Mysterious New England (book review)

Mysterious New EnglandMysterious New England, edited by Austin N. Stevens, is an older (1971) book of folklore and weird stories — including ghost stories — from around New England.  All of them appeared in Yankee magazine and were tremendously popular.

Mysterious New England probably won’t appeal to someone who wants ghost stories (and only ghost stories… no crypto, etc.), or only true stories.  This book is a mixture of fact, fiction and folklore, and many of the tales are masterfully told.

For the low price of a used copy — sometimes only one cent (at Amazon.com) — I think this book is definitely worth buying.  I paid $2 for a hardcover copy at a yard sale, and I still consider it a bargain.

There are many good reasons to read this book. Here are just a few:

  • The gory tale of the Lizzie Borden murder mystery includes a fascinating (and often overlooked) addition provided by a reader of Yankee magazine.
  • C. B. Colby’s crypto zoology article, The “Black Panther” Never Dies, will make you wonder what else is in New England’s woods.
  • Village of 100 Witches, by Maria Dabrowski, shares a chilling overview of Dogtown, a New England settlement abandoned since 1830.

This is storytelling at its best, and it’s a good creepy book to read on a dark autumn night.

In addition, readers have a chance to enjoy short stories and true tales by writers such as the legendary Edward Rowe Snow, who describes the unsolved mystery of Boston’s Lady in Black.

If you’re looking for a fascinating book of strange tales and ghost stories, this book is a classic and worth owning.

Rating: 2-stars

Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Suitable for mature teens and adults, but only those who like classic literature and folklore.

Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire (book review)

Haunted Hikes of NHHaunted Hikes of New Hampshire is a true delight.

It reveals little-known haunted sites that can only be accessed on foot.  They’re often “in the middle of nowhere” along some of New Hampshire’s most magnificent trails.

As I said when the book was first published:

Get ready for fun… and a good scare!  This is one of the most interesting, unusual books for ghost hunters, and it’s something different for hikers, too.  This is one of the best regional ghost hunting books I’ve ever read. It’s filled with great, haunted hikes along some of New England’s most beautiful — and eeriest — trails.

I still feel that way about this book, and recommend it to anyone who’s both a ghost enthusiast and a hiker.

If you’re looking for truly off-the-beaten-path haunted locations in New England, this book is a must-read.

Rating: 4-stars

Haunted Happenings by Robert Cahill – review

Haunted HappeningsHaunted Happenings: With New Photos of Old Ghosts, by Robert Ellis Cahill

3-stars

 

  • Entertaining stories with interesting illustrations and photos
  • A few stories do not appear to be historically accurate.
  • Ideal for anyone planning a vacation in New England, or looking for some well-known ghosts to investigate.

Haunted Happenings includes some great stories of New England (USA) ghosts.

If you’re looking for folklore and legends as a starting point, this book is better than the average.  The stories can be chilling, and they’re well told with interesting historical details.

Many of these tales were meticulously researched, with documents and photos to support them.

However, other stories — or aspects of them — may be more folklore than fact.  That said, most of these stories have at least some foundation in truth.

The author is well-known as a storyteller, and this book is among his best.  It’s great book for a ‘good scare’ around Halloween.

In addition, if you’re a ghost hunter, Cahill interviews people with powerful stories.  These are some excellent starting points if you’d like to research New England’s classic ghost stories.

Read more reviews of Haunted Happenings

Or, order a copy through Amazon.com

(British readers will need to order from Amazon.com as this book is not usually available in the UK.)

Brandywine Valley Ghosts

hull-brandywineghostsBrandywine Valley Ghosts by Laurie Hull

3-half-stars

This is a fun book to read whether you’re a ghost hunter or someone who enjoys real ghost stories.

REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

  • Chilling, true ghost stories
  • Good tips for ghost hunters
  • An entertaining book for all readers

Ms. Hull is the kind of ghost hunter and author that I admire. In this book, she mixes well-researched history, chilling ghost stories, amusing anecdotes, and first-person encounters with ghosts. There’s something for every ghost enthusiast.

This book features many photos. Some are excellent, and I’d question others. In a way, that’s typical of ghost research; no two people will get excited about the same photos. In fact, if I see too many startling photos, I question their integrity. This book seems to include a good balance of convincing, eerie and, “Well, maybe…” photos.

I especially like the stories in which Ms. Hull explores sites that have quirky folklore. Her visit to the Ticking Tomb is a wonderful anecdote. As preposterous as some ghost stories are, they’re always worth checking in person. Her experience is classic.

This is an ideal book if you like to read true ghostly encounters.

It’s also an excellent travel guide if you’d like to visit haunted places in southeastern Pennsylvania. Ms. Hull has even included a chapter about local, haunted bed-and-breakfasts. (My “gut feeling” is that Kennett House — in Kennett Square, PA — is worth staying at for a couple of nights.)

Some people are good ghost researches. Others are good writers. In Brandywine Valley Ghosts, Ms. Hull proves that she is both. My harshest criticism of this book is that it wasn’t long enough. I wanted more stories. The variety and personality in each chapter kept me turning the pages.

I look forward to reading additional books by Laurie Hull, and I hope that she’s working on another one right now.

— reviewed by Fiona Broome

Read more reviews of Brandywine Valley Ghosts at Amazon.com