Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ghosts of West Virginia

Ghosts of West Virginia, by Geoffrey Foster

I stumbled across this book on Amazon, and had put it on the Wish List and out of mind, until I came across Geoffrey Foster again, this time through a paranormal investigation team website.  Foster's team, Huntington Paranormal Research Society, and MY team, Huntington Paranormal Investigations and Research, have similar names, and thus, I was intrigued.  I purchased the book, hoping to gain more knowledge of another area team, and see if we have had any similar experiences at various Huntington locales.

The book itself doesn't really mention the investigation team or recent investigations, but it does chronicle some ghost hunting exploits of the author and his close friends, many of which either occured at his own residences or Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys.  These exploits and paranormal tales of a personal nature make up the first half of the book, while the second half is a state-wide index of haunted hot spots, with a brief description of each.

Overall, it was an enjoyable read, as most tales of paranormal activity are for me...especially when they happen in a region I'm extremely familiar with!  However, as a paranormal investigator, I did find myself cringing a little throughout the book.  Orbs are mentioned HEAVILY as being evidence of paranormal activity, and there's a lot of misinformation in the book, namely concerning the history of the Lakin Industrial School for Colored Boys and a weird couple of historical date snafus (it mentions that Charleston's Sunrise, aka MacCorkle Mansion, was built in the mid 17th century.  That would put the year around 1650, two hundred years before we became a state and HAD a governor to build a mansion...and about 100 years before any real white settlers had even SEEN the area, lol).  And although there wasn't any mention of the author himself drinking, or partaking in similar activities during an investigation, there was mention of it being done by others in the book...again, a cringe-worthy moment or two.

As for the index of haunted locations, it is far from a comprehensive list, but does hit some fairly well known, and easily accessible places open to the public.  Again, however, there are some date issues, and no additional information---its basically a word for word copy of the descriptions set out by popular West Virginia hauntings websites that tend to get recycled over and over.

Nevertheless, it was a fun book and a quick read...perfect for this time of year!

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