A Paranormal Library – Change From the Norm

I am not changing the format of A Paranormal Library, I will still review those paranormal books that attract my fancy, that won’t ever change, but I’m just adding a new aspect to the column.  Since I have had time on my hands after the layoff from school, I have been reading a good ton of Paranormal Books.  Most of the books I’ve read have prompted me to explore the realms of Paranormal Investigation.

See, I’ve been reading about the paranormal since I was very, very young, and I haven’t changed my mind on the paranormal except for the fact that I’ve become more skeptic than my younger-self.  While I have all this extra time on my hands, I decided that maybe I should go on some personal investigations in supposedly haunted locations.  As of now, I’m in correspondence with Lloyd Auerbach and Jeff Belanger in regards to Legend Tripping and small investigations with my boyfriend and how to go about it safely and legally.

Patterson Road

Patterson Road

Anyway, the reason behind this move forward was inspired by my former students.  See, they finally found out about my blog and realized that I’m interested in the paranormal.  They began to describe some experiences they had on a stretch of road called Patterson Road.  They then encouraged me to go an see what may occur at Patterson Rd, while trying to be a good teacher that listens to her students interests, I couldn’t help but write down the location with the intent of researching the legend and the Road.

The Legend

Patterson Road is located between Highway 6 and Eldridge in Houston. This place is rumored to be the site of a Civil War battle and the bridge closest to Eldridge is haunted. If you park in the center of the bridge and turn your car off there will begin to be tapping noises all over your car. They aren’t just the sounds of your car settling. They are mostly on the sides and the back of the car. It is said to be the spirits of the soldiers who died. Be careful, this road is absolutely pitch black at night, however you can see cars coming from either direction at quite a distance.  

From: Strange USA

The Research

I did some of my own research regarding the idea that there was a Civil War battle in this area of Texas.  I know some Professors and Civil War buffs, they all agreed that there were no other skirmishes in the area other than Sabine, Galveston and Palmito.  Now, there were some Civil War infantries in Texas that were battling Indians in the area.  So it is possible that the area around Bear Creek was an old battle site between soldiers from the Civil War era and the native Karankawas.  This would explain the war drums, the running footsteps and gunshots.  Again, this is just my personal research, there could have been a minor skirmish of the Civil War in the area, but prospects are unlikely.

What I did find interesting though, was that there has been a number of traffic accidents in the Hwy. 6/Patterson Rd. area, some with fatalities:

The Following Information is from City-Data.com

    • Feb 13, 2008 02:40 AM, Eldridge, Patterson, Lat: 29.812944, Lon: -95.617275, Vehicles: 2, Persons: 2, Fatalities:1
    • Jun 8, 1991 06:30 AM, Patterson, Vehicles: 1, Persons: 1, Fatalities: 1, Drunken drivers:1
    • Sep 10, 1989 09:30 AM, Patterson, Vehicles: 2, Persons: 5, Fatalities: 2, Drunken drivers:1

I’m sure there’s more, but I have exhausted the Google Monster and the City of Houston.

The Oracle is Insane

Why did I do all this research?  What possessed me to spend time researching a stretch of road so infamous by teenagers?  Simple answer is, I’m curious.  I am planning a trip with some of my skeptical friends just to see what is up with this area. I will take pictures, video and sound recordings and post what I do or do not have.  I’m not taking this adventure to prove the existence of ghosts, or that something is going on at Patterson Rd., I’m taking this trip to continue my personal education in the paranormal and document what happens or didn’t happen.  Maybe I’ll take more trips to this location to see if we get the same experience every single time, or just to prove that I am absolutely crazy.  We’ll see.

Dreamers, what is your opinion regarding ghosts?  Have you been to Patterson Rd. in Houston, Texas?  Have you been on a Legend Trip/Ghost Hunt/Crypto (Monster) Hunt?

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 – World’s Most Haunted Places

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!

Nook

Kindle

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Jeff Belanger’s Site