Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ghostland is a book about the history behind haunted places. It is broken up into four categories: homes, commercial buildings like bars/brothels/restaurants/hotels, civic buildings like asylums/cemeteries/prisons, and cities/towns. I had expected to read about the hauntings of these buildings, the sordid details of the ghost's past with some irrefutable evidence that disembodied spirits are roaming around the U.S. What you actually get is the details of haunted stories connected to the buildings and then the actual history of the building that actually ends up disproving or contradicting these legends. Typical of oral history that is passed on from generation to generation, stories get retold, and often incorrectly. In some cases, they are plain made up. Colin Dickey gets to the heart of the stories. He follows some paranormal investigators, joining them on their outings, often coming up with butkiss. Where often the author refutes or corrects the stories once he's researched the buildings and the people connected to them, he doesn't necessarily come off as a skeptic, leaving the reader to decide if there are ghosts out there.
I found this to be a very interesting book that is well worth the read if you like ghost stories. Dickey covers subjects like the Salem Witch Trials, the Amityville House, the Winchester House, and various locations in New Orleans. The author is witty and has a comfortable writing style that keeps you engrossed and entertained.
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