After watching The World's Scariest Ghosts Caught on Tape one Friday evening a few weeks ago, my interest in "true ghost stories" was peaked and so IAfter watching The World's Scariest Ghosts Caught on Tape one Friday evening a few weeks ago, my interest in "true ghost stories" was peaked and so I scared up this volume.
Harry Price's The Most Haunted House in England is about a classic haunted house, Borley Rectory, which is a staple of many of the ghost and supernatural books I skimmed when I was younger. It is well-written in that competent British school boy fashion, with impeccable grammar, restrained wit, and conservative style.
Price explains how he was invited to explore Borley Rectory, which was built in 1863 by the Rev. Henry Bull and which had allegedly been visited by the ghost of a nun and by a spectral coach drawn by two headless men. Price details the history of the village of Borley and the tales of the haunted rectory; the legend of a nun who was buried alive at the site that would become the rectory for her illicit liaison with a monk; and spooky stories from various sources—those who lived in the house, their guests, and those invited specifically for the task of research into the hauntings.
Sadly, for its status as a classic in the genre of supernatural literature, the book is not really scary. Almost all of the activities described were of the nature of a poltergeist (or Poltergeister, as Price would have it) in the form of mysterious sounds, teleportation of small objects, movement of small objects, and, over a period of several years, the writing of messages and small marks on the walls of the house. There was surprisingly little about the spectral coach and ghostly nun, particularly seeing how these alleged phenomena were what drew Price to the house initially.
The book serves as a documentary history of the alleged haunting, and the author leaves it up to the reader to decide as to the veracity of the stories of Borley Rectory in light of all the documentary "evidence" presented. Many contemporary critics feel that Price and one of the couples who lived in the house (those to whom the mysterious messages were addressed) established this entire story as a hoax. It wouldn't surprise me.
In short, this is a high-quality reprint of a classic, if unconvincing and not very scary, early 20th century monograph on ghosts. The Time-Life Collector's Library of the Unknown is a classy series for those who are interested in the literature of the unexplained, even if only in fun, and this volume is no exception....more
Despite having hack writer and former Decaturian Troy Taylor at the helm, Weird Illinois—a companion to this volume—makes for great bathroom reading.Despite having hack writer and former Decaturian Troy Taylor at the helm, Weird Illinois—a companion to this volume—makes for great bathroom reading. The production values and colorful images more than compensate for Taylor's leaden prose and inane editorializing. I love this book so much that every time I visit my best friend's Chicago apartment, I make time to secrete myself away in the john and hunch over it. I got to wondering what I would think of the book if the writing were as good as the production, and so I decided to check out another book in the series and see.
Luckily, I picked an absolute winner with Haunted Ohio. The writing is great, and not just because I'm comparing it with Taylor's ham-fisted oeuvre. The three co-authors balance a love of a good scare story with a desire to know the available facts about any site they describe; it constantly amazed me how they could debunk a particular legend with one or two salient, documented facts without ever abandoning the joy of repeating the original legend." Who cares if it isn't exactly true?" they seem to suggest, "If you're reading a book of weird stories, you're probably into it more for the chill it send down your spine than for any empirically verifiable facts it may reveal." As mentioned before in the context of *Haunted Illinois,* the production values are superb, and the addition of stories supplied by readers and locals really capture something uniquely Midwestern about these weird people and places.
The sections of the book deal with various weird topics like local legends, ancient mysteries (e.g., the Serpent Mound), fabled people and places, unexplained phenomena (e.g., UFO sightings, Hangar 18, and the ever-popular pancakes from space!), bizarre beasts (including the Mothman), local heroes and villains, personalized properties, roadside distractions (like the Longaberger Basket HQ featured on the cover—it's the building shaped like the giant basket, complete with handles!), haunted places, cemeteries, and abandoned buildings and roller coasters.
A very fun, entertaining, and even (gasp) informative book....more
I'm certain that California could merit its own Weird series, but this isn't a bad single volume compendium of Cali's monsters, UFOs, hauntings, roadI'm certain that California could merit its own Weird series, but this isn't a bad single volume compendium of Cali's monsters, UFOs, hauntings, road side attractions, graveyards, ghost towns, new religious movements, and outsider art....more
Missouri evidently doesn't have nearly the level of weirdness needed to flesh out one of these books, because a good number of the topics in this voluMissouri evidently doesn't have nearly the level of weirdness needed to flesh out one of these books, because a good number of the topics in this volume were just not very interesting, let alone "weird." The book would definitely have benefited from a more in-depth look at the religious weirdness in Missouri, from the varied grottos and shrines scattered across the state to the alleged location of the Garden of Eden.
Features a few good stories and work by a few classic comic book artists, but for the most part the stories were obvious EC derivatives, sanitized forFeatures a few good stories and work by a few classic comic book artists, but for the most part the stories were obvious EC derivatives, sanitized for the approval of the Comics Code Authority....more
Stories and illustrations were good enough, but for me the best part of this book is the insightful and illuminating interview about paganism and witcStories and illustrations were good enough, but for me the best part of this book is the insightful and illuminating interview about paganism and witchcraft with Wiccan High Priestess (and attorney) Phyllis Curott....more
A fantastic graphic novel for adults and children ten and up, Ghostopolis combines skeleton warriors, mummy squirrels, and other crazy (and well-rendeA fantastic graphic novel for adults and children ten and up, Ghostopolis combines skeleton warriors, mummy squirrels, and other crazy (and well-rendered) creatures with serious reflections on family, mortality, love, and redemption. I suspected this would be a wonderful book by the time I was twenty pages in, and I was not let down. Highly recommended to kids and parents alike....more
Although the Batman origin includes some mystical elements (especially if you accept the Batman Returns, training in the "mystic East" tropes as canonAlthough the Batman origin includes some mystical elements (especially if you accept the Batman Returns, training in the "mystic East" tropes as canonical), they are usually downplayed in most Batman stories I have encountered. Not so here. Morrison steeps the entire plot in the occult; instead of relying solely on technoscience, Batman also uses his dreams, sacred geometry, alchemy, and meaningfully coincidental messages from his father in order to track down as stranger-than-usual villain. For my tastes, this was definitely a four-star story. Unfortunately, the artwork never fully lived up to the story, and so for the whole package I give it three stars. ...more