Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 is NOW AVAILABLE!

Spectral EditionI’m very happy to announce that the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 is now available for sale in paperback at Amazon.

While it’s not yet available in ebook form, that’s my next task. This is not my first book, but it is my first self-published book. It’s been quite a learning experience — a “parade of decisions,” as I started to call it. (I considered blogging about the experience here, but part of the problem I ran into is an over-saturation of “how to self-publish” advice online and elsewhere. I’m glad that advice is available — it was very helpful — but there’s so much to consider!)

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The book presents about 150 complete ghosts reports from the over 300 I’ve gathered over the years. It features the scariest, the oddest, the funniest, and the most intriguing of my collection.

I also include a well-researched Introduction, footnotes that I hope are useful and interesting, some of the rare newspaper illustrations I’ve unearthed, and an appendix that explores Memphis’s Brinkley Female College ghost with much greater depth that I was able to give it here at The Merry Ghost Hunter.

I hope you add Spectral Edition to your Halloween reading.

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A Ghost Report from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser on December 6, 1901

Spectral EditionThe last chapter in the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 features reports that provide a natural explanation for what had appeared to be a supernatural event. This report didn’t make it into that chapter because enough of them end with an animal of some kind being mistaken for a ghost.

Like this one, though, a number of the reports throughout the book mention of someone being driven to insanity by a ghostly encounter. I honestly don’t know what to think of these. Should we assume the reporters were exaggerating or outright fabricating the facts . . . or trust them?

1901-12-06 p3 Pacific Commercial Advertiser [Honolulu, Hawaii]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: Today’s the day I’m scheduled to receive the hard copy “proof” of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. The stuff inside is well-checked, though, so I really only have to check how the cover looks — and hopefully I’ll give the go-ahead. After that, it’s not in my hands how quickly the book becomes available.

 

Announcing Brom Bones Books! Sorry, the Submissions Window — and Even the Transom — Don’t Exist

TheBack - Brom Bones Logo book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917 is nearly available for purchase. I’m still hoping for a pre-Halloween release, but it’s probably going to be close. I’m waiting for a proof copy to arrive in a few days. I’ll have the book’s interior ready to go when it arrives. However, I want to double-check the cover, and if that’s good, the actual release date will be in other hands.

This is the first book I’ve ever self-published. I’ll be self-publishing more books in not-too-distant future, though. With that I mind, I went ahead and purchased a barrel of ISBNs — my greatest expense so far — and assigned them all to something called “Brom Bones Books.” I can’t really call it a publishing house. Perhaps publishing cottage is the more accurate metaphor.

Why Brom Bones? Isn’t that the character in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”? That rough-and-ready guy who probably masquerades as the Headless Horseman to scare poor Icabod Crane out of town, thereby eliminating the competition for the lovely and plump Katrina Van Tassel?

Why, yes, that’s the fellow.

John_Quidor_-_The_Headless_Horseman_Pursuing_Ichabod_Crane_-_Google_Art_Projectx
Detail from John Quidor’s The Headless Horseman Pursing Icabod Crane (1858)

Irving provides plenty of clues that Brom Bones brought new life to an old ghost, and I hope to follow in that revitalizing tradition with Brom Bones Books. (Plus, well — there’s the adorable alliteration.)

Another part of my mission statement is that Brom Bones Books will be devoted exclusively to books written or edited by Tim Prasil. No submissions will be accepted, in other words. The very prospect of trying to figure out how to pay royalties makes my hands tremble and my heart palpitate like Icabod Crane’s.

I’m sure I’ll have more to blog about as Brom Bones Books develops. Be warned.

 

 

A Ghost Report from the Orleans County Monitor on February 17, 1873

Here’s an article I refer to in the Introduction of the forthcoming book, Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. I talk about how ghosts were often treated with the same tone and objectivity as other news.

A Vershire couple’s son dies in a fire. A vengeful ghost haunts a house in Bennington. A sheriff is reappointed in Lamoile County.

Apparently, it was just another day in Vermont…

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: I’m pleased to report that the Spectral Edition book has been submitted — and resubmitted — to CreateSpace. Apparently, I had made one mistake with the spine of the cover the first time. That was easily fixed, though, and it’s now awaiting final approval. I think a pre-Halloween release is very likely.

A Ghost Report from The Sun on March 30, 1884

Spectral Edition

This report on a giant, “unmannerly” ghost in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, didn’t make it into the forthcoming Spectral Edition book.

It’s an interesting ghost report, but it was published in The Sun, which had a reputation for running fabricated stories just to sell papers. I didn’t avoid The Sun altogether in the book, but I was especially choosy when considering their articles.

