Sesana's Reviews > Weird Encounters: True Tales of Haunted Places

Weird Encounters by Joanne Austin
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's review
Oct 24, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: folklore, ghosts, horror, monsters, paranormal, nonfiction, travel

I'm a skeptic, and this book did not change my mind. There was at least one story that I'm sure was just the poor narrator being duped, and many others that just weren't convincing. A few felt like exercises in fiction. Many were just urban legends. The photoshopped pictures that accompanied many of the stories were more laughable than scary, and most of the "real" ghost photos were far from convincing.

But in the end, that didn't really matter to me. I wasn't looking to be convinced about the objective reality of ghosts. I just wanted a few spooky stories to read before Halloween. Here's where Weird Encounters actually delivered. There are a lot of stories here, and they cover all sorts of hauntings. Reading it as pure entertainment, it's enjoyable.

I also have to commend the author of the Waverly Hills section. Everything else I've ever seen and read about its days as a TB facility are way more sensational. It was nice to finally read something that acknowledged that, at the time, TB was a horrible, incurable disease, and that the doctors and nurses at Waverly Hills were doing their best for their patients, while risking contracting the disease themselves. So many other, more sensational versions try to use the body count as an indicator of something being amiss. This is true of so many accounts of "haunted" hospitals, that pretend that a few hundred people dying over the course of decades is shocking. The restraint shown here is pretty refreshing.

For fervent believers, and for those who can just enjoy the stories without worrying too much about how true they are, it's an enjoyable way to spend a few late October evenings. Best read late at night.
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