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Strangely Enough

January 24, 2013

StrangelyEnough4

As writer of our story, I am supposed to come up with authors and creative-types who have had an influence on my writing. So here’s a short list of those guys: Rod Serling looms prominently in my synapses, as does Alfred Hitchcock, Gene Roddenberry, the great Harlan Ellison, Peter David, Woody Allen, George R. R. Martin, the also great Dean Koontz, and let’s not forget good ol’ Stephen King. I’d love to give each of these men their due, and who knows, I might just do that one day. Singling one writer out of that group (that should have also included Mark Twain, Theodore Sturgeon, Roger Zelazny…sigh!…I could go on and on) is a difficult task.

But I will start with an unlikely candidate—one C.B. Colby. In my youth, this writer had me every bit as freaked out as the creepiest episode of The Twilight Zone. See, no matter how freaky a Zone episode got, I knew it was fiction. Colby’s book, Strangely Enough offered up stories that were supposed to be…true.

It was while I was a seventh grader at St. Joseph’s Catholic School that I came across Strangely Enough. While I’m not sure how I got it, I’d bet money that it was through one of those Scholastic book catalogs.

In the late 1960s, the term “urban legend” didn’t yet exist, but certain tales and yarns did. My young mind was instantly fascinated and unsettled by all the unanswered mysteries the book held within its pages. Each story was succinctly written, no more than two pages long, and nearly every ending made the skin on the back of my neck wriggle in creeped-out enthrallment.

I shared the book with a friend in class, and for several days, poured over the stories we thought were the freakiest. The two stories that stand out the most in my mind to this day are “The Whistle,” and “The Frightened Dog.” I don’t want to give anything away, in case you come across the book and read the stories for yourself. I’ve spun both of those tales at more than one campfire.

In fact, I’ve written a short story that incorporates a bit from both tales. (Uh, oh, here comes the plug.) The concept behind my story was a “What if a group of boys walked right smack dab into a C.B. Colby-Strangely-Enough situation.” And it took off from there.

As always, Professor Schindler will do the accompanying artwork. This is appropriate, because a lot of the stories in Strangely Enough feature simple line art that for some reason, at times, adds a creep-factor all their own.

This story will be available for free on our website. The URL will be announced shortly.

(I included a photo of my mangy dog-eared copy of Strangely Enough above this blog. I hope one day to come across the elusive unabridged edition.)

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2 Comments
  1. Bev permalink

    Check this out. http://planettom.livejournal.com/287821.html
    This person was equally fascinated by Strangely Enough. I want to read it!

  2. Thank you for posting that blog’s URL. Planettom solves the difference between the unabridged edition vs. the abridged version once and for all. That’s good info for us old “Strangely Enough” fans.

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