Sterling Publishing, 2007
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.
This will probably be the first of many reviews of this author. Not only have I enjoyed many of Jeff Belanger’s books, he even has an encyclopedia (Encyclopedia of Haunted Places: Ghostly Locales From Around the World) with information regarding haunted places in different areas of the world. Jeff 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 in the next month located in Chicago, Austin, and several cities in Massachusetts. He currently resides in Massachusetts.
Chartwell Books, 2008
At first, I purchased his encyclopedia thinking he just put together a collection of stories in a book, and called it an encyclopedia, I was wrong. This is true to the word a haunted location encyclopedia where most of the locations have visiting hours and phone numbers available in case you would like to contact the location. While his encyclopedia is not complete, it is for those who would like to know where haunted hotels are located or set up a haunted trip down Route 66 (more to come on this topic).
The book I am showcasing today is World’s Most Haunted Places, a very in-depth look at twenty-nine, supposedly haunted, locations from as near by as Chicago, to as far away as Junee, New South Wales. The collection varies, and has repeats from most other haunted location books, such as Resurrection Mary, the Queen Mary, Tombstone, Arizona, The White House and the Catacombs of Pairs, the other locations were very new to me, and I spent nearly a day and a half trying to finish this book. I was shocked at some of the new locations, having never heard of them before, and went to look them up while at school towards the end of last year.
What shocked me the most was the inclusion of the Spaghetti Warehouse here in Houston! How many times during my high school years that my friends and I would spend our Homecomings and Proms going to this restaurant in hopes of catching one of the resident spirits in our cameras! I’m still trying to convince The Boyfriend, who has not been to the restaurant, to come along with me and search for ghosts. He stubbornly says no, not wanting to use the restroom and have the ghost of a child watching him.
I really do appreciate Jeff Belanger’s writing style. Being a history teacher, I have come to appreciate different ways of teaching history to my students, and one sad fact is that most of my students love a good ghost story. So I try to find different ways of incorporating ghost stories into the lessons as an after thought. In this instance, the Tower of London is a great example at Jeff’s blending of history and ghost stories. In the book, Jeff uses the historical backdrop of the Tower of London as a setup to its grisly past, starting with the Tower’s construction by William the Conqueror in 1066 – 1067. He even includes the fact that when referencing to the Tower of London, you are in fact referring to the grounds that house over 20 towers and buildings. He even scratches the surface on what is required to become a Yeoman Warder (the men who protect the Tower). He even includes eyewitness accounts when it comes to the haunting, trying to be as thorough as possible for the reader.
While I’m not going to divulge much of what else is in this book, I am going to say that I spent a good amount of time reading this book and thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. It is a very quick read for those who read fast, and a quick read for those who don’t (my sister finished it in less time than I had). In reading the Nook reviews for the book, many were under whelmed with the content due to a few locations the reviewers deemed were “tossed in,” as if he just chose locations randomly and put them in the book. I personally do not feel this way, and definitely would recommend those who like history and ghosts at the same time!
Barnes and Noble
Jeff Belanger’s Site