A Paranormal Library – Discovering the Mysteries of Ancient America

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.


Stupid History: Tales of Stupidity, Strangeness, and Myth-conceptions Throughout the Ages, by Leland Gregory

In response to the last book I reviewed for A Paranormal Library, you know I love history, especially those that can make or break or ideologies that makes our country special. Stupid history, takes a humorous approach to the “myth-conceptions” that we and other countries have created about our histories. I did receive this book for free from Free Book Fridays on Nook, so there were some serious typos.

I like this book, the humorous approach Gregory takes towards our famous legends brings to light the misconceptions we have towards our favorite myths which were started by literary interpretations than actual historical fact. One great example would be that of Paul Revere.

We are told that Paul Revere rode to Concord, Massachusetts at midnight yelling “The British are coming!” Did you know that this is based off of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called “The Landlord’s Tale: Paul Revere’s Ride”? That’s right, Paul Revere ‘s story is a work of literary fiction! Paul never went to Concord, a contemporary of Paul’s, Samuel Prescott, went to Concord to warn that the regulars are coming (regulars being the name of the British Troops). Paul was captured by British soldiers on route to Concord and imprisoned till the next day.[Paul Revere House.org]

“Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.”

In the book, Gregory describes the fact that Lizzie was accused of killing her parents in 1892 and acquitted of all charges by a trial by jury. It was never proven that she did kill her parents. [University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School – Lizzie Borden Case]

We are taught (supposedly) that the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, but in my own personal classroom I did not make such claims, but in fact the Emancipation Proclamation proposed the freeing of slaves in the South (not in the North). Lincoln’s purpose for the Proclamation was to keep the union together whether the slaves were free or not. The 13th Amendment in fact freed the slaves. [Information from Senate.gov]

Lastly, I would like to sing (type) you a song:

“Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony, stuck a feather in his hat and called it macaroni.”

This song brings about memories of 4th of July, American Pride Parades, and for me: Hot Dogs. But this song is as old as our country itself, but when you read the words, they really don’t make sense do they? Well, the history of this song will help you understand its significance to American and British music histories. Written in Britain, the song refers to a Yankee (An American colonist), who is a Doodle (a sorry simple person), who stuck a feather in his hat and called it Macaroni (an Italian fashion). Basically an American fool who put a feather in his hat and thought he was fashionable. Kind of interesting considering that this was the colonists rally anthem for the Revolutionary War… [Somewhat history of Yankee Doodle]

This book has little bits of trivia in between passages that describe interesting historical facts or random pop culture events that are amusing, and informative. Below are excerpts from the book:

  • “People who lived centuries ago weren’t as stupid as we may believe they were. Chicken pox isn’t called that because people thought the disease was carried by chickens. It comes from the phonetic evolution of the Old English name gican [gee- can] pox or Itching Pox.” page 84.
  • “They’re some of the most famous footwear in history-the ruby red slippers Dorothy wore in The Wizard of Oz. But in L. Frank Baum’s original novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), he had her wearing silver slippers. So why did they change it in the movie? Because, when shot in Technicolor, red looked more brilliant than silver.” page 93.
  • “Myth: Romans used chariots in battle. Truth: No. As one must hold on to the reins while driving a chariot, they were absolutely useless on the battlefield. Romans used chariots only in sports and as transportation. Thanks to Hollywood for this myth.” page 107.
  • “During the turbulent times of the Nixon administration; House Minority Leader Gerald Ford was nominated by President Richard M. Nixon to replace Vice President Spiro Agnew who had resigned. When Nixon himself resigned during the impeachment process for his involvement in Watergate, Ford assumed his duties and became the 38th president on August 9, 1974 making Gerald Ford the only person to be vice president and president without going through the election process.” page 117.
  • “We’ve all heard of London’s famous Big Ben—but what is it? Is it the clock? Is it the tower? Nope, it’s neither, Big Ben is the name for the thirteen-and-a-half-ton bell inside the clock tower. It was cast in 1858 and named in honor of Sir Benjamin Frail, who served as commissioner of works when the bell was installed.” page 126.

