Title: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Place
Author: Colin Dickey
Publisher: Penguin Books 2016
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: UnRead Shelf; Nonfiction Bingo - Spirituality (haha!)
Colin Dickey is on the trail of America's ghosts. Crammed into old houses and hotels, abandoned prisons and empty hospitals, the spirits that linger continue to capture our collective imagination, but why? His own fascination piqued by a house hunt in Los Angeles that revealed derelict foreclosures and "zombie homes," Dickey embarks on a journey across the continental United States to decode and unpack the American history repressed in our most famous haunted places. Some have established reputations as "the most haunted mansion in America," or "the most haunted prison"; others, like the haunted Indian burial grounds in West Virginia, evoke memories from the past our collective nation tries to forget.
I was expecting a book of collected ghost stories from around the United States. What I got was a beautifully told history of the somewhat unsavory parts of our history told through connections to ghost stories. I loved how Dickey connected ghost stories based in hotels to the uncanniness of hotel as domicile and yet not. I loved the discussion of the ghost towns of the west. I loved the chapter on the Winchester Mystery House and (partly because I’ve been there). Each chapter took a pretty well-known haunting story and turned it on its head connecting the underlying fears we have. I savored every page of this one. I liked it so much that it’s going on my permanent shelf.
Next up on the TBR pile: