Pre-Order Library of Souls, the Next Miss Peregrine Book

Library of Souls, the third installment of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series, is almost here. Pre-order now so we can all get the calendar!
The new Miss Peregrine book Library of Souls
Pre-Order Library of Souls Now »

The third book in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series is available to pre-order. Of course, we all want to know what happens to the peculiars next, right? The world Ransom Riggs has weaved is strange and wondrous. We want to see more monsters, more amazing abilities, more incredible loops suspended in bizarre times and places.

Speaking of loops, you did celebrate Loop Day on September 3rd, right? Because if you didn’t, I don’t think we can be friends.

Anyway, Hollow City was pretty intense, so I just pre-ordered Library of Souls. And then I clicked over to Quirk Books to submit a screenshot of my receipt for the cool deal that includes a preview of the first 100 pages of the book and a Miss Peregrine calendar featuring more images and other weirdness.

Why would you want to calendar, you ask? You wonder, do we really need to count the passing of days when we’re all stuck in our own endless loops, seemingly reliving the same day over and over and over again? Get up, go to work, loath every second of it, go home, more work, sleep, dream of freedom, repeat. Well that’s exactly why we need to keep track of days – to feel the passage of time.

Also, my own peculiar children may eat me alive if we don’t get it. That’s a very real possibility. Imagine being consumed with off-brand ketchup and a glass of milk. That’s not at all how I imagined it happening.

But the calendar has other exciting features beyond preservation of life! Check out the shiny things it has to offer, as recently outlined by Riggs himself:

It’s a big, beautiful 16-month wall calendar that covers September of this year through the end of 2016. Each month features a different photo from the series, chosen by me, and a relevant quote from one of the books. The design is really nice. Also, the months are peppered with peculiar holidays (some real, some which I invented), the characters’ birthdays, and other fun easter eggs.

So pre-order today to avoid embarrassment when all your friends are celebrating 19th Century Surgical Procedures Day and you’ve forgotten to bring your viscera-catching mat and bone saw to school because you didn’t even know it was a thing.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children calendar

But here’s the part that’s got me sleeping with one eye open lately: To get the calendar…at least 5,000 people all have to submit their receipts. Currently only 18% of the goal has been reached, leaving an 82% chance I will not live to see the new book hit the shelves on September 22nd.

So go pre-order Library of Souls, then head over to Quirk Books to upload your receipt and save us all (but mostly myself) from certain doom. Thanks!

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Searching for Miss Peregrine

History of Ed Gein in Plainfield, WI

Digging Up Ed Gein: Our Expedition into the Dark History of Plainfield, WI

Our latest trip to Plainfield to uncover the deranged history of Ed Gein lead us into the heart of Wisconsin’s dark side…and yielded some great photos.
Plainfield, Wisconsin, home of Ed Gein

Last weekend, we embarked on our latest pilgrimage to Plainfield to dig up Ed Gein. I mean, we weren’t actually digging up any bodies, but we did intend to exhume some disturbing pieces of local history for an upcoming feature here on Cult of Weird.

Besides, our last visit to Gein’s old stomping ground was in 2012, so we were long overdue.

Recent: Ed Gein’s cauldron featured on Deadly Possessions

The goal this time around was to capture all the locations significant to the area’s grisly past in photo and video, to document the passing of time. As I’ve mentioned in previous writings about Ed Gein, it’s a dark fairy tale many of us grow up with here – it is ingrained in our collective consciousness. The stories of Gein’s grave robbing, murders and macabre pastimes with human body parts…these aren’t Hollywood films. It really happened here, not far from our seemingly normal and carefree lives.

This man, who could be any average small town character you’ve ever encountered, was digging up the freshly buried bodies of other people’s loved ones, dismembering them, and fashioning furniture, clothing and home decor from their remains.

For me, visiting Plainfield is not about some misguided obsession with serial killers. It is a need to remember that this boogeyman was real, to touch the ground he walked on, to feel what desperate loneliness and isolation can do to the fragile human psyche.

Stepping foot in his story is walking on dangerous ground. This is where we could all go a little mad.