Again, read this book if you’re interested in all things trivia, the reason why I put this into A Paranormal Library is because Gregory brings to light information that we’ve come to know as fact and completely rip it apart due to the fact that movies and literature have destroyed our perceptions of history. While some find discrepancies in the factoids, I approached this book as an interesting and trivia based read, not a history book. In fact, I have used some of the anecdotes in class, putting them on Power-Point at the beginning of class to get the kids thinking for the day, and citing not only this book but other sources for those who wish to pick hairs. Its a very fast read, and very informative, I hope you will enjoy!

Advertisements

A Paranormal Library – Ghosthunters:

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Copyright Career Press, Incorporated, 2007

Ghosthunters: On the Trail of Mediums, Dowsers, Spirit Seekers, and Other Investigators of America’s Paranormal World by John Kachuba

John Kachuba is a writer extraordinaire!  Having received advanced writing degrees from Antioch University, and Ohio University, he has been published many times in short story magazines and books.  He has also taught the subject of writing at Ohio University and The University of Cincinnati.  John is also an avid lecturer having appeared at such conferences as the Columbus Writer’s Conference, Florida Suncoast Writers Conference, Haunted America Conference, and Ghost Hunters and Spirituality Conference.  John has also been featured on many television and radio programs in the United States and internationally.  His book titles include: Ghosthunting Ohio: On the Road Again, Ghosthunting Illinois,Ghosthunting Ohio, How to Write Funny, and Why is this Job Killing Me? He currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife.

Taken from Ghosthunters: On the Trail of Mediums, Dowsers, Spirit Seekers, and Other Investigators of America’s Paranormal World by John Kachuba:

Facts and Trivia about ghost lore abound.  What do you know about ghosts? Take this short quiz to test your knowledge. The answers to these questions appear [at the end of this post].

  1. What is the name of Casper the Friendly Ghost’s girlfriend?
    • Boolinda
    • Wendy the Good Little Witch
    • Morticia
    • Lucy
  2. How did Marian and George, the ghosts from the 1950s TV sitcom Topper, die?
    • avalanche
    • car accident
    • suicide
    • drowning
  3. What type of vehicle did the Ghostbusters drive?
    • Hummer
    • station wagon
    • ambulance
    • hearse
  4. How many ghosts visited Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol?
    • 2
    • 1
    • 4
    • 3
  5. Who played pseudo-psychic Oda Mae in the1990 film Ghost?
    • Cher
    • Margot Kidder
    • Demi Moore
    • Whoopi Goldberg
  6.  According to legend, which one of these can’t a ghost cross?
    • running water
    • a highway
    • a cemetery fence
    • a mountain
  7. A “noisy ghost” is called a ______.
    • wraith
    • phantom
    • medium
    • poltergeist
  8. Which phrase appears in the Gordon Lightfoot song “If You Could Read My Mind”?
    • “about a ghost with a story to tell”
    • “about a ghost from a wishing well”
    • “about a ghost condemned to hell”
    • “about a ghost whose feet don’t smell”
  9. The spooky attraction at Disneyland is called _____.
    • Mystery Manor
    • Hill House
    • Haunted Mansion
    • Fright Mansion
  10. What do the letters T-A-P-S from TV’s Ghost Hunters stand for?
    • Trans Atlantic Psychic Society
    • The Abnormal Psychical Society
    • The Associated Parapsychic Society
    • The Atlantic Paranormal Society
  11. Who wrote The Exorcisti?
    • Stephen King
    • William Peter Blatty
    • Peter Straub
    • Dean Koontz
  12. A Person who can hear ghosts is said to be a ­­_____.
    • ghost whisperer
    • crazy person
    • magus
    • clairaudient

If you are able to answer these questions, post your score “x of 12” in the comment section!!  Answers will be at the end of the post!!*

