The books below are true ghost stories. You can click on the book picture to go to its Amazon.com page. Ratings are from 1-5 gravestones. Comments are merely my opinion - you may disagree.
Sometimes it's fun to give yourself over to an author's imagination and curl up with a chillingly good haunted house novel - here's a link to another book page of Haunted House Novels with reviews of some fiction that may not be very well known but are worth your attention.
by Jim O'Rear, 2011
As most of you, I've seen all the movies included in this book and thought it was going to be a dry rehash of the backstories, be they based at all in fact or complete hoaxes. Not at all! The author is a talented writer who made each entry interesting. Even the chapter about The Amityville Horror, with which I am very familiar regarding its being a total fabrication was good. I had thought I'd be skimming or even skipping it, but read the whole entry. There are 10 chapters/movies which include The Exorcism of Emily Rose, An American Haunting, Amityville Horror, The Entity, Dracula, The Changeling, The Exorcist, The Haunting in Conn., The Mothman Prophecies, and Audrey Rose. I was very surprised to find that The Changeling was actually written based on events experienced by Russell Hunter, a playwright, when he rented a mansion in Colorado! This is a very well done, entertaining book. It has many photos of both scenes and posters of the movies it covers.
by Joe Teeples, 2010
If you're looking for a guide to haunted spots where you live or will be visiting, this book is the ideal style - tons of entries with pithy descriptions and lots of photos. Definitely more of a guidebook than a book to read for creepy narratives it accomplishes its goal very well. There's also an interesting section at the end that addresses graveyards and iconography of gravestones. It got four gravestones as a rating instead of 5 only because Alaska only gets 3 pages, and Portland OR gets 11 - the book really is for those interested in Seattle or Washington state. 224pp. including tour and web resources and an index.
by Thomas D'Agostino, 2007
This 160pp book includes photos and an index. It combines current sites that the author has visited and also recounts local/old legends. While many of the chapters are very short, the tradeoff is that there are many entries.
Presented by Weird U.S., Compiled by Joanne Austin, 2006
Each chapter is written by a different author, some unknown to me and some that I (and you) find recognizable such as Troy Taylor and Joseph A. Citro. All kinds of hauntings are covered in sections assigned by type. There are haunted houses, eateries, hotels, school, graveyards and many more. I thought the different "voices" and perspectives of all the authors kept the book interesting right through to the end. I read all 300+ pages without getting bored at all. Hardcover, with color photos throughout.
by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, 2007
This book is by the co-founders of TAPS which is the paranormal investigation group featured on SciFi Channel's show "Ghost Hunters." Jason does most of the writing while at the end of each chapter is a short "Grant's Take." How TAPS came into existence is covered, as well as many of their earliest investigations before the TV show started. Even the chapters that cover the investigations seen on the show are interesting to read and revisit. The book moves quickly and has an informal, easy going feel to it. I do wish there had been more "behind the scenes" stuff but would still recommend this book. It is in paperback, 273 pages with a photo insert in the center.
by Troy Taylor & Len Adams 2006
I liked this book which gives the "behind the scenes" happenings for Troy Taylor and his colleagues who make up the American Ghost Society in Illinois. Taylor and Adams each write their own chapters with their personal anecdotes from their being guides for ghost tours and their investigations. Written in a relaxed, comfortable manner, it's fun to hear what the "experts" experienced or thought as they pursued their fascination with the paranormal. At times Troy Taylor gets a little TOO into the history and background of sites (there was more information than I wanted/needed to know about the Lemp Mansion and the U.S penal system/Eastern State Penitentiary) but in general I enjoyed this book. I should note that I did not read the first "Confessions of Ghost Hunters" volume, but may remedy that....
Edited by G. Bivona, D. McConachie & M. Whitington 2003
This 255 page book is comprised of many stories in varied settings and situations by authors from all walks of life. In that regard, it is a book that will be interesting and entertaining to many. It becomes quickly obvious, however, from reading the short bios after each tale, that all of the contributors are professional writers. On top of that, in the intro the three editors thank the Editor for "nipping and tucking, tweaking and adjusting each and every word, every comma, every nuance...." and it shows. Unfortunately, for me, it shows in how polished and yes, at times, artificial sounding the stories are. This book is the complete antithesis of books like "I Never Believed in ghosts Until..." and "The Ghost Next Door" in which the tales are natural sounding as if a friend were relating them to you rather than feeling like someone is reading from a many-times performed script. While I really enjoy when a "ghost book" is well written, this one takes it to a new extreme. Having said all this, again, the content is broad, some chapters have more substance than others, and I'm sure that there are many readers who will enjoy this book and disagree completely with my comments!
