Ghosts of Seattle
(Schiffer, 2007)

Do you believe in ghosts? This amusing book is full of spooky tales -- hauntings, graveyard legends and personal accounts of ghostly sightings in the city of Seattle. Told in a wry and sprightly first-person style, Ghosts of Seattle is a travel book with a paranormal twist.

The author isn't much interested in a simple shopping trip to Pike Place Market. Instead, she's collecting weird tales of what happened there 80 years ago -- and might still happen today. A ghost plays piano in a bar after hours, and the Swing-Shift Ghost kicks up his heels in an old dance hall. From Capitol Hill to Green Lake, Athena details the spirited history of Seattle in walking tours (including a wander under the city streets) and coffee-shop interviews.

There's certainly very little scientific research going on in these pages (the first chapter is called "Suspension of Disbelief"), and Athena has a gentle way of letting true believers speak for themselves, such as the Seattle Ghost Hunters describing their interrogation of a spirit in a ladies' restroom. Rather than slow the pace with a lot of paranormal explanation, she includes a helpful glossary of exotic terms at the end of the book. She takes her topic just seriously enough to be enthusiastic about it, and writes a fun and unique guidebook.

One complaint, though: the book needs a simple map, so the reader can follow the author's journey around town.

review by
Mark Bromberg

20 October 2007

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