Horror in the Heartland: Strange and Gothic Tales from the Midwest

Indiana University Press
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A spooky history of the American Midwest—from grave robbers to ghost sightings and more—by the author of Creepy California.
 
Most people think of the American Midwest as a place of wheat fields and family farms; cozy small towns and wholesome communities. But there’s more to the story of America’s Heartland—a dark history of strange tales and unsettling facts hidden just beneath its quaint pastoral image. In Horror in the Heartland, historian Keven McQueen offers a guided tour of terrible crimes and eccentric characters; haunted houses and murder-suicides; mad doctors, body snatchers, and pranks gone comically—and tragically—wrong.
 
From tales of the booming grave-robbing industry of late 19th-century Indiana to the story of a Michigan physician who left his estate to his pet monkeys, McQueen investigates a spooky and twisted side of Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Exploring burial customs, unexplained deaths, ghost stories, premature burials, bizarre murders, peculiar wills and much more, this creepy collection reveals the region’s untold stories and offers intriguing, if sometimes macabre, insights into human nature.
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About the author

Keven McQueen is an instructor in the department of English and theater at Eastern Kentucky University and is the author of five books on Kentucky history, including the Offbeat Kentuckians series and the true crime book Murder in Old Kentucky. He lives in Berea, and currently is working on several projects. He does not spend as much time in graveyards as you might think.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Indiana University Press
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Published on
Jun 16, 2017
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Pages
249
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ISBN
9780253029126
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Language
English
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Genres
Body, Mind & Spirit / Supernatural (incl. Ghosts)
History / United States / State & Local / Midwest (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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What constitutes historical truth is often subject to change. Through ingenious detection, the accepted wisdom of one generation may become the discredited legend of another -- or vice versa. In this wide- ranging study of historical investigation, former detective Joe Nickell allows the reader to look over his shoulder as he demonstrates the use of varied techniques in solving some of the world's most perplexing mysteries.

All the major categories of historical mystery are here -- ancient riddles, biographical enigmas, hidden identity, "fakelore," questioned artifacts, suspect documents, lost texts, obscured sources, and scientific challenges. Each is then illustrated by a complete case from the author's own files.

Nickell's investigation of the giant Nazca drawings in Peru, for example -- thought by some to provide proof of ancient extraterrestrial visitations -- uses innovative techniques to reveal a very different origin. Other cases concern the 1913 disappearance of writer and journalist Ambrose Bierce, the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, the truth about the identity of John Demjanjuk ("Ivan the Terrible" to Polish death camp victims), the fate of a lost colonial American text, the authenticity of Abraham Lincoln's celebrated Bixby letter, and the apparent real-life model for a mysterious character in a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

In reaching his solutions, Nickell demonstrates a wide variety of investigative techniques -- chemical and instrumental analyses, physical experimentation, a "psychological autopsy," forensic identification, archival research, linguistic analysis, folklore study, and many others. His highly readable book will intrigue the scholar and the history buff no less than the mystery lover.

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