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Ghost Stories

Whether your interest is scholarly pursuit or just a desire to be scared out of your wits, we've compiled a list of films and audiobooks, both frightening and humorous; books, both fiction and fact; and websites to visit for those curious about the supernatural.

Feature Films

The following films will either have you at the edge of your seat or falling off your seat laughing.

An American haunting by AfterDark Films; MediaPro Pictures; Midsummer Films; Redbus Pictures; Remstar Films; Sweetpea Entertainment — This movie is based on the true story of The Bell Witch of Tennesee. In 1818, slight, unexplained noises were heard in the Bell family's home. As the spirit grew, it increasingly persecuted the father, John, and his daughter, Betsy and began speaking to the family, although it refused to say why it was there. It pronounced a death sentence on John and within a year, he was dead. The film explains what happened on the night the spirit was born and what led to its horrific acts of torment.

Ghostbusters by Columbia Pictures, a Black Rhino/Bernie Brillstein production — When ghosts go on a rampage, only three men can save the world. Soon every spook in the city is loose and our heroes face the supreme challenge. If you want your spirits raised, who you gonna call? The Ghostbusters! Stars Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd.

High spirits by Vision p.d.g. presents a Tri- Star Production — Impoverished Peter Plunkett hatches the perfect plan to save his debt-ridden Irish castle: lure American tourists by advertising the place as haunted! The cast includes Daryl Hannah and Peter O'Toole.

The others by Dimension Films presents a Cruise/Wagner Productions, Sogecine, Les Producciones del Escorpioń production — Chilling events and visions soon lead Grace to believe that something supernatural is indeed going on at her seaside retreat. Stars Nicole Kidman.

The sixth sense by Hollywood Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment — Cole Sear, a six-years-old who claims to see the spirits of dead people all around him, believes Dr. Crowe is the only one with whom he feels he can share this secret. Bruce Willis stars, but Haley Joel Osment steals with show.

Sleepy Hollow by Paramount Pictures and Mandalay Pictures present a Scott Rudin/American Zoetrope Production — In director's Tim Burton's hands, this update of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow gets a new twist. Watch for Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci and Miranda Richardson in the cast.

Novels

From Nancy Atherton's kind-hearted ghostly sleuth, to Shirley Jackson's terrifying possession, to a ghostly matchmaker, the ghosts in these stories cover the gamut.

Aunt Dimity stories by Nancy Atherton: Aunt Dimity may have passed on, but in addition to leaving her cottage to Lori Shepherd; she's left a magical notebook that offers Lori assistance as Lori solves the latest mystery. Specific titles include Aunt Dimity and the Duke and Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil.

Coldheart canyon by Clive Barker — The Los Angeles mansion of former filmstar Katya Lupi is the scene for this ghost story.

The hand I fan with by Tina McElroy Ansa — Lena McPherson has found the perfect man, with a little bit of conjuring, she's brought back Herman, her ghost lover.

The haunting of Hill House by Jackson, Shirley, 1916-1965 — Eleanor is a magnet for the supernatural--she hears deathly wails, feels terrible chills, and sees ghostly apparitions and she's been asked to use these "talents" at Hill House. (Check the film version, The Haunting, under "Movies" above.)

The maidenstone lighthouse by Sally Smith O'Rourke — A lovely ghost helps a grieving young widow expose some shocking revelations in this quaint romantic suspense tale. When her husband disappears while piloting a plane over the Indian Ocean, Susan heads out for a change of venue to a lighthouse which happens to be haunted by the spirit of a distant relative. Though her budding romance with a local artist frees her from her grief, her life becomes increasingly endangered as she gets closer to the truth.

Polly's ghost: a novel by Abby Frucht — Polly Baymiller died giving birth to her son, Tip. She never had a chance to hold him and now she wants that opportunity.

The secrets of Sadie Maynard by Linda Anderson — Memphis Maynard has returned to her hill country home to learn the truth behind her grandmother's murder in 1936. The townspeople claim to see Sadie's ghost at times, but Memphis is skeptical.

Short Stories

50 great ghost stories by edited by John Canning — A collection of true and not-so-true ghost stories.

Best ghost stories of Algernon Blackwood by selected with an introduction by E. F. Bleiler — "If a ghost is seen, what is it interests me less than what sees it?" Thus Algernon Blackwood describes his fascination with human beings' ability to sense invisible powers and stirrings in the universe.

Edward Gorey's Haunted looking glass: ghost stories by chosen and illustrated by Edward Gorey — Each classic ghost story Edward Gorey has chosen comes to life when ghoulishly illustrated by him.

The literary ghost: great contemporary ghost stories by edited and with an introduction by Larry Dark — This is an unusual collection of ghost stories written by a variety of authors, in settings around the world, and taking place in past and present times.

Nightshade: 20th century ghost stories by edited by Robert Phillips — The genre of the ghost story attracts an unusual number of first-rate "realistic" fiction writers in this collection. While including many of the "traditional" ghost story authors, a few will surprise you.

Audiobooks

Blithe spirit [sound recording] by Noel Coward — "This comedy classic is set in the charming country home of Charles Condomine, a remarried widower. A casual, witty evening among friends is transformed by a seance that conjures the silvery ghost of Charles' first wife, Elvira, who delights in wreaking havoc and hilarity among the living."

The phantom of the opera [sound recording] by Gaston Leroux — Classic horror tale of the masked monster in the Paris Opera House who plots to take the beautiful singer to his palace in the catacombs and keep her there forever.

The turn of the screw [sound recording] by Henry James — The story starts conventionally enough with friends sharing ghost stories 'round the fire on Christmas Eve. One of the guests tells about a governess at a country house plagued by supernatural visitors. But in the hands of Henry James, the master of nuance, this little tale of terror is an exquisite gem of sexual and psychological ambiguity.

Nonfiction

Do you believe in ghosts? These books and videorecordings contain the stories of those that have seen and/or spoken with ghosts.

America's restless ghosts: photographic evidence for life after death by Hans Holzer

Elvis speaks from the beyond and other celebrity ghost stories by Hans Holzer

Ghosts of the air: true stories of aerial hauntings by Martin Caidin; introduction by John Keel

Hauntings and poltergeists: a ghost hunter's guide by Loyd Auerbach

House of spirits and whispers: the true story of a haunted house by Annie Wilder

How to hunt ghosts: a practical guide by Joshua P. Warren

Where the Ghosts Are

For those who believe life is continual and does not end at death's door, here is a collection of ghost sitings around the world:

Coast to coast ghosts: true stories of hauntings across America by Leslie Rule

Haunted America by Michael Norman and Beth Scott

More haunted Michigan: new encounters with ghosts of the Great Lakes state by Gerald S. Hunter

Haunted places in America: a guide to spooked and spooky public places in the United States by Charles A. Coulombe

Our haunted lives: true life ghost encounters by [edited by] Jeff Belanger — This captures the experiences of people witnessing the supernatural at home, work and other locations by personal interviews which paint a detailed picture of the phenomena.

Websites

Obiwan's UFO-Free Paranormal Page: This site is home to the oldest true ghost story archive on the net (with stories dating back to 1993) as well as the net's original Ghosts and Hauntings FAQ.

The Shadowlands: Ghosts & Hauntings: Contains over 9,300 true ghost stories.

About.com: Do a search for "ghosts" and this is what you get: A list that directs you to sites for books about ghosts, where to find haunted houses, craft projects to make ghosts, and more.