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Book Review: Wild and Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia by Denver Michaels

***This book was reviewed for Reader’s Favourite

Wild and Wonderful (and Paranormal) West Virginia by Denver Michaels delved into the lore and legends of titular West Virginia (and neighboring Virginia), taking a peek at everything from battlefield ghosts to UFO encounters. The first chapter dealt with hauntings, and questions of giants in North America in paleo times. The next six chapters were devoted to cryptids of various natures- flying, aquatic, bipedal, phantom cats, Mothman, and a mixed bag of demon dogs, devil monkeys, and Slender Man. The final three chapters covered UFO phenomena.

I found this an entertaining, quick read that was a good overview of the paranormal and preternatural in West Virginia. It is a book written in a more sensationalised rather than academic style, though the author clearly did research, and provides numerous citations so the curious reader can further explore. I loved that the author went to many of the locales, and included their own pictures.

I came across several new-to-me concepts, such as the possibility of an extant kangaroo population in the US, comprised of escaped exotics, and that this accounted for at least some reported sightings of werewolves and dogmen. Roos can be aggressive, and if spotted in an environment where they are unexpected, could be mistaken for dogmen.

I have rarely heard of tulpa as an explanation for cryptids and preternaturals, and impressed it was included here. Tulpa are consciousness constructs. Individuals with extreme focus are said to be able to create them, but usually it is a joint, unconscious effort among many individuals whose fears, angers, and/or grief, are made manifest. Tulpa tend to change appearance in response to socio-cultural norms.

I grok the notion that ‘alien’ visitors are perhaps Fae, or tulpa, tailored for each new generation. Of especial interest is the idea that aliens who visit for sexual purposes are really succubi/ incubi (sexual demons), or more likely, abductions/pleasurings are bouts of sleep paralysis. I’ve suffered from sleep paralysis and the vivid dreams that can accompany it.

I did feel things were repeated too often, certain thoughts or facts. One big one was the notion that Virginia/ West Virginia are the perfect place for the paranormal, for cryptids, for UFOs. I didn’t need to hear it quite so many times. Another proofing run-through would not be amiss. There are many instances of missing or misspelled words.


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