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Did you know that Thomas Jefferson’s grandson was an ax murderer? Do you delight knowing that some dinosaurs were as teeny tiny as hens? Wonder what it’s like to live in Hell Town at the End of the World? How about an ailment so surreal it’s named after Alice in Wonderland? In A People's History of the Peculiar, historian Nick Belardes has dug into the raw source material found in historical archives, scientific studies, and libraries the world over to find facts, lists, definitions, and astonishing information guaranteed to provide readers with the best cocktail conversation topics for many years to come! Also found here are first-person interviews with people who can explain the unexplained, from the permanently puzzling Mothman conspiracy to secret Star Wars Jedi religious cults and the charmingly eccentric reason why British aerospace engineers sent teddy bears floating out into space. These real-world facts are outlandish enough to sharpen the brain and occupy readers’ minds for hours of entertainment.
NICHOLAS BELARDES is author of Songs Of The Glue Machines (poetry: 2013), Letters From Vegas” (Invisible Memoirs: I Speak From My Palms; memoir: 2013), Illustrator of New York Times best selling novel West of Here (2011), the first Twitter Lit, Small Places . His journalism has appeared on the homepage of CNN and his artwork has appeared in Memoir Journal, Knock Literary Magazine and 826 Seattle’s What to Read in the Rain (part of acclaimed author and philanthropist Dave Eggers 826 National).
Nicholas currently teaches for Random Writers Workshop (RWW). He launched RWW in 2009, a low-cost writing critique, lecture and discussion group open to the public in Bakersfield and Fresno, California. He has most recently taught for Memoir Journal’s The (In)visible Memoirs Project, and has taught at Bakersfield College, CSU Bakersfield, the Art Institute of Las Vegas, and has guest lectured at UCLA, BARD College, various museums, libraries, galleries and writing groups. He has performed at the Texas State University’s Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, The Beat Museum, MTV's Rock N' Read, The Levan Center, art galleries, coffeehouses, pizza houses, bookstores, and more. He lives and writes in Bakersfield, CA.
VARLA VENTURA is the author of The Book of the Bizarre and Beyond Bizarre. She lives in San Francisco, California.
CAROLINE LEAVITT is the New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and eight other award-winning books. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
BRAD LISTI's first novel Attention. Deficit. Disorder. was a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He lives in Los Angeles, California. He founded and runs LA's highly popular literary blog, The Nervous Breakdown.
Table of Contents
Foreward by Brad Listi
Introduction: Boyhood Maps, Modern-Day Trivia
Chapter 1 Amassed from the Past: Curious and Fantastic Facts from the Archives of History
Chapter 2 Unnatural Sciences: Bizarre Discoveries from Biology to Outer Space
Chapter 3 Puzzling Ailments: Most Mysterious Maladies
Chapter 4 Idiosyncratic Inventions: Technologies We Depend on Every Day and Some Useless Contraptions
Chapter 5 Odd Occupations: Some of the Dirtiest, Weirdest Jobs that You Never Wanted but Have to Know About
Chapter 6 Saturday Night Fever: Popular Films for Obsessive Fans
Chapter 7 Eccentric Authors and Fantastic Art: Great and Little-Known Works by the Wildly (and Weirdly) Creative
Chapter 8 Mysterious Places: Exploring Some of the World's Most Mystifying Nooks and Crannies