Weird Hauntings

Weird Hauntings: True Stories About the Most Haunted Sites in America is an interesting new book that does exactly what the title claims: it collects tales of ghosts and hauntings all across America. The book is, for once, organized by location type (Institutions, Hotels, Graveyards, etc.) instead of simply by state. This would let the enterprising ghost hunter figure out a classification system for hauntings instead of merely looking for whatever presents itself.

Most of the write-ups are a few pages, including maps, photos, and other visual aids when available and helpful. It's always interesting when you can see the location or the living face of the spectre in a photo taken while alive. In an artful twist, the chapter pages are superimposed over some nicely done Photoshopped images that play off the ghostly theme; pictures that could be cheesy and silly are instead really nice and attractive. Similar images are inserted into the book where large blocks of text would otherwise be unbroken, providing an artist's rendering of the situation and giving the eye something interesting to look at while the reader digests the words of the witnesses. Each write-up also includes a set of all-important directions for you to see for yourself, making this book into a kind of travel guide-book, as well.

Particularly well-done examples include the chapter on Zombie Road by Troy Taylor, a section near Route 66 in the wilds of Missouri with a multitude of apparitions, such as American Indians and spirits from the Civil War. A brief look at Music-Loving Mary in the Orpheum Theature in Memphis is also interesting, as is "A Ghost Who Cares" by renowned ghost hunter and supernatural expert Fiona Broome that outlines a set of ghosts at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire. From Alcatraz to the University of West Alabama, the ghosts' locations here are as varied as their stories.

The production values of the book are nice: images are all full-color when possible, the pages are thick, and the book is hefty without being hard to read. The pages are a bit too tightly bound, making it impossible to lay flat to read, but that's a minor quibble. Page numbers are located on the outside sides of the pages, not the outer lower corners as per usual.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Weird Hauntings is an interesting and fun read. If you're absolutely convinced there's no such thing as ghosts, nothing here will shake up your world, but it would still be an excellent entertainment. If you do believe in ghosts (or haven't yet made up your mind), then this book is chock-a-block with food for thought and chills enough for any reader.

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