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"No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting"
-Mary Wortley Montagu
-Mary Wortley Montagu
More history than ghosts
This book is as the title says, a collection of ghost stories and folklore from across America. The authors, Dan Asfar and Edrick Thay, collected some stories from work previously written by ghost hunters, such as Beth Scott and Michael Norman’s telling of Emma Schmidt’s exorcism in Haunted Heartland, as well as stories they have researched themselves.
The entire book reads as if they are retelling the stories they had found, naturally some if not most experiences like these are hearsay, but the authors write like they hadn’t necessarily experienced the hauntings themselves. Though most of the information seemed well researched, I wish some of the interactions had come from their own experiences with the supernatural, not someone else’s.
I had a couple of issues with this book unfortunately, the first being it didn’t elicit any emotional response. With a book like this, I’d hope to at least feel horrified or creeped out with most of the stories but only one story creeped me out, The Bandage Man. One other story was on the verge of horrifying me, The Country Tavern, but the authors pulled back, understandably so, but at the cost of the story.
The other issue I had was that I had to reread some sections because they didn’t make sense, such as the author’s claim that soldiers still use the battle cry, ‘Remember the Alamo,’ during war to rally their troops. That cry was used during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848, but it isn’t used now. In other stories the authors were sometimes redundant with the information, a tiny example would be their use of ‘an adulterous affair’. These sections unfortunately made an interesting read slower and sometimes annoying. Quite a few of the stories as well were mainly discussing the history where the supernatural occurrences were taking place and barely covered the ghostly interactions, as if the authors couldn’t find enough information about the hauntings and therefore used the history of the place to act as filler.
I liked the book well enough and learned quite a bit of history, but in future I’d rather read the books from the ghost hunters Asfar and Thay referenced.
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