Publication Date: January 28, 2010
The author, Michael Rivers, sent me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Driving home from work on Friday, I passed a woman kneeling at the end of a driveway in front of a boulder. She caressed the boulder like one sees people caressing a gravestone of someone they dearly loved. While normally the odd scene would be noted and forgotten, it has stayed with me and the reason is the little thought at the back of my mind. Is this a scene of the past playing out or something really seen? The way the odd scene was perceived is all down to a recent reading of Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores.
Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores is history-heavy in a way that sets the scene to tie into ghostly sightings.
The haunting stories were collected by the author and based on things he’s experienced in his own paranormal research. From two friends hearing a drum beat and then seeing a ghostly apparition to a skeptic who needed his own experience to believe, Rivers paints a picture of a spirit world without the need of terror.
Accompanying Rivers’s descriptions are black and white pictures. In the chapter titled Cemetery Ghosts, Rivers includes a wonderful picture of a Civil War Cemetery (Page 133) in which he cites the precise headstone at which a shadow man lingers. The old white stones lean rather precariously as they sink unevenly into the group and the mental picture becomes that much more vivid.
The stories are separated into types of apparition which are then listed by county. There are Maritime Ghosts, Cemetery Ghosts, Watery Ghosts, Night-time ghosts, etc. … In Chapter 10 of That Mysterious Woman, we meet a woman in white viewed as such a substantial being that her clothing was described down to the broach at her throat (page 144). He describes in other chapter scenes so clear that people think that they’re seeing history re-enacted in period costumes until friends and neighbors disabuse them of the notion of any such event. There are the standards in literature of this type. Rivers does give us the Lady in White, the battles re-enacted, the old-time gangster dying from a gunshot for generations to witness.
Rivers’ style of writing from history to witness accounts flows well. The style is very matter-of-fact and well crafted. Books on the topic tend to be overly dry or overly dramatic. Rivers isn’t trying to convince us of a world beyond ours, he’s giving us the stories he’s heard and his own witnessed events, leaving us to draw our own conclusions. Rivers’ style has that perfect balance of folktale and his descriptions of the areas show an intimate love and knowledge of the region depicted. His direct style lends, in this reader’s eye, to credibility. If you’re not a believer in the supernatural, Rivers’ historical accounts of North Carolina will certainly attract interest.
As readers of this blog will know, this is a subject in which I am keenly interested in and of which I’ve read many books. Michael Rivers’s Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores is perhaps the best book on the subject that I’ve read. If the history and perhaps haunting of the North Carolina Shores sparks your interest, be sure to pick up this wonderful.
Read an excerpt and pick up Ghosts of the North Carolina Shores by Micheal Rivers today on