Non-Fiction / Supernatural
True Tales of Ghostly Places
Compiled by: Joanne Austin
Illustrated By: Ryan Doan
Published By: Fall River Press
Reviewed by Dorothy Doremus
When the leaves start falling from the trees and there is a hint of coolness in the air, we can almost taste the hot apple cider and pumpkin pies. This time of year is also my favorite because it marks the fall holiday season and the coming of Halloween. Nothing goes better with Halloween than ghost stories and Weird Hauntings has something for everyone.
When I spotted this book in the bargain bin at the local Barnes & Noble, I was a little skeptical. The Weird series of books has never really been intriguing to me. However, Weird Hauntings won me over with some local lore and the table of contents. I loved how this book was laid out. The chapters make it really easy to find what interests you and allows you to conveniently skip around the book (which I found myself doing at first to get at the local haunts).
The stories that are compiled in Weird Hauntings are great. Most of them give you the details of what happened, but they really tie in the history behind the hauntings. I have read other books on hauntings that just give you some details of why the locations are haunted, but can't tie in the history of the place to confirm who may be behind the haunting. It always makes things scarier when you can put a name to what's behind the activity.
I also loved the idea that the book didn't focus on locations in one geographic area. Some books limit the reader to far away places that they might no be able to check into. I found a few stories about hauntings that were practically in my own backyard. Now, if I wanted to follow up on a story, I could.
Some of my favorite chapters in this book are the Haunted Houses, Historic Haunts, Ghostly Graveyards and Institutional Apparitions. These compiled tales are scary enough to send chills up your spine. I wouldn't recommend them for small children, but they are great for campfire tales and parties. The stories usually include the area, persons involved and some details about the haunts. If the tale didn't contain much on details, I found I wasn't inclined to believe it as much as when offered more details. That being said, I can still say that I was entertained, regardless of how heavily detailed the stories were.
I really need to thank Ryan Doan for all of the illustrations. They really make the reader feel as though they are experiencing what is being written about. At some point, the illustrations were so realistic, they looked like actual photos.
If you have tried to read other books in the Weird series and have overlooked this book because you weren't satisfied with previous purchases, you need to pick this book up and take a look. I really think Joanne Austin took the time to pick out just the right stories for this compilation. Happy Halloween and enjoy all of the ghost stories while you celebrate!