So, how did you do?  Were you able to answer all the questions correctly?  Were those that you answered correctly from TV or Movies?  See, the purpose of this mini quiz was to establish the fact that most of what we know today about ghosts is information from “pop culture”, but some may have trouble with the information that are actual facts with the paranormal, such as questions 6, 7 and 12.  This whole first chapter discusses the basic information regarding ghost hunting, and who are these people that are ghost hunters. Basically, John Kachuba started this book to give answers to those people who question the validity of ghost hunters in various forms.  The book basically describes the different forms in which people go out to investigate the existence of ghosts.  For example, John describes the process in which the League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomena Research (L.E.M.U.R.) investigated the Smith-McDowell House in Ashville, North Carolina. Founder Joshua Warren has his group work with EMF meters which are designed to measure the electromagnetic radiation in the air, usually given off by TVs, radios, Computers, Cell Phones, etc.  Aside from John Kachuba’s research, in my own, I have heard that these meters can detect paranormal activity based on the premise that ghosts are made up of energy and these meters can detect that energy. Also, L.E.M.U.R. uses video and audio recordings in hopes anomoulous images or sound.  The point that John Kachuba makes with this chapter on L.E.M.U.R. is that more often than not, nothing spectacular happens on every ghost hunt out there, in the example of the book, all the team received were high EMF readings as the investigated, but even still, data is data, and according to Joshua Warren in this chapter, “’Sometimes it takes a long time, a lot of data, before you can say what’s going on at a particular location.’”

Another chapter focuses on demonology, or the study of demons and inhuman spirits. David Considine, who has been mention in several episodes of Discovery Channel’s A Haunting, is the founder of Phantasm Psychic Research (PPR) where they help those who are plagued with demonic infestations to the friendliest of ghosts.  In some cases, they have even taken objects from homes due to the fact that there are negative spirits inside them.  PPR has helped dozens of families, many of whom needed an exorcism on themselves or objects.  They see their work as social work due to the fact that many of these people need help, and they establish the fact that those who decide to go into this line of work need to be patient and also compassionate to those who ask for their help.

There is so much more to this book than what meets the eye. This is a great resource too for those who wish to start ghost hunting, but it is also gives the stern warning that you must prepare yourself intellectually in order to prepare yourself for what may be haunting the areas you investigate.  There are chapters in this book that discuss how you can become a certified Ghost Hunter, how you can sleep with ghosts, and a great interview with the great Ed and Lorraine Warren. I did enjoy this book, there were passages that I found tedious due to the fact that I have a history in photography, and I just cannot wrap my head around orbs.  Its just one of those things that bothers me, other than that, this book was a great read, and definitely be used as a tool for those who wish to learn different tips and tricks with ghost hunting.

Nook

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

John Kachuba

League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomena Research

Phantasm Psychic Research


[*] Quiz Answers: 1.b, 2.a, 3.c, 4.c, 5.d, 6.a, 7.d, 8.b, 9.c, 10.d, 11.b, 12.d.

A Paranormal Library – Your Neighborhood Gives Me The Creeps

 

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps, by Adam Selzer

Seriously, this book is not what it seems, you think going in it’s about a neighborhood covered in conspiracy of bodies hiding in the ground, and of developers hiding the fact from unsuspecting home owners until they dig a pool in their backyard and find caskets buried beneath the earth. Well, that is marginally true if you lived in the Urban areas of Chicago, Illinois close to Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. This is where our author Adam Selzer takes us on a ride from the point of view of an accidental ghost hunter.

Adam Selzer is a Young Adult novelist, having written books such as How to Get Suspended and Influence People, The Smart Alec’s Guide to American History, I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It, Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, I Put A Spell On You and wrote the screenplay for At Last, Okemah! Nominated for several awards for Middle School and Young Adult novels, and you can find a list of his novels on the Children’s Reading list and the Banned Books Reading List. He used to work for the Weird Chicago Tours as a tour-guide and a ghost hunter and is a self-proclaimed full-blown skeptic.

Adam opens the book with a prologue with a person on his tour asking whether or not he believes in ghosts. Adam adamantly believes that most things “(Except Bob Dylan)” are explained by science. While he does tell people that he doesn’t believe everything he hears, he does explain that he has seen some pretty weird things, but he’s not about to proclaim these strange happenings are ghosts. This sets the theme of book, the discussion of strange happenings, the scientific backgrounds of this pseudoscience, and how Skeptic Adam was roped into all of this because he needed a job.

