Weird NJ was one of those great zines that happily exploded out into popularity. Dedicated to everything from the Jersey Devil to a real street called Shades of Death Road, Weird NJ soon became so popular that it evolved into the book Weird US. And now that’s become a TV show on the History Channel, debuting August 1st at 10pm. Every week hosts Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran scour the country in search of the bizarre, the unexplained, and the really strange historical stories that never got into the history books, because, as they say, “history is full of weirdos.”
(Sneak Preview): Strange But True: July 31 at 11 pm ET/PT: In Morristown, New Jersey, WEIRD U.S. uncovers the legend of a man who was hanged, dissected, skinned…and turned into wallets. In Tennessee, meet the Melungeons, a people who claim their roots date back prior to the Pilgrims. Then, Mark and Mark climb into nuclear missile silos poised outside major U.S. cities. Finally, take a trip to Florida to visit the strangest retirement community you’ve ever seen (aka "Freaktown, U.S.A".), where the circus side show comes to town 365 days a year.
(Series Premiere) ROAD TO WEIRDSVILLE: August 1 at 10 pm ET/PT: Mark and Mark countdown their five favorite weird vacations and find these roads are less traveled for good reason. In New Orleans’ oldest cemetery, they stumble upon a voodoo priestess and other strange doings with the dead. Next, it’s a trip to an Oval Office doppelganger located in Florida. At Koresh State Forest in Florida, the hosts visit an abandoned settlement that was once home to a would-be messiah who believed the earth was hollow. Mark and Mark venture into the back alleys of Coney Island and find that it’s still a perfect vacation spot for anyone looking for outlandish entertainment. Finally, what’s a vacation without a stop in Vegas and a visit to the annual Ventriloquist Festival, where being a dummy is a good thing.
WEIRD MEDICINE: August 8 at 10 pm ET/PT: At the Philadelphia College of Physicians, the two Marks examine the Mutter Collection, consisting of specimens including a 300-pound colon, fetal skeletons and a woman with a horn in her head! Next, it’s off to see the Harriet "Nerve" display, created in 1888 by anatomist Rufus Weaver, who decided to extract a woman’s entire nervous system intact. At Minneapolis’s Quackery Hall of Fame, investigate a period in medical history when anything and everything was available to cure your ills. The Marks look at 19th century health enthusiast –– and enema devotee—Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. The same guy who basically invented cold cereal had a life-long obsession with everything that came out his rear end. Finally, from laughter clubs to "root workers," it’s a look at some unusual modern practices.
WEIRD WORSHIP: August 15 at 10 pm ET/PT: Mark & Mark set out on a pilgrimage for spiritual enlightenment–or just a few weird stories. Deep in the arid flats of the Southern California desert, our hosts encounter Leonard Knight, an eccentric but devoted man who has spent the last twenty years of his life building a mountain dedicated to Jesus. Next, rising out of an Iowa cornfield, they spot the world’s largest grotto, a man-made, cave-like structure that was the life work of German-born pastor Father Paul Dobberstein. In the back woods of West Virginia, the two Marks discover a little known (yet monumental) shrine to an Eastern tradition unfamiliar to most Westerners–and solve the riddle of whatever happened to the Hare Krishnas. In Southern Florida, they’re on the trail of the Koreshan Unity Movement, which believed the Earth is hollow. Finally, it’s off to California to hook up with The Unarius Academy of Science, a group that believes in interstellar faith and holds an annual conclave of light where they welcome their “space brothers” to earth.
REBELS AND TRAITORS: August 22 at 10 pm ET/PT: Learn about some of the lesser-known homegrown plots to rebel, revolt, and subvert the rule government. First, it’s off to San Francisco to meet America’s one and only Emperor– Joshua Abraham Norton, who declared himself “Emperor of the United States of America and Protector of Mexico” in 1859. Next, the two Marks wade through cutlasses, treasure, and talking severed heads at the Pirate Soul pirate museum on the trail of one of America’s original rebels, the pirate Blackbeard. Then, it’s a journey from Weehawken, New Jersey to Blennerhassett Island in the Ohio River to document Aaron Burr’s aspirations to take over the U.S. In Florida, our hosts explain how a really bad traffic jam led to Key West’s secession in the 1980s.
We’re giving away Weird US books, voodoo dolls and t-shirts. What do you have to do to win one? Send me an email to email@example.com with WEIRD US in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. And tell me something weird about your town. Every town has a local legend, monster or weirdo – share it with me!