Facts, fanciful tales and folklore fill this fascinating book about America’s ghosts and haunted places.
Dave Thompson has put together an engaging and comprehensive collection about places around America known for their supernatural sightings and stories. In his introduction, Thompson addresses the question of truth and proof of the supernatural, the possibility that the stories and sightings are merely woven from imagination, but states simply that his goal is not ‘‘philosophical justification or religious solace’’ or even to try to answer ‘‘a question that has exercised both the human imagination and the human intellect for millennia’’--but merely the quest for ‘‘a jolly good scare.’’ Thompson has done just that with his tapestry of tales and photographs from the past and present that conveys an energy that is both eerie and exciting.
Haunted America FAQ reads like a storybook and travel guide in one. Thompson interweaves geography, history, and pop culture into a fascinating narrative. Curious titles such as ‘‘Apparently I Didn’t Wake Up This Morning’’ and ‘‘Not Dead But Definitely Buried’’ tickle the imagination and entice the reader. Chapters entitled ‘‘The Ghostly Gazetteer’’ punctuate the book and break down locations of haunted sites by states. The history of America is unearthed in these stories of
haunted houses and cemeteries--like the Dutch colonial in Amityville, Long Island, made famous by the movie
The Amityville Horror, and towns like Cripple Creek--once a mining town with an eerie history but now a gambling mecca in Colorado. In ‘‘The Hospital of Lost Souls’’, Thompson sheds light on the history of psychiatric care with its shocking lack of humanity--horrors that could explain odd happenings and sightings in numerous mental institutions. While the plethora of research and places is impressive, what makes this read so alluring is Thompson’s constant toying with the possibility of ghosts. He writes that although the supernatural cannot be proven scientifically and that ‘‘the greatest ghost stories have often been those that are themselves built upon the mere ghost of a story,’’ many of the events cannot be explained away by ‘‘abuse and trickery.’’ Just because the Internet says a destination is haunted doesn’t mean it is--‘‘neither, however, does it mean that it isn’t.’’
Thompson brings together a wealth of sources that makes for a persuasive argument for absolutely believing or at least wondering if ghosts do exist. Extensive references in the back of the book reveal an index, bibliography, and the list of locations where paranormal investigations took place.
Haunted America FAQ is a comprehensive and addictive history book and travel guide of sorts for ghost hunters, seekers of the supernatural, or those just wanting a great story.