S.E. Schlosser,
Spooky North Carolina
(Globe Pequot Press, 2009)

North Carolina, the seat of NASCAR, brings us eerie tales of hauntings and strange happenings as told by a master raconteur. I was pleasantly surprised by author S.E. Schlosser's unique style of storytelling in Spooky North Carolina, and I was captivated by her very original approach. I have never encountered something quite so distinctive in the realm of folklore. Rather than relying on the "it is often said..." formula, Schlosser brings us right into the tales by using narrative, often in the first person, as she crafts each tale into an appealing short story that will have you wondering if, maybe, you too were there to witness a legend or two come to life.

In Maco, the author brings us right into the family car as Mom, Dad and the kids go searching (successfully) for a ghostly trainman, forevermore waving his lantern in warning to an oncoming train. In Charlotte, we join an unsettled spirit who harasses his tormentors after they rudely disturb him in his grave, and a pet returns for one last farewell in Boone. A boo-hag runs amok in Elizabeth City, and in Raleigh, a Dad returns to set things right after a tragedy for which he feels responsible. That one had me wiping a tear or two.

However, while Schlosser does convince us that legend and lore abound in North Carolina, this is not the most chilling collection of tales, and probably won't keep you up at night, even after indulging in a late-night read in front of a roaring fire on a stormy night. The tales themselves are written quite convincingly, but many are just not that enticing. Are the stories here frightening? Most, not so much. Yet, fans of legend, lore and a well-told tale will greatly appreciate Schlosser's engaging manner of spinning a captivating yarn.

book review by
Lee Lukaszewicz

21 January 2012

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