive.
It was inevitable that there would be a WNJ book, the qurestion was when and would it be a quality product? Well the 2nd question is rather stupid because the Marks dont do anything half-@$$ed so it really was just if and when.
The book really is coffee table worthy. A solid beautiful looking book, it's filled with all their most memorable stories and tales, often with new letters or reworked explanations, and all with beautiful graphics and photos. I am proud to have this in my collection (and of course I HAD to have it because of my OCD!) If you've read the magazine it's like a trip down memory lane only there the trails are more vibrant and colorful then you remember...
And if you haven't read the magazine ever, you're in for a real treat. It may just inspire you to go looking for the devil's tower, and to try driving around it backwrds 3x at midnight, jsut to see what happens. Or maybe you'll want to go for a hike in West MIlford, looking for the downed jet or the stone living room.
It's addictive I tell ya (and that's not the OCD talking...)