1884-03-30 p1 The Sun [New York, New York]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: For the first time, I feel like I’m behind schedule. While the cover of the Spectral Edition book is ready to be submitted, I’m still triple-checking everything inside the book. I had hoped to have this done by the very start of October. I’m still hoping for a pre-Halloween release . . . but it might be closer than I had planned.

Another Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery: “The Ghost of Banquo’s Ghost” — FREE!

the-v-filesIn the summer of 1900, the great ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke was called to Chicago. The Scepter Theater there was having a problem with what seemed to be poltergeist.

In the meantime, Chicago was where my great grandaunt, Ludmila Prášilová, was earning a living as a salesclerk at Mandel Brothers Department Store. She had known Vera from a ghost hunt they had shared in Boston the previous winter.

A reunion was in order, and my ancestor’s chronicle of it suggests the two had an easy time picking up right where they had left off. That chronicle, titled “The Ghost of Banquo’s Ghost,” is this month’s free story on the Complimentary Haunting page. There, you’ll find a link to download it in .pdf, .epub. or .mobi (Kindle) formats.

Did Vera and Lida find the theater’s poltergeist? Was some other kind of supernatural entity at play? “The play’s the thing,” says Hamlet, and this is one of the most playful of the thirteen cases that I’ll post — in order, one per month.

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A Ghost Report from the Bridgeport Evening Farmer on September 1, 1911

Spectral EditionWas it swamp gas — or something supernatural?

The writer of this report seems to lean toward giving the strange, wandering light seen in Hillside Cemetery a natural explanation.

But it’s not definite enough for this ghost report to have earned a place in the Natural Explanations chapter of my Spectral Edition book.

1911-09-01 p6 Bridgeport Evening Farmer [Connecticu]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: Things are proceeding very well with Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports in U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. I have the cover finished (though I’m one to tinker with such things). My wife, an excellent editor, and I are giving the contents a final proofreading before I submit it to CreateSpace.

Last Week to Download the First Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery!

the-v-filesAs previously announced, Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries is, shall we say, “between publishers.” The original publisher has redefined its mission and returned publication rights to its authors, knowing that most of us are probably better off with self-publishing.

At the time, I was eyeing the possibilities of indy-publishing the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports from U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. I also have an Edgar Allan Poe-related book nearing completion that I was planning to self-publish, so my plan right now is to get those two books out before re-releasing Help for the Haunted.

In the meantime, I’m returning to the method that I used to introduce ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke and her “Watson,” Lida Parsell, to the reading public. I’ll be posting all thirteen tales in Help for the Hauntedone per month, in chronological order — on my Complimentary Haunting page. You’ll find a link there to download the story in .pdf, .epub, or .mobi (Kindle) format.

And I’ll be swapping “The Minister’s Unveiling,” the first in the series, with “The Ghost of Banquo’s Ghost” on October 1st. If you return once a month, you’ll be able to read almost the entire book (everything except the Introduction and Postscript). Granted, it will take you about thirteen months to do so, but this is how I’ll continue to promote the book even after it’s available for sale again.

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A Ghost Report from the Evening Star on July 25, 1887

Spectral EditionHere’s another ghost report that didn’t make it into the book. There’s some poltergeist activity described, but it’s not very impressive.

It might have fit into the “Natural Explanations” chapter, but there are too many tricksters afoot. Even so, not all of the ghostly evidence is explained.

1884-07-25 p3 Evening Star [Washington, DC]

Each Wednesday, I post an actual ghost report from a U.S. newspaper published between 1865 and 1917. You can hear me read many of the ghost reports here, readings first heard on episodes of The Big Séance and the History Goes Bump podcasts.

UPDATE: Formatting is still in progress with the book version of Spectral Edition: Ghost Reports in U.S. Newspapers, 1865-1917. Keeping the graphics looking good is proving to be difficult as I convert the Word document into a pdf. I’m still aiming for a pre-Halloween release, though.

4-Question Interview: Loren Rhoads

present-tensionsIn a recent online discussion, I tried to boil down the difference between occult detective fiction and urban fantasy to simple math: “5 vampires per 7 billion humans = occult detective. 1 billion vampires, 1 billion werewolves, 1 billion zombies per 4 billion humans = urban fantasy. There’s an error margin of + or – 17.”

Loren Rhoads is blurring that formula — as well as the division between those genres — with her occult detective fiction. On her website, she explains that she’s written “a series of urban fantasy short stories about Alondra DeCourval, a young American witch who grew up in London. Alondra travels the world, battling monsters.” But the author’s take on urban fantasy doesn’t seem quite so monster-heavy as my formula suggests. She explains this while answering the 4 questions that I’ve asked of many writers keeping the occult detective tradition very much alive today. Continue reading “4-Question Interview: Loren Rhoads”