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Wild & Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia Kindle Edition
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Denver writes in a style that suggests a knowledgeable sleuth sharing tales in the dark around a campfire site in a lost woods somewhere – that gift of relating stories of the unexplainable to wide-eyed friends huddled together for security. He openly relates his many findings of the strange things that go bump in the night (and day) in places we would not expect the bizarre to touch upon. ‘In West Virginia, there are literally dozens of places that make me feel uneasy— and I really don’t know why— something just nags at me.’ And then he spends this book of photographs, documents, and descriptions of the paranormal variety that keeps us in rapt attention.
For instance, ‘West Virginia also has its share of Bigfoot sightings, ghosts, and UFO reports— but, it also has much more! I see West Virginia as one of the— if not the— premiere locations for cryptids and paranormal activity east of the Mississippi… In addition to strange creatures, West Virginia also seems to be a hotspot for UFO activity and other strange phenomena. The Ohio River Valley seems especially prone to strangeness. The Kanawha River, which dumps into the Ohio at Point Pleasant, was called Keninskeha by the Shawnee tribe, a name meaning river of evil spirits. Perhaps the evil spirits were the reason for the startling lack of Native American settlements in West Virginia when Europeans began to colonize the New World. Native Americans hunted in West Virginia and fought white settlers in an effort to resist colonization efforts. However, they refused to live there— a land with plentiful resources was forsaken. Why? UFOs have been widely reported in West Virginia since the early 1950s; accounts go even further back— as the late 1800s! In 1969, West Virginia had the most UFO sightings per capita in the nation.’ And Denver spends this book explaining why West Virginia.
Here are discussions of specific named cryptids – aquatic, flying, bipedal (the Grafton Monster for example) - mysterious cats, the mounds, devil monkeys, white phantom dogs, UFOs and the Flatwoods Monster. Not only is Denver’s written description of these puzzling phenomena vivid and informed but he also offers documentation of sightings and monuments to the existence of these paranormal beings.
To borrow a segment of his synopsis, ‘The strangeness in the Mountain State dates further back than most people imagine. Long ago, an enigmatic people, the Mound Builders, left strange earthworks behind. Hundreds of burial mounds, many containing the skeletal remains of giants, were left in present-day West Virginia. Another strange group, the "moon-eyed people," also known as the Azgen, supposedly inhabited large portions of the state before being driven out by the Shawnee. Could these ancient peoples, the Azgen and the Mound Builders, have something to do with strange phenomena today? West Virginia is home to many haunted locations. From battlefields to hospitals to hotels and all points in between, there is no shortage of ghosts stories to go around.’
Books of this nature are rare, and Denver Michaels’ volume stands as one of the best-written examinations of the inexplicable. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 17
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