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Weird California

(Weird Travel Guides)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  189 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Part of the Weird US series, this title talks about the strange things to see in California, from the Pitch Monster of La Brea to the ghost of Elvis (yes, he really is dead), and from the biggest pineapple in the world to the smallest museum in America.
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 2nd 2006 by Sterling
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  189 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Feb 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
This mean-spirited little collection of California oddities emphasizes cult activities, famous murderers, and hocus pocus heresay. Only the Ancient Mysteries and Personalized Properties sections are less sensationalized, and much in these sections will not be news to CA residents--though some of the properties are interesting and worth seeing. The section on "Midget Watching" is downright offensive, giving details for sneaking into a gated community to gape at people of short stature ("don't ...more
Stephanie Jackson
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
A book trying to be weird and spooky but mostly feels like it's full of made up stories.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it liked it
Subtitled ”Your Travel Guide to the California’s Local legends and Best Kept Secrets,” this California version of Weird U.S. is a quick and fun read. As someone who has lived most of his life in California, I can attest to the validity of the weirdness of this state.

Under the chapter “Fabled People and Places”, there is a story about the Dark Watchers of the Santa Lucia Mountains. John Steinbeck described them in his short story “Flight” and I can say that I have seen them.

I was in my teens
Aug 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
my entire review apparently disappeared when i lost my internet connection as i was trying to post this, so my second attempt is going to be kept short and sweet.

this is a biased review because of how much i love the weird series, but that shouldn't take away from these advantages that weird california has over some of the other books in the series: california is such a unique state (in population, landscape, and history) compared to a lot of others in the u.s. that it makes this edition in the
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book Weird California by Mark Moran tells the story About what weird things are hanging around California. I could definitely relate to this book because there has been so many places I have either been there or past by. The best part of the book was the Roadside Distractions I loved looking at all the different places all over California. I would recommend this book to people going on a vacation so they can make a stop or to along the way to go to these places. If I could anything about the ...more
Jul 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
A great disappointment, really. I thoroughly enjoyed Weird Oklahoma: Your Travel Guide to Oklahoma's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets. Unlike Oklahoma's authors (who primarily highlighted people/places/things of an eccentric or whimsical or historical nature with a smidgen of ghostly or otherworldly weirdness) WEIRD CALIFORNIA's authors focused heavily on the dark, sinister, seedier side of weirdness and demonic. And that's truly sad. There are so many wonderfully unusual and delightfully ...more
Bonnie Burton
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Great urban legends, ghost stories, kooky folks and more from the Golden State. I learned a lot about really creepy cults, urban legends, early settlers and people who make California one heck of a place to live. I find myself often rereading chapters and blogging about certain stories. It's important to celebrate eccentric people and the history they created for California whether it's Sarah Winchester building stairways that go nowhere in her home for wayward ghosts, or the ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
THe concept is awesome- all the strange, quirky, and out-of-the-way places in California, collected in a coffee table book. The execution leaves a bit to be desired, especially if you plan to actually visit any of the locations. THere's no map to speak of, and instead of being grouped by region, the book is organized by theme, so good luck planning a road trip to hit any of the spots. That said, it's totally worth reading for anyone with an interest in the odd, macabre, or just plain weird, and ...more
Jul 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-mystery
I debated for a while as to whether this book belonged on the horror or nonfiction shelf. Ultimately I decided that I take most of this book with a grain of salt, so horror it is. It is a lot of fun to read up local lore and urban legends from my own backyard. This book also provides a way to plan interesting day trips to nearby haunted houses or gravity hills should the mood someday strike me. If you are into creepy and sometimes kooky California landmarks as much as I am, you are going to have ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
After living in California for 20 years, I knew it was weird but had no idea it was THIS weird. Thanks, Katie, for opening my eyes to even more weird adventures in the golden state. I've experienced some first hand (Winchester House, SF Ghost Tour and Queen Mary)but I see there are many more I should check out. This is a great book if you are into ghosts, legends, monsters and just plain odd facts about California!
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Do you really read this book? Yes, but not like a novel. There is no plot from one end to another. So, more accurately, the books tests your limit for unusual things. When do you have enough - usually, sooner than you think.

But, it deserves to be on the bookshelf. Going someplace, pick it up and do a quick check of what was noted in the area (or along the way). It is hard to go wrong with that.

Final note, find a discounted copy. It will make all of the above more relevant.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was enjoyable enough. It comes with the expected hokey ghost stories - which are a bit disappointing. However, it is a great spring board for various points of interest. It got me out of my seat and to the computer to research in greater detail some of the myths and locations covered in the book. So on that note, I'm glad I have this book as a reference point the next time I am in the mood for an impromptu exploration - of which I am certainly a fan.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel
This book is so much fun. Although not organized in such a way that it would be easy to find these places (this is not a travel guide), it has some amazing pictures, and some facinating stories. Of particular intrest were the places that are close to home that I can investigate later on. Full of ghost stories (I guess their defination of "strange")it also has lots of the colorful and unique places and people in it.
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love that it was weird and about our state. But... I wasn't too thrilled on how short some of the entries were. Like they left too much facts out. But at the same time, left it to your imagination. It was a great read. Some entries were random, others were funny and others were just scary as hell. It's a perfect read to satisfy your curiosity!
I'm certain that California could merit its own Weird series, but this isn't a bad single volume compendium of Cali's monsters, UFOs, hauntings, road side attractions, graveyards, ghost towns, new religious movements, and outsider art.
Oct 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked up this book at a Borders a couple of years ago and pull it off the shelf when I have a little time to burn once in a while. Its full of photos, history, and funny, and, yes, very weird stories and lots of photos of odd places here in kind of book.
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it
picked this one up at the mystery spot in the santa cruz redwood forest.
I really like to visit interesting places on my days off. field trips kick ass. this one's got a few so far within traveling distances.
fun stuff
Jun 22, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: californyah, humor, 2000s
My boyfriend Paul and I used this book a lot on our California road trip. It was more interesting as a folk lore trivia book than a travel guide. Even then not that interesting (like, Fry's electronic stores? Seriously?). Maybe if it was still the 90s, and I was still into the x-files.
Feb 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Only for those with a big interest in the Golden State, others might find it a bit long. Those who love California will find it an engrossing interesting trip, though.
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i love this book becuase im really into the urban legends and ghost stories. Most of these places are a couple miles away. perfect book for a summer road trip
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a great resource book on the oddities one would find in California. I learned a lot about weirdness going on at Mt. Rubidoux and Mt. Shasta, and a gravity hill in Altadena.
Jamie Brooks
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
This turned out to be a pretty good book. I found a lot of cool stuff in my city that I want to check out like gravity hills, screaming tree etc.
Mar 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2012
pretty disappointing. would probably appeal to folks that watch the ghost hunter shows. I imagine the authors frequently have warm, wet sensations on their legs.
Feb 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ghosts
An interesting book on some of California's mysterious happenings. Another good add to the "Weird" books I have read.
Jim Mcclanahan
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting stuff, including some local oddities. Also lots of lunatic fringe testimonials. Passed this book on to a friend who appreciates this more than I.
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
so, since i used to live in cali, and i saw this on the clearance rack at barnes & noble, i had to pick it's not so much a travel book as it's more of an urban legend book....good times....
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Some intriguing ghost stories and discussion of other interesting bits of history around the state. That said, the book was a bit dark for my taste.
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Feb 24, 2009
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Apr 11, 2008
Teresa Sutherland
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2017
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