Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ghosts Everywhere!

Two books about ghosts and haunted places have landed on my desk, and I have no idea why or where from.

I’m not a ghost-guy, although I have had a few run-ins with ghosts at our Fort Wayne operation.

But that’s neither here nor there.

I have Jim Harold’s Campfire: True Ghost Stories and Jeff Belanger’s The World’s Most Haunted Places to suggest to you ghost hunters and ghost aficionados.


Mr. Harold’s spicy accounts of ghost encounters replicate what others have bumped into on those rare occasions when a ghostie-thing is cavorting around.

Mr. Harold provides 256 pages, give or take, of personal accounts with ghosts, related to him by his podcast listeners. (Mr. Harold has two very popular webcasts: Campfire and The Paranormal Podcast.)

Each Chapter, there are 71, is a ghost tale, from listeners of Mr. Harold’s podcasts.

As I read them, I got chills from many – and I’m not a guy who chills easily.

Chapter 9 (Page 37), The Girl in the Attic, was particularly spooky; a Lindsay from North Carolina tells that she and a playmate ended up playing games with a girl who turned out not to be there. (The account is much better, of course, than my paraphrase.)

Chapter 22 (Page 77), The Shadow Knows, from Jeff in Indiana, tells about a shadow that had no source, but appeared to him, his wife, and others, while they were pursuing anomalist activity in an old building.

Chapter 33 (Page 116), The Thing in the Woods, related by Tim in Nevada, presents an incident that UFO aficionados might find intriguing, along with those who think the woods harbor strange and mysterious entities, of which Tim’s is one: a small light that transmogrified into a ten by fifteen foot tall Predator-like (from the movies) creature.

Chapter 53 (Page 180), Mr. Synchronicity, from Steven in California, provides a slew of events that go beyond coincidence.

Mr. Harold closes the listener-offered stories with what he “says” is the spookiest story of all – offered by LeAnn in Utah, involving an Ouija board, a Lava lamp, and Lucifer, the devil. (Page 247-8)

I’m not, as I wrote above, a big ghost story fan, but I liked this book and found the stories given to Mr. Harold by his fans to be credible and charming, in an “I’m not there” way; that is, I was spooked, like a person who visits a carnival’s haunted house, but knew I was safe, as the ghosts and spookies were just in the book, and not in my bedroom, where I read the book.

(Although at 4:30 a.m. I was awakened by a bump in the night which, after reading Mr. Harold’s book, brought my covers over my head. Yep.)

The book is published by New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc., Pompton Plains, NJ and can be found at or Powell’s (online) and other book venues, or via

Jeff Belanger’s The World’s Most Haunted Places [Revised] lists thirty-three places or sites where ghosts haunt humans, continuously, places such as The Queen Mary (ship), Hibbing High School, The Alaskan Hotel, Empress Theater, Suicide Forest (in Japan), The Tower of London, and more.


Mr. Belanger supplements his tales with historical references and citations, making his 285 page book a fount of certified ghost episodes.

Mr. Belanger is a superb writer, scholarly in his approach, which weighs heavily with me.

I was entrapped in the stories, and found that ghosts, or whatever they are, show up in the oddest places and the usual places where one might expect to find ghosts: The Catacomb Museum, The White House, The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Muncaster Castle, and the Waverly Hills Sanatorium.

Mr. Belanger writes that Boggo Road Gaol, in Brisbane, Australia has had occasion to experience ghosts – prisoners and guards alike.

”A guard killed in 1966 has been spotted in the jail by guards and visitors alike.” (Page 201)

And Ernest Austin, a convict who murdered an 11-year-old girl, went to the gallows, in 1913, even chuckling as he swung at the bottom of the 13-foot rope that killed him.

His laughter is said to be heard in the early mornings in the jails cellblocks. (Page 199)

The Skirrid Mountain Inn also had many hangings, promulgated by Protestant Squire John Arnold who emulating an Anti-Papist Judge working at the behest of King James II in 1685, hanged many Catholic and Catholic sympathizers at the Inn, many of whom still haunt the place to this day. (Page 157).

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon in Tombstone, Arizona has ghosts breaking drinking glasses on a regular basis. (Page 87 ff.)

And the Whaley House (museum) in San Diego, California, where the Whaley family, in 1856, built their dream house, on the site of hangings of ne’er-do-wells, suffered family tragedies of their own: child-deaths, a child suicide, child poisoning.

The ghosts of the family and some of those ne’er-do-wells continue to haunt the premises to this day. (Page 241 ff.)

Mr. Belanger presents a plethora of ghost accounts, all bolstered by historical notes that provide credibility for the tales imparted.

I found myself as intrigued by the historical asides as much as the ghost tales, maybe more so.

The book is awash in interesting stories, human-interest stories as news-media might put it.

It’s a good read, but also a nice reference book for those who like the outskirts of history.

It can be found at, of course, Powell’, and other book sellers, plus online at, the publishers site.

For more information, about the authors and the books, you might access

If you like ghost stories, these two books will please you (and maybe scare you) plenty.


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