I’m Baaaaaack!

0

And you missed me, didn’t you?

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that it traditionally goes “dark” every October since I am usually out running all over Ohio with presentations and appearances. This year was no different, but the blog remained dark through November and December.

Why, you ask? Well, even if you didn’t ask, I’m going to tell you.

Simply put, I had an end-of-year deadline to submit the manuscript for my next book to the publisher. Yup, there will be another James A. Willis tome heading your way for 2017. What’s it about? Well, I’m supposed to keep it a secret for now. But I can tell you that the focus will be on central Ohio and will contain Weird Ohio-type stories that you all seem to love so much. In other words, I’ve spent the last few months chasing down leads on Central Ohio serial killers, legendary locations, and even a UFO or two. No worries, there’s a couple of ghost stories in there, too.

More on the book as it develops, but for now, here’s a couple of outtake photos from the book to whet your appetite:

path

“The Path”

leather

“The Memorial”

gates

“The Gate”

graves

“The Graves”

carriage

“The Carriage House”

tower

“The Tower”

So now that I’m back, what can you expect from this site? Well, for starters, we’re going to finally finish up the remaining Crybaby Bridge locations. I’ve got a whole mess of personal experiences about a bunch of the bridges that you’ve sent me, so those will start being added, too.

The Strange & Spooky Museum has gained quite a number of new pieces and those are in the process of being catalogued and photographed. Expect to start seeing those popping up on the site, too. There’s even a couple of pieces that are supposed to be so haunted that a mere glance at them will cause people to experience all sorts of bad luck. Not sure if that means you can’t even view them over the Internet, so perhaps I need to have everyone sign a Virtual Waiver before looking at these “cursed” objects!

Finally, I’m going to be embarking on something really strange and spooky this year and you’ll have the chance to come along. So get ready because in a few short months, we’re going monster hunting!

Stay tuned!

Advertisements

The Haunted Book

0

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.04.55 PM

One of the questions I get asked most often by people viewing parts of my Strange & Spooky Museum is: “Are any of these things haunted?”

To be honest, while there are quite a few items in my collection that are alleged to be haunted, I can’t proclaim any of them as “haunted” for the simple reason that I’ve never experienced anything out of the ordinary with any of them. Still, they have been acquired from people who honestly believed that there was something strange going on with the items. And these items aren’t always the stereotypical spooky-looking amulets and voodoo dolls. Case in point, this rather unassuming book, which I acquired in late 2015.

Continue reading

Video Segment From Columbus Dispatch

0

Video interview/segment that accompanied the July 27th, 2015 Columbus Dispatch article, featuring me and parts of the Strange & Spooky Museum. Enjoy!

New Addition To The Strange & Spooky Museum: Mothman Statue

0

IMG_3257

Created by local artist Robert “Bob” Roach, this is a limited edition scaled replica of his Mothman statue that has been standing guard over the streets of Point Pleasant, West Virginia since 2003. And it’s pretty much an exact replica, right down to the plaque affixed to the base.

This particular piece once resided in the private collection of Ohio Bigfoot researcher, Joedy Cook, which gives it an even more interesting back story.

IMG_3262

You can check out more Mothman-related memorabilia, as well as that of other creatures, in the Bizarre Beasts wing of the Strange & Spooky Museum.

If you want to take a peek at all the weirdness The Strange & Spooky Museum has to offer, start your journey here.

 

 

 

New Addition To The Museum: Boy With The Leaking Boot Trading Card

0

You’ll notice right off the bat that the photo above doesn’t bear that cheesy “shot all crooked against a black backdrop” look that most of the other items in The Strange & Spooky Museum have. That’s because this item was so small, I needed to scan it in so you could bask in all its glorious details.

This piece is about the size of your standard trading card. In fact, it’s part of a set that was released by Dart Flipcards in 1995 in conjunction with Hershey Food Corporation. Taking a peek at the back of the card, you can see that the set was called Hershey’s Trading Cards: The Collector’s Series and that this particular card was #42 in the set:

I did a little digging online and found that this set consisted of 100 cards and was released to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Hershey’s. As for the cards themselves, they feature all the different tasty treats Hershey’s has offered over the years. Oh yeah, and one infamous boy with a leaking boot!

You can get some additional information on the card set here.

To see more amazing Boy With The Boot memorabilia, go here.

ONW: Toy Wand In Dayton Store Contains Hidden ‘Demonic’ Image

0

According to Dayton’s WHIO, mother Nicole Allen walked into a local Dollar Store and purchased what she thought was a “magic wand” for her 2-year-old daughter. When they got the wand home and the daughter started playing with it, Nicole was shocked to find that when the silver metallic “snowflake” was peeled back, it revealed a photo of what appeared to be a demonic woman slitting her wrists with a knife.

Nicole was outraged but when reporters confronted store owner Amar Moustafa, he simply said that parents need to pay more attention to what they are buying for their children, pointing out that the name of the toy is “Evilstick”. He has no current plans to pull the toy from the shelves, but said he would consider doing so if enough people complained.

OK, I’ll admit it: I absolutely LOVE dollar stores of all kinds! You can find some of the coolest, weirdest things lurking in their aisles. But there’s a reason everything’s being sold for only a dollar. These types of stores sell everything from expired food and damaged products to items which could only be termed “bootlegs”. In these stores, you get what you pay for.

I’m not faulting this woman for buying a $1.00 toy for her child. Heck, I’ve gone into those stores and dropped $20.00 on stuff for Courtney (and OK, some stuff for me, too. Gotta feed the Strange & Spooky Museum, you know). But here’s the thing: I don’t let Courtney out of my sight when she playing with any of those toys because I know they are all probably going to break, leak, or perhaps spontaneously combust within 15 minutes.