The book was highly entertaining, a nice autobiography on someone who was (and still is) a complete skeptic who became a ghost hunter due to the fact the tour group he worked for, had some members who went and researched the history of the supposedly haunted structure and went on an investigation to research some of those facts. The Group basically tried to debunk the haunting and those that proved too weird were added to their tour. In the book, Adam tries to dispel the idea that all Ghost Hunters are serious investigators, in fact, he proclaims that most ghost hunters are just geeks gone wild!

The stories written in the book are testimonials to the experiences he has had in various locations in Chicago. One such experience happened in an old Funeral Parlor turned tattoo parlor. In the tattoo parlor, the owner, Tapeworm, had experienced some things that were either trying to kill him or were watching his amorous activities in his bedroom above the shop. Tapeworm even described an event that prompted him to call Adam Selzer’s group, known to those who ask as Spooky McGuffin and his Paranormal Posse, to come and check out the shop. Tapeworm claimed that whatever it was inside the shop tried to push him down the stairs, trying to kill him.

Adam stated that there were strange voices caught on EVP, and weird photos at this first investigation of the Tattoo Parlor. After the investigation, Adam received a call from a group member, stating that Tapeworm had passed away from a heart attack next to the stairs where he always felt something trying to push him down. In honor of Tapeworm, the group set out again to investigate the tattoo parlor, and as they were taking flash photography photos downstairs in the basement, in a far corner they spotted a shadow that looked exactly like Tapeworm. As Adam stated, he’s not sure that this was really the spirit of Tapeworm, but it sure did scare him.

As a skeptic, he knows that most people tell stories of ghosts because of the attention they receive, that, and ghosts do not go “WoOoOo.” He categorizes the people who do tell this kind of story as:

1. The Witness is lying (or stoned)(or both).

2. It is, in fact, just the wind blowing through a hole in the wall or something, creating an effect not unlike the one you get by blowing over the rim of a pop bottle or moonshine jug.

3. It’s not a ghost at all–it’s Old Man Peters, the man who ran the haunted amusement park! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

Yeah, he’s pretty skeptic.

I liked the way this book was set up, kind of like a selection of Essays based on his life as a Tour Guide, a starving writer, and someone who is trying to keep his mind clear of things like ghosts and other such nonsense while trying to disprove haunting, even though strange things happened to him on investigations and on tours.

At this one location, several people on tours have picked up something strange on their cameras and some children have even noted a ghostly child wandering the grounds.

Now, I made the mistake of selling this book back to Half Price Books, because I needed the money short notice, but I will definitely re-purchase this book, because of the part skepticism and part geek reference fest (trust me there’s a lot), you’ll enjoy this book almost as much I have!

PS. I’ll make it a regular post, I’m trying out email posting!

Update: I made this post look like the others with a picture of the book, thanks for being patient!!!

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

Adam Selzer

A Paranormal Library – Real Ghosts

Visible Ink Press (TM), 2003

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits, and Haunted Places by Brad Steiger

Brad Steiger is a writer of a thousand books, more specifically 168, from a wide range of subjects. He has recently authored Real Nightmares: True and Truly Scary Unexplained Phenomena, The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition, and Real Aliens: Space Beings, and Creatures from Other Worlds.

This is an amazing read regarding the subject and history of ghosts and ghost hunting.  What I found interesting is how Steiger separated the topics into chapters with wonderful titles such as “Haunted Houses and Apartments,” “Encounters with Glowing Entities and Ghost Lights,” “Spirit Parasites that Possessed,” “Restored Scenes of the Past,” and “Strange Beings that Masquerade as Humans.”  Or in other words, Haunted Houses, Orbs and other glowing beings, In-human Spirits or Malevolent Spirits, Residual Hauntings, Ghosts that Pretend to be Humans to Finish a Task.  While most of the titles in the book are by far strange and unusual, I have been absolutely fascinated by the information and personal studies Brad Steiger has conducted and researched over his career.