by Marie Jones, 2006
Don't let the subtitle of this book scare you - it is made very readable and easy to understand by the author. This is truly the most fascinating book on the paranormal that I have read in ages. I have long believed that many "unexplainable" phenomena have some scientific basis that we just don't know about yet. This book opens so many possibilities and new ways to view paranormal phenomena. I have no background in physics at all and found the basic tenets of quantum physics mind blowing and so intriguing. One thing I liked about this book is that it does not offer pat explanations for everything, but offers plausible reasons for many events while raising more "hmmm...so then what if...?" questions for me to chew on at the same time. I would categorize this book as a MUST for anyone seriously interested in the paranormal.
by David J. Pitkin, 2006
This book has no shortage of entries, covering a wide variety of settings of hauntings. Well written with many accounts told firsthand, this has something for everyone. Reading through this book it becomes clear that not only are there different types of hauntings, but that people's reactions to them can be just as varied. Lots of photos and an index, 352 pp.
by Mitchel Whitington, 2005
This is a refreshing and delightful book written by someone who is obviously as intrigued by ghosts as many of us "ghost aficionados"! He spent much time and money traveling to every state in the country to visit a haunted location- most of them inns or hotels. Mr. Whitington's chapters convey his enjoyment and enthusiasm and make this a fun read as well as a travel resource. I guess if I had to come up with some shortcoming, my only nit-picky one would be that I would have liked more photos, especially since he visited each site in person. 241pp., a small photo for most entries.
Dan Gordon & Gary Joseph, 2004
Ghosts of Old Louisville is a well written and interesting book about a unique neighborhood. The area of Old Louisville KY, filled with Victorian structures was destined to fall to developer's bulldozers in the name of modernization when the whole area was made a protected Preservation District that covers several square miles. Mr. Domine has scouted out many ghosts who remain as well, and has written an entertaining book about his neighborhood which includes his own firsthand experience when he moved there. After each chapter the author adds some information about a historical site that relates to the episode described, and is also haunted. Worth reading for the history and tales, this book has 191 pages and photos.
Phantoms of Old Louisville is the followup book and as enjoyable as the first with lots of interesting accounts of ghosts. It is well written with many first hand accounts of encounters. 190pp. with photos.
by Norma Elizabeth and Bruce Roberts, 1999
This book presents well done writeups of 13 haunted lighthouses, from Michigan to the Atlantic Coast down to Florida. Detailed directions and contact info are provided. Excellent photographs accompany each chapter. The authors' love of and respect for lighthouses is apparent and contagious. 144pp.
By Antionette May, 1990, 1993.
This book is organized by geographic area. Ms. May does her own investigating and combines history, witness reports, and her own impressions in her coverage of a variety of sites. She also frequently has a psychic accompany her, notably Sylvia Browne. I liked this book very much. It is 231 pages and has many photos. My only (small) complaint is that a map page for each of her regional chapters with locations pinpointed would have been nice.
by Joyce Elson Moore, 1998
Moore's book has lost of entries, organized by geographic region and includes a map in the front, which is helpful. Each chapter has a general description of the place, then "Haunt History," "Visiting the Site," and "Directions." The chapters are short and to the point, but have all the information you'd need. I think this book would be a useful resource to find hauntings in a particular area you're interested in or will visit.
by Barbara Smith, 2000
Barbara Smith has written several books about ghosts in Canadian provinces and now turns her hand to the Pacific Northwest. She covers a variety of spooks, from haunted houses to inns, schools, roads, and theaters. While this book will not give you as many sites you can visit as some other books do, it will give you enough. Many of the stories are not contemporary but are still interesting to read. So, while not what I would view as a real "guidebook," this is still a good book to curl up with on a stormy day. 230pp, some photos.
Ghost Stalker's Guide to Haunted California, by Richard Senate, 1998.
