Books

FOR MEDIA USE

Short Bio
J.W. Ocker is the Lowell Thomas- and Edgar Award-winning author of macabre travelogues, spooky kid’s books, and horror novels. His books include Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe; A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, MassachusettsDeath and Douglas, and Twelve Nights at Rotter House. Ocker is from Maryland but has lived in New Hampshire for more than a decade. Visit him at oddthingsiveseen.com.

Long Bio
J.W. Ocker is the award-winning author of macabre travelogues, spooky kid’s books, and horror novels. His nonfictions books include The New England Grimpendium and The New York Grimpendium (both Lowell Thomas Award winners), Poe-Land: The Hallowed Haunts of Edgar Allan Poe (Edgar Award winner), and A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts. His novels include Death and Douglas and Twelve Nights at Rotter House.

He is also the creator of OTIS: Odd Things I've Seen (oddthingsiveseen.com), where he chronicles his visits to thousands of oddities of culture, art, nature, and history across the country and world with photos, articles, and through Odd Things I've Seen: The Podcast. His work has appeared on or in CNN.com, The Atlantic, Rue Morgue, the Boston Globe, The Guardian, and other places people stick writing. Ocker is from Maryland but has lived in New Hampshire for more than a decade. He has a wife, three daughters, and celebrates Halloween for two months.

Books



"It's easy to recognize Ocker as a future master of madness after this thrilling haunted house trip."―Fangoria Magazine

Paranormal author Felix Allsey and his friend Thomas Ruth seal themselves inside the abandoned haunted Rotterdam Mansion for two weeks to see what happens. This 19th century home built by a one-armed, sex-crazed carpenter has sheltered as many deaths as it has rooms. And it’s packed with ghost stories. But all the ghost stories are…unimaginative. Normal paranormal. The same ghost stories every haunted house has. But Felix and Thomas don't find the typical tropes at Rotter House. The horror and the mystery they find is different. By the end, the two discover what’s worse, the secrets of Rotter House or the secrets between friends.



"Spooky! Hilarious! And beautifully written. Ocker's Death and Douglas now joins Bradbury's The Halloween Tree as an annual autumn read." ―Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why

Douglas has grown up around the business of death at his family's funeral home and is good at it...until the basement morgue starts filling with murder victims. On the cusp of Halloween, Douglas enlists his friends to help him solve the mystery. With sumptuous descriptions of a bucolic town and it’s quirky people, fascinating yet middle grade–appropriate information about the funeral process, and a crackling mystery with a heart-pounding conclusion―Death and Douglas has something for readers young and old.



"Ocker moves easily among the archivists, historians, and performers he interviews, and he describes the carnival atmosphere that descends upon “Witch City” with enthusiasm and vividness." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

The 1692 Witch Trials sparked a strange alchemy that slowly transformed Salem into the Capital of Creepy. Every October, this city swells with witches, ghouls, and ghosts descend for its month-long Haunted Happenings. J.W. Ocker moves his family downtown for the full 31 days to experience it firsthand, visiting its historical sites and attractions and interviewing its leaders, citizens, entrepreneurs, visitors, critics, and witches to conjure a unique picture of this unique place.



Winner of the 2015 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Bio from the Mystery Writers of America, nominated for the Macavity Award and the Anthony Award.

For Poe-Land, J.W. Ocker visited almost 100 sites connected to Edgar Allan Poe along the East Coast and in England, from the top of a 170-year-old church bell tower to see what inspired Poe's poem The Bells to the dark depths of a strip club to find the newspaper building that launched his literary career. Along the way, Ocker comes across such relics as Poe's hair and pieces of his coffin and talks dozens of people who maintain Poe's physical legacy, including collectors, actors, museum managers, and so many more.



"A droll and gruesome Baedeker...readers might die laughing, gag on its tasteless subject matter or even shed a tear or two." —Sam Roberts, New York Times

Winner of a 2013 Lowell Thomas Gold Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

Part personal travelogue, part guidebook, this book covers hundreds of macabre sites, attractions, and artifacts, all drawn from the firsthand experiences of J.W. Ocker, who covered 9,000 miles of New York roadway to visit such sites as a 19th-century brain collection to the home of an artist whose muses are serial killers to a ship graveyard, and many other of New York's creepier parts.




"A travelogue for those who revel in the glory of their  nightmares." —Max Weinstein, Fangoria

Winner of a 2011 Lowell Thomas Silver Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation.

New England is full of the grim and the ghastly, and this book catalogs hundreds of macabre sites, attractions, and artifacts, all drawn from the firsthand experiences of J.W. Ocker, who covered 7,000 miles of New England roadway venturing to these eerie locations. From the private collection of a demonologist to a midnight jaunt at an insane asylum cemetery, Ocker leaves no gravestone unturned in his quest to chronicle the dark heart of New England.