The information provided in the book seems very well researched, with small case studies to prove points.  I do question some of these case studies, however, as I am not sure that the studies made before the 1950’s were hoaxes or not.  Historically speaking, The Spiritualist Movement was a movement based on the idea that you could speak to those who had moved on.  One such famous Spiritualist is our own President Abraham Lincoln, who, along with his wife, went to several celebrity Mediums, such as Nettie Colburn, for séances to talk with their deceased son, Tad. The only thing I have a problem with as far as the Spiritualist Movement, was the fact that some people preyed on the emotions of their clients and told them things that the clients wanted to hear.  So, while there are articles included from the Spiritualist Movement, their credibility is far from credible, in my personal opinion.  Aside from the Spiritualist articles, there are articles regarding supposed hauntings from the past, including that of the Bell Witch, who haunted the Bell family until Mr. Bell died in 1820.  A chilling idea when the Bell Witch foretold the family that the only way she will stop haunting the family is when the master of the house died.  Researchers have hypothesized that the reason behind the Bell Witch Phenomena was due to the fact that John Bell, Sr. was committing incestual acts against his daughter Betsy, and in her distraught state, her emotions created the Bell Witch to torment her family who turned a blind eye to her plight.

Along with well researched articles, there are some questionable photographs that are sprinkled throughout the book itself.  Now while some people do believe in the existence of orbs, I personally believe that a photographed orb is just dust/rain/snow/sleet/pollen that was captured in the flash.  When I do go and take photos of supposed haunted places, I actually take a long exposure and if an orb is caught, you would know, because there would be a trail of light.  The photos shown here are in my opinion faked as many are either A. the camera strap got in the way of the lens, B. particles of some sort, or C. someone in costume to hoax the image.  In any case, here are some of the images I found questionable:

Helen Duncan

Franek Kluski

Eva C.

At almost 600 pages, with three appendices, a glossary and an index, this is definitely a book to read for those who want to brush up on the ghost subject, from the basic ideas of the 1800’s to what we today believe are ghosts.  This book did take me several months to read, due to the fact that I found some accounts fully disturbing, I can firmly say that the book is by far a great textbook on the subject of ghosts, even with the questionable content in it.  The content really does give you a look into the Ghost subject from a historical perspective to a modern perspective.

Nook

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

Brad Steiger

A Paranormal Library – The Serial Killer Files

Ballantine Books, 2003

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain

to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How and Why of the World’s Most Terrifying Monsters by Harold Schechter

SAW 3.14 - Cereal Killer

Via Flickr Scytis

While this is not your average “Paranormal” topic, I personally find the subject of Serial Killers very fascinating.  Also, with the upcoming Halloween celebrations, the subject of Serial Killers will be on everyone’s mind.  Such as kids dressing up in bloody clothes, carrying a cereal box with knives protruding from the mutilated box.  At least we know that the Cereal Killers are not pawns of a large candy company who are harassing said Cereal Killer’s nieces.

Aside from that, Serial Killer movies are on during the month of October, such as Halloween with Michael Meyers, House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects get more play time on cable TV, even if you watch the first movie of Friday the 13th, you could classify Mrs. Voorhees as a Spree Killer if anything.  The thing is, Serial Killers are deeply engrained into our American Halloween Culture, and if people do not find Serial Killers Paranormal, than you really do not know The Son of Sam.

Harold Smith, Power Puff Girls

Aside from our cultural standings, Serial Killers also come with the supposed fact that they are a modern creation, with humans being bored and finding ways to entertain their time, kind of like the bored husband with the catty wife in The Power Puff Girls who decided to become a Super Villain. Schechter and others agree that “Serial Killing” has been around since the beginning of human history. If we look back at history, we can see that killing was sociably acceptable only if the occupation fit and the rich were not the ones being killed.

Emperor Nero

For example, there has been evidence of knights performingmurderous, sexual acts on unsuspecting peasants, but we remember them as romantic, chivalrous do good-ers whosearched for the Holy Grail.  Nero was a famous sociopath who committed horrible acts on Christians (turning them intohuman torches for a garden party), and supposedly ripped out his mother’s womb to see where he came from.