Ghost Stalker's Guide is not as well done as Antoinette May's book on CA, but may prove a useful book to have. Its contents are organized by type of site (lodgings, vessels, missions, restaurants, etc.). Many of the chapters are fairly short, averaging two full pages. Some entries (such as Whaley House and Alcatraz) cover only his own visit, neglecting others' ghostly experiences in those places. There are no photos of each site - one picture is at the start of each topic chapter. Senate does list lots of haunted places and this book should give you a long itinerary of locations to visit! 176 pp, with index.
by Nate Riddle, 2011
Not your typical haunted places entry style book, this is more a physical and intellectual exploration by the author regarding the nature and existence of ghosts. He has a chapter at the beginning of the book where he interviews a professor of parapsychology, and then a later chapter where he interviews a skeptic. Both are very interesting and raise questions for the author (and hopefully the reader as well). While I could have done without the lengthy chapter on an urban legend style local haunting, I liked his account of his stay at the Menger Hotel with his wife and his brother. It was not just about paranormal experiences, but he recounts much of his stay as if he were talking to you at a barbecue, telling you about the whole trip. One problem I did have with this book is the chapter where he consults a psychic. He has given her some questions ahead of time, and though she gets no answers correct and gives him "cold reading" guesses that I could have come up with (eg name of a family cat, "I'm getting the word 'scat' in connection with it..." and never came up with a name close to a real name) Mr. Riddle writes that she had been "unusually accurate." Okay, I won't get started on this aspect... Other than that chapter I liked this book for its different style and approach where the author "thinks out loud" about the issues involved in believing or disbelieving in ghosts.
by Kathleen Tedsen & Beverlee Rydel 2008
This book is different from the typical ghost books in that it has a web interactive component. The authors accompanied paranormal investigative groups, wrote about the investigation and then put some photos, video and EVPs on their web site where they can be accessed with a password from the book. The authors were quite diligent in their research on each site, and go into great detail on a property's history and each investigation as it proceeded. There are ten sites/chapters, and photos (many of them of the investigators). An interesting book for those who want to feel what being on an investigation firsthand is like.
by Jason Offutt, 2007
As the author says in his afterword, he spent a year driving thousands of miles and had a few unexplained experiences and still isn't sure if he believes in ghosts. This isn't a surprise - his attitude is to be open with some skepticism in a pleasant down to earth way. The book is written in a manner that feels like the author is talking to you. He does devote a lot of space to history, and his love of this subject is apparent especially in his section on Civil War sites. 182pp with photos.
by Mark Alan Morris, 2003
This is a refreshingly simple and entertaining book of true ghost stories collected by the author from people he knows. Most of the narrative is in the words of the subject of each tale, so each story has its own "personality." There are no photos, but I didn't feel a need for them. The chapters are short, but are to the point and not filled with extraneous history or details just to add pages. The book is short, and I would have liked a few more stories (who doesn't always want more?!) but I would still recommend it. It's 100 pages of text with several blank pages at the end. Maybe you could use them to record your own spooky encounters!
by Kriss Stephens, 2004
Ms. Stephens was the paranormal investigator used by the show Fear on MTV. In this book she covers varied sites, from her haunted childhood home to Gettysburg, and back to her native New Orleans. I found the most interesting chapter to be about her MTV show related experiences. Toward the end of the book, some write-ups began to feel repetitive to me. I must say that this author gets the prize for most photos included in a book. Regarding the photos, though, I really would have liked captions for them and also tired of seeing shot after shot of an orb. I know some people think they are spirits, but I am of the camp that believes they are dust, dirt or insects. In spite of some of these shortcomings, I did enjoy this book overall, and liked Ms. Stephens relaxed style of narration. This book is 234 pages.
by Ellen Robson and Dianne Halicki, 1999
If you're even thinking of traveling along Rte. 66, this book is for you. It has (not coincidentally?) 66 listings of spooky stops you can make as you travel. This guide has great maps, both general of the whole Route, and for each state so you have a very good idea of where these sites are. Each ghostly entry is 2-3 pages, with a good photo, description and directions. The book is paperback, 190pp including an index.
by Christopher Coleman,2002
This book presents tales that are of interest for their supernatural content, while blending in an appealing folklore/historic slant. Not only ghosts are covered, but voodoo, witches, Native American tales/legends and even an entry about werewolves. Organized by state, the book is 278pp, and does not include photos.
by Sheila Turnage, 2001
This is one of those guide books that is not only very helpful to find a haunted inn to visit, but is fun just to read or browse through. Each entry is not long, but is interesting and the author includes many, many places. Her region covers from Louisiana/Miss. over to Florida, and up north to Virginia and Tennessee. 228pp, includes photos and a nicely done index.
I Never Believed in Ghosts Until...
This is an absolutely wonderful book which resulted from a request by USA Weekend magazine for reader's own ghost stories for a halloween issue. They received more than five hundred stories but only had room to publish six. They took 100 of the best tales and compiled them in this book. The stories are varied, chilling and told in as many styles as there are entries. One of my favorites.
