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Legends of the Mountain State

July 22, 2016

legends coverA little background: I have always had an affinity for spooky stories. When I was a kid I read all the old favorites, like R.L. Stine and the “Spooky Stories to Tell in the Dark” series. Now those old stories read more like urban legends to me; either I’ve heard similar tales already, or they are too predictable, or they end on a funny note instead of a scary one.

I recently discovered a new way to get my spooky fix–tales based on true stories that became urban–or, in some cases, rural–legends that are written by local authors. For example, I recently went on a hiking trip to West Virginia. My family stayed in a cabin in the woods at Blackwater Falls state park. Browsing through the gift shop I found some books written by West Virginian authors about local legends and ghost stories. Legends of the Mountain State is just one of many such books that contain stories based on actual myths from that state. I’ve noticed that these kinds of books can be found in local bookshops almost anywhere you travel. While in Wilmington, North Carolina last summer I bought a book called Haunted Wilmington that tells of strange happenings and ghostly sightings that have occurred there. That you’re reading spine-tingling tales based in part on actual stories is spooky enough, but with the added chill of knowing you’re in the very same spot where these stories take place there’s a whole new thrilling dimension.

Review: Legends of the Mountain State: Ghostly Tales from the State of West Virginia is a compilation of stories by local authors based on tales of hauntings that have taken place there. The authors are experienced writers, some of whom have won various awards for short stories, including the Bram Stoker Award and the International Horror Guild Award. The stories contain urban myths, unsolved mysteries, and ghost sightings–one of which is cleverly written from the ghost’s point of view.

Rating: 4 boots

Recommendation: Not for the faint of heart! These are tales that will creep you out, especially if you’re in a cabin in the woods in the state where they take place!

chain letter coverSide Note: Not to digress too much, but this seems like a good time to mention that when I was a young adult, my favorite scary story was Chain Letter by Christopher Pike. Sure, it was written in the 1980s but it still holds up as a very good read for fans of horror and suspense. It’s based on the practice that was popular back in the day of sending and receiving chain letters–once you received one you had to send it on to the next person on the list; the letter promises that bad things will happen to you if you break the chain. A group of teenagers in Chain Letter receive the letter one at a time and they start to realize they are being “punished” by someone who knows the terrible deed they did the year before. This book had me stumped and spooked until the very end. An oldie but a goodie!

From → Book Treks

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