cover image

Midwestern Strange

Hunting Monsters, Martians, and the Weird in Flyover Country

B.J. Hollars

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 09/2019
Pages: 232
Subject: Biography and Autobiography
eBook ISBN: 9781496216823


Midwestern Strange chronicles B.J. Hollars's exploration of the mythic, lesser-known oddities of flyover country. The mysteries, ranging from bipedal wolf sightings to run-ins with pancake-flipping space aliens to a lumberjack-inspired "Hodag hoax," make this book a little bit X-Files, a little bit Ghostbusters, and a whole lot of Sherlock Holmes. Hollars's quest is not to confirm or debunk these mysteries but rather to seek out these unexplained phenomena to understand how they complicate our worldview and to discover what truths might be gleaned by reexamining the facts in our "post-truth" era. Part memoir and part journalism, Midwestern Strange offers a fascinating, funny, and quirky account of flyover folklore that also contends with the ways such oddities retain cultural footholds. Hollars shows how grappling with such subjects might fortify us against the glut of misinformation now inundating our lives. By confronting monsters, Martians, and a cabinet of curiosities, we challenge ourselves to look beyond our presumptions and acknowledge that just because something is weird, doesn't mean it is wrong.  


B. J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire. He is the author of The Road South: Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders, Flock Together: A Love Affair with Extinct Birds (Nebraska, 2017), and From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us about Life, Death, and Being Human (Nebraska, 2015).  


"What happens when a professor ventures out to discover the unusual? Werewolves, UFOs, and mysterious creatures become his field of study, the road becomes his classroom, and this book becomes your guide to adventure."—Chad Lewis, author of Minnesota Road Guide to Mysterious Creatures  

"In this intriguing travelogue of marvels, B.J. Hollars encounters werewolves, giant turtles, Mothmen, flying saucers, and other phantoms that haunt the landscape of flyover country. The real wonders in this extraordinary book, however, are the fascinating people that Hollars meets along the way. Midwestern Strange has something for those who want to believe as well as for those who are looking to find the human heart at the center of these charming tales of the unknown."—Gregory L. Reece, author of Creatures of the Night and Weird Science and Bizarre Beliefs