Vlad Tepes

Vlad Tepes, or better known as Vlad the Impaler, was another such “celebrity” having been honored by the Pope for protecting the Christian World from the Ottomans and subsequently started impaling his captured victims on long pikes for the vultures to eat. Elizabeth Bathory is another, who tortured peasant girls in her torture chamber, killed them, dangled the mutilated bodies above a bath tub and bathed in the girl’s blood to keep her young and beautiful.  Even in the more recent century, during the Vietnam War, there were accounts of Soldiers, both the Vietcong and

Elizabeth Bathory

U.S. Soldiers, committing murderous acts on unsuspecting peasants. We can even account for Desperadoes in the Wild West of being serial murders while they rustled cattle, and were wanted dead or alive. The book is set up in a fashion where Schechter describes “what” a Serial Killer is, the history of Serial Killing, and its definition with case studies to prove his point.  He categorizes the Serial Killer into three specific categories “Serial, Mass and Spree Killers” with different categories under the first three with more examples through case study.  It is a very well-organized book, with easy to access chapters and great case study examples.  This book was way too hard to put down because of how informative the book was.

John Norman Collins

The case studies are fascinating and he discusses the more popular Serial Killers and those I never had heard of before.  He even briefly discusses the Michigan Murders and John Norman Collins.  JNC was an Eastern Michigan University student who killed seven women, each with long brown hair, petite with pierced ears.  All seven were raped, tortured, slashed, mutilated, garroted and bludgeoned to death.  The only reason why he wasn’t caught during his two-year killing period, was due to the influx of “Psychics” coming into “help” the investigators on the case, and inevitably sent the investigators on a wild goose chase.  He was eventually caught by an eye-witness who noticed that one of her employees was given a ride by JNC, and went missing a day later. What makes this case especially significant was that I am a graduate of EMU and went on a night investigation with some friends to a silo where JNC is said to have “dumped” one of his victims, and is haunted by JNC and his seven victims. In the investigation, we got an orb that night (even though it looks to me like a glare), a scary deer with red eyes, and me having to pee in the middle of the woods next to the scary silo.  Will I ever go on another night investigation again? Only if Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, or any of the other Ghost Investigators out there will ask me to tag along.  Just a little bit of information about me though, I am TERRIFIED of the dark, and to be more specific, I’m terrified of what is IN the dark, i.e. ghosts, demons, aliens, weirdos, what-have-you that we haven’t even thought about looking for in the dark.  A Weirdo I am!

Take this book as an encyclopedia of Serial Killer behavior, with wide-ranging information on the psychology, mechanics and the different cannibals of Serial Killer History.

Nook

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

Harold Schechter

A Paranormal Library – Ghosts of War

New Page Books, 2006

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

Ghosts of War: Restless Spirits of Soldiers, Spies, and Saboteurs by Jeff Belanger

Jeff Belanger is a lecturer on the paranormal, with features all over the United States.  He has also been a guest on numerous radio and TV shows, including Coast to Coast AM and The History Channel’s Haunted History.  He has several lectures this month located in Chicago, Austin, and several cities in Massachusetts.  He currently resides in Massachusetts.

I didn’t disappoint, here’s another book by the extraordinary Jeff Belanger!  I really do enjoy his books, and there are more that I have purchased recently because of his writing style and his attention to research.  As a History Major in college, this book really hits close to home with great information and really great storytelling.  I sure hope you all are excited about this book as I am!

This book was highly entertaining and very informative on different wars and their ghosts.  Jeff did AMAZING research regarding the information in this book, and set the wars chronologically, starting from 1180 CE.  He even included wars I never even knew existed, such as the Gompei War in Japan and the Black Hills War in Montana. Which I found out, was the war that contained The Battle of Little Bighorn.  I also was surprised that Jeff included more recent wars, such as the Bosnian War in the early 1990’s.  Each war is separated into a specific time period, and the battles are set in chronological order.  Like usual, the Civil War had more entries than World War II, and the book was a more US-centric than I was hoping for. I was half way expecting to see obscure wars that not very many people have heard of with scary ghost stories, but I do understand that in order to sell this book; you would have to include the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

As a History Teacher, I look for information that would be “entertaining” to the students in my class.  Sometimes using ghost stories keeps their attention, although, I usually phrase the ghost story as “Some believe,” “Legend has it,” or “Supposedly,” while giving the history lesson.  Surprisingly this system works, and I appreciate Jeff for giving such great ideas for a history lesson.  My students really do enjoy the occasional ghost story added in to the usual lecture, and I really only use these stories in times of great boredom. You know, when all the eyes staring at me are blank, glossed over and you could tell their minds have left their head, the stories usually pick them right back up, and they find interest in history again. I use this sparingly, and I add more useless information, tidbits of funny factoids, more than the ghost stories, but Jeff Belanger really does help me keep interest with my students.

