Author: Colin Dickey
“Paying attention not only to the true facts behind a ghost story, but also to the ways in which changes to those facts are made–and why those changes are made–Dickey paints a version of American history left out of the textbooks, one of things left undone, crimes left unsolved. Spellbinding, scary, and wickedly insightful, Ghostland discovers the past we’re most afraid to speak of aloud in the bright light of day is the same past that tends to linger in the ghost stories we whisper in the dark.”
I wouldn’t say that I’m a horror movie/scary story buff, but I enjoy both of them very much. One of my favorite horror genres for both books and movies are hauntings. There’s something so scary (and kind of fun tbh) about the dead doing anything more than lying 6 feet under. However, if you’re looking for a book about the ooky-spooky hauntings of America, this book isn’t for you. Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places is about the psychology of why places in America become haunted at all. This book won’t tell you if ghosts are real. It will tell you that people have been haunting themselves since the dawn of America.
I admit, the thought of reading about why people make up ghost stories didn’t sound super interesting or fun in the beginning. The best part of ghosts stories are the ghosts! Why would I want to read about the facts behind them, right?
Wrong! I was pleasantly wrong.
The writing in the book was overall, good. Nothing great but it didn’t fall into the age-old non-fiction textbook trap. It kept interesting and was clearly telling a story even though it was not a fiction book. The story behind told was far more interesting.
What I’ve learned from this book is that the stories behind the ghosts that haunt every nook and cranny in America tell the history of this country better than any textbook. Ghosts have been created to warn children, solve crimes, and, comfort the living for as long as the word ‘ghost’ has been in the English lexicon. I liked that this book had little to do with the fantastic stories of ghosts all throughout America but rather the reasons why people have been so desperate to believe in them.
I would totally recommend this book to history and ghost story lovers as it’s a pretty perfect mix of the two.