Haunting Tales

Janet Clapp
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Candy, costumes, goblins, ghosts, jack o’lanterns and witches; Halloween has many facets. For some of us, Halloween is all about trick or treating. In Rutland, the Halloween parade every year brings festive fright to the city. Usually Halloween is about spooky, and there isn’t much spookier than a ghost. Here are several books about ghosts, many from our own corner of the country.

1027-rhv-booksvermontghostg‘The Vermont Ghost Guide’

by Joseph A. Citro

Citro has written numerous books about Vermont and New England hauntings. In this title, short, one-paragraph ghost tales are provided alphabetically by town. Although there are no Rutland spirits, there is a ghost nurse in the Pittsford police academy, formerly a sanatorium. As Citro says in his introduction, “In earlier books I have speculated about the size of Vermont’s ghost population and wondered who might be better represented on the census charts, the living or the dead. Though I have never seen a ghost, I have spent years learning where they are.”

1027-rhv-bookslakechamplain‘Ghosts and Legends of Lake Champlain’

by Thea Lewis

Lewis gathers tales from Fort Ticonderoga to Burlington about lakeside spirits and legends, including the famous Champ. “I’ve wondered many times while walking my dog by the water’s edge at the crack of dawn if I might catch a glimpse of Champ, Lake Champlain’s elusive sea monster. Sadly, I’ve never been that lucky. Still, stories of folks who have seen Champ date back to precolonial times, when Abenaki tribes described a creature they called “Tatoskok.”

1027-rhv-booksghosthunters‘The New England Ghost Files’

by Charles Turek Robinson

Robinson interviewed many people who have seen ghosts, and here he relates their eerie experiences. For instance, in an unnamed town in central Vermont, witnesses have seen strange things at an abandoned gas station “closed in 1967, when its owner/attendant was shot there in a robbery. Some local residents believe that the man cannot accept the loss of his business — and his life — and therefore still haunts the site.”

1027-rhv-booksnewenglandgho‘New England Ghosts’

by David J. Pitkin

Pitkin writes, “During the four decades during which I have studied ghost phenomena through the particulars of more than thirteen hundred cases, I am more and more persuaded that we must approach these entities with compassion and not fear. Speak to them as friends or fellow seekers, tell them their true state of being.” One story is about the Albertis, who bought a house in Rutland, and when they began to renovate strange things happened. “Patty told me of sitting on the couch with her daughters one evening, with their dog, Poochie, at her feet. ‘Suddenly, my guitar over in the corner began to strum, and nobody was anywhere near it.’” After finding out the history of the house, Patty spoke aloud, hoping to reach the man who had lived there until he died. “Our house hasn’t had any unexplainable event since then.”

‘Yankee Ghosts: Spine-tingling Encounters with the Phantoms of New York and New England’

by Hans Holzer

Parapsychologist Holzer investigates “one, to establish the observed facts, and two, to make contact with the alleged ghost…I usually take a good trance psychic along when I visit a haunted house.” He recounts witnesses’ experiences and his own communications with ghosts via mediums.

‘Ghost Hunters of New England’

by Alan Brown

Author and English professor Brown profiles groups in New England that do ghost hunting; Vermont has two. The Paranormal Investigators of New England’s mission “is to find the truth in any scenario, whether it is paranormal activity or not.” The Vermont Agency of Paranormal Research (VAPOR) uses interviews and science “to figure out why one place becomes haunted as opposed to another place.”

‘The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits’

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Like any encyclopedia, this is a compendium of articles in alphabetical order. There are the expected topics, like goblins and exorcisms, but also the less obvious, like beans. “Beans have numerous associations with ghosts, the souls of the dead, the powers of the dwellers of the underworld and various spirits.”

‘Ghost Hunting For Beginners: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started’

by Rich Newman

Founder of the group Paranormal Inc., Newman here outlines the steps and equipment for investigating paranormal phenomena. “The first and foremost thought in your mind as a new investigator should be, ‘How do I approach this case professionally?’” He explains the use of audio, video, photography and other tools. “If you follow the guidelines and techniques laid out in this book, being a ghost hunter can be a positive and rewarding endeavor.”

‘Tomes of Terror: Haunted Bookstores and Libraries’

by Mark Leslie

Leslie compiled tales from around the world. “Sure some of the stories will be a bit frightening, some of them might cause a cold shiver of terror to run down your spine, still others might make you smile or laugh, and others, ever sad, might inspire a tear.” For instance, in the Millicent Library in Massachusetts, people “have claimed they heard Millicent’s melodic laughter echoing through the building, or saw her apparition strolling through the library surrounded by a brilliant bright-blue aura.”

The Rutland Free Library has the titles above and many other spooky tales. Some say the building itself has a ghost.

Happy Halloween!

Janet Clapp

Janet Clapp is an adult services librarian at Rutland Free Library.

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