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Haunted Heartland

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,282 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A fleeting figure dressed in a white party dress roams the streets of southwest Chicago. A long-dead Iowa college student treads the staircase in an old building. A ghostly, plaid-shirted workman plays peek-a-boo with a ticket seller in a Minnesota theater. A phantom wolf prowls Ohio's Jackson and Pike Counties.

For decades, journalist Michael Norman has been tracking down
Paperback, 504 pages
Published October 10th 1988 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1985)
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Kelso Kora The Chapters are long, but they have multiple stories in each chapter. For example the first chapter is 68 pages long, but has 23 different stories.…moreThe Chapters are long, but they have multiple stories in each chapter. For example the first chapter is 68 pages long, but has 23 different stories. It doesn't just have one paragraph for each story; it has a few. (less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  2,282 ratings  ·  84 reviews

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Sandy May
Jul 31, 2015 rated it liked it
A nice little collection of "spooky" stories. Mostly ghost stories, things I could see being told around a campfire. I don't know what to think about ghosts, but that doesn't really matter. The ghost stories weren't the ones that really weirded me out. The story about the unexplained fires and spontaneous combustion freaked me out. The story about the psychic detective was especially interesting. And the stories about weird reincarnations and body-switching REALLY freak me out.

There's no way to
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: folklore-magic
A large collection; divided state by state, of ghost stories from across the American Midwest. These stories are written along the lines of local folklore and legends. This is not a bad thing; but if you are looking for a more scientific analysis of ghostly phenomena, I would take a pass on this book.

But it is a lively and entertaining book, lots of stories, lots of local history tidbits. With a healthy suspension of disbelief, this is an enjoyable volume.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was younger. Some creepy stories.

I remember then one about the hand print that was permenately on a window and could be cleaned off. Another of a lady on the side of the road, she was really a ghost. And another about a really scary house with ghosts.
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, paranormal
I really had fun reading this. Yes, it's dated (the book was published in the mid 80's) and the stories are primarily from the 1800's to the mid 1900's, but that doesn't make them any less creepy or entertaining. I appreciated how the authors separated the stories into the states they came from, and the states were in alphabetical order. The stories weren't written very well, but they didn't feel repetitive or stale. Every one felt new and fresh, and I was never bored or wanted to stop reading- ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Um, ghost story historians?
Recommended to Meen by: It was a Freecycle & it will be moving on!
Update: Nope, I just can't do it. This is now the second book that I am purposefully not finishing. I was just looking through some other folks' shelves, and you know, there are just too many good books to get to. Or even not so good books, just not fucking Midwesterny BORING books.

About 1/4 of the way through: I am reading this book now 'cause I wanted something not-too-strenuous but scary to read before I go to sleep. But it's just not scary. It's basically just recounting ghost stories from
Nicole M.
Mar 27, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creepy
I remember kids checking this book out of the library in elementary school. In an attempt to get into the Halloween spirit this year, I checked it out again. I think these stories were much scarier in the third grade. The stories aren't particularly well written, although some are curious indeed. And it is always neat when you recognize a nearby site mentioned (for me the Summit mansion in St. Paul). Still, I ended up getting bored and returning it to the library...Maybe I will read the rest of ...more
Sabrina Rutter
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun read, full of very scary stories!
P.S. Winn
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This collection is best read with lights on and will leave goosebumps long after the last page is turned. The stories are based on actual events.
Jul 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Aside from an annoying addiction to exclamation points, the authors write well--so why do I feel the results are lacklustre? Somehow the stories are too cozy, too undisturbing. The problem is not one of content, but one of style: Hauck has covered some of the same hauntings, and his accounts have a kick which eludes Scott and Norman, partly because he does not try to spin them out into short stories, but also because he knows how to highlight a dramatic detail: for instance, in telling about the ...more
Jason Gusman
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a neat little collection of places in the Midwest that had odd things happen in them. A lot of the stories are centered on ghost/ poltergeist activity, or mysterious things that happened at some point in time like a spontaneous combustion. But there is a story in here that talks about 'The Light" by Watersmeet. Well, it's the exact same thing in another state :). None of the stories are really spooky or evil. A lot are innocent haunts involving civil war soldiers and normal thumps and ...more
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
It's October so it's time for scary books about things which go bump in the night.

I wasn't up for a heavy read (The Exorcist, for example). I needed something light and easy-to-pick-up-where-I-left-off. This fit the bill.

The stories are brief and cover America's heartlands. Some of the stories are old legends; others are (relatively) new encounters. A few were good enough to make me put the book down.

