3 out of 5 gnomes
While reading this book I was reminded, several times, of a quote from the TV Show Supernatural, Season 1: “Demons I get. People are crazy.” The stories in this book about creatures and strange events/phenomena were a lot easier to take than the stories about what my fellow humans were doing to themselves and each other. I cannot fault the author on this, though. Schneck, in his epilogue he tells who is target audience is. This book is meant for people who delight in the eccentric or those that believe they were meant to be in the Addams family.
Mrs. Wakeman Vs. the Antichrist is not for the faint of heart. There are many stories than involve grisly details of death scenes, blood retrieval methods, and bodies found. At several points I had to put the book down to keep from getting sick. I feel that this could be alleviated with a different juxtaposition of the chapters. Having one chapter that describes the terrors of night doctors followed by a story about a man who drank blood from his children made things very difficult to read. I think that having one of the lighter stories in between would have made a nice buffer.
Not all the stories have blood and gore. Many are just outright strange and intriguing. I appreciate the depths of Schneck’s research and know that it could not have been easy. The presentation of the facts and direct quotes only serves to add to the strangeness of the stories. I liked the flow of the chapters where it started out like a story, or with an excerpt from a newspaper, and then goes into the research heavy materials giving the rest of the story; the precursors, the after effects, etc. It was a nice rhythm that allows the reader to be able to go from one story to another.
Overall I would give Mrs. Wakeman Vs the Antichrist 3 gnomes out of 5. It’s definitely for a niche audience, but is still very well researched and written. I would still like to see a different arrangement of chapters and maybe have the book start with Schneck’s afterward so as to warn readers what they’re getting themselves into. Overall, though, the book is okay and I recommend it for anyone with interests in strange-but-true stories.