7 Spooky Nonfiction Books for Halloween, Plus More Scary True Stories

Every autumn I find myself looking for at least a few spooky-themed books to read as Halloween approaches. It’s a little trickier with nonfiction, especially if you avoid the more unquestionably accepting/woo-woo ones, but there are still plenty of possibilities if you like your creepy stories full of truthiness! With Halloween weekend upon us, here’s a roundup of some spooky nonfiction I can recommend that … Continue reading 7 Spooky Nonfiction Books for Halloween, Plus More Scary True Stories

Recipe for a Zombie: Science Immerses in Haitian Magic

Book review: The Serpent and the Rainbow, by Wade Davis Book Depository The Serpent and the Rainbow is a modern classic, a story that flirts with a deep-seated fear out of one of humanity’s collective darkest nightmares – that of being buried alive, and of being raised to live as “undead”. But the book isn’t strictly horror. It’s a perfect example of reality’s scary stories being … Continue reading Recipe for a Zombie: Science Immerses in Haitian Magic

Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

Book review: Through a Glass, Darkly, by Stefan Bechtel and Laurence Roy Stains Amazon / Book Depository What had come to be known as “spiritualism”—the conviction that those who have passed over had the ability and the desire to make contact across the veil of death with those they’d left behind—seemed to have bewitched the Western world.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, forever linked with his character, … Continue reading Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and the Promise and Ruin of Spiritualism

The Spookiest Soviet Unsolved Mystery

Book review: Mountain of the Dead, by Keith McCloskey Book Depository What is this trouble that wanders the Taiga at night? Who can give an answer? If you don’t already know the story of the Dyatlov pass incident, I envy you, because the Google rabbit hole you’re about to fall down is a marvelous one. But to tip-of-the-iceberg this high strangeness story from Soviet Russia: … Continue reading The Spookiest Soviet Unsolved Mystery

Life After Death from a Scientific Perspective

October is naturally the perfect time for creepy, scary, haunty reading, so I’m reviewing some ooky spooky supernatural, paranormal-themed titles throughout the month. Personally, I find nothing scarier than some of the true crime cases out there, so delving into the supernatural side of things feels more light-hearted than sinister and I love Halloween-time for that! First up: Mary Roach’s Spook, truly a doubter’s dream. … Continue reading Life After Death from a Scientific Perspective

“Insanity is a strange, peculiar thing.”

Book review: Not Just Evil: Murder, Hollywood, and California’s First Insanity Plea by David Wilson (Amazon / Book Depository) Shortly before Christmas in 1927, a twelve-year-old girl was kidnapped from her school in Los Angeles. After a ransom was arranged with her father, Marion Parker’s horrifically mutilated body was returned. Her killer, a young man named William Hickman, was quickly apprehended following a media frenzy and public … Continue reading “Insanity is a strange, peculiar thing.”

Spirit of Santa Fe: Tracing a Ghost from Germany to the American Southwest

Book review: American Ghost, by Hannah Nordhaus Book Depository I’d saved this for a Halloweeny read, and I’m glad that I read it after Colin Dickey’s Ghostland. It got a fair amount of negative, or at least disappointed, Goodreads reviews, and I might have felt the same if I hadn’t learned so much from his book about why ghost stories develop, and how the ghosts, along with our … Continue reading Spirit of Santa Fe: Tracing a Ghost from Germany to the American Southwest

100 Years Ago, We Became Afraid of Sharks

Book review: Close to Shore, by Michael Capuzzo (Amazon / Book Depository) This is a narrative nonfiction account of the infamous Jersey Shore shark attacks of the summer of 1916, which supposedly influenced Peter Benchley in writing Jaws. There are some recognizable similarities, and I actually love Jaws (yeah, I’ve only seen the movie), but honestly – I think I would’ve rather seen a movie of the events described here. In … Continue reading 100 Years Ago, We Became Afraid of Sharks

A College Crime in Kentucky

Book review: Bluegrass: A True Story of Murder in Small-Town Kentucky, by William Van Meter (Amazon / Book Depository) After finishing Hillbilly Elegy, I was still in the mood to read about Appalachia, so Bluegrass seemed a good option to check off my reading list. I’m not sure how I found it, but I love stories from the lesser known corners of America and true crime, so in searching relevant reads in … Continue reading A College Crime in Kentucky

“Moose antlers on the roof (already confirmed).”

Book review: Butcher, Baker: A True Account of a Serial Murder, by Walter Gilmour and Leland E. Hale (Amazon / Book Depository) Butcher, Baker is the true story from the law enforcement side of the investigation and capture of 1970s/80s Alaskan serial killer Robert Hansen. Originally published in 1991, a new ebook edition is being rereleased on October 25th. A film version came out in 2013, The … Continue reading “Moose antlers on the roof (already confirmed).”

Spooks and Storytelling: We Scare Ourselves in Order to Live

Book review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places Ghostland is a perfect October read. It’s hard to find a nonfiction book about ghosts and hauntings that’s not an utter cheeseball groanfest. And although it’s sometimes (sometimes!) fun to watch ridiculous, guilty pleasure TV shows about spookiness (I mean, we have networks devoted to the genre – I came across a show entirely about Amish hauntings last time I … Continue reading Spooks and Storytelling: We Scare Ourselves in Order to Live