My latest book — "Weird, USA," published under my pen name, Angie Bee — was released last month.
To write it, I first had to read a lot of ghost stories. Dozens of eyewitness accounts of werewolves, Mothmen and chupacabras. A slew of tourist guides to wacky roadside attractions across America. So many tales about glowing lights in the sky I kept expecting Mulder and Scully to show up.
Coolest. Research. Ever.
Whether you're a skeptical believer like me, a true believer like Mulder or a firm realist like Scully, we can at least agree that tales of the supernatural make for quality entertainment. Here are some of the best nonfiction — take that with a grain of salt if you wish — paranormal stories I came across in my research.
8. "THE UNITED STATES OF STRANGE (1,001 Frightening, Bizarre, Outrageous Facts About the Land of the Free & the Home of the Frog People, the Cockroach Hall of Fame, & Carhenge)" by Eric Grzymkowski. This unique "bathroom reader" style book is jam packed with historical anecdotes, quotes and roadside attractions, designed to be read in short bursts when you have five minutes to kill. (The Cockroach Hall of Fame — guaranteed fun for the whole family — is in Plano, Texas, while the magnificent Carhenge can be seen in Nebraska. In case you were wondering.)
7. "VERY SPECIAL PEOPLE" by Frederick Drimmer. An intriguing look at the lives of carnival sideshow performers over the last two centuries. Drimmer spares none of the incredible or gritty details, but never forgets that the people on the stage were still human.
6. "THE DEMONOLOGIST" by Gerald Brittle. Most know of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren thanks to the extremely popular "Conjuring" movies starring Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. But in the 70s and 80s, the Warrens were often on TV and in the newspapers for their real life high-profile work with the Amityville Horror, Enfield Poltergeist and Annabelle cases. "The Demonologist" is both a biography and a collection of their most famous investigations into hauntings and demonic possessions.
5. "AMERICAN MONSTERS" by Linda S. Godfrey. Godfrey is one of the best-known and best-loved figures in the cryptozoological community, an author and investigator who compiles hundreds of eyewitness accounts into her fun, breezy books. While her especial interest is "dogmen" (aka werewolves), "American Monsters" covers everything from the ancient Native American Thunderbird to the more modern Dover Demon.
4. "GHOSTLAND: AN AMERICAN HISTORY IN HAUNTED PLACES" by Colin Dickey. One of NPR's Great Reads of 2016, "Ghostland" is a beautifully written, meticulously researched look at America's "most haunted" places, from private homes to prisons to cemeteries. Dickey doesn't just retell the famous ghost stories: he explores how and why the stories have changed over the years while shining a light on the true history often swept under the rug. This is a book for history buffs and horror afficionados alike.
3. "DESTINATION TRUTH: MEMOIRS OF A MONSTER HUNTER" by Josh Gates. I'm an unabashed, HUGE fan of Gates and "Destination Truth," his SyFy Channel reality show built around a team of investigators traversing the globe to hunt for cryptids and ghosts. His book, which is equal parts biography and travelogue, gives a behind-the-scenes look of the filming process with plenty of Gates' trademark snark.
2. "THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES" by John Keel. The basis of the atmospheric movie starring Richard Gere, Keel's book details the numerous bizarre happenings in Point Pleasant, W.V., from November of 1966 to December of 1967. Unusual phone calls. Hundreds of U.F.O.s that appeared nightly. The Men in Black prowling the streets. Prophetic dreams. The deadly collapse of the Silver Bridge. And, of course, the undisputed creepy king of Point Pleasant: the winged cyptid known as The Mothman. Keel interviewed dozens of locals and recounted their experiences in the first half of the book; the second covers his theories that the events were caused by "multidimensional beings." Admittedly out there stuff, but interesting nonetheless.
1. "ATLAS OBSCURA" by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton. A long-running and popular website, "Obscura" is now also a handsome coffee table book. Each section tackles a different country — or state — and highlights the most notable (or infamous) tourist spots, both natural and man-made: the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand or the Akodessewa Fetish Market in Togo, Africa; the Winchester Mystery House in California or the Body Farm in Tenneessee. It's the perfect guide for anyone wanting to take their own weird road trip.
• ANGIE BARRY is a page designer and columnist for The Times. To suggest future topics for The B-List, which covers pop culture, history and literature, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.