COMBINING fact, fiction and folklore, "Extraordinary Tales: Stories from the Road" by Craig Karges and J. David Diosi provides fascinating views of life, regardless of location.
Starting with the Mothman and Cornstalk's Curse at Point Pleasant, W.Va., the book delves into mysteries in a variety of locations such as the Pyramids in Egypt, the purported location of Atlantis, the foggy streets of London where Jack the Ripper roamed and places closer home, such as three "haunted houses" in St. Clairsville.
Stories of Bigfoot, the Spector of Il Duce, Vampires in the Balkans and the White Witch of Jamaica are among those related in the new book.
A BOOK, “Extraordinary Tales: Stories from the Road,” recently was completed by J. David Diosi, a St. Clairsville, resident, at left, and Craig Karges of Wheeling. The “road,” traveled by Karges, covers the globe with unusual tales from various countries.
Of special interest to me was the White Witch of Jamaica not only because she was interesting (though cruel), but because the authors brought out a Johnny Cash song that I never heard. As a longtime Johnny Cash fan, I don't ever call hearing the "Ballad of Annie Palmer."
Not only do Karges and Diosi tell about Palmer, who died in the 1800s and whose ghost reportedly has been sighted since then, but they include part of Cash's ballad, which concludes, "I can hear your lovers call, I can still feel your presence about the great house at Rose Hall."
Karges, a Wheeling resident, describes the book as "creative nonfiction," adding, "The events described in this book are 'realish'... I've embellished (and outright fabricated at times), blended multiple people into one personality, changed names to protect both the innocent and the guilty and compressed time all to make for more concise and, hopefully, enjoyable reading."
The places have been included on his travels during three decades, and Karges added that he "can't vouch for the accuracy of all the stories and theories expressed in this book."
Diosi pointed out the stories and theories in the book were written from Karges' perspective, and the two men weaved together what he had been told. He added it was "a very fun project."
Included are folk tales related by a member of the Tlingit tribe in Alaska and by an Hawaiian about Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, and the Menehunes in that area.
A chapter, "Beneath Arabian Sands," not only brings out the tale of Ali Baba, but tells about King Solomon's Mines reportedly being in Saudi Arabia. In a more modern take, one can learn about the "burkha babes" traveling from that country.
Then, there was the replica of the Korean turtle ship, built in the 16th century and described as the first ironclad warship in the world. (It undoubtedly would have interested Eastern Ohio resident Josiah Fox, known for helping to design the USS Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," in the 1790s.)
Not only will the reader learn about extraordinary people and happenings in the 263-page softback book, but they'll get a feel for the countries described and, at times, the problems with modern travel.
Karges, who has received numerous "entertainer of the year" honors, doesn't claim to be a psychic or a magician, but acknowledges that he "is an entertainer, and showmanship plays a role in what he does" as he travels the world. He has written other books, "Ignite Your Intuition" and "The Wizard's Legacy - A Tale of Real Magic," the latter book with Jon Saint-Germain.
A Miami University (Ohio) graduate who has a master of business administration degree from Wheeling Jesuit University, Diosi owns an advertising agency, DRD Consulting LLC in St. Clairsville, and is a part-time instructor at WJU. He also is involved in area charitable and civic organizations.
The St. Clairsville man said he and Karges had talked about writing the book for four-and-a-half years, but had really worked on during the last couple of years, especially this year when about half of it was written in 11-1/2 months. Karges will celebrate his 30th year in show business in 2010.
Diosi added one of his favorite parts of the book concerns what Karges did with two Steeler tickets in a chapter, "The Biggest Fan," mainly "because I love the Steelers - even this year." Another favorite concerned "Bigfoot, Marmots & Mormans."
The book, which costs $15, may be obtained through the Web site, www.extraordinarytales.com, with no shipping charges through the holidays as well as at the Wheeling Artisan Center, Words and Music at Stratford Springs, the Wheeling Jesuit University bookstore and, in the future, at other bookstores.
The authors of the book related to extraordinary travels will be "on the road again" - for a short distance - when they appear Dec. 22 at noon at "Lunch With Books," which is free and open to the public at the Ohio County Library, Wheeling, as well as on two radio programs, WVLY, Dec. 16 at 9 a.m., and WWVA, Dec. 17 at 7:30 a.m.
Pokas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.