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The Cultural Insolitologist may find herself a bit spread out across the bottom, so to speak, from conducting her research entirely too much in front of a computer screen. So, being the Great Mentor that I am, I have provided a list of Field Research Destinations that might turn the pasty, bleary-eyed web-surfer into a Sub/Urban Adventurer. Or, at the very least, get him off his ass.
From the Amazon review of the book:
As I take a ride down my own Memory Highway, stuffed in the cargo area of a white Datsun 510 the places that stand out in my mind have a definite Eau de Cracqpotte to them. Just my luck, most of them can be found within the kitschy pages of Roadside America! One of the best features of the website is the electronic map, where you can search, by state, for all manner of giant statues, stuffed animals, dead people, cemetaries, miracle spots and anything else awe-inspiring.
The Oregon Vortex: 4303 Sardine Creek Rd., Gold Hill, OR
Mystery Spots, like the Oregon Vortex, are roadside attractions located conveniently near highways where all manner of mystery occurs: balls and cars roll uphill, and people shrink and grow!
From The Oregon Vortex Official Site:
This, of course, is a load of pooh. The best explanation for this phenomenon is explained at The Ponzo Illusion. Basically, everything there stands on a very steep slope. The trees are not upright. The palatial Mystery House is a leaning old shack. So, short people look like they are as tall as tall people.
I recommend going just for the credulous tour guides and mystified tourists.
East of St. Joseph. Take I-29 to Exit 47, head west about 1 mile. After 36th St. Glore sign and building visible on left. Be careful not to drive into the prison entrance -- they're a little touchy.)
I haven't been able to shake the Glore experience in 14 years. The museum is thankfully air-conditioned, considering the oppressive humidity in the state of MO, but I still left with a pulsing headache. Touring this old hospital is like walking through the pages of Phyllis Chesler's 1971 book, Women and Madness. Thank you, Glore Psychiatric Museum and Gift Shop, for illustrating every psychiatric horror inflicted upon mostly women, with JC Penney's Mannequins!
All manners of old-time psych quackery can be seen from the days of witch-burnings to the "lets-open-all-the-psych-hospitals-and-let-themselves-fend-for-themselves" days. The Water Surprise contraption was a hangman's trapdoor-instead of to his death, the patient was lead, blindfolded, to a three-foot drop into an ice-cold carnival dunktank. It calms the patent. A lovely wooden "swing" hooked up to a crank, baby-style, instead swiveled the patient left and right fot his allotted amount of therapy time. It calms the patient. There were also various museum-smelling wooden coffins to keep the victi...I mean, "patient," in. It calms the patient.
Another bit of amusement was a tragic collection of "letters" a mentally ill, old-timey "hobo" wrote and stuffed in the back of a television set, desperately trying to keep the staff from stealing his Social Security check, and hoping to get back on his boxcar. It made me want to cry.
Most museums have a gift shop, and this one is no exception. After all, the word Gift Shop is on its sign outside. This one not only sells postcards and mugs, but "patient art:" stuff made out of clay and yarn. Some of it is pretty good. I noticed that past the gift shop area was a shiny, linoleum hall leading to another wing of the 100 year-old building. I wondered who was there. Is that where the artists were kept? *Shudder.*
Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe
N. of Pioneer Square, 1001 Alaskan Way, Pier 54 Seattle, WA
From the Roadside America article:
I haven't been there in years, even though I lived in Seattle. Downtown is so inaccessible (traffic sucks there, unless they get with it and build the monorail)! Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe is the home of two human-and American-mummies, pictured here to your right and left: Sylvia and Sylvester, respectively. There are also a number of Barnum "mermaids," two-headed things in jars, Maritime oddities and Voodoo stuff. The shoppe has been here since 1899, and so has a lot of this stuff.
Goldendale, WA, Hwy. 14 east of U.S. 97, along the Columbia River. Leave I-84 at BiggŐs Junction, cross the Hwy. 97 Sam Hill Memorial Bridge, go uphill to Hwy. 14. Turn right, watch for access road to Stonehenge.
Sam Hill's Stonehenge is definitely not the only Stonehenge in America...and, of course, you could go to the real one, I suppose. But that one's broken! Why not see it as it was! I only recommend the Goldendale Stonehenge because I've been. For purposes of Cultural Insolitology, try going on a solstice, especially the Summer Solstice. For at that time you will witness not only people who just want to see how an old sundial calendar works-it's cool-but people who mean to Worship and Give Praise. Praise Be!
In the winter of 2004, Franc and I managed to drive by Goldendale on our way back from a family reuinion in Oregon. It's a beautiful place, but you will soon notice it has little to do with druids, and a whole lot more to do with the dearly departed souls of Klickitat Country, lost in WWI. That doesn't stop people from messing around in there, as you can see.
Trees of Mystery, and Highly Responsive "Ralph" Bunyan
Trees of Mystery,15500 Highway 101 N,Klamath,CA. 95548, 1-800-638-3389
Ah, childhood. Nothing is exciting enough, nothing is stimulating enough. And car trips are hell on a cracker. That is why men are driven to create giant, colorful characters by the side of the highway. That's because kids are always bored, always hungry, and always have to pee. And what better place to do that than by a giant blue ox or dino? I know, deep in my heart, that the first man to put a giant thingamabob by his drive-in restaurant or souvenir hut made a lot of cash, and was probably jealously coveted by his neighbors (something God says not to do).
Paul Bunyon is obviously not a tree. The Trees of Mystery refers to a lot of carvings into ancient California Redwoods, trees that grow into interesting, "Face on Mars"-style shapes, and that requisite drive-thru redwood. But what makes this site worthwhile for the Cultural Insolitologist is the "evidence for Bigfoot" that is displayed, appropriately enough, in the gift shop.
Funny Farm: halfway beween. Bend and Redmond, OR, 64990 Deschutes Market Road. Off the east side of Hwy 97 -- look for the sign that says "Deschutes --->
From the website:
Pareidolia: Sacred Spots
1730 North 18th Street, QuincyM
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
The Skeptic's Dictionary defines pareidolia as
Or the face on Mars. I have been to one such place: in Sunnyside, WA on the side of the highway, the back of a road sign had a water stain with the same vague, oval shape. The fun is not in analyzing the stain. No. It's viewing the odd religious paraphernalia left by the faithful, and, if one is lucky, discussing the matter with them. It seems that ususally people visit because they want something, or need something, desperately. They leave not only stuffed animal, food, flower and candle offerings, but notes asking for blessings, money, and healing. Somebody, at some time, asked for the healing of someone terminally ill. It's pretty sad. Don't snicker at the elderly or infirm, please. However, if someone points out the pervasive smell of roses in the air, do make it a point to stare at the burning, scented candles and rotting flowers that were placed there!
Since this could be a page all its own, I thought I'd give you a short list of websites and addresses.
Winchester Mystery House
525 South Winchester Blvd. San Jose, CA
The Bell Witch Cave The Bell Witch Cave can be reached by exiting Interstate 24 near Clarksville, Tennessee and following Highway 76 to Adams, Tennessee. The cave can be found by turning right after the small Amoco station and taking Eden Road until you see the sign for the cave.
The Old Slave House The Old Slave House is located near the junction of Highway 45 and Highway 13 in Southern Illinois. It is 14 miles east of Harrisburg.
The Lemp MansionThe Lemp Mansion is located in St. Louis, Missouri, a short distance away from the Mississippi River. Take Broadway from Interstate 55 and follow that to Cherokee Street. Go west on Cherokee and turn right onto De Menil Place. The address of the mansion is 3322.
AlcatrazSan Francisco, CA. To get there, take a seat aboard the Red and White Fleet ferry service. Reservations can be obtained by contacting (800) 229-2784.
The Myrtles PlantationThe Myrtles Plantation is located just three miles north of St. Francisville, Louisiana.
Pike Place Market In my city, Seattle, at Pike and Pine, by the waterfront, downtown. Don't try to park there; you'll regret it.
The Queen Mary1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA This site claims hauntings; the other does not.
The Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital located in Etobicoke Ontario
The Amityville House The house is now located on NW corner of S. Ireland and Carmen Pl. in Amityville, Long Island, NY.
The "Overlook Hotel"The place that is supposed to be The Shining's hotel is actually the Timberline Lodge, midway to the summit of Mount Hood in Oregon.
DISCLAIMER: We at Insolitology are not liable for transportation and lodging expenses if no paranormal activity occurs in any of these locations. And one more thing...
Check out Amityville House Vs. Overlook Hotel:
The Science Museum of Minnesota on the bluffs of the Mississippi river is located at: 120 W. Kellogg Blvd St. Paul, Minnesota 55102
I have never visited what sounds like a fascinating place, but I have been very enthusiastic about it since visiting the website. I even started my own collection of useless electrotherapy devices.
The objects on display in this quack section at the Science Museum include Electrotherapy devices, strange breast enlargers, Psychographs, Prostate "warmers," Phrenology instruments, Radium Cures, Spectro-Chromes, Relaxisors, anti-masturbation and wet dream machines, and, of course, the Violet-Ray Generator.
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
1712 S Glendale Ave Glendale, CA 91205-3320
Take I-5 North from Disneyland, Merge onto CA-2 North, take the San Fernando Rd exit, turn left onto N San Fernando Road, turn right onto S Glendale Avenue.
Evelyn Waugh on Forest Lawn mp3
From the website:
There's probably no better way to go star-gazing than where the stars can't hide from you: at their graves. It's a great place to take the family for a relazing and educational afternoon, too. Right now, at the Glendale franchise you can meet Montezuma or even Jesus Christ himself! It's like a living wax museum.
From the book Roadside America:
I visited two Forest Lawns in the seventies, just after an exciting afternoon in Disneyland. I saw Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton's graves, and my mom bought a marble statue replica of DaVinci's Moses. We went there because Grandma had a David, and we had heard that the art was reasonable there.
Do you suppose that afternoon was the defining moment when I was officially screwed up? One has to wonder.