T.M. Gray,
Ghosts of Maine
(Schiffer, 2008)

When I read ghost stories, I expect to be a little creeped out.

So I was a little disappointed by Ghosts of Maine by T.M. Gray. The author tells entertaining stories in a light, conversational tone, but never once did I feel even the slightest chill from the narrative. It is, by and large, a comprehensive guide for tourists in Maine who like ghosts; the text reads like hauntings are just another perk beside the state's many fine restaurants, overnight accommodations, natural wonders, historical sites and quaint little towns. Gray even tells you what hours the various locations will be open for exploration, and frankly, there's nothing spooky about easy and convenient scheduling.

Gray's text is conversational and pleasant to read. Sometimes, though, it's easy to forget you're reading about ghosts. For instance, the entry on Maiden's Cliff, along Mount Megunticook Trail in Camden Hills State Park, relates the sad story of 12-year-old Eleanora French, who fell to her death there in 1864. It's a sad story, yes, but there's nothing ghostly about it -- until the end, when Gray adds a short paragraph telling readers that "Eleanora's ghost has been seen playing on the cliff from which she fell." Well, I should hope so. It's a book about ghosts, after all.

The book is neatly divided by counties, so it's easy to find haunted places based on where you'll be visiting. Gray's sources are exhaustive and the history laid out here is thorough; it's apparent a lot of research went into the work. For those who want a comprehensive resource for haunted sites for their own exploration, this book is ideal. It's just not creepy, and I want my ghosts to be -- well, if not outright scary, at least a little unsettling.

book review by
Tom Knapp

23 July 2011

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