Reviews

Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters

JILL MANDRAKE

The question that pops to mind as you read Ghosts: True Tales of Eerie Encounters (TouchWood) is, “Why does British Columbia house so many spooks?” Robert Belyk does not provide a specific answer, but he does say that ghosts are likelier to manifest in wetter climates. Which explains why there are more sightings to be found on the coast, which is “more haunted than the much drier interior.” This book is a good introduction to the transmundane of the West: you can check out some of these sites yourself. For example, Irving House (New Westminster) and Hatley Park (Victoria) are just as ghostly in real life as they are in the pages of Belyk’s book. But his tales don’t end with haunted houses. He includes a chapter on haunted people, with subtitles like “The Thing,” “That Special Friend,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “A Message from the Grave.” Accounts like these fall into the finest Gothic category, and remind us of M. R. James’s classic story “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad,” or Charles Lederer’s film noir Fingers at the Window. Belyk has his fingers on the preternatural pulse.

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JILL MANDRAKE

Jill Mandrake writes strange but true stories and leads Sister DJ’s Radio Band, featuring rhythm and blues covers, post-vaudeville original tunes and occasional comedy bits. https://hido.bandcamp.com/album/the-neti-pot

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