Arlene S. Bice,
Haunted Bordentown
(Schiffer, 2008)

Approximately 9 miles square, Bordentown, NJ, lies very close to Trenton. The author, Arlene Bice, ran a used bookstore/gift shop in the town, originally settled by Quakers, when she was asked to volunteer for a local "Ghost Walk" tour for a local charity. Boning up on the known ghost stories of the area, she set out to entertain and inform, but never expected the outpouring of personal experiences from neighbors and friends who had taken her tour. They were often willing to share the stories of their own house or business, and Bice compiled these into two books.

Her first book, Ghosts of Bordentown, detailed some of these. But the floodgates had opened, and more stories came to her from readers of the book. Haunted Bordentown picks up where the first left off; however, each book can stand on its own.

The author changes names and locations in the tales to protect the identity of her sources. This, unfortunately, makes any corroboration of the stories impossible, but the entertainment value of the stories alone make it worth reading. In this book, you will find tales of children running up and down staircases while the family cats watch in amusement, as though only they can see the spectacle. You will encounter a woman with no luck with plants who suddenly has the urge to plant a rose garden that thrives under the nurture of a past resident who grew prize blooms. Also found are tales of mischievous door slammings, window openings and unseen hair pullers and skirt tuggers.

These stories are told in the interviewee's own words, giving the easy sense that we are hearing them from the mouths of witnesses. Bice gives the stories as is and invites us to make our own conclusions about what has been read.

book review by
Wren Dillon

11 September 2010

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