Ghostly Encounters (Book)

When planning a vacation, the biggest decision is where to go and where to stay when you get there. Resorts show off brochures full of rock-climbing walls and pari-sailing, dance lessons and golf courses, and all the shopping and tourist activities that a family could want. But to many these family vacations seem just a bit too tame. Sure, the big bin in the hotel lobby invariably contains one or two hastily printed cards that promote ghost tours where tourists can walk the streets and have buildings pointed out to them, but what if you want a more personal experience?

Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of America’s Haunted Inns and Hotels is nothing short of a great travel guide for those of us who crave a bit more excitement on our vacations. Contained in this pocket-sized book are forty recommendations of places to stay where the rooms may already be permanently occupied. Each entry contains several sections designed to address the areas of concern of anyone who would visit these places.

The first section tells what the hotel was before it became a hotel. Some of the places were brothels; others were factories or private homes. It is often amazing to look into the history of the room in which you are staying just to see who, or what, was here before you.

The second section deals with the ghosts that reside within the walls. Stories from hotel staff, guests, and local legends are included. While some accounts are humorous or sad, others are quite terrifying.

Following are sections regarding the hotel itself and the best rooms and times to go if hoping for a paranormal experience. While the section about the hotel or inn reads like a brochure written by the hotel owners, the “Best Rooms/Times” portion tells the traveler not only in what room the apparitions appear but also in what season, time of day, and, in some cases, for how long they stay.

But what about food? Do any of these hotels have a working kitchen? The answer, thoughtfully provided by Ms. Kermeen, is provided through a section titled “Dining.” In it she tells if the hotel serves breakfast, lunch or dinner; and if it doesn’t, she tells you where the good restaurants are.

The “Don’t Miss” section of each article contains asides and tidbits that prove to be very interesting and is a nice touch. In it readers are told of bars, some of the more picturesque spots, and other points of interest to further enhance the trip.

Included in this book are destinations in Louisiana, Florida, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, Utah, Maryland, Indiana, California, Ohio, Arkansas, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Idaho, West Virginia, and others as well as their addresses, telephone numbers, and web addresses for booking convenience.

Finding a vacation spot is tricky, especially if you’re looking for something more exciting than your run-of-the-mill tourist traps. Ghostly Encounters is a friendly guide for people who like their vacations with a touch of the macabre.

Ghostly Encounters: True Stories of America’s Haunted Inns and Hotels
By Frances Kermeen
Warner Books, 2002
352 pages

4 out of 5
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Jon Condit