I liked the mix. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice book of scary stories
Steven Peterson
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Haunted Heartland By Beth Scott and Micheal Norman is a collection of spooky stories accumulated from the best part of America, The Midwest. Throughout the collection you will see the specific flavor that the Author broadcasts unto the reader as in some stories it will be creepy and detailed about some ghost then on another story the Author will switch to an almost comedic and nonchalant account of the haunting's being depicted in that story. It's a perfect read for October and I recommend it to ...more
A good, entertaining collection of ghost stories and legends from the Midwest. Stories are organized by state and are based on published reports, oral histories, and testimony of participants or their descendants. The authors are candid in their purpose to merely document - not prove or disprove - the veracity of the tales. A recommended read for those interested in local history, or "true" ghost stories.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Since this is a collection of stories, I have not read the entire book. Most of the stories were just fun to read but there were a few that really creeped me out. One of the stories was about a haunted house in northern Wisconsin. This house was profiled in Life magazine back in the early 80's and there was a picture of the house. I remembered back then being creeped out just looking at that house!
Sep 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoy ghosts
This is a pretty good ghost story book. I pick it up from time to time, usually aroud halloween or when the weather decides to turn just a tad bit cooler and its good to scare yourself. Sometimes though, this book gets into the history of the place more than it really needs to and I find my mind wandering. I read these for light reading, not for a history!
Dorothea Collyear
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If you love to tell ghost stories, watching hauntings on tv , THIS BOOK is For YOU! Each tell is based upon a family's true life experience with the OTHER SIDE. With all the chills and thrills and things that creep by our bed while we sleep at night, this book will definitely have you turning on ALL THE LIGHTS as your reading it.
Kim Ess
Jan 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Boring. More historical than haunted. The places written about are too popular and for for generations have been know as being "haunted". More folk tale than anything of substance.
Donna Krebs
Dec 14, 2016 added it
Shelves: horror
The stories in this book are interesting but I don't think any of them will really stick with me.
Marilyn Fontane
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, history
Haunted Heartland by Beth Schott and Michael Norman is a collection of stories that are related in an almost newspaper like form; they are not expressed (other than an annoying use of exclamation points) to raise suspense or thrills, but merely related in a straightforward manner. On the other hand, although there is a fairly extensive bibliography, they are not actually documented for any purpose than to show people told them. The authors even claim not to know whether any of this material is ...more
M. Langlinais
Maybe more like 3.5 stars. I love ghost stories, but there is almost too much here to process; by the end of the book I had fatigue. The tales are couched in much detail, but its not clear how the authors know these details or whether they are embellishing for the sake of atmosphere. And in some cases there is hardly anything worth reporting aside from one or two odd incidents. There is at least one story that I felt sure was entirely made up, not by these authors but by the owners of the house ...more
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brief writeups make this fun to dip into. A good bibliography, so you can read the sources yourself. Bought this to read on an airplane trip (worked well: the stories are interesting, but the book doesn't require a lot of concentration); now I read a handful of stories when life seems just a little too tame.
Kayla Anderson
Oct 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Fun for Halloween. It would be more interesting to read while visiting the places described, though its fun to read about St. Louis, Chicago, and a few other places that Ive already been. I find it hard to believe some of the stories, but I was also scared out of my mind at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado, and was pretty sure there were ghosts there, so who really knows?!? ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a nice collection of haunted tales that is part of a collection. Haunted Heartland, Haunted America, Historic Haunted America,and Haunted Heritage (forgive me I may have missed one). I love a good ghost story and this book fits the bill. Some of the stories are a bit more gripping than others but it is arranged nicely and overall is a great collection.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
This is a collection of short tales about paranormal activity throughout the Midwest. Most stories I thought hmmm. Then there were a handful that would have frightened me if they happened in my house. Good for a paranormal investigation group if they want to visit any of these sites.
Julie Akeman
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Spooky, creepy, ghostly tales to keep you up at night. The perfect read for Halloween or on a dark and stormy night.
Charlotte Ehney
A delightful collection of ghost stories and mysterious happenings. Most of the stories are from the late 1800s and early to mid 1900s.
Seth G.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is very well written. The author did a good job writing out how the bone-chilling stories played out.
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished!! Took me forever. I lost the book in the move and then well... It just took forever. Fun read!
Tammy Chaffins
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
great book of ghost stories! Now hubby wants me to read it to him. can't wait to start it again.
Patty Chapman
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
A fine read for a YA. Stories are typical of what one would encounter on a walking ghost tour.
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