Green Mountain Ghosts, Ghouls & Unsolved Mysteries, by Joseph A. Citro. 1994.
This book covers all kinds of oddities in Vermont, not just ghosts. It is organized by type of story, with major headings such as: Vermont's Ghostly Gallery, Here Monsters Dwell, Alien Skies, and Lingering Mysteries. I found this book well written, intriguing and fun to read. In 1996 Mr. Citro published another book, Passing Strange which covers all kinds of strangeness throughout New England and was also very entertaining.
by David J. Pitkin, 2002
This 396 page book covers all kinds of hauntings including houses, inns, colleges, apartments, lighthouses, cemeteries, restaurants, military sites and inanimate objects. While the book seemed slightly weighted toward coverage of upstate New York, all areas of the Northeast are covered. Whether you are looking for places to visit, lots of interesting and spooky tales to entertain, or both, this is a worthwhile book with tons of entries. It also has a thorough index and lots of photos.
by Leslie Rule, 2001
Organized by type of ghost, Ms. Rule covers a wide breadth of hauntings (including the house she grew up in). Chapters include ghosts of children, animals, schools, the Gold Rush, and watery sites among many others. She visited each place, and each entry conveys her personal interest. The writing and photography (which she does herself) are very good and there are interesting sidebars throughout the book. This would be a nice book to curl up with on a gray weekend day. 249pp with photos.
by Ed Okonowicz, 1995
Haunted Ohio (series), by Chris Woodyard, 1991.
This series by Ms. Woodyard consists of four books. The accounts in the Haunted Ohio books are entertaining and interesting. The author is a "ghosthunter" and many of the episodes are places she has explored. Her chapters are organized by type of haunting, such as haunted clothing or college ghosts. In Haunted Ohio II she has a chapter on haunted inns and taverns, including the Buxton Inn which many people are curious about. Her books have no photos, and run close to 200pp.
by Frederick Stonehouse, 1997
In this book Stonehouse writes about all sorts of paranormal phenomena of the Great Lakes. After many years of compiling maritime history about the lakes, Stonehouse realized he had amassed many odd tales and set them down in their own volume. He writes about haunted lighthouses, ghostly ships, sea serpents, superstitions and more. This book is very well written, with interesting tales and information about what life was and is like on the lakes. The book is almost 200 pages, with photos, an index and a bibliography.
by Robert James Wlordarski and Anne Powell Wlodarski, 2001
I bought this book because of its impressive length and amount of content - over 500 pages, and over 500 haunted locations in all 50 states. Unfortunately, each entry is quite brief and the entries are summaries of others' research and writeups. Although the authors give credit and citations, the descriptions are dry and sterile with no sense of personal involvement or excitement. On some double page spreads parts of as many as four sites appear. If you want a "telephone book" of locations, this will do it for you, but my advice would be to go to the authors' cited sources directly for books that will give you more indepth descriptions and also convey a sense of enthusiasm. 541pp, no photos.
by Nancy Roberts, 1997
This is an entertaining book covering many hauntings in Georgia. It is organized by geographic area and has some photos. Nancy Roberts is a well-known writer of ghostly folklore and her chapters in this book are written in a storyteller's style. The book is not only helpful in identifying haunted places, but is enjoyable just to read the tales.
by Robin Mead, 1995.
Hotels/inns in the U.S. and Canada are described. Most states are included. Descriptions of the hotel are given, then the nature of the haunting. At the end of each entry Mead lists the address, telephone, facilities and price range. Nicely done with line drawings of the buildings for some of the listings. 218pp. At the end, the author lists other haunted places that he did not write chapters on. A handy reference book to have, especially if you like to travel.
by L'aura Hladik, 2008
The author does several things right, such as being a good writer, visiting the sites she writes about, and having some photos. The disappointment is that it doesn't make this a rewarding book to read. There's very little other than orbs for her to report about any site she visits. Hearing about all these orbs gets quite tiresome especially, if like me, you don't believe that orbs are spirits. This book looks promising, but is really more air than substance.
by Mercedes Yaeger, 2009
This book is as much about the history of Pike Place Market in Seattle as it is about its haunted sites. The author grew up there and her family has been intricately involved with the Market for decades - that emotional connection runs strongly through this collection. The descriptions of the hauntings are interesting and strongly set in historical context. I should note that the author is co-owner of Market Ghost Tours, and if visiting Seattle consider adding it to your activities.