Again, this is a very well researched book, separating the information on the War/Battle into what day(s) fought, participants, and casualty count.  Before Jeff ever gets to writing about ghosts, you hear about how different structures were built, how the war started (not too in-depth), and the outcome of the specific battle in which the ghost stories were said to have happened.  Then he gets into the nitty-gritty of the ghost stories which are about 20% of the overall passage.  But that is what a good storyteller and historian does, use the interest of ghosts to give an overall history lesson, which is why I really do love Jeff Belanger.  He disguises learning into a great story.

Akama-jingu shrine, Shimonoseki, Japan, 2006

via flickr asiabytes

For example, the story of Dan-no-Ura was told historically through lute-playing bards, like wandering minstrels in Medieval Europe.  The location is said to be haunted by the ghost of the last emperor of the Taira clan, who happened to be a child, his family and the samurai who tried to protect the child-emperor.  The war started as a result of revenge between the Taira clan and the Minamoto clan after the clan leader of the Taira clan had executed the leader of the Minamoto clan and sent the Minamoto sons home.  Those sons began this Hatfield and McCoy feud that escalated to the death of Taira Antoku, the boy-emperor of the clan.  The stranger part of this war is the fact that all those people who died in the Taira clan were all drowned in a naval battle at the site of Dan-no-Ura.  Also at the site is a cemetery and Temple, Akama-jingu Temple, a site that is revered by the Japanese people.  I won’t divulge much about what happens at Dan-no-Ura, but just the history itself was fascinating and far stranger than the ghosts.  You can visit the temple in Japan as we speak, but I am not sure of the state of the temple after the Earthquake and Tsunami in March.

If you need a book for Spooky stories, this is not one of them, but they are highly educational and entertaining.  I really do love Jeff Belanger, and I hope you Dreamers will soon appreciate his writing style as I do.

Nook

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

Jeff Belanger’s Site

A Paranormal Library – House of Spirits & Whispers

2005, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

I would like to preface my review by stating that I have purchased all the books I review for the public.  I am in no way being paid for my reviews, but I am sharing my favorite paranormal books for your reading pleasure.  The opinions expressed in these books do not always reflect my own personal opinion, but I do find these topics fascinating.  Your purchases of these books do not monetarily benefit me, nor do I gain points with your readership or purchase.  I am sure, however, that the authors do enjoy your patronage.  Happy reading Dreamers!

This disclaimer is in reference of my use of the word “paranormal.”  My use of the word “paranormal” refers to anything that is not normal, be it ghosts, conspiracy theories or aliens.  If the topic is not part of conventional beliefs, then it is paranormal.  So please do not bombard me with comments about how something is or is not paranormal.

House of Spirits & Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House by Annie Wilder

Annie Wilder lives in Minnesota in her spooky Victorian house that is featured in this novel.  She has been featured on numerous paranormal programs such as Coast to Coast AM and numerous television programs regarding her spooky house.  She has also written another book, which I have already read and will produce another review on it, and has written several articles regarding her experiences living in her house.  She still lives with her many cats.

When it came to this author, I read her books backwards.  As I was looking for books from The Paranormal Podcast, I came across the book Spirits out of Time, which is the second book in Annie Wilder’s series of her haunted life.  I read that book with absolute interest because my family as well has had a history of ghost stories with in our family.  I may share some with you all when I review the next book.  When I finally caught up to The Paranormal Podcast’s discussion on Annie’s book, I realized that I may have gotten the author correct, but I did not read the first book in the series.  So this led me to House of Spirits & Whispers: The True Story of a Haunted House, a surprisingly quick read for those interested in a house full of ghosts, cats, astral projection and ghost cats…yes, I did say “ghost cats!”