Ed Gein's farm in Plainfield
The place where Ed Gein’s house once stood still feels as lonely and desolate as it was for him following the death of his mother in 1945.

Also, the introvert in me is completely capable of romanticizing the thought of being holed up in a dilapidated farmhouse in the dead of Wisconsin winter, reading strange books and playing with skulls.

So…we turned the volume up on a specially prepared CD of 1970s devil music (I don’t know why that seemed like a good idea…I guess I had Mac Sabbath stuck in my head) and departed for a day of obscure Wisconsin weirdness.

Worden’s Hardware

Our first stop is always the hardware store. After all these years, it’s still a hardware store. It was Clark’s True Value the last couple of trips, but it recently changed hands and is now Plainfield Hardware Hank. A sign on the sidewalk was advertising an antifreeze sale. Seriously.

Antifreeze sale at the Plainfield hardware store
Antifreeze sale at the Plainfield hardware store.

After exploring the crumbling Woodman Opera House nearby, I had just started shooting some video when a woman came out of the store and began walking toward us. It is no secret that Plainfield residents prefer not to talk about the tragic events of their town’s past. Ed Gein babysat them as children, brought over offerings of venison despite the fact that he never hunted deer, desecrated the remains of their friends and family.

It’s a touchy subject to be sure. And to add insult to injury, news reporters, film crews, journalists and people like myself have been descending upon their small town in droves ever since the body of hardware store owner Bernice Worden was found gutted and hanging upside down inside Gein’s personal house of horrors in 1957.

Woodman Opera House in Plainfield, WI
The back of the historic Woodman Opera House in Plainfield, built in 1902.

My goal is only ever to document, though trespassing, theft and destruction of property are without a doubt quite common. Ed’s headstone is now permanently kept in storage after years of graffiti, not to mention that it was stolen in 2000 and recovered in Seattle. A corner of Ed’s mother Augusta’s headstone is missing, chipped away piece by piece over the years.

So naturally, I got a bit nervous when this woman from the hardware store approached us.

But rather than call the police, threaten bodily dismemberment, etc., she asked why we were so interested in the building. She said that, since she and her husband had purchased the business in April, upwards of 50 people had stopped to take photos. They even had one visitor enter the store and ask if he could use their computer to research the history of the building.

She didn’t know why. She was from out of town…and had never heard of Ed Gein.

I can’t imagine buying one of the most infamous crime scenes in American history…without a clue as to what atrocities were committed there. While some of the older locals liked to come in and chat about such mundane details as changes to the exterior of the building, she said, none mentioned the murder.

So we brought her up to speed, and she graciously allowed us to explore the store. I think it’s safe to say, however, that she won’t feel comfortable there by herself ever again.

Plainfield Cemetery

The grave of Ed Gein in Plainfield Cemetery
The graves of Ed Gein and his family in the Plainfield Cemetery.

After leaving the hardware store (and neglecting to get that video I needed) we set course for the Plainfield Cemetery, where the Gein family is buried amidst Ed’s victims. Directly in front of his grave is that of Eleanor Adams, whom he exhumed just days after she was buried. Nearby are the Wordens, Bernice and her son Frank, who was a deputy sheriff at the time his mother went missing.

Before we left, Christina left flowers for Ed and Augusta.

More: What happened to Ed Gein’s Gravestone?

After that we made stops at two more cemeteries (three if you count the one we found when we got lost because of my terrible hand-drawn map), another murder scene, and, of course, the site of the old Gein farm. We managed to find the final graveyard at dusk, then made one last stop back at the Plainfield Cemetery to wish the Geins farewell before heading home.

An abandoned house in Plainfield, WI
An abandoned house just down the road from the old Gein property. The architecture is nearly identical to the Gein house that burned down in March of 1958.

After several excursions into the backwoods over the years, we have finally managed to locate each of the stops on the unofficial Ed Gein tour. This will probably be the last trip there for a while, unless I miraculously have money for better film equipment one day, or invent some other excuse to return.

There is nothing Gein-related left unexplored. Right?

Well, there may still be a few mysteries remaining in Plainfield, even after 58 years. But I’ll save that for the next post.

Sputnikfest Commemorates Spacecraft’s 1962 Crash in Manitowoc, WI

Sputnikfest annual festival commemorates the day a chunk of the Soviet Sputnik 4 spacecraft fell from the sky and crash landed in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Sputnikfest in Manitowoc celebrates the crash of Sputnik IV in 1962

The Sputnik IV spacecraft was launched into space on May 15, 1960 to study life-support systems that were later used in the manned Vostok craft. Four days later, when it was suppose to return to Earth, the reentry procedure was botched and Sputnik went off course.

Way off course.

The craft ascended into a higher orbit from which it would not return for over two years. The descent module finally reentered Earth’s atmosphere on September 5, 1962, breaking up and scattering chunks of smoldering metal for miles.

Sputnik IV crash debris found in Wisconsin

Residents of Manitowoc, Wisconsin reported seeing as many as 24 pieces falling from the sky that morning, some plummeting toward the ground with a sound like thunder. At the intersection of North 8th and Park, just feet from the Rahr-West Art Museum, a 20-pound piece of debris embedded itself in the street.

Two police officers on patrol spotted the chunk of metal in the street and, believing it fell off of a truck, decided to leave it. It wasn’t until later, when they heard the news about Sputnik, that they realized what they had found.

Sputnik crash debris on display in Manitowoc

The debris was eventually returned to the Soviets, but a cast of it remains on display at the art museum.

Sputnik landed here…why don’t you?

Miss Space Debris contest at Sputnikfest

The “wacky tacky” Sputnikfest has been held in Manitowoc every September since 2008 to commemorate the crash. Visitors dress up in tinfoil hats and alien costumes, compete for the title of Miss Space Debris, and gather for a re-enactment of the circumstances surrounding Sputnik’s crash by the Masquers Community Theater.

Judging by the Coneheads and vodka, however, it may not be completely historically accurate.

Sputnik crash site in Manitowoc, Wisconsin

A brass ring in the street marks the spot where Sputnik crashed. Locals recommend you put your fingers on it and make a wish.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, bring your diving gear. According to reports, the largest piece of the satellite was seen splashing into Lake Michigan…and was likely never recovered.

For information on the dates and times of this year’s celebration go here: Sputnikfest

Celebrate the Bizarre in Point Pleasant at the Annual Mothman Festival

Point Pleasant celebrates it’s bizarre history with the annual Mothman Festival, featuring guest speakers, vendors, screenings and tours.
Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

While you’re there: Mothman Roadtrip – 6 Things to do in Point Pleasant

The town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia has an unusual claim to fame: a mysterious creature they call Mothman. The first sighting occurred in November of 1966, kicking off 13 months of unexplained phenomena that left locals shaken. By December of 1967, there had been over a hundred reported encounters with the winged figure.

On December 15th, 1967, the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed into the icy waters of the Ohio River. Loaded with rush-hour traffic, the bridge suffered a devastating failure when a minute defect in an eye-bar chain assembly gave way. 46 lives were lost.

Mothman has not been seen in the area since.

Except, of course, during the Mothman Festival.

Mothman sighting at the annual festival in Point Pleasant

The 14th annual Mothman Festival is happening September 19-20 at Mothman Park in downtown Point Pleasant. The “weird little gathering” started in 2002, and continues to grow with thousands of visitors every year.

This year’s festivities include:

  • Live music
  • Mothman 5k
  • Miss Mothman Pageant
  • Mothman face painting for the kids
  • The Mothman Prophecies Screening
  • Tours of the infamous TNT Area

Guest speakers include Chad Lambert, John Frick, Sharon Shull & Dottie Campbell, Joedy Cook, Bill Brock, Lyle Blackburn, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Susan Sheppard, Neal Parks, Ken Gerhard, Fred Saluga, and Stan Gordon.

For more info go mothmanfestival.com

Are you going to the Mothman Festival? Send photos to info@cultofweird.com or tag #cultofweird on Instagram.