Patrick M. Mendoza, |
Between Midnight and Morning:
Historic Hauntings and Ghost Tales
from the Frontier, Hispanic and
Native American Traditions
(August House, 2000)
Patrick M. Medoza presents 15 tingly ghost stories in Between Midnight and Morning.
A guide in the Yukon finds his life changed for the worse by the Tlingit rattle he finds in a grave in "Old Jake and the Tlingit Rattle." A young Cheyenne woman steps in between an ancient evil and her grandfather in "The Skin Walker" while a park ranger from the Crow nation bears witness to "The Ghosts of Little Big Horn." During "The Night of Water," an 8-year-old girl is rescued from drowning during a great flood by a mysterious man -- who is never seen by anyone else. "Hu-Waa-ka's Rifle" bears the mark of the creature against which Hu-Waa-ka fought while keeping vigil over a grave, and "No Footprints in the Snow" tells a cautionary tale of a haunted house and young man's flirtation with the spirit world.
Other stories tell of ghosts who come back for unfinished business -- "The Ghost of Little Crow" -- or prey -- "The Deer Woman." Mendoza offers his own version of a popular urban legend in "The Girl on Old Platte Road" and recounts a terrible chapter of history in "The Ghosts of Wounded Knee." Meanwhile, a nasty beastie from Mexican folklore pays a visit in "El Chupacabras (The Cattle Eaters)."
Two mysterious wolves guide a terrified young Cheyenne woman under attack from U.S. soldiers in "No Goodbyes." "The Moonlight Rider of Wyoming" is a young woman mounted sidesaddle on a black stallion who vanishes when approached, and "The River of Lost Souls" marks the site of a slaughter. Mendoza closes the collection with "The Hauntings of the Sheridan Inn," narrated by a most unusual tour guide.
The stories are well told and brief, just right for reading around a campfire. Mendoza appends an informative note to the end of each tale, explaining its source or offering other supplemental information. Mendoza has personally visited the location of each tale. A glossary and pronunciation guide briefly amplifies some of the terms used.
For short and shivery stories based on historical events or told by witnesses, pick up Patrick M. Mendoza's Between Midnight and Morning -- but you might want to consider doing it during the daytime.
[ by Donna Scanlon ]