I think the fact that, as the shop owner points out, what is being called a “magic wand” is actually clearly labelled “Evilstick”. That and the idea that the “wonderful music” the device is said to emit is actually one of those traditional Halloween laughs should have given the mom a couple of hints that this wasn’t really a wand that was going to summon rainbows and magical pixies.

Do I think it’s an appropriate toy for children, especially a 2-year-old. whom the mother bought the EvilStick for? Certainly not. For one, if you look closely at the picture above, you can see it’s labelled for ages 3 and up. But I think even 3 might be a little young for something like this. But again, I think in this case, the mom should have taken a closer look at the packaging and the toy before chucking it in her buggy.

And yes, if anyone happens to be in a Dayton-area Dollar Store, I’d like an EvilStick, please. Not for Courtney, though. It’s for me, even though I’m pretty sure just touching that metallic-looking snowflake is going to give me cancer, Black Lung, and perhaps a wee bit of gout.

_________________________

You can read the original report and watch the video, on WHIO’s site. Just give a click here. 

Another report on the incident is available at The Independent, a news wire site from the UK. Great article if for no other reason that the author of the article seems amazed that the US has places called “Dollar Stores”, although they often refer to them as the “$.100 store”.

New Addition To The Museum: Thurston’s Book Of Magic

0

 

DSC02896

16-page booklet from the 1930s that is filled with magic tricks, supposedly ones performed (or at least endorsed by) Columbus-born magician, Howard Thurston. All the tricks in this booklet have been given bizarre names, my favorites being “The Healing Tongue” and “Futile Blows”. The “Library of Magic” listed on the cover was the name given to all 6 “volumes” (ie: booklets) in the series. As you can see, this was Volume 1.

Booklet was a giveaway from Swift and Company, who manufactured baking products like shortening. So there’s a great 2-page ad for Swift’s Silverleaf Lard that asks “what magic can you do with pastry-tested shortening” and then encourages readers to “eat more baked goods” because they are “wholesome, digestible, delicious.” Ain’t that the truth!

You can check out some other pieces of Howard Thurston memorabilia in the Historical Memorabilia wing of the Strange and Spooky Museum. Go on, click away!

 

The Strange & Spooky World Is Now On Instragram

0

For the longest time, I fought Instagram. I had no interest in joining, simply because I didn’t see the point. To be honest, the whole thing felt a little silly and, well, pompous. Sure, people seem to enjoy it, but I’ve never been the kind of guy who felt the need to upload pics of his turkey on rye with the message “getting ready for lunch #boyamihungry #luvturkey #ireallythinkpeoplecareaboutwhatieatforlunch”.

But the more I looked at Instagram, the more it seemed to be something I could use to sort of give everyone a quick glimpse inside my strange and spooky world. I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but not everything in my life is blog worthy. Shocking, but true!

What Instagram allows me to do is show you all a little peek behind the curtain, if you will. Like this picture, which is a random shot of some of the items from my Strange & Spooky Museum that I recently unpacked:

10527831_10152588257454917_6370278644227302412_n

And then there was this strange little picture, which is related to my latest paranormal project. I uploaded it to Instagram and it promptly blew up, with everyone wondering aloud what the heck it meant. What do you think it means?

10509751_10152556631499917_5917792186136667411_n

Anyway, If you’d like to follow along, you can find me lurking on Instagram here. I’m only getting started, but there’s already some strange and spooky images on there. Just don’t expect to see any pics of turkey sandwiches…unless they look really, really weird.

You can also access my Instagram site by clicking on the photo in the “Latest Instagram Upload” feed, which is over on the bottom left side of the very page you’re reading now!

 

 

New Addition To The Museum: Boy With The Leaking Boot Ceramic Plate

0

DSC02908

Nice little ceramic plate depicting the Cleethorpes, England statue. No date or other markings on the back of the plate.

Personally, the Cleethorpes statue is one of my favorite versions of the statue. For one, Cleethorpes has really embraced their Boy and have chosen to put his image on a wide variety of merchandise. So of course, that’s a dream come true for freakish collectors like me! I also like that this particular statue is unique in that its name never varies: it’s always referred to as the “boy with the leaking boot”. Most of the other statues across the world drop the “leaking” bit.

Finally, I love the fact that this statue is in England, so it really throws a wrench into the theories of those still clinging to the idea that the original version was created because during the Civil War, a boy once carried water inside his boot to dying soldiers on the battlefield.

Check out an assortment of other Boy with the Boot memorabilia, leaking and otherwise, in the Boy with the Boot section of the Strange and Spooky Museum.

New Addition To The Museum: Blue Hole Simulated Stag Horn Salt & Pepper Set

0

DSC02901

OK, hands down. There’s no need to take a vote. These are, by far the weirdest “souvenir” currently residing in my Strange & Spooky Museum.

There’s no date on the shakers or the box, but they look pretty old. I tried doing some research to see when simulated stag horn salt and pepper shakers were in vogue, but came up empty. Doesn’t appear that salt and pepper shakers made from real stag horns were ever at the top of everyone’s wish list, either (you’re shocked, right?).

Despite that, someone felt the need to create these for the Blue Hole gift shop. If you’ve ever seen a set like this or, better yet, own some yourself, drop me a note in the comments section below. If for no other reason than to let me know that I’m not alone in thinking these things are bad a**.

There’s more Blue Hole memorabilia, as well as other bizarre objects and artifacts, waiting for you in the Roadside Oddities wing of The Strange & Spooky Museum. Go check them out!