Just when you thought you’ve heard all the ghost stories that are worth publishing, along comes an historian like David J. Pitkin, chock-full of new tales sure to satisfy everyone’s thirst for the macabre. Hans Holzer, long-time ghosthunter and veritable guru of the trade, provides a preface to Pitkin’s third book on the supernatural, declaring it “painstakingly accurate” and “fascinating and lovely”.
Pitkin clearly did his homework as far as research goes, but he never compromises the human aspect of each story; rather he combines fact and legend fluidly, shedding some emotional understanding on long-departed people. In Pitkin’s ample compilation, we meet a troubled young spirit who haunts a sorority house where in life she hanged herself after her fiancé was unfaithful; one ghost, attached to a 17th century Scottish grandfather clock, would shake the owner awake at night to give orders on the antique’s restoration. Pitkin divides all of the ghost stories into genre, not location, so you can jump around in the book if you are more interested in one type of haunting (such as hotel hauntings) than others (such as animal ghosts).
This is a great book for folklorists and ghosthunters alike. Although Pitkin does not share many personal experiences, nor does he conduct in-depth investigations, he does provide a credible and thoroughly researched background for almost every story. A reader residing someplace other than New York in the northeast may be disappointed that their area is underrepresented, but the book makes up for it in fascinating stories and solid writing. The best part of this book is its value; this is not some spaced-out, large-text compilation that costs a fortune and takes an hour to read. This is crammed with 194 great, original stories, and is a bargain at its price.
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