Brian Righi,
Ghosts of Fort Worth:
Investigating Cowtown's Most Haunted Locations

(Schiffer, 2007)

I'm guessing you like a good ghost story. Otherwise, you probably would have skipped this review of Brian Righi's book Ghosts of Fort Worth: Investigating Cowtown's Most Haunted Locations. As I live in a Dallas suburb -- not too far from Fort Worth, Texas -- I was intrigued enough to read yet another Schiffer book on hauntings.

The author is not a ghost hunter by trade, although he does enjoy researching haunted locations. Righi has degrees in both English and sociology from DePaul University (Chicago, Illinois). He has lived in Cowtown for more than five years and is familiar with the area. Based upon the experiences he describes, he has not had a truly verifiable encounter with a Fort Worth ghost, but he has had an amusing scare that, for me, was the highlight of the book. If you would like to read more on that, look for "The Lady of Oakwood Cemetery" -- let's just say Fort Worth doesn't have the nickname of Cowtown for nothin'.

Righi did have one other notable experience in a different cemetery, but I think it was his mind playing tricks on him. There is an old cemetery on the outskirts of town where a solitary tombstone is said to glow eerily in the dark, without any obvious means of illumination. From this grave marker with a single name -- Wright -- arises a ghostly woman all in white. Apparently she chases trespassers away screaming in fright. Brian investigated the marker and did see the glow from afar, but it quit glowing the closer he approached it -- a trick of the eye, possibly. But before leaving the cemetery he says he "...suddenly felt an intense sensation of bitter coldness slam against me, stopping me in my tracks. The air was heavy with an electric quality, causing the hair on my neck to stand on end. I knew I wasn't alone anymore." I have felt that same sensation on occasion when I paused to take a potty break while watching a scary movie.

I will mention one other haunting I found amusing -- the ghost of the Texas White House, a bed and breakfast located not too far from some popular Fort Worth attractions like the Kimball Art Museum and Fort Worth Zoo. In this day and age, the entity should be cited for his politically incorrect behavior. You see, this ghost is sexist -- it will only visit ladies in the Lone Star room, but never a male. It likes to visit while the ladies are in bed, although other than a strong male presence in the room and a disruption of electrical devices, this ghost has never caused any harm to the B&B's guests. Any ladies out there willing to share a bed with a benign ghost?

Ghosts of Fort Worth touches on 20 supposedly haunted locations in the Fort Worth area. The locales range from cemeteries and restaurants to hotels and residences. A rather basic map of the area pinpoints the locations for each chapter. While I do not feel any proof was provided to substantiate any of the reported ghosts, I did find this alternate view of Cowtown's storied past to be interesting. So, whether you believe in ghosts are not, if you are a resident or visitor of this Texas city, Ghosts of Fort Worth might provide some light reading -- if nothing else.

review by
Wil Owen

12 July 2008

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