House of Spirits & Whispers start like any other “true” account of a haunted house.*  Annie was shopping around for a larger house to accommodate her growing family and many cats (by many, I think she had three about this time).  She had been shopping for quite some time, and happened to come across this old Victorian mansion that had been falling into some disrepair after its former owner had passed away in the house.  Upon her first tour of the house, she noticed that the old mansion had been split into three different houses, complete with three kitchens and bathrooms.  Upon asking if these changes were reversible, she learned that the old owner had done this remodel to make more money on the house, but after a while everyone moved out, he couldn’t keep people in the house, his wife died, and then he died as well.  It was love at first light for Annie; she knew this was the house of her dreams, but it was also well beyond her means.  She did put a bid in, along with another couple, their bid won, but a few days later, the realtor told Annie that she had the house since the couple pulled out their bid.

For the first few weeks, Annie, her family and her then boyfriend were all busy redoing the house, taking apart walls that were placed to create the three apartments, dismantled kitchens and they started to repaint walls and move their furniture in.  In those weeks no one started to notice the fact that the house was haunted.  There those feelings of being watched, but nothing further than that.  It wasn’t until the cats moved in that they started noticing something was amiss in the house.

The cats would spend their time playing an invisible game, and at one point, one cat would stand on its hind legs (an action the cat never used to do before the move) as if it thought it were human.  This wasn’t an isolated incident either, there would be several other times the cat would recreate this action.  That’s about the time the family started noticing the apparitions.

Annie goes on to discuss the different apparitions in her house, including the presence of the last owner of the house, Leon.  She would see his apparition several times in the house.  She came to understand that he was here in the house because it was something he held dear to him, and he protected house from anything remotely evil.  One story stood out to me most though, and that was of Annie and her cat Sugar Plum.  Apparently when Sugar Plum goes to clean herself, she is so loud that you could sometimes hear her from the other rooms in the house.  This one night, Annie would tell Sugar Plum to quit licking, the cat would stop for a few seconds, and in true stubborn cat fashion, she would start over again with vengeance.  Annie finally got up to yell at Sugar, because the cat was keeping her up, and from the furnace a loud, deep voice yelled “SUUUGARRR STOP!” Annie and the cats looked at the furnace and Annie promptly went to sleep, scared.  I’m sorry, but when some inanimate object yells at my cat to stop doing something, neither I nor the cats will be sleeping in that house.  I would be driving to my mother’s house to sleep with my cats.

While many reviewers felt that this book was underwhelming, I do agree with them on some part, because we really never did find out why the house would be an ideal candidate to be haunted, just hypothesis after hypothesis.  Also, Annie could never really figure out who some of the souls were that haunted the house.  She also set up the book towards a climactic ending, but even then, she just sets the bar high to be let down again.  While these negatives seem bad, they really were not, I’m a cat lover myself, and I enjoyed the book for the different experiences that did happen, some of them were so spooky that I fell asleep with my lights on, much to the chagrin of the boyfriend.  He wasn’t too pleased with the book based on that effect.

The book was very enjoyable, but I was a bit upset at the fact that some of the pictures she took were not displayed in the pages, and if they were, the Nook version did not show them.  Although, on her website I discovered that she in fact did post EVPs** (Electronic Voice Phenomena) with the research team she had come investigate her home.  Check them out here.……

Other Links:

Paranormal Podcast

Nook

Barnes and Noble

Kindle

Amazon

Annie Wilder’s Site

 

Regards,

The Oracle of Dreams


…*I use “true” to distinguish the fact that some authors do in fact fabricate their experiences in their haunted house.  I’m not saying that Annie’s experiences are false or fabricated in any way, but this is the same model used in many haunted house stories.  Doubt me? Just watch A Haunting on the Discovery Channel or purchase the series from Discovery.com, a good 90% of these stories start the exact same way.

……**Electronic Voice Phenomena is the result of recording sounds that are not directly heard by the human ear.  With basic recorders or sensitive microphones, a paranormal investigator can hear sounds, they did not directly hear, that answered their questions, or sounds of someone or something talking.