S.E. Schlosser,
Spooky New England:
Tales of Hauntings,
Strange Happenings
& Other Local Lore

(Globe Pequot, 2004)

Spooky New England is one of those books that you cannot put down until you reach the end. It contains 30 stories from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The stories are divided into three sections -- "Ghost Stories," "The Powers of Darkness" and "Invisible Wonders" -- and each story contains a beautiful and mentally stimulating illustration by Paul G. Hoffman.

This is the ideal book for curling on the couch on a rainy afternoon and enjoying an entertaining read. The stories will take you into the heart of New England's landscape and introduce you to the locals, the scenery and the lifestyles. It is as much a wonderful cultural preservation tool as a book of scary tales.

Having lived in Maine and New Hampshire and visited many of the places mentioned in this book, I found the descriptions to be quite accurate. The author's writing style is ideal for storytelling. She keeps the story moving forward and the action and suspense level high. There are no lags or dull spots between these covers.

My favorite story has to be "The Frogs of Windham." It relates how an entire town was terrorized by a demon storm that seemed to be calling the names of two town residents who were rival attorneys. When you reach the end of the story and learn what caused the ruckus, you have to laugh out loud.

I also especially enjoyed "The Black Dog of Hanging Hills," "The Witch-Sheep," "The Loup-Garou" and "The Wraith in the Storm." The first leaves you pondering what really occurred and if there is anything to the superstition of the local people. The second is a story that could have happened right here at my house on many occasions. It shows what happens when you dress animals in human clothing, no matter what the reason for doing so. The third is the story of a grandfather who relocated to Rhode Island from Canada in search of a quiet life where nobody had ever heard of a Loup-Garou. The last is the story of a young boy who came to tell his mother goodbye.

These stories run the entire spectrum from scary to funny, but each one is tremendously entertaining. There are no slow spots or lulls in the writing. Spooky New England is good reading in every sense.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 3 April 2004

Buy it from Amazon.com.