Thursday, October 27, 2011

Indulging in My Secret October Fascination

I have a secret. I don't share it with too many people. But I'm going to share it with you.

Every October I do something that I do only in that one month.  It's a ritual or perhaps a secret indulgence.  It's very out of character for me.  And maybe that's why I do it.  It's just so unlike me.

Every October I read ghost stories.  From the first moment that a crisp breeze hits and the first leaf crinkles under my foot.  I don't stop until the very last day of the month. And once the month is over the obsession is gone for another year.

I suppose my fascination is not far off from genealogy.  Many ghost stories are rooted in history.  Hauntings that take place in houses are certainly rooted in house histories. And I love that.

I'm not particularly worried if the stories are true or not. What I'm really looking for is a little bit of a scare. No gore, mind you, or horror.  But enough of a fright to give me goose bumps and keep me up a half hour longer than usual.

These are my selection for this year:

Historic haunted America by Michael Norman and Beth Scott
Haunted heritage by Michael Norman and Beth Scott

These two books are based in history and folklore and therefore might be greatly enjoyed by genealogists and historians. There are divided by states in the United States and regions in Canada.  The authors went to a great deal of trouble to research historical accounts from newspapers, diaries and letters.  While it was a fascinating read and introduced me  to some spooky real-life accounts from the past it wasn't, in all honesty, very scary.  I would rate it a 1 on the goose bump meter.

Ghost Hunting: True stories of unexplained phenomena from the Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman

Now this book was not at all what I was expecting.  I was expecting something really scary.  I must disclose that I have never really seen the show Ghost Hunters which originated with this organization.  I also must admit that I selected all three of these books after seeing them in my local BJ's Wholesale Club.  No further thought went into it  than that.  My curiosity was piqued so I indulged.

So what this book is about is really the story of the organization and their philosophies and employees.  Yes, every chapter is a ghost story.  And thankfully I did get a random goose bump or two.  But as they like to say at TAPS they are in the business of disproving ghost stories.  They say that only about 20% of the cases they investigate turn out to be provable supernatural experiences.  While I admire their honesty and business ethic, I was really after a good scare.  Would I read another TAPS book - yes!  But for the other components in the book, not for the thrill I am looking for. I would rate this book a 2 on the goose bump meter.

I didn't get a good fright this year. I still have a few days left so if any of you have any suggestions, they would be most welcome.  Remember, I want a scare, but nothing too scary.  It it must involve ghosts not vampires or other Hollywood ghouls.

Photo credit: Photo by muffet and used under the creative commons license.


  1. One of my favorites growing up was similar - Ghosts in American Houses by James Reynolds. I still pull it out occasionally.

  2. There's something cozy about reading ghost stories this time of year. Every Halloween, I read my stepfather's book, "Tales Told in the Shadows of the White Mountains". It's full of classic New Hampshire ghost stories, best read in a dark room with just one lamp. ;)

  3. I love ghost stories, especially the ones about lighthouses. I have watched TAPS. some investigations have been good. I liked when they were in Ireland checking out the castles.

  4. Cool, Marion. I used to read ghost stories until I read Steven King's "The Shining". Haven't picked up a scary book since.

  5. I get the urge to indulge in Edgar Allen Poe this time of year :) Love the image accompanying your post!