Randy Russell
& Janet Barnett,
Mountain Ghost Stories
& Curious Tales of
Western North Carolina

(Blair, 1988)

Frankly, I was somewhat disappointed by this book. I picked it up because I am interested in ghosts and because I live just east of the foothills in western North Carolina. I had also enjoyed reading the authors' book Ghost Dogs of the South. But, despite the title of this book, the vast majority of the stories collected here have nothing to do with ghosts, and no story deals with a traditional type of haunting.

What these stories do contain are tidbits of mountain folklore, local history and Indian traditions and beliefs. The book is not bad in and of itself; the problem is that I was expecting something quite different from what I found. Peculiarities of the mountain environment are the catalysts for many of these tales, and I believe that readers unfamiliar with the North Carolina mountains will probably be more disappointed than I was. You don't need to have visited Clingman's Dome, Blowing Rock or Grandfather Mountain to enjoy these tales, but having some personal knowledge of the area is certainly a plus for the reader.

Mountain Ghost Stories is a pretty short book, coming in at just over 100 pages. I would have loved to see pictures of some of the locations mentioned, but there are none. If you are interested in mountain folklore, Indian myths/traditions or North Carolina history, you might find a quick wade in this pool enjoyable. If you are looking for traditional ghost stories, you would do well to bypass this little book altogether.

- Rambles
written by Daniel Jolley
published 30 July 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.