J. W. Ocker
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About J. W. Ocker
J. W. Ocker is the Edgar Award-winning author of Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe, A Season with the Witch, and Death and Douglas. His work has appeared in The Guardian, the Boston Globe, CNN, the Atlantic, and other places people stick writing. He's from Maryland but has lived in New Hampshire for more than a decade.
He is also 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.
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Books By J. W. Ocker
They’re lurking in museums, graveyards, and private homes. Their often tragic and always bizarre stories have inspired countless horror movies, reality TV shows, novels, and campfire tales. They’re cursed objects, and all they need to unleash a wave of misfortune is . . . you.
Many of these unfortunate items have intersected with some of the most notable events and people in history, leaving death and destruction in their wake. But never before have the true stories of these eerie oddities been compiled into a fascinating and chilling volume. Inside, readers will learn about:
• Annabelle the Doll, a Raggedy Ann doll that featured in the horror franchise The Conjuring
• The Unlucky Mummy, which is rumored to have sunk the Titanic and kick-started World War I
• The Dybbuk box, which was sold on eBay and spawned the horror film The Possession
• The Conjured Chest, which has been blamed for fifteen deaths within a single family
• The Ring of Silvianus, a Roman artifact believed to have inspired J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
• And many more!
Felix Allsey is a travel writer with a keen eye for the paranormal, and he’s carved out a unique, if only slightly lucrative, niche for himself in nonfiction; he writes travelogues of the country’s most haunted places, after haunting them himself.
When he convinces the owner of the infamous Rotterdam Mansion to let him stay on the premises for 13 nights, he believes he’s finally found the location that will bring him a bestseller. As with his other gigs, he sets rules for himself: no leaving the house for any reason, refrain from outside contact, and sleep during the day.
When Thomas Ruth, Felix's oldest friend and fellow horror film obsessive, joins him on the project, the two dance around a recent and unspeakably painful rough-patch in their friendship, but eventually fall into their old rhythms of dark humor and movie trivia. That’s when things start going wrong: screams from upstairs, figures in the thresholds, and more than what should be in any basement. Felix realizes the book he’s writing, and his very state of mind, is tilting from nonfiction into all out horror, and the shocking climax answers a question that’s been staring these men in the face all along: In Rotter House, who’s haunting who?
Welcome to the United States of Cryptids, where mysterious monsters lurk in the dark forests, deep lakes, and sticky swamps of all fifty states. From the infamous Jersey Devil to the obscure Snallygaster, travel writer and chronicler of the strange J. W. Ocker uncovers the bizarre stories of these creatures and investigates the ways in which communities embrace and celebrate their local cryptids. Readers will learn about:
• Batsquatch of Washington, a winged bigfoot that is said to have emerged from the eruption of Mount Saint Helens
• Nain Rouge of Michigan, a fierce red goblin that has been spotted before every major city disaster in Detroit
• Flatwoods Monster of West Virginia, a robotic extraterrestrial that crash-landed in rural Appalachia
• Lizard Man of South Carolina, a reptilian mutant that attacked a teenager in the summer of 1988
• Glocester Ghoul of Rhode Island, a fire-breathing dragon that guards a hoard of pirate treasure
• And many more!
Whether you believe in bigfoot or not, this fully illustrated compendium is a fun, frightening, fascinating tour through American folklore and history, exploring the stories we tell about monsters and what those stories say about us.
An ominous new slide on the playground leads to a world of fear in The Smashed Man of Dread End author J.W. Ocker’s latest middle grade horror, perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Griffin Birch isn’t known for being brave, but there’s something about the new black slide on the elementary school playground that’s made him curious. Against his better judgement, he just has to follow his best friend Laila down.
But the Black Slide is no ordinary piece of playground equipment. What Griffin and Laila find at the other end of this strange portal is a cruel world, populated by bloodthirsty creatures on a quest to become immortal.
And it’s up to Griffin to save himself, his best friend—and the future of earth itself.
Fans of classic horror will devour this creepy adventure packed with more twists and turns than the ominous black slide itself.
A chilling middle grade horror perfect for fans of R.L. Stine and Holly Black alike.
Noe Wiley couldn’t be more excited to move. After the slumber party sleepwalking incident of last year, she’s ready to make some new friends.
But Noe didn’t expect the sullen, strange girls who live on her new street. And she certainly didn’t expect the strange warning they give her—to stay out of her basement, no matter what.
Noe’s not going to let these girls boss her around. She’ll go in her own basement whenever she wants.
So she does. And there he is.
And now there’s no going back.
On the cusp of Halloween, a serial killer has arrived. And unsatisfied with the small-town investigation, Douglas enlists his friends to help him solve the mystery. With sumptuous descriptions of a bucolic town and it’s quirky people, fascinating yet middle grade–appropriate insider information about the funeral process, and a crackling mystery with a heart-pounding conclusion—Death and Douglas has something for readers young and old.
Edgar Award-winning travel writer spends an autumn living in one of America's spookiest tourist destinations: Salem, Massachusetts
Salem, Massachusetts, may be the strangest city on the planet. A single event in its 400 years of history—the Salem Witch Trials of 1692—transformed it into the Capital of Creepy in America. But Salem is a seasonal town—and its season happens to be Halloween. Every October, this small city of 40,000 swells to close to half a million as witches, goblins, ghouls, and ghosts (and their admirers) descend on Essex Street. For the fall of 2015, occult enthusiast and Edgar Award–winning writer J.W. Ocker moved his family of four to downtown Salem to experience firsthand a season with the witch, visiting all of its historical sites and macabre attractions. In between, he interviews its leaders and citizens, its entrepreneurs and visitors, its street performers and Wiccans, its psychics and critics, creating a picture of this unique place and the people who revel in, or merely weather, its witchiness.
Edgar Allan Poe was an oddity. His life was odd, his literature is odd, his legacy is odd. Actually, his legacy is the oddest part about him. In Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe, J. W. Ocker explores Poe's strange physical legacy along the East Coast and across the ocean by touring Poe's homes, examining artifacts from his life--locks of his hair, pieces of his coffin, original manuscripts, the bed where his wife died--and traveling to the many memorials dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe.
Along the way, Ocker meets Poe fans from a range of backgrounds and professions--actors, museum managers, collectors, writers, professors, businessmen, sculptors, historians--who have dedicated some part of their lives to Poe and his legacy. Poe-Land is a unique travel diary that follows the afterlife of the poet, author, and critic who invented detective fiction, advanced the emerging genre of science fiction, and elevated the horror genre with an unrivaled mastery over the macabre that has made the genre what it is today
From the author of The New England Grimpendium comes a new travelogue and insider’s guide to wicked, weird, wonderful New York.When J. W. Ocker’s first book, The New England Grimpendium, emerged on the scene, Max Weinstein of Fangoria.com called it “a travelogue for those who revel in the glory of their nightmares.” Rick Broussard at New Hampshire Magazine said of it, “I’ve read a dozen books about New England ghosties and weirdnesses, and this one is my favorite. It’s also one of the few that actually came up with stuff I didn’t already know about.” Now the author of that Lowell Thomas Award winner has unearthed hundreds of similarly creepy and colorful places in the Empire State that will make your skin crawl and your hair stand on end! Ocker’s essays on these places, some little known, some area landmarks, include directions and site information along with entertaining anecdotes delivered in his signature wry style. It’s definitely a wild ride from a jar full of the harvested brains of dead killers to horror movie filming sites around the state; from a ships’ graveyard to lake monster sightings. If it’s in New York and it’s bizarrely noteworthy or wonderfully wacky, you’ll find it in The New York Grimpendium.
An insider’s guide to wicked, weird, and wonderful New England.
A rich compendium of macabre and historic New England happenings, this travelogue features firsthand accounts of almost 200 sites throughout New England. This region is full of the macabre, the grim, and the ghastly—and all of it is worth visiting, for the traveler who dares! Author J. W. Ocker supplements directions and site information with entertaining personal anecdotes.
- Legends and personalities of the macabre
- Infamous crimes and killers
- Dreadful tragedies
- Horror movie locales
- Notable cemeteries and gravestones
- Intriguing memento mori
- Classic monsters