H.P. Lovecraft & E.A. Poe- Free Online

One of my new co-workers suggested that I read H.P. Lovecraft. The reason I was given was that as someone who loves horror, I just might enjoy it. Fancy that just 24 hours after this conversation, I read this article with links to ebooks and PDF files that are downloadable to read the works of this master of the macabre!

Here’s the article I found:
http://www.openculture.com/2014/10/h-p-lovecrafts-classic-horror-stories-free-online.html

Also, one of my favorite masters of macabre literature is Edgar A. Poe. His writings are also available online for free. You can find them at this link as well:
http://www.openculture.com/2014/10/download-the-complete-works-of-edgar-allan-poe-macabre-stories-as-free-ebooks-audio-books.html

Enjoy!

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Mysterious New Mexico: Miracles, Magic, and Monsters in the Land of Enchantment

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Author: Benjamin Radford

New Mexico’s twin traditions of the scientific and the supernatural meet for the first time in this long-overdue book by a journalist known for investigating the unexplained. Strange tales of ghosts, monsters, miracles, lost treasure, UFOs, and much more can be found not far from the birthplace of the atomic bomb. Huge radio astronomy dishes search desert skies for alien life, and the world’s first spaceport can be found in this enchanted land; in many ways New Mexico truly is a portal to other worlds.

Mysterious New Mexico is the first book to apply scientific investigation methods to explain some of New Mexico’s most bizarre lore and legends. Using folklore, sociology, history, psychology, and forensic science–as well as good old-fashioned detective work–Radford reveals the truths and myths behind New Mexico’s greatest mysteries.

Review:

Let me start by saying I recommend this book highly no matter what level of interest one may have in paranormal legends and claimed experiences. Ben Radford’s writing style is conversational, taking the reader along for the ride as he researches the mysteries and cultures of this historically rich state.

I enjoyed all the accounts in this book, such as when a miracle staircase and its story are investigated with a critical eye. Analysis of the legends and scandals surrounding the “crystal skulls” is fascinating enough to be the start of another book. Those are just a couple of examples, as even more stories of UFO’s mystery birds, and alleged haunted locations are examined. New Mexico through Radford’s eyes is a land where mysteries are simply a window that, when opened, lead to facts that will hold a reader’s interest until the end.

For the skeptic, this will be a fresh look at analyzing claims of the extraordinary without succumbing to easy sensationalism. For the believer that is open to critical yet respectful examination of popular myths and hauntings, there is much to learn and appreciate. For this reader, my borderline cynicism about researching this area of interest has softened a bit. After reading this book, I now see that there are still true investigators into legends and perceived experiences. It is an excellent example of how research into such topics should be conducted–with an open, analytical mindset that references facts rather than “specialists” in fields that don’t exist. A genuine thumbs up.

The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor

The Anatomy of GhostsThey say Jerusalem College, Cambridge, is haunted by Mrs Whichcote’s ghost. In 1786, Frank Oldershaw claims he saw her in the garden, where she drowned. Now he’s under the care of a physician. Desperate to salvage her son’s reputation and restore him to health, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs her own agent – John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts, a controversial attack on the existence of ghostly phenomena. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts the uneasy status quo. He glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could. 

But Holdsworth’s powers of reason and his knowledge of natural philosophy have other challenges. He dreams of his dead wife, Maria, who roams the borders of death. Now there’s Elinor, the very-much-alive Master’s wife, to haunt him in life. And at the heart of it all is the mystery of what really happened to Sylvia Whichcote in the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem. Why was Sylvia found lying dead in the Long Pond just before a February dawn? And how did she die? Indeed, why was she at Jerusalem, living or dead, in the first place?

 

I discovered this gem of a book on our library’s website while looking for books to listen to while walking at night. While it is listed on Good Reads as a paranormal/ghost story, the existence – or non-existence – of ghosts in this story is simply the backdrop for a good old fashioned mystery. John Holdsworth spends his time in search of the more reasonable explanation for what Frank Oldershaw witnessed in the garden and does so in the end. Although there are a few threads of the plot which are left unresolved, they are but minor bits to the over-all mystery which is solved very reasonably.

 

Book Review: Detroit Breakdown

D.E. Johnson’s Detroit Breakdown is a mystery and suspense novel set in Detroit’s most infamous insane asylum– Eloise. The story, the third in a series of stand-alone novels, takes place in 1912 and plays heavily upon the historical abuse of mental patients as the two main characters– Will Anderson and Elizabeth Hume– try to free Elizabeth’s “cousin” Robert and discover who is killing patients at Eloise in the style of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. The story pays homage to Nellie Bly’s exposé Ten Days in a Madhouse as the pair decide the best way to determine the identity of the “Phantom” killer would be to have Will committed.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story both from a historical standpoint and as a book enthusiast.

Continue reading

Lost by Gregory Maguire

I don’t want to say too much about this book since my comrades will be reading it, so I will put the rather vague review I wrote on Goodreads with the addition of the synopsis from the back of the book.

Winifred Rudge, a writer struggling to get beyond the runaway success of her mass-market astrology book, travels to London to jump-start her new novel about a woman who is being haunted by the ghost of Jack the Ripper. Upon her arrival, she finds that her step-cousin and old friend John Comestor has disappeared, and a ghostly presence seems to have taken over his home. Is the spirit Winnie’s great-great-grandfather, who, family legend claims, was Charles Dickens’s childhood inspiration for Ebenezer Scrooge? Could it be the ghostly remains of Jack the Ripper? Or a phantasm derived from a more arcane and insidious origin? Winnie begins to investigate and finds herself the unwilling audience for a drama of specters and shades—some from her family’s peculiar history and some from her own unvanquished past.

Although I never finished reading Maguire’s iconic Wicked, I saw this book while out book shopping with a friend and decided to pick it up. I have to admit, I’m glad I did, because I managed to finish the book.

Admittedly, there were some parts that were difficult to follow, which I put down to the author’s bizarre writing style. There were parts where the text was different, which took me a bit to figure out why it was done like that. It’s not often that you read a book featuring a main character who is writing a book. And of course he allows her to follow the clichéd recommendation of writing what you know.

I should warn any of you who may be interested in a story featuring the ghost of Jack the Ripper: it’s only a very minor pseudo-plot. I bought the book mainly because there was a mention of ghosts and it was set in England, but I would be lying if I said the fact that a potential ghost of Jack the Ripper didn’t appeal as well. Buy it because you like paranormal fiction, not because Jack the Ripper is mentioned in the synopsis on the back of the book like I did.