BJ Hollars celebrates release of his newest book


Photo by Anya Yurkonis

BJ Hollars signed his new book with aid from an alien.

Story by Hayley Jacobson

Humanity has always been curious about the things that go bump in the night, BJ Hollars said about his most recent book “Midwestern Strange,” which describes several detailed accounts of the paranormal and cryptic that originate in the Midwest.

The book comprises three sections: monsters, martians and the weird. Each section has three case studies that dive into lore and eyewitness testimony.

Hollars researched for a year to find and cover the phenomena in the book, he said.

There were many stories that didn’t make the cut, including the Elmwood UFO Landing strip that never came to be, Hollars said. He liked how inclusive the legend was, how the whole town got together to try and make the landing strip a reality, but it just did not fit in the book. It is also why ghosts are not included.

“I was most interested in the physical,” Hollars said.

Hollars often bounces his stories off his classes, he said. One class of his, Midwestern Strange, centers around the strange. The goal of the class is also to make sure people can come to their own conclusions, Hollars said.

“It’s about more than monsters,” Hollars said.

It’s about learning to balance being open minded and rational, he said.

Breana Stanley, a help desk employee at the bookstore, said she liked how informal yet jam-packed with information the book was. She said she also liked that the sections were broken up into three parts.

“I thought it was a really good way of keeping it from getting jumbled,” Stanley said.

Stanley said her favorite story from the book was one about the Minot Air Force Base Sighting. Allegedly, a UFO was both seen and caught on radar flying sporadically but precisely through the skies above Minot, North Dakota.

Midwestern Strange has gained national attention, as the book was described as “a breezy read, often very funny, and occasionally — at its best — illuminating” by NPR. He has also published several other books with a variety of different topics.

The book is full of the human element, Hollars said — especially when it comes to proving them. This is true especially when it comes to his favorite story in the book, Oscar the turtle.

“It’s a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy following a turtle,” Hollars said.

Hollars will be continuing his book tour for “Midwestern Strange” with another book signing at 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at The Local Store.

Jacobson can be reached at [email protected].