Check out the rest of the month’s reviews here, and last year’s reviews here. If you enjoyed this review and want to help out with my folklore research, head on over to my Patreon page and join up, make a one-time donation on this site or directly through Paypal, or send me a coffee.
Granato, Sherri. North Carolina’s Supernatural Phenomenons. 2018.
Before we get much further into the month, I need to address some of the dodgier practices in ghost stories and folklore writing (particularly of the self-published variety) to this date. They seem to come in two forms. The first is when a book (like The Beast of Rickards Road and the Ghost of Payne Road: True Ghost Stories of North Carolina or State of Horror: North Carolina) is actually fiction, either a novel or a collection of short stories, but presents itself as folkloric ghost stories.
I have no objections whatsoever to reading fiction based on folklore, and I will grant you that the line can get pretty fuzzy with some writers (Nancy Roberts, lookin’ at you). But there’s a line that authors like Roberts don’t cross, one in which the folklore is still the folklore and not a fictional story with completely fictional characters and a plot that is only inspired by the folklore tale. When I am looking for folklore, I want to read folklore, and I want to know that’s what I’m getting. As a reader, I don’t like being lied to and I don’t like it when authors waste my time. Or my money.
The other problem is when you get the bun, but little or no meat. North Carolina’s Supernatural Phenomenons is of the latter variety. It’s a smartly written book (though it could use a decent copy editor and typesetter – “phenomena” not “phenomenons”). It’s also recent. It even has a few stories about the folklore of the Coast and Inner Banks that I had not yet run across, so I can’t say it was a total waste. I did like the author’s writing style, which is both chatty and spooky where necessary.
But it is also ten pages long. And it’s a fairly padded ten pages, too. To add insult to injury, if I hadn’t been able to get it through Kindle Unlimited, it would have cost me $2.99. That’s a lot of money for ten pages of mostly fluff.
So, what do you get? Well, you get a few pages on the Brown Mountain Lights, ghost walks and haunted pub crawls in Old Wilmington, and an investigation of ghost children by a local ghost hunters group (North Carolina Paranormal Researchers) in Elizabeth City, and … that’s it.
If this were part of a regular-sized collection of a hundred pages (or even eighty) pages or so, I’d be fine with the book. The author includes some nice perks like what exit to take to find the vantage points for viewing the Brown Mountain Lights and where to find the haunted pub crawl in Wilmington. And knowing who is doing ghost research in Elizabeth City is also nice.
But that’s not a whole book. That’s basically a chapter being sold as a book. Looking at the author’s other works for the state (I don’t think she’s from around here), most of them aren’t much longer. It feels as though this one was written over a few evenings as a quickie cash grab. No one likes a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am when they were looking for dinner and movie, first.
If you want to check this out, I’d suggest doing so on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll get a nice quick read. But if you’re going to pay for it, be forewarned about what you’re getting.
Did you enjoy this review? You can help keep this project going by contributing monthly via Patreon (which includes perks), making a one-time donation through Paypal, or buying us a coffee. And don’t forget to check out my ghostly folklore notes all month on Patreon.