It’s Halloween week, which means it’s time for supernatural tales. Some people have a thing for zombies, others hanker for sexy vampires, and then there are witches and skeletons and creepy crawly stuff.
For me it’s always been ghosts.
Ever since I could trick or treat, I was nuts for ghost stories. Sure, they scared the *%!!#! out of me and convinced me that something dark and terrible was lurking under my bed and if I dared to climb out from under the covers in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom it would grab my ankles and pull me under and….
But I still couldn’t stop reading those scary stories.
Well, in the spirit of the season I figured I should share my terror by mentioning one or two ghost books I might have read over the years. So I went went to the bookshelf where I remembered keeping a couple and realized…
Holy crap, I’ve got a lotta ghost books!
We’re not talking fiction, either. We’re talking a broad collection of non-fiction, swear-on-The-Bible, these are absolutely true tales of the supernatural, or so the writers claim. I have guides to haunted places in Britain (and yes, I spent one night in an allegedly haunted inn somewhere in Cornwall but saw nothing). I’ve got several books like Psychic Visits to the Past, which are supposed to be about people witnessing slips in time, but to me come across as scary ghost tales. Then there’s Ghosts of the Air, which are the experiences from pilots, and the inevitable books about ghosts of the Civil War or Gettysburg or just war in general.
One of my favorites is Holy Ghostbuster, which was written by J. Aelwyn Roberts, a Welsh vicar who describes his ghostly experiences from the perspective of a spiritual man who has been to many deathbeds and in many creepy Welsh and English country houses. It’s a classic.
I’ve got the omnibus from those two Ghost Hunters guys on the SciFi Channel, Ghost Files: The Collected Cases from Ghost Hunting and Seeking Spirits. If nothing else, check out the photos. I guarantee that a couple will creep you out.
Finally, there’s the book that instilled in me a permanent, paranoid fear of ghosts. It was the very old (second edition 1926), beaten-up, taped-together True Irish Ghost Stories (compiled by Seymour and Neligan) that my parents, for some sick, warped reason, left lying around the house when I was still an impressionable tyke. I read it cover to cover and haven’t been the same since. If you’re interested, it’s now back in print, and while some reviewers complain that its tales are very spare and newspaper-like, for me their simplicity and factual language made them all the more real, which made them all the more unnerving.
So is it ghosts for you, or are you a zombie or vampire or other supernatural fan?
Have a great Halloween.