Posts tagged ‘ghosts’

HAUNTED HOUSE?

Junior Ghost Hunters – Case of the Chadwick Ghost

Written by Sam Grasdin

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The adventure originates as four friends are hanging out in Nate’s room. Nate is twelve years old and an admitted nerd who loves science and comic books. Lanie Talbot, the only female, has recently emigrated from England. Pete, the athlete, rescued Nate from a bully last year. Greg is an electronic genius with the nickname Gadget because he is always inventing things. Greg has just burst into the room with the news that he has seen a ghost in the upstairs window of the abandoned Chadwick house. Initially the group is skeptical, but Nate convinces them that they should investigate. They decide to form a Junior Ghost Hunters Club; their mission to prove or disprove what Gadget claims to have witnessed.

When Nate’s father convinces the real estate agent to allow the group to view the house in question on the next Saturday, their exploration begins. Mrs. Davenport allows them a couple of hours to “do research for a school report.” They are equipped with a digital recorder, flashlight and video camera, the tools of modern ghost hunters. At first, they fail to uncover evidence until Nate picks up a faint voice on the recorder, saying, “Get out of my house.” They are now determined to make a nighttime visit. Coincidentally, the four friends discover that a couple named Barnes are interested in buying the house. Mr. Barnes is undeterred by the childrens’ revelations that the house may be haunted. He invites them to spend the next Saturday night camping out in the living room of his new house.

The courageous group share pizza and then settle down for their adventure. They appear to be at a standstill until Nate remembers something. His computer research will lead him on a trail to uncover the final clues in solving the mystery. Is there a ghost? Who is it? Will the ghost hunters continue their career as sleuths of the paranormal. Tune in for the next book in the series.

The author is targeting his writing toward children nine to twelve. I believe the text is appropriate and readable for that group. Plot and characters are likable and modern detectives who are equipped with the technology expertise twenty-first children expertly employ. As an adult, I was entertained, amused and convinced that the characters are real. They are multicultural and cover both genders. Looks like the beginning of a good middle grade detective series that will possess wide appeal.

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PRESIDENTIAL PHANTOMS

Haunted Presidents:Ghosts in the Lives of the Chief Executive

Written by Charles A. Stansfield, Jr.

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This book presents portraits of the lives of the first forty presidents in US history and the possibility of hauntings or paranormal events associated with them and their families. While the author has written other books on the paranormal, he has also taught and written books on cultural and regional geography. Here he has ventured into the world of history as well, and while I have not double checked all the historical background which is sketchy in spots, it appears to be fairly well researched.

In his introduction, Stansfield informs the reader that ghosts are bipartisan and universal. Because the presidents are in a unique position to influence history, it makes sense that they might become restless spirits unable to leave our world. According to public opinion polls ten to forty percent of Americans believe they personally have had contact with a deceased person. Obviously some presidents have had more influence than others and it is the same with ghosts or the likelihood of ghost stories being associated with them.

Stansfield believes the relative degree of interest in a presidential ghost story is related to what he calls the “Three C’s.” These are character, charisma and circumstances. Presidents like Lincoln, Washington and Theodore Roosevelt have strong character that embody virtues like courage, perseverance and integrity. First ladies such as Dolley Madison and Jackie Kennedy possessed extraordinary charisma. Circumstances in one’s life often influence the legends like the strong influence in spiritualism displayed by Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary. President Woodrow Wilson was driven to despair because he was unable to succeed in achieving his dream of world peace.

The place where ghosts appear is usually based on a location that was especially significant to that person’s life. One example is the funeral route of Lincoln’s final train ride. Another is the Key West Cottage where Harry Truman and his wife often stayed. The White House is probably our country’s most famous haunted house. One of the most unusual stories is that of the demon cat which appears in the basement and crypt of the Capitol building. At first it seems to be a kitten, but soon evolves into a huge, snarling cat. Believers claim that this cat materialized shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, and the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Ghosts of past White House Staff open and close doors and lights. Even Winston Churchill and a British Queen have reported seeing the ghost of Abraham Lincoln in his former bedroom.

Whether you are a skeptic or not, you will enjoy reading about tidbits of historical information like the fact that Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan were sure they saw UFO’s and the fact that George Washington appeared on a horse with a flaming sword at the Battle of Gettysburg to encourage the Union forces on to victory. The ghost of John Adams is said to haunt the former Supreme Court chamber in the Capitol building where he defended fifty three Africans who revolted against their slave captors on the Amistad and sailed to an American port seeking freedom and return to Africa.

The book can be read in chronological order or used as a reference to a certain period of history. Its story line is appropriate for young adult and adult audiences. Classroom teachers might want to use the paranormal aspect to encourage more interest in presidential facts and historical events. Certainly an interesting way to view American history.

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