Terri Schlichenmeyer: The Bookworm Sez 10-31-11
It happens every time: you just turn off the light and hunker down in bed, when you hear a BUMP you can’t identify.
If you can, you poke your spouse to go check it out. If you’re brave, you go look yourself. But if you’re reading any of these books for Halloween, you just pull up the blankets, screw your eyes shut, and pray you can go back to sleep someday …
Author Echo Bodine is a psychic, albeit a reluctant one – and who wouldn’t be? Who wants to see ghosts and hear the voices of the dead? Still, in her new book “The Little Book of True Ghost Stories,” she tells how she finally embraced her talents and she relates stories of some of the specters she’s met, including the famous ones that hung around to make sure things went hauntingly well after they died. I liked this book because Bodine also exorcises a few ghostly myths.
If you’re looking for a spectral site to visit this year, well, you’re in luck. There are lots of guides around to use, but two newer ones mysteriously appeared to me: “The World’s Most Haunted Places” by Jeff Belanger is updated and revised this Halloween and it doesn’t just give you phone numbers and addresses, it also includes some hair-raising haunters and stories of famous places that are filled with phantoms. I loved the dark photographs in this book as well as the tour information: when to go, what to look for, and other helpful hints for going a-haunting.
If you dare, that is …
And if that doesn’t give you enough of an idea where to get scared, turn to “The World’s Creepiest Places” by Dr. Bob Curran, illustrated by Ian Daniels. Where the above book looks at places filled with ghosts, this one lists places filled with malevolence and just plain weirdness. The legends in this book seem to be more ancient and the sites may be a little harder to reach; still, you’ll want it just for the cool illustrations.
Lastly, you don’t have to travel to read “Haunted Wisconsin” by Michael Norman, a classic that’s newly updated.
In this continuation of a book dynasty started 30 years ago, Norman gives readers new information on old stories as well as a few fresh accounts and eye-witness reports, all of which will make it hard to decide if you should read further or scream first.
Either way, I wouldn’t recommend reading any of the above books alone – although it is true that each possesses a bit of tongue-in-cheekiness that even skeptics can enjoy. I like stories like these because it’s easy to browse and scoff and it’s easy to be brave and deny that there’s no such thing as ghosts … until you read about an unexplained scratch at the window and then hear one yourself.
So if you’re looking for a good shiver this Halloween, head for the bookshelf and grab one of these four books.
Just leave the lights on